From Gun Violence to Homesteading with Chantel Johnson
In the first of our Cultivating Culture series, host Melony Edwards welcomes Chantel Johnson from Off Grid in Color. Chantel’s shares her experience being personally affected by gun violence and her journey to homesteading in the rural South. She talks about access to pastured meat production for disadvantaged communities and how land access is her biggest obstacle.
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After the killing of her brother on the southeast side of Chicago in a gun violence incident, Chantel Johnson looked for ways to provide for her basic needs, which her community desperately lacked. This city gal never thought that she’d be a livestock farmer in North Carolina! As counselor, doula, and homesteader, she is passionate about helping lead people back to enjoying simple ways of living.
“Back in 2014 my brother was shot several times in Chicago and left paralyzed from the neck down. My brother was no saint. He was involved in drug and gang activity. Many would think, he had this coming. He made these choices. But I grew up in the same neighborhood as my brother and the lack of opportunities for advancement and growth was and still is limited. When communities are under-served, under-resourced, under-valued, the CHOICE to become involved in crime is simple.
As my brother sweet brother laid unable to move in the hospital bed, I started thinking about how I could take back control of my basic needs that many people, across all demographic lines, neglect to do. When we think about providing our basic needs, it usually involves paying someone else to fulfill that need, such as our food, water, and shelter and household essentials. I wanted to revive the ways and teachings of our grand parents and great grand parents. I began making my own lotion and deodorant. I was determined to find a new way to live in our modern day society.
August 20th, 2015 my brother died. I went into a state of depression. I decided to choose me. I learned how to garden and raised my own food. I down sized my material possessions and traded in my townhouse in the city for a tiny house on wheels in the country. I left my over $50k research job to not only farm but to teach people how to get back to the roots. To live freely. To choose peace over chaos. To choose you.
I put all that passion and love in the food I grow and raised. When a customer purchases something from the farm they are not supporting my dream but their own.”
Producer: Joe Mulkern
FFP Theme Song: Written and Performed by Joe Mulkern
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Written By Matthew Wigton
Performed By Falls