Sylvanaqua workers walk- out after a public firing of its ranchers. The ranchers are raising funds to safely relocate during the pandemic. Money will go towards vehicles to relocate, food, rent, and health expenses.
We are the former employees of Sylvanaqua Farms and its two subsidiaries, 40 Acres Community Ranch and Choptico Farm. We were brought together by our desire to reclaim our connection to land in a world that systematically dispossesses BIPOC farmers of the resources we need to thrive. We yearned to be part of something bigger than ourselves and found meaning in the food sovereignty movement. It was in this movement that the issues we most cared about such as racial justice, land access, the right to food, ethical land and animal stewardship, were seen as interwoven, not separate pillars.
Like many of you, we saw the power of the vision of Sylvanaqua Farms. We believed in our former employer’s mission of creating a regional food economy that would provide workers with fair pay, reasonable hours, and democratic decision-making. However, after many months of the workers feeling underpaid, overworked and unheard, he cut all ties between Sylvanaqua and 40ACR with no warning, blaming the ranch crew for the consequences of his ill-conceived business plans.
At the same time, we were made aware that Choptico Farm, a brand-new produce operation, would be abruptly shut down and put into cover crops until further notice. Those of us who had been working there were laid off from Choptico Farm and offered different jobs at Sylvanaqua Farms. Instead, after witnessing the mistreatment, gaslighting, blame-shifting, and overall injustice of how this organization has developed over the past year, nearly all remaining and prospective employees of Sylvanaqua and Choptico Farm resigned in solidarity with 40 Acres.
On May 1st, a white owner of Sylvanaqua Farms called the police on her former employees for being at a house where they had the landlord’s permission to temporarily stay. Our current housing is untenable, and we fear for our safety if we have to stay much longer.
Today, faced with sudden unemployment, housing instability, and legal threats, we are asking for support. We need resources to relocate, money for food, fuel, basic needs and potential legal representation.
If we reach our goal of $25,000 in this fundraiser, the money will go towards relocation expenses for the 40 Acres Community Ranch crew and other displaced workers. Any funds beyond that will be donated to organizations building worker-owned businesses in this region. Every end is a new beginning. We hope others will learn from this experience as well. Together we can pursue true democracy and food sovereignty.
We hope you can support us in this hour of need.
FREE THE LAND
FEED THE PEOPLE
All in common,
40 Acres Community Ranch Crew,
Former employees of Sylvanaqua Farms and Choptico Farm
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