African Americans Advanced Farming in America

African Farmers Advanced American Agriculture

Historical evidence supports the connection between African farmers and Black Americans. During the transatlantic slave trade, enslaved Africans were taken from inland farms from as far as 500 miles from coastal Africa to be loaded on ships bound for America.

African Americans Advanced Farming
Atlantic slave trade. (2024, July 3). In Wikipedia.

They were not simply chosen as free labor, but also “skilled” laborers. These farmers brought with them their agricultural knowledge and many skills, which greatly influenced the development of agriculture in the Americas.

Our genetic connection to African farmers explains some of the health disparities we see including salt intolerance, sickle cell, kidney problems, and much more. These hereditary traits were the reason we survived in African and also why we need to manage our health and nutrition in a different way.

African slaves introduced several farming techniques and crop selections that had a lasting impact on American agriculture.

Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is a farming practice that involves growing different crops in a specific sequence on the same piece of land. This technique helps to maintain soil fertility, control pests and diseases, and improve overall crop yields. By rotating crops, Black farmers and their descendants were able to maximize their agricultural productivity and sustain their communities for generations.

African Americans Advanced Farming


Intercropping is another farming practice that involves growing two or more crops together in the same field. This technique offers several benefits, such as maximizing land utilization, reducing pest and disease incidence, and improving soil fertility. By intercropping, Black farmers and their descendants were able to diversify their harvests, minimize risks, and ensure a more stable food supply for their communities.

Contour Plowing

African Americans Advanced Farming
Photo by USDA-NRCS

Contour plowing, which involves plowing along the contours of the land to prevent soil erosion was also introduced by African farmers. These practices were new to America and revolutionized farming in general.

African farmers also brought crops such as rice, yams, and okra. Rice alone generates 34 billion dollars annually, and the US is the 5th largest rice exporter in the world. All thanks to our African farmer descendants.

On the other hand, yams were used as a source of food in African cuisine and are now grown in many parts of the world. Okra is native to Africa and is now grown in many parts of the world as well.

Other crops cultivated by African farmers include millet, sorghum, and black-eyed peas (also know as cowpeas). These crops were not only essential for the sustenance of enslaved Africans during their time on plantations but also played a significant role in shaping the agricultural landscape of the Americas.

We Changed the Face of Farming in America

Slaves of African origin brought their knowledge of farming techniques and crop selection that permanently altered and quickly advanced the farming industry in America. They also introduced the cultivation of a number of new crops, which not only provided sustenance for enslaved Africans but also enriched the agricultural landscape of the Americas with their nutritional value and adaptability to different climates and soil conditions.

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Related Podcast Episode

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    Better Black Health with Dr. Greg Hall welcomes Constance B. Hilliard, PhD.  This Harvard-trained professor of African history may have found the elusive reason for many of the health disparities we see in the US.  She explains salt sensitivity, kidney…
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  • Dr Greg Hall

    Greg Hall, MD is a physician, author, speaker, inventor, professor, and public health professional, specializing in urban health and the clinical care of African Americans. Dr. Hall’s extensive research in the care of African Americans lead to the development of GNetX Sequence Multivitamins a supplement developed to support African American needs. Most recently, Dr. Hall established the National Institute for African American Health, which is a nonprofit designed to promote health-related education, support students interested in a career in medicine, and serve as an advocate for African American patients. You can keep in touch with Dr. Hall by tuning into his Better Black Health Podcast where he covers Black American health topics.

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