Inclusion and Racial Justice
One of ESMC’s key imperatives in 2020 was establishing a Working Group on Inclusion and Racial Justice to identify and remove barriers to equality, equity, inclusion, and racial justice encountered by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers and ranchers. This ESMC Working Group seeks to achieve measurable changes as it relates to ESMC’s market program, our partnerships, and the broader agricultural sector. We are stronger, more credible, and more effective when our work includes individuals with backgrounds, cultures, and lived experiences that reflect the richness of human diversity. This commitment is both a moral imperative consistent with an intellectual community that celebrates individual differences, perspectives, and diversity, as well as a matter of law.
We are committed to making racial justice, equality, equity, inclusion, a celebration of Pride, and diversity a central part of our focus, our work, our communications, and our conversations. We understand that this requires consistent and sustained effort, and we know and acknowledge that we have not been doing enough to achieve real change.
To this end, the Working Group has developed several milestones for assessing progress towards real change through ESMC’s work, both in the short term and beyond. These draft milestones continue to be refined, and currently include:
- Increase BIPOC Producer Participation in ESMC’s Market by including at least one BIPOC-focused 2021 ESMC pilot, located in an approved ESMC protocol region.
- Broaden BIPOC producer access to financing, which impedes the ability and financial bandwidth to grow and operate their businesses, by:
- Ensuring ecosystem service assets generated in a BIPOC-focused pilot have an identified buyer who is willing to pay a premium payment for these BIPOC-produced assets.
- Developing a program to support the upfront costs of agricultural conservation practice implementation for participating BIPOC producers.
- Increase BIPOC representation in ESMC’s membership and decision-making by:
- Identifying and recommending 2 additional ESMC Founding Circle members from BIPOC-led or serving organizations to serve as voting members, responsible for the approval of nearly $13M of research funding to develop an ecosystem services market that benefits producers via payments for improved land stewardship practices, and organizations via the achievement of their corporate sustainability requirements.
- Recommend the recruitment and service of 4 BIPOC producers on the ESMC Producer Circle, which is responsible for providing direct feedback to the ESMC market development (protocols, pilots, and asset certification) to ensure the program meets the needs of BIPOC farmers and ranchers.
- Ensure equitable ESMC outreach efforts to BIPOC producers, candidates, vendors, partners, and stakeholders by:
- Posting all ESMC jobs and RFPs on boards that target BIPOC candidates and contractors in the agriculture and food sector to achieve greater racial diversity and inclusion in our research platform, contractors and consultants, technical assistance, etc.
- Continuing cross-collaboration with other ESMC member and stakeholder groups committed to racial justice and amplifying the voices of BIPOC-led and serving organizations by supporting at least one mainstage agriculture sector event each year.
- Routinely communicating with ESMC stakeholders our support and commitment to open, inclusive dialogue to better hear and understand the lived experiences and realities of those who are and have been oppressed, and for whom equality is not and has never been a reality in the U.S. agriculture sector.