According to Living off the land: the new sisterhood of Black female homesteaders, a growing number of Black women are reclaiming the land and their wellbeing from Chicago to farms in Carolina. Homesteading plays an integral role in connecting with local community members and can be a useful tool for managing mental health needs.
The National Parks and Services website states, “African Americans successfully homesteaded in all the Great Plains states. While few in comparison with the multitudes of white settlers, black people created homes, farms, a “place,” and a society which were all their own.” This return to the land for healing is challenging but is indeed helping women and people of color in beekeeping and agriculture on their journey to more holistic lifestyles.
Samantha Foxx, the founder of Mother’s Finest Urban Farm, is a homestead and beekeeping visionary. The daughter of Indigenous People, she uses her education and local community efforts to create a lasting relationship with the Earth to make lives better.
A native of North Carolina, Samantha is an important figure in the next generation of beekeepers working hard to save the bees. She believes a diverse representation in the beekeeping field is important and is also one of the reasons she’s excited for the future of beekeeping. Read on to learn more about how bees changed her worldview and why it’s important to not be afraid of making mistakes.
What’s your name?
What are your pronouns?
She, Her, Farmher, Farm Mother,
Where are you from?
Winston Salem, NC
Let’s get into it! What first intrigued you about bees?
The hive mentality, I was so intrigued by how bee’s work together and I wanted to learn more,
What was your first experience with bees?
I was out in my mentor’s bee yard and nothing could have prepped me for my first time, opening up the beehive. It was a beautiful experience. I literally cried at the beauty of seeing the bee’s festooning. It made me think, why can’t people be like this! It was a magical moment, I will never forget.
When you tell people you’re a beekeeper, what are their first reactions?
They are shocked! You don’t see many beekeepers, with red lipstick and a crystal crown. But, I believe representation is important and my journey has inspired so many people.
What’s your favorite part about beekeeping?
Sharing beekeeping with my 7-year-old son is amazing. Seeing the confidence it gives him is so rewarding. It also makes me hopeful for our future.
What is your most memorable moment as a beekeeper?
Going on the Kelly Clarkson show with my son and talking about our lives as beekeepers. I was so proud of representing my family and community and so proud of seeing my son inspire other kids by sharing his love of beekeeping on television.
What do you think is important about bees and the work you do to care for them?
1 in every 3 bites of food is thanks to bees and I feel empowered by playing an active role in trying to educate others about the importance and value of bees.
How has being a beekeeper impacted your worldview?
It’s made me so much more empathetic to the whole cycle of growing and life. It’s made me so appreciative of the smallest thing and how impactful they can be. Just like the magic of bees! I always have something to learn from them, it’s a beautiful world in my bee yard.
Honesty time. Are you afraid of bees?
No! Even with a few stings, I still love them. And I always feel like it’s a lesson and so much to learn anytime I have the opportunity to be with my bees.
Where do you see the beekeeping industry in the next 10? 20 years?
I see a more diverse world of beekeeping and a generation working hard to preserve bees and support their health. I am hopeful our future will be a new generation of beekeepers, breaking barriers and doing groundbreaking work.
Any lessons for our readers who might want to embark on a similar journey as you?
Have fun and don’t be afraid to make mistakes! It all molds you – enjoy every single part of your journey.
What are you up to when you’re not beekeeping?
I am farming, educating, speaking, serving my local community at farmer’s markets, hand-making wellness products, caring for chickens, goats, homeschooling, and building a homestead with my family.
What’s next for you?
Building, growing, creating more, living to the fullest using all my gifts, and sharing that with the world!
Plug time. How can our readers support you and the work you’re doing?
www.mothersfinesturbanfarms.com and on Instagram @MothersFinestUrbanFarm.
The Black Farmer’s Market in Durham in April– I will share deets soon!
Winston Salem Cobblestone market every Saturday.