The New Sisterhood of Black Female Homesteaders
From the South Side of Chicago to tiny off-the-grid Carolina farms, a growing number of Black women are reclaiming the land — and their mental and physical health in the process.
Edited by Farah Mohammed
The car made its way along a tree-lined gravel road. The sky was clear, and as the car drove by, the trees swayed from side to side, almost like a sign of welcome. The road opened up into a large pasture. In the middle of the pasture was a wooden pergola with grapes growing on it and a circular garden surrounding it. Tiny houses darted the pasture, as brown children played merrily in the mud. In the center of all of this, planting in the circular garden like she was Mother Earth herself, was a Black woman. For Chantel Johnson, this scene was “heaven.” It was actually Bear Creek, North Carolina, in May 2016, but more importantly, it was Johnson’s first glimpse into homesteading, and she was hooked at first sight. Johnson, an African-American woman in her late 20s at the time, made her way up the gravel road that day with her boyfriend, whom she’d met a few months prior on OK Cupid. Johnson was attracted to his profile picture: a shot of him standing with goats.…