Our Approach


The core of SAAFON’s work is to weave connections, support farm viability, and promote Black agrarian lifeways and culture.

How We Work

We have a three-tiered approach that is farmer-led and farmer-centric:

  • Direct Farmer Support

    SAAFON leads with the necessity of understanding the goals and needs of Black farmers. We emphasize listening deeply and creating programmatic offerings that can have meaningful impact across our base. We prioritize shifting the material conditions of farmers through grantmaking, infrastructure development and investment, and supporting the unique vision that each farmer has for their own farm.

  • Farmer and Landscape Organizing

    SAAFON is a farmer organizing and movement-building institution that builds collective power. We organize with and alongside farmers so that they can address common challenges, craft shared solutions, work together to increase economic viability, and engage in activities that allow them to share resources and knowledge.

  • Cultural Production and Preservation

    SAAFON works to amplify and propagate Black agrarian culture through the voices of Black farmers. Through storytelling and cultural production, we are preserving the continuity of lifeways, traditions, strategies, and values of our ancestors that serve as maps for future generations.

“Farming is something that offers dignity, gives financial freedom, and connects you to your community. Building community and building capacity within that community is extremely important.”

Elvin Eaton, Kitrell, NC


The visibility and reputation of SAAFON has been built on the work of Cynthia Hayes and Dr. Owusu Bandele, both of whom prioritized the promotion of cultural legacy, the importance of sustainable agriculture, advocacy for Black Southern rural farmers, and our linkages to the African diaspora.

The first ten years of our history was established on faith, follow through, good will, and clarity in mission, all of which was anchored in organizing intimately with Black farmers across the United States and the Caribbean. Much of it was held by Cynthia Hayes and a vast constellation of organizers, with limited financial resources. The cultivation of this relational currency was foundational to our organization’s resonance with Black farmers and organizers, who believed deeply in our shared vision for their families and communities.

Read more

In 2016, Cynthia Hayes transitioned to an ancestor, and a group of farmers, organizers, and strategists who had been working closely with SAAFON, came together to ensure the continuity of the organization, and the recovery and nourishing of the relationships she left behind. Since then, we have continued to grow our network, refined and expanded our offerings to farmers, and built the infrastructure of the institution. We continue to honor our origins – the rich legacy of farmer organizing that we centralize in our work, the visibilization of Black farmers in the organic/sustainable/regenerative agriculture spaces, and the amplification of Black farmers voices in our movement.

Learn About Our Programs