SAAFON Partners with NCAT and Operation Spring Plant for Cover Crops Research


SAAFON’s Farm Practices Specialist, Jason Lindsay

The morality of Black Agrarianism has always embodied an honor for nature reflected through land stewardship, even within SAAFON’s founding strategy that sought to pave ways for black farmers to benefit from their deeply rooted organic practices. Yet, in the evolution of SAAFON’s story, we have found that the fate of black land stewardship is greater than production. We understand that healing is the epicenter of our collective well-being and a necessity to our progression. This healing begins with our land, the stories it holds, and the relationship we have with it and each other. When we pay attention to the patterns of nature, it teaches us to steward through collective work, and it does this via modeling.

In collaboration with NCAT (National Center for Appropriate Technology) and OSP (Operation Spring Plant), SAAFON is looking at cover crops through the lens of the weeds. Working with farmers from Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and SAAFON farmers in Mississippi and Georgia, we are exploring the weeds growing in and around our fields to understand what cover crops would be most rewarding. 

The weeds that grow on our land have a story. The Cover Crop Project includes the story of weeds, what they mean, and why they appear. We are cultivating a deeper understanding of the weed ecology on our farms and learning what the land is saying through the “pioneer” plants. This project is also readying farmers for on-farm research to ensure that we, the farmers, are gaining relevant information for improved practices.

Our approach to cover crops is not only meant to aid farmers in healthy soil remediation practices in ways that genuinely acknowledge nature. It has also gifted us the opportunity to hold space together as black agrarians in a way that remediates us as land stewards. The healing of our black agrarian communities begins with the land, yet it leads to the recovery of the people. When we hold space together on our farms with hearts of pure intention, the stewards are remediated. Through this work, I am reminded that nature is also the home of our social medicine. On our land, with our land, we must heal.

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