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FRESNO, Calif. – Several novice black farmers are harvesting their first crops, including okra, black eyed peas and cucumbers, on a demonstration farm in Fresno, Calif.

The 15-acre farm was planted this year by the African American Farmers of California to attract younger black farmers, teach the community about growing and eating healthy food and get African-American kids interested in agriculture.

The group’s work is a window into various efforts around the country to rejuvenate the pride of black farmers, resurrect interest in farming and reverse the decline of black farms.

Farming has negative connotations among many African Americans due to the legacies of slavery, sharecropping and recent discriminatory government policies. Blacks make up just 1 percent of all agricultural producers, farmers, and ranchers nationally, down from about 14 percent in 1920.