Emilie Dayan, our office intern, will be blogging regularly about issues of nutrition, sustainability, and food policy in the South.
Here at the SFA, it is the year of Women, Work, and Food. So, for this Sustainable South post, we highlight the efforts of Euneika Rogers-Sipp, social entrepreneur.
In Alabama and the Black Belt South, agricultural landowners and their families are overcoming systemic poverty with innovative, sustainable solutions, thanks to Sustainable Rural Regenerative Enterprises for Families (SURREF). This start-up social enterprise development initiative founded by Euneika Rogers-Sipp encourages the use of clean, renewable energy and culturally sound development practices. The organization aims to give small family farmers access to advanced technologies as one of a portfolio of strategies to improve rural livelihoods. The result: increased yields and reduced costs that allow the families to be economically sustainable and competitive in prospective markets.
As the driving force behind SURREF, Rogers-Sipp invests in the historical and future agricultural legacies of rural communities in the Black-Belt South. Since creating SURREF four years ago, she has helped develop ecologically sourced and locally produced products in over 50 Black Belt communities. She looks at the capacity and management of these small entities, and she emphasizes on-farm renewable energy resources as a form of sustainable management such as solar irrigation.
A regenerative farmer, Rogers-Sipp specializes in growth strategies in the sustainable development field. In addition to having worked as a Grass Roots Support Organization consultant at Heifer International and Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network, she is co-founder of the Media Equity Collaborative and the Ida B. Wells Center for Media Justice at the U.S. Social Forum. The Ford Foundation recently recognized her innovative approach to wealth creation in marginalized communities in the South with seed funding investment. She received a BA from the American College in London, is a Rural Development Leadership Network Fellow, and is currently pursuing an Independent Masters in Sustainable Rural Economic Development from Antioch University.
For more information on SURREF and how you can help seed investments in the Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi Black Belt, please visit www.surrefinnovates.com.