Black Farmer Fund has raised $11 million to support Black-owned agricultural and food businesses in the Northeast, per ESSENCE.

According to its website, Black Farmer Fund was created by Karen Washington and Olivia Watkins after they spoke with Black farmers who expressed a desire for capital but had faced discriminatory lending practices.

They are bridging the gap through their mission centered on wealth building for Black food business owners.

This is timely as Black farm ownership declined from 15 million acres in 1920 to 1 million acres by 2017, according to Ceres Trust.

Additionally, Black farmers only accounted for 0.87% of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) lending from 2001 to 2008. These statistics declined further in 2009 and 2016, as they would only account for 0.80% of USDA lending, per The Counter.

The existence of the Black Farmer Fund is necessary for this very reason. Beyond capital support that includes grants and low-interest notes, the fund also works to provide technical support such as virtual and in-person engagements for skills training and community building.

“Through coordinating community work days, virtual skillshares, and 1-1 holistic technical assistance for investees, we facilitate supportive environments for learning and exchange that are for and led by Black agricultural business entrepreneurs,” a statement on its website reads.

The latest funding round is a testament that investors see great promise that Black Farmer Fund will continue to operate in good faith to benefit Black food businesses. The raise follows a pilot fund, with the goal of reaching $20 million in capital, per Black Star News.

“We are humbled by the support from investors aligned with our commitment to racial and economic justice,” Olivia Watkins, co-founder of Black Farmer Fund, said in a statement, according to Black Star News. “With $11 million secured, we are well on our way to achieving our $20 million goal, this significant milestone reaffirms our belief that when we empower Black communities, we foster a stronger, more inclusive food system that benefits us all.”

Chordata Capital Co-Founders Kate Poole and Tiffany Brown said in a statement, according to the outlet, “Chordata Capital is thrilled to be supporting our clients in investing over $2.5M in Philanthropic and Reparative Notes in Black Farmer Fund. Chordata’s core commitment is investing in racial and economic justice, and our community is thrilled to support this Black-led democratically-stewarded loan fund.”