BOULDER, Colo. — In keeping with its ‘Ten Commitments to Black Lives’ announced in June, 2020, Charlotte’s Web is launching today “Seeding Our Future, Together,” a mentorship program for Black hemp farmers and leaders. Charlotte’s Web is partnering with 40-acre Cooperative, a growing organization with over 50 farmer members in seven states. 40 Acres Cooperative is the first national cooperative to serve Black farmers launched in over a hundred years. The goal of the partnership is to begin to reverse the woeful underrepresentation of Black farmers, businesspeople, scientists, and leaders in the hemp industry.
“Greater diversity in our company and in the hemp industry may not happen swiftly, but working together with The 40-acre Co-op on our new ‘Seeding Our Future, Together’ mentor program is a way to move forward by sharing our knowledge, our science, and our cultivation expertise with Black farmers and other agricultural leaders in the black community,” said Deanie Elsner, President and CEO of Charlotte’s Web.
In 1920, there were nearly a million Black farmers in the United States. Today the number is 45,508. And that accounts for just 1.3% of the nearly 3.4 million farmers in the country, according to a 2017 census by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Those troubling statistics inspired Angela Dawson, a hemp farmer, to take societal change into her own hands to reverse those numbers. She founded the Minneapolis-based co-op in 2019.
“This is the beginning of an important shift in the industry and we intend to use this momentum to create lasting and impactful change,” said Dawson, Founder and President of the 40-acre Cooperative.
The 40-acre Cooperative (FAC) will advise on the expertise most relevant and timely for their cooperative members and staff. FAC will also educate Charlotte’s Web employees and leadership team on challenges and opportunities for the Black hemp farming and manufacturing community beginning with a Charlotte’s Web employee Lunch and Learn with Angela Dawson on Feb. 26, 2021.
The 40-acre Cooperative is a swiftly growing and entrepreneurial organization whose mission aligns with the Charlotte’s Web’s vision of a healthier planet for everyone. As part of “Growing Our Future, Together” Charlotte’s Web will donate some of its U.S. patented Lindorea hemp seed to 40-acre Cooperative farmers for the 2021 growing season planting.
“This collaboration is important for our entire hemp industry so it may achieve a wider potential for innovation through diversity. Our Charlotte’s Web Cultivation Team is excited to share our knowledge of organic hemp farming, and we know we will also gain knowledge from our work with the 40-acre Cooperative and its farming members,” said Jared Stanley, Chief Cultivation Officer for Charlotte’s Web and co-founder.