NESAWG will be embarking on a new chapter in 2023. Internally and across the Northeast network, we hope to lead the transformation of a just and equitable NE farm and food system. Jason Tartt’s work reminds us why this transformation is important.

Jason signed into our video chat from Accra, Ghana, a long way from his home in West Virginia. This was his fifth trip to the West African country in three years and one where he hopes to build out the 100-acre chili pepper farm he’d started, cultivate a new poultry farm, and explore an idea for a university exchange program.

His exciting activities in Ghana were a reflection of his equally interesting suite of work back home in McDowell County, West Virginia, where he is an entrepreneur, farmer, and educator. After 8 years serving in and traveling the world with the U.S. Army, Jason found himself back home in Appalachia to be with his family. There, in a place where many only saw economic and social decline, Jason saw opportunities.

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Jason founded T&T Organic Farm, a 330-acre farm that primarily focuses on piloting crops most suitable for the WV climate, of which there are many. In an episode of United Shades of America, hosted by W. Kamau Bell, Jason showed off the farm’s bees. In addition to producing delicious honey, Jason believes that his region of southern WV is great for growing other crops like mushrooms, berries, and maple trees for syrup. With support from USDA funds, they could invest in a compost operation to supply local dirt.

Beyond all the impressive features of the T&T Organic Farm, it is Jason’s belief in the oft-forgotten region of Appalachia that most inspires us. Especially amidst NESAWG’s transformation to intentionally steward an equitable and just farm and food systems—within our organization and our broader network at large—we see Jason and his work as an integral part and an inspiring example of this transformation. 

In 2023, NESAWG will embark on a deep and intentional long-term transformation with the goal of creating a farm and food system for all that is regenerative, scalable, and replicable. In this transformation process, we will continue to center voices of color and celebrate BIPOC leaders who have been tirelessly making meaningful change, like Jason and others in the NE region.

Your donation, large or small, will help fund important discussions of discovery, solidarity, and action planning. Convening these conversations across the region requires resources—to fund transportation, housing, and/or childcare for farmers, growers, and practitioners from across the 13 geographical areas in our network; to honor participants’ time; and to facilitate meaningful, nourishing, and action-driven gatherings.

As we look ahead at the tremendous work we want to do in 2023,
we cannot do it without you.

Will you donate to our transformation today?

Yes, I will donate! 

With gratitude,

Cristina Cabrera

P.S. Donate today and follow along our annual appeal to learn about farm and food systems practitioners who are already doing amazing work and paving the way for the future of the system!