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The Black Loam Conference Opens Doors for BIPOC Farmers and Demands Change

Black Loam Conference convention room with guests listening to a panel of farmers.

Black Loam Conference attendees gather around to hear from various farmers about their current business operations. (Daniella Richardson)

“For me, it was the defining moment of seeing the black farmers decline around me. It's almost like they were becoming extinct,” says Denise Jamerson, the farming operations manager of Legacy Taste of the Garden.

The Bloomington Black Loam Conference took place downtown in March of 2023. The Black Loam Conference is an annual event sponsored by Legacy Taste of the Garden and the People’s Cooperative Market. The conference provides resources and opportunities for networking with Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) and socially disadvantaged farmers. It was created in response to declining Black farmers and the racial inequity within the agricultural community.

The event was imagined two years ago by Legacy Taste of the Garden, a Farming operation in Princeton, Indiana. Legacy Taste of the Garden was founded by the Greer family, a multigenerational family of farmers dating back to the pre-civil war era. Their farmland is based in Lyle Station, the last remaining African American settlement in Indiana. 

Denise Jamerson says her family wanted to start the conference when they realized the issues Black people faced in the farming industry 60 years ago were still present today.

The Black Loam Conference illuminates these problems and provides a safe space for BIPOC farmers and allies to come together and find solutions as a community.

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