James Minton and his family own one of the few black-led farms in New York. Triple J Farm in Windsor, NY, has cows, chickens, bees, goats and more.
For many black families, land ownership is a critical issue and being one of the few blacks to own farm lands in the state is a big deal. Around the 20th century, one in seven farmers in the United States was Black.
Decades later, millions of Americans have lost an estimated 13 million acres of land, compelling many descendants of Black farmers to move north to seek jobs in other industries. Data from the United States Department of Agriculture shows that less than 2 percent of the country’s farmers now are Black.
Minton lived in the projects of New York but had always had a passion for farming. He bought the land for his farming project a decade ago when he retired from his job and wanted a place of his own. He used money in stocks and a 401K to buy the farm, he told NPR.
Minton, who is now in his late 80s, is growing the farm business with several of his grandchildren and other family members, according to NPR. He has seven children, 28 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. And he bought the land for all of them, the platform reported in 2020.
“It’ll be someplace for them to come at any time,” Minton said. “Something bad happens to them in the city and they need someplace to stay? Whether I’m alive or dead, this place will still be here. That’s what I wanted.”
According to NPR, Triple J Farm went from selling 30 dozen eggs every couple of months to selling close to 200 dozen each week. One of Minton’s grandchildren is Daryl, who joined him on the property to help in the running of the farm. According to him, his priority is creating generational wealth. Before working on Triple J Farm, Daryl worked for a big grocery chain in New York City.
“At the end of the day, that didn’t make any sense,” Daryl told NPR. “Why couldn’t me and my family use the things that we know and try to build our own wealth, or build the wealth to help my grandfather out?
But being Black farmers has not been easy for the Minton family due to farming costs. Still, the farm continues to thrive, and during the pandemic, the family sold between 1,000 to 1,200 dozen eggs a month. The Black Lives Matter protests following the killing of George Floyd also brought awareness to their business.
Today, after more than 40 years, Minton is elated that his dreams have become a reality.