Farming, Race, Poverty, and the Media Inside Appalachia


Being a farmer isn’t easy. One woman in Georgia found that getting assistance as a black farmer can be especially tough.

Shirley Sherrod said she found discrimination in the federal government’s farm assistance programs, and she and other farmers fought back in the biggest class action lawsuit in U.S. history. Listen to the episode to hear the results of the lawsuit, and what it meant for farmers across the country.

Sherrod was recently honored with an award from the James Beard foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on food and culinary education in the United States. But she first made headlines in 2010, when a speech she had made a few months earlier at an a NAACP meeting was taken out of context.

Conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart used an edited version of the video on his show in an effort to depict Sherrod as being racist against white farmers. But once others shared the full speech, it showed a fuller picture.

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear more about the details of that controversy and its aftermath.

We had help producing Inside Appalachia this week from the Southern Foodways Alliance, and their podcast Gravy.

Our theme music is by Ben Townsend. Music in this episode was by Blue Dot Sessions and Dinosaur Burps.

Our producer is Roxy Todd. Our executive producer is Jesse Wright. Patrick Stephens is our audio mixer. Molly Born is our web editor. You can find us online on Twitter @InAppalachia