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Pee Dee Land Trust presents Black Farmer Storytelling Project

Pee Dee Land Trust presents Black Farmer Storytelling Project

CLINT NERO FROM Scranton, Florence County. PHOTO PROVIDED

Pee Dee Land Trust has prepared an exhibit of storyboards featuring photographs and quotes collected during a series of interviews with six African American farmers in the Pee Dee region.

The “Pee Dee Black Farmer Storytelling Project” is currently on display in the lobby of the Doctors Bruce and Lee Foundation Library in Florence through August 18. The exhibit also features books on farming, rural history, and conservation donated to the library by the Pee Dee Land Trust.

“These storyboards and the interviews behind them represent an important step for the Pee Dee Land Trust in understanding and sharing the experience of smaller-scale, limited resource farmers in the region.

There is a long history of African American farmers growing nutritious produce for local communities, and we wanted to hear those stories and share them through their words and photographs,” said Pee Dee Land Trust Executive Director David Harper.

To complete the interviews, Pee Dee Land Trust partnered with Jillian Hishaw of F.A.R.M.S. (Family Agricultural Resource Management Services). Hishaw’s work focuses on reducing the amount of family land lost due to heirs property and other challenges in rural black communities.

Hishaw and several of the farmers also participate in Pee Dee Land Trust’s Farms to Food Bank project, in which fresh local produce from small-scale farmers is distributed through the Harvest Hope Food Bank and the Lowcountry Food Bank to Pee Dee residents facing hunger.

Farmers interviewed for the project include:

Gabriel Bathay – Mullins, Marion County

Mr. and Mrs. John Culbreath – Kingstree, Williamsburg County

Harvey Miller – Chesterfield, Chesterfield County

Clint and Debbie Nero – Scranton, Florence County

Michael Streater – Chesterfield, Chesterfield County

Ivory Wilson – Mullins, Marion County

Harvey Miller of Chesterfield explained his commitment to farming this way: “Young people of today don’t realize that, once the land is gone, your history is gone. My siblings moved away and their children have no connection to the land. Most of the children are educated and have high powered jobs that are here today and gone tomorrow — but the land will always remain.”

The project was partially funded by a grant from the Humanities Council of South Carolina, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

After August 18, the Pee Dee Black Farmer Storytelling Project exhibit will then circulate among other libraries and public buildings across the Pee Dee. For more information, contact the Pee Dee Land Trust at (843) 667-3229 or education@peedeelandtrust.org.

To see the story board for each farmer, please visit our website and click on the corresponding farmers name: http://www.peedeelandtrust.org/events-and-news/in-the-news/item/black-farmer-storytelling-project

About Pee Dee Land Trust

Pee Dee Land Trust’s mission is to conserve, and to promote an appreciation of, the significant natural, agricultural, and historical resources of the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina. Pee Dee Land Trust is a 501c3 organization and was formed in 1999 to serve five counties in the upper Pee Dee Region. Since then, we’ve expanded our reach to include nine counties from the SC state line to the Atlantic Ocean. Their board includes representatives from: Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Marion, Marlboro, and Williamsburg.

In addition to these counties, PDLT considers land protection projects within the entire Pee Dee watershed in South Carolina. PDLT now protects just over 21,800 acres in the Pee Dee region. While most remain in private ownership, the lands pro?tected by PDLT are along the rivers and streams we swim in, farms and forests we manage, hunting and fishing areas we recreate on, and make a lasting contribution to our community.

Visit PDLT website to learn more: www.peedeelandtrust.org or PDLT Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/Pee-Dee-Land-Trust/