A Family Making History
We are the Stewart family, a strong ranching family of six looking to make a difference in the community, all while making history! It is our goal to become the first black-owned protein ranch farmers in Arizona. In addition to bringing much-needed diversity in the farming and ranching industry, we are setting the foundations to creative a positive impact on nature, our community, and your health.
Southwest Black Ranchers is a bi-racial (Black and Filipino) family that’s committed to promoting diversity and health as a combo. James, 43, and Rachael, 34, Stewart come from a fitness background and have focused their careers and lives on health and wellness. While James is a bodybuilder, both of them are personal trainers with their children training in Jiu Jitsu.
The Stewart Family working on their ranch in Douglas, AZ.
Their mission in building a sustainable protein ranch is to combat food shortages caused by the COVID-19 health crisis through the delivery of grass fed beef, free range chicken & turkey, eggs along with homegrown, hydroponic vegetables. Shifting from fitness to a farm to table business, the Stewarts are working diligently to encourage others to actively participate in a cause larger than themselves. With four children ranging in age from 7 to 11, raising happy, healthy children is at the top of their priorities, along with creating opportunities for future farmers.
“The world is unpredictable, but access to healthy food shouldn’t be,” said James. “Our family has been dedicated to creating healthy life habits for decades, now is the time to focus on agriculture.”
The goal is simple: Be part of the solution by producing and distributing nutrition staples that help prevent food shortages and inspire others along the way to do the same. Food is a universal need and therefore no one should go without it. Yet sadly, we know this is the case globally. Unfortunately the pandemic has only compounded the situation for this industry.
The ranch that Southwest Black Ranchers is dedicated to building is meant to become a reliable institution that not only provides healthy food, but more diversity and equal representation within the food industry and in agriculture. Southwest Black Ranchers is committed to joining the fight against food scarcity, especially within underrepresented communities and demographics that fall within a lower socio-economic class.
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The Stewarts know well the history and current struggles facing Black people today and believe this protein ranch is one practical solution to addressing food shortages. Southwest Black Ranchers supports Black farming within the state of Arizona and is dedicated to building a protein ranch on 10 acres in Douglas, a town in Southern Arizona on the border of Mexico.
In 2017, Black-operated farms accounted for 4.7 million acres of farmland, just .5 percent of the U.S. total, according to the 2017 U.S. Census of agriculture on Black Producers. In addition, producers who identified as Black accounted for only 1.4 percent of the country’s 3.4 million producers. Arizona produces more than $4 billion a year in agriculture on 19,000 farms, yet none of them are Black-owned according to the 2017 Census Map.
“We’re bringing real solutions to the farming inequalities of today,” said James. “A farmer may not be as popular as an athlete, rapper, actor, lawyer or CEO, but to make real, lasting change we need to be equally represented in all markets, not just glorified ones.”
Southwest Black Ranchers hope to help bridge the gap of the past with the future to create opportunities for other Black farmers, while delivering the dire need for additional protein sources. An estimate of $400,000 has been calculated to cover start-up expenses, which include purchasing materials to build a well and pond, fences, refrigeration systems and other structures, as well as animals, seeds, delivery vehicles, trailers, solar panels, a green house, an education center and other equipment. At complete build out, the company anticipates providing 10 jobs within the community from production to manufacturing and delivery. But in order to build our dream we’re asking for your help.
As this virus continues to devastate our global economy it’s simultaneously devastating our population, attacking the immune systems of those most vulnerable to it. The food shortage caused by panic and stockpiling earlier this year was a huge wakeup call. It revealed that while healthy foods are critical to our survival and long-term well-being, they’re in limited supply and we rely too much on processed food to get us by. The farm acts as a 21-Century food bank with a focus on fresh, healthy, natural food that provides a critical and sustainable food source.
We’ll do our part to combat COVID-19 by ensuring your food touches less hands and offer a delivery service to prevent less trips to the grocery store, all while maintaining social distancing to keep your families healthy and safe. Please help us spread the message of this movement by building awareness about this cause and sharing it with as many people as you can.
Southwest Black Ranchers is asking for support from the community to make our dream a reality to bring a message of hope, diversity and equal representation to the future of food and agriculture.