The 202nd recipient is Aliyah Fraser of Lucky Bug Farm @luckybugfarm. Aliyah writes, “I came to farming out of a desire to do work that had a direct, positive impact on the planet and the lives of others. The pandemic influenced my decisions and made me think deeply about where the majority of my food comes from, who grows it and under what conditions. I was lucky to find a mentor in another young, Black woman who owns and operates her own farm and I "saw" myself represented in agriculture for what felt like the first time.
Farming is a source of joy and tension in my life. It's incredibly hard work but I love so much about it, particularly expanding the idea of what it means to be a farmer. Black women are so underrepresented as agricultural business owners and it's important for me to show that there is space for us in this industry. But even though I run a for profit business, I still often question the practice of extracting profit from something as important and necessary as food.
To ease this tension, I've found that the most supportive actions involve collaborating with other farms and especially other new farmers. In this capitalist environment where we are all trying to build socially just, environmentally friendly and profitable businesses, collaborating rather than competing, lessens the struggle for all of us.
Often when people speak about sustainability they are referring to environmental sustainability but when it comes to farming, self care and mental health, I think of building a business that I am able to sustain and that is able to sustain me without losing sight of my values or burning out. Which is a challenge and a balance that I am definitely still searching for."