The 185th recipient is Kate Wheeler of Feed Asheville Farm @feedavlfarm in Asheville, NC.
Kate writes, “It took me a long time to come to peace with the idea of being a farmer. When I was in college studying sustainable agriculture I often felt (and was told) I wasn't strong enough, driven enough, or tough enough to be a farmer. A lot of my examples and leadership pointed towards sacrifice and hard work. When I would hit burnout I was told to push through or I was weak. Being in a very white & cis-male dominated environment helped guide me towards internalizing a lot of toxic masculinity & heteronormativity - all while working towards the white farmer ideal of individualism and landownership.
It took me almost 12 years to find the value in myself, my needs, my goals, and my community as a farmer - all while working to uncover and face the violent white-supremacist history of farming in this country and the continued pattern of land-theft, resource-theft, stolen practices, and modern day slave labor.
Today I center my work on collaboration and utilizing spaces that are currently vacant or unused. This may sound oversimplified but mostly I just want to feed people! This season I am particularly focused on supporting my local BIPOC community regardless of income through a weekly veggie box program. I also work with the Southside Community Farm @southsidecommunityfarm which among other things works to get folks fresh vegetables who are living in food apartheid.
Support to me is a lot of things but mostly it's centered around my relationships. Support is being able to show up as my authentic self at work - calling BS with my coworkers and friends and working against a capitalistic mindset.
It's been a constant battle to take care of myself and I know this to be true of so many farmers - especially folks who are doing community work. Each season I move farther away from sacrifice and towards actually participating in self and collective care where I allow myself to take breaks and be held up by others.”