Clif Bar & Company have announced a US$1 million investment to Tuskegee University to support the advancement of organic agriculture and farming practices through the University’s College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences (CAENS).
With the investment, Tuskegee University becomes the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to receive the company’s endowment and is the fifth recipient in its $10 million program to support organic research at land-grant universities. The endowment is also being matched by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR), a non-profit organisation that builds partnerships to fund research addressing challenges in food and agriculture; making the total to the University $2 million.
According to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, research capabilities at the country’s black land-grant universities have been underfunded by at least $12.8 billion, compared with their white counterparts. In addition to this, organic farming has lacked regional and racial diversity as according to the latest US Census of Agriculture, only 0.5% of 30,909 certified organic farmers in the US are black owned.
The endowment aims to increase equity in organic farming by supporting the work of plant and soil science professors and researchers, including Dr Joe K. Kpomblekou and Dr. Franklin Quarcoo.
“Investing in an organic and equitable future for U.S. farming and agriculture is imperative to advancing our food systems and ensuring broader access to organic food for all,” commented Dr. Kpomblekou. “We are grateful to Clif Bar for their industry leadership and commitment to organic research and education which will ultimately benefit not just Tuskegee University but inspire more black leaders in organic farming.”
“At Clif, our purpose is to redesign the business of food for the benefit of health, equity and Earth, and supporting Tuskegee’s work to make organic more accessible and equitable is a meaningful way to deliver on that promise,” concluded Roma McCaig Senior Vice President of Impact & Communications at Clif Bar & Company. “We are committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion and are proud to support Tuskegee’s work that will help create a more inclusive future for organic farming.”
First founded in 1881 by Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee has a marked history of innovation in agriculture and today, has a centre for Plant Biotechnology Research which is training scientists from around the world.
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