Hemp nutrition company Evo Hemp announced a new partnership with 40-Acre Cooperative, the only Black-led nationwide agricultural co-op for underserved farmers. Based in Sandstone, Minn., the cooperative has 34 active members in several states and two tribal territories who receive support and training on a variety of topics, including sustainable farming, to help regenerate the soil and reduce climate damage.
40-Acre Cooperative has spent years researching and growing hemp, and its Wunder x Woman strain is now considered one of the finest hemp varieties available. Evo Hemp, based in Boulder, Colo., will be using the organic, cannabinoid-rich Wunder x Woman to produce much of its CBD and hemp food products in 2022 and beyond. Together, the two companies hope to make USA grown hemp food and CBD products more affordable and accessible for everyone.
“We are excited about partnering with industry leaders like Evo Hemp to bring to light the important issues in our industry,” said Angela Dawson, a fourth-generation farmer based in Minnesota and the founder of 40-Acre Cooperative. “The wonderful thing about hemp is the way it unifies people around issues that we all have a stake in, like our shared environment and quality of life. This partnership is the kind of leadership we need more of today, and I’m looking forward to finding ways to build our missions together.”
Lawsuits from white farmers have blocked $4 billion of pandemic aid that was allocated to Black farmers in the American Rescue Plan. While the Biden administration has pledged to pursue policies to promote racial equity and correct decades of discrimination, legal issues have complicated that goal. The legal limbo has created new and unexpected financial strains for Black farmers, many of whom have been unable to make investments in their businesses given ongoing uncertainty about their debt loads.
“We wanted to partner up with 40-Acre Cooperative because we share the same vision to help level the farming fields and keep agriculture alive and thriving in the United States,” said Ari Sherman, co-founder of the brand Evo Hemp. “When the government or industry doesn’t support the needs of a group of people, it’s up to co-ops and businesses to step up, and it starts with us.”
In 1920, Black people owned 14% of farms in the U.S. Today, they own just 1.4%, largely concentrated in the Southeast and Texas. The decline is due in part to years of racial discrimination including land theft and denial of loans from the government and banks. Over the years, discriminatory loan servicing and loan denial by white-controlled committees forced many Black farmers into foreclosure, after which wealthy landowners, most of whom were white, purchased their land.
“If we don’t step up to help our community, who will?” said Jourdan Samel, co-founder of the brand Evo Hemp. “It is crucial that we become prosperous while in the service of others, and not at their expense.”
40-Acre Cooperative is an agricultural company focused on addressing equity gaps within agriculture. The co-op provides technical assistance and marketing support to Black, Indigenous and other marginalized communities.
Evo Hemp has established a supply chain of USA-grown hemp in order to rebuild America’s agricultural system. With the help of retail partners, Evo Hemp has been able to create countless opportunities for small family farmers, while providing consumers with organic, USA-grown hemp products.