Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding was joined by state Representative Jessica Benham of Allegheny County to celebrate Pride Month at Harrisburg’s Broad Street Market, with LGBTQ+ owners of market stands, to spotlight Pennsylvania’s national leadership in direct sales to consumers and the diverse, welcoming business owners contributing to that success.
“Pennsylvania agriculture has a seat at the table for everyone and Pride Month is a great time to celebrate that diversity and inclusive spirit,” said Secretary Redding. “We must feed equality to feed the future. As a public servant and agricultural leader, I am committed to feeding equality. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, but there is much more to do to make our industry prosperous and our table welcoming.”
Pennsylvania has made changes to expand inclusion by:
- Secretary Redding was appointed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Equity Commission Subcommittee on Agriculture as one of 15 members to provide insight on equity in agriculture and federal farm, conservation, and extension programs.
- The department spearheaded the development of the Pennsylvania Farm Bill, including the Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant program which has invested more than $1.5 million in projects addressing food system injustices and food apartheid.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, the department advocated for the Fresh Food Financing Initiative to ensure that low-income and underserved communities were able to maintain access to healthy food.
- The department commissioned the Project JUST (Justice, Unity, Solidarity, and Tolerance) Committee to maintain a working environment that addresses discrimination and endorses respect, professionalism, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace.
- The department has prioritized diversity, equity, and inclusion work through listening sessions, outreach, and programming, including programming at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
- The department brought diversity, equity, and inclusion in agriculture to the national forefront, fostering a policy adopted by the National Association of States Department of Agriculture (NASDA) prioritizing equity across state agriculture departments in all 50 states.