Last Updated on December 7, 2022
As a company whose mission is to transform the meat industry, we believe in equitable practices in the agricultural community. Whether it’s access to healthcare, financial planning, or technology, agriculture is one of the most under-resourced industries in the U.S. despite being the central provider of our most important resource: food.
When combining what we know about the under-resourced nature of farmers coupled with systemic, racial inequities, the agricultural system falls short of meeting the needs of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Given the nature of their work, farmers and ranchers are at increased risk for a variety of health challenges, such as respiratory diseases, stress and anxiety, and disabling injuries due to the nature of their occupation. Additionally, BIPOC communities experience significant health disparities compared to their white counterparts, leaving BIPOC farmers and ranchers to face dual burdens.
Given this intersectionality of farmer and racial equity, we have made a multi-year investment into AgriSafe; a non-profit aimed at supporting healthcare professionals and educators who strive to reduce health disparities among the agricultural community.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments and policy makers formally highlighted racism as a public health crisis. This was a key motivator for AgriSafe to expand their work and reframe their focus toward BIPOC communities in areas in which they intervene. Hiring someone to focus on this work full-time was the first step.
As a result of ButcherBox’s support, AgriSafe promoted Knesha Rose-Davison to director of public health and equity. Since joining, Rose-Davison began focusing on diversity stories in the organization’s monthly newsletters by highlighting agricultural contributions from Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and LGBTQIA+ communities. Under her direction, AgriSafe has begun using more diverse photos and images in promotional materials and presentations to be more inclusive of the broader community. With Knesha’s help, AgriSafe was able to establish a Latino Advisory Committee with leaders from agribusiness, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Ag Centers, and the insurance industry to provide feedback on health and safety resources for Spanish language audiences. This work has also enabled AgriSafe to add two new board members representing diverse communities and interests.
This issue is complex, multidimensional, multifaceted, and at times emotional. AgriSafe’s principles and values of “Protecting the People who Feed the World,” has allowed them to commit and make progress in this space. At ButcherBox, we know this work is never done, but we’re proud to be able to support AgriSafe’s efforts to build equitable healthcare support for agricultural producers. To learn more about our work, check out our most recent social and environmental responsibility report.
Kelly Hilovsky is the Senior Manager of Social and Environmental Responsibility at ButcherBox. She has an MPH from Johns Hopkins and is committed to addressing complex social problems through the lenses of public health and food justice.