Kansas farm, Black-owned & operated, works to fill food insecurity gaps

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – The Pearson farm located in northeast Wichita is dedicated to giving back to the community and delivering the gift of food to those in need. It’s one of 48,000 Black-owned farms left in the United States, down from nearly one million a little more than a century ago (1920).

David Pearson runs the Pearson farm. He attributes the lack of Black farmers to discrimination.

“That’s one of the reasons that a lot of Black farms went out of business because you try to get a loan and you know they dragged their feet. and they know once that planting season passes, you wait another year,” he said.

Donna Pearson McClish credits the Pearson farm’s success to her family’s independence.

“We haven’t experienced the inequities because we haven’t done the loan process. Our farm has been self-supporting,” she said.

David and Donna are among two of 12 siblings (11 living) running the family farm purchased by their parents, Robert and Addie Pearson, in 1968. The couple had a vision of making sure people in underserved communities had access to fresh food. Robert died in 1992 and Addie in 2014.

In 2014, the Common Ground Mobile Market was set in motion providing fresh produce areas with food insecurities. Now, David is preparing the ground for cold-weather crops like spinach, cabbage, beets and lettuce.

“There are no grocery stores in our communities because I know you you are aware that they closed the Save-A-Lot. So that added to the additional desert of food insecurity areas and COVID exposed the unstableness of our food system completely. So now we’re re-envisioning how to make a food system that is stable and equitable for everyone. So the mobile market is part of that initiative,” said Donna.

A step to get from the farm to the table and a step to continue the legacy of Black farming.

“I think we’re becoming an example of Black farming and you know longevity and those types of things, and that’s a great responsibility for us, because we want to be the right example.

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