The 163rd recipient is Tamarya Sims (they/them) @plantswitht of Soulfull Simone Farm @soulfullsimonefarm in Asheville, North Carolina. Tamarya writes, “I'm an ecologist and environmentalist first, as well as a land steward, farmer, and herbalist. I'm based on the ancestral land of the Cherokee and Yuchi peoples. Becoming a farmer made sense to me because I wanted to be closer to my ancestors and lineage, as well as plants. I'm not sure when I ‘became’ a farmer, but I gave myself the title (not that I need one). Farming to me means Black food, medicine, and land sovereignty. It looks like a community effort, with community first, and a need to honor ourselves — mind, body, and spirit.
Farming is community and has always been like our indigenous ancestors. Food and medicine is vital to ourselves and our community and we all connect over it. We won't have true self and community care until we revert back to our community-led local food systems and have food sovereignty because mainstream agriculture/farming is not true to our minds or bodies and creates a lot of stress. I am privileged to currently have a full time job with benefits and I use my health insurance mostly for therapy and medication around stress and anxiety. But my hope is to create a healing and educational 60-acre farm in Western NC that provides space, plant medicine, and care for healing and understanding our traumas, while grieving collectively and connecting with the land and our ancestors.”