Down-South Afroecology Training School (DATS)
Lead Organization: Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network (SAAFON)
Partner Organizations: Mississippi Association of Cooperatives, The Black Dirt Farm Collective
Award: $95,000 over 12 months
The Down-South AfroEcology Training School (DATS) is designed to strengthen the agroecology movement within the United States through the engagement and education of Black farmers in the Southeast region who are either currently farming organically, seeking to transition to organic practices, or are not currently farming. DATS uses the term Afro Ecology instead of agroecology to better reflect their focus on incorporating culturally relevant delivery methods. The program also targets and engages other allied individuals and organizations critical to the advancement of the movement. The three primary goals are: 1) to increase the knowledge and use of agroecology production practices among Black farmers in the South-eastern United States; 2) to identify and strengthen policy work that supports the adoption of agroecology in the South-eastern U.S.; and 3) to strengthen a local and global movement for a just and sustainable planetary ecosystem. DATS will marry technical training in agroecological practices and philosophy with culturally relevant delivery teaching and learning in order to foster a “dialogue of knowledges” among rural and urban farmers, researchers, and organizers.