By Michelle Ajamian
On this eve of the Summer Solstice, Juneteenth and Fathers’ Day, I learned that the House has overwhelmingly passed a bill to make Juneteenth a National Holiday. And President Biden signed it hours later! I am mindful that mass enslavement came about when European colonizers’ “discovery” of African agriculture led them to kidnap farmers from their homeland. That expert farming is what built the agricultural wealth on this continent.
It’s astonishing to realize that the number of enslaved Africans numbered 4.7 million–more than 16% of the US population– in 1862.
The oldest continuous Juneteenth celebration is in Gallia County, just an hour away, here in Appalachia, Ohio, where it has been celebrated since 1863. At long last, Athens is planning an all day event. This week and always, I hope you find a way to reflect and consider the work ahead to create a truly just society.
By the time you have received this edition of the Hopewell, many ASFC millers and others in our network will have submitted our comments to the USDA about building resilient supply chains, (think, seed to table). And there’s still time to send in your own! See Nan Kohler’s letter further down in this newsletter. Nan is the owner Grist & Toll, an urban mill in Los Angeles. Comments are due by Monday, June 21.
It’s been a wondrous spring here in Appalachia Ohio. We are eating luscious fruits mixed with nuts and grain in scones, muffins, and cakes. Corn already knee high and buckwheat will soon be in flower. We are thrilled to have a great network of folks who are growing, harvesting, and processing nuts in our region, and have some updates about that work below.
May you enjoy the late sunsets before the days start to shorten again, and may your gardens and farmers markets be a delight.