Fatuma EmmadCo-founder, Executive Director, and Head Farmer for Front Line Farming Denver, CO Award Year: 2021
Fatuma Emmad, who was raised in Colorado and Ethiopia, is Co-Founder, Executive Director, and Head Farmer for Front Line Farming. She is also an affiliate professor at Regis University and lecturer in the Masters for Environmental Studies Program at the University of Colorado – Boulder. Before becoming a farmer, Fatuma was a political scientist who engaged in issues affecting marginalized farming communities, such as the push for genetically modified seeds across Sub-Saharan Africa. She believes in resistance by the world’s land caretakers to single solutions for crop productivity and seeks to work on re-framing ideas of food security. She currently serves as a Mayor-appointed Member of the Sustainable Food Council for the City of Denver and a co-chair for Denver’s Good Food Purchasing Policy Group. Fatuma is also a fellow at Transformational Leaders for Change, which promotes leaders of color in Colorado, and was a 2020 Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Fellow for 2020. She was elected president of Mile High Farmers in 2020. Fatuma is the recipient of the Kathy Underhill Inaugural scholarship, which recognizes a community member who is changing hearts and minds in the hunger space through advocacy, policy, and/or community engagement through the lens of health equity. She is a graduate of the Center for Agriculture and Ecology at the University of Santa Cruz.
Fatuma used her award to launch the BIPOC Beginning Farmer Apprenticeship Program, which is designed to give undersupported and underrepresented BIPOC farmers the tools, knowledge, and community they need to enter the world of farming. The program pays apprentices for their labor in the field. Fatuma hopes to have the program fully funded for 15 apprentices by 2022.
FrontLine Farming has continued pushing for the acknowledgment of racist practices that plague the US agricultural system. Some progress occurred in June 2021, with the enactment of the Colorado Agricultural Workers’ Rights law. It improves the rights of agricultural workers in Colorado, 60-70% of whom are people of color.
Fatuma spoke with Denver local 9News about the impact the new law will have on Colorado’s agricultural workers.