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Celebrating Black History Month: Agricultural Achievements


black history month agriculture neighborhood compost

It’s Black History Month, and Neighborhood Compost wants to take some time to acknowledge some of the incredible Black individuals who helped shape our country. Namely, those who helped further agriculture in the United States!


While we should celebrate Black contributions of all kinds, agricultural achievements rarely get as much recognition as other areas. That’s why it’s even more important to point out Black farmers and agricultural leaders who have contributed to the industry.


We are so excited to celebrate 5 Black farmers and leaders who helped advance the agricultural world. Check them out and share with your friends!


Booker T. Whatley
booker t whatley black history month

Booker T. Whatley was an incredible agricultural engineer who sought out more efficient farming practices. He researched ways for Black farmers to make the most out of their farms while making a reasonable wage. Whatley also wrote instructional books for farmers to ensure they had the plans and tools needed for successful farming. These tactics are still used in farming today. He also started one of the very first community-supported agriculture systems, a subscription service where locals receive fresh local produce each month.


Fannie Lou Hamer
Fannie Lou Hamer black history month

Fannie was a historical equality leader and became a critical key organizer in the voting rights movement. Along with her work in the civil rights movement, Hammer saw inequality in the agricultural field, especially for Black people. She started a “pig bank” farm, where Black farmers could get pigs for free to raise and use on their farms. She also founded the Freedom Farm Cooperative, buying land for Black farmers to work on collectively.


Frederick McKinley Jones
Frederick McKinley Jones black history month

Ever opted to have your groceries delivered to your home? You can thank Frederick McKinley Jones for your cold foods arriving without melting! Jones invented the refrigerated truck. He designed and patented a unique refrigeration system in 1940, became co-owner of Thermo King, and developed a chilled delivery system that allows food to travel great distances without warming or spoiling.



George Washington Carver
George washington carver black history month

Many people know George Washington Carver for his game-changing invention of peanut butter. But did you know he also promoted the use of compost and developed effective crop rotation practices? Carver was a bright mind in the agricultural field, and his contributions changed the world. So the next time you’re enjoying a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or scheduling your compost pick-up, think of him!


Henry Blair
Henry Blair black history month

Planting seeds used to be an arduous task that took hours of back-breaking work to ensure each seed was planted and packed down in the soil. But Henry Blair saw an opportunity to engineer the seed planting machine. It became one of the most important inventions for farming and agriculture industries. His one-of-a-kind system plowed up the soil, evenly distributed seeds, and covered them back up. This allowed farmers to plant and grow crops much more quickly, expanding and diversifying their crops over time.


Although you might not think of developments in farming outright, these exceptional Black individuals made remarkable contributions that we still benefit from today. Their work made it possible for us to have food in our homes and helped other Black farmers access livestock and goods.


Are you interested in protecting the environment and supporting local agriculture? Neighborhood Compost provides compost pick-up services for residents and businesses in New Jersey. Contact us today to learn more!


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