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Conversations with Body N Soil Urban Farm

Today we’d like to introduce you to Body N Soil Urban Farm.

Hi Body N Soil, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
During COVID, we all were experiencing some anxiety and depression and noticed that gardening and spending time in nature became a therapeutic experience. We decided to come up with a plan to provide the same experience to others, so that is when we contacted the City and obtained a garden lease on an LRA lot located in Old North St Louis. We picked this location because of its proximity to two elementary schools with populations of students who are considered disadvantaged. We want to provide them with a safe space where they are learning to be self-sufficient and part of their community. We follow the spiritual saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been fairly smooth?
This experience has been hard but very rewarding. We’ve had some theft, false promises, and a lack of workforce, especially three single women. However, we persevered and gained a new perspective on this journey each time.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
We are Ashley, Chrystal, and Char, and together we are the founders of Body N Soil. We are most proud of being Black Women Farmers. We specialize in providing a healing space for the community, reconnecting to Mother Earth, and promoting self-care through healthy eating and physical activity. Being three Black single mothers, we found our niche is being authentically connected to the Earth while also creatively sharing our knowledge and learning experiences with the community.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some changes you expect to see over the next five to ten years?
We see farming and sustainable living have already expanded to more urban areas, but we want to see more BIPOC-owned farms. With only 2% percent of farmers being Black, we hope to encourage others to realize the importance of the convivence of being self-sufficient and co-op farming. Following the food shortages during COVID, there was a big shift to grow your foods and eat healthily. That trend will more than likely continue as people notice the mental and physical benefits that come along with farming. Since we started, we have noticed how supportive the community is of new BIPOC farmers, which will naturally contribute to the rising trend.

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