Second-generation owner of Four Season Farm@FarmerClara
Food Planet Prize Jury Member Clara Coleman is a leader in the sustainable farming movement. She farms year-round on the coast of Maine and runs Real Farmer Care, a fund providing self-care support to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color – BIPOC – farmers.
Q: What do you see as the most pressing issue(s) in reshaping the global food system?
First, we need solutions that don’t gloss over the legacy of land theft, colonialism, and slavery that shape our current global food and farming systems, but rather address what’s wrong with the way we grow and share food.
Second, since food and farming are where environmental degradation and social injustice are most intertwined, produce prices should allow for fair wages for farmers and other agricultural workers without excluding low-income households. To produce the so-called “affordable” food, the current system abuses land, climate, and people who grow it but ultimately also those who eat it and are made sick by it.
Q: What would you like to achieve by being a member of the Food Planet Prize Jury?
I am a farmer. I grow and sell excellent food while taking care of the land. And I see how agricultural, humanitarian and environmental disasters occur when solutions are not grounded in practical experiences. I’d like to help ensure that the Food Planet Prize rewards initiatives that take a holistic approach to solving the food system’s problems.
Q: What unique experiences or knowledge do you bring to the jury?
I know the challenges human scale farmers and land stewards face to grow good food, secure their farms’ financial viability, and find a healthy work-life balance season after season. As the Founder of Real Farmer Care, I’ve seen first-hand how important and difficult it is for farmers to take care of themselves. The work is hard on our bodies, our minds, our relationships, and our families, and self-care and community care are critical. This is particularly true for BIPOC farmers who have the odds further stacked against them. I will vote for solutions that take us all into account.