In the background, chickens are squawking, and bees are buzzing, the screen door slams and the general cacophony of early spring North Carolina is bleeding through the phone line as Samantha “Foxx” Winship steps outside and leans into the phone to begin telling Garden & Health her story.
Then she stops and shifts gears to the mission behind her urban community farm, Mother’s Finest, a 2.5-acre urban family farm in Winston Salem, North Carolina, where she raises a variety of produce, flowers, and specialty items like elderberry syrup for CSA Box subscriptions. She also raises chickens, bees, and even worms.
Throughout the conversation, one gets the sense that Samantha is less interested in telling others about her passion for sustainable farming and beekeeping and more interested in showing anyone who crosses her path – whether that’s in person or through social media.
“I really, you know, found it more so to be a personal journey still even today, because you know, you can’t force people to change or like change their lives. So what you can do is this kind of like show by doing, leading by example, and, you know, show the benefits that it’s bringing to your personal life. So right now, that’s translating into helping the community. But as of now, people want to grow more food, they want to become beekeepers, they want to get engaged with their family outside, they might want to do honey as a business we’re doing.” She pauses, then chuckles and continues, “So it really just highlighted a bunch of different things that people typically don’t see inside of farmers because, you know, I had my unique style and way of doing things which I tend to do.”
Described via the Mother’s Finest website as “our farm mother, queen and visionary of illuminating light,” the native North Carolinian and ancestor of indigenous people, Mrs. Winship takes her business seriously and sees her place in her community and indeed the world through very clear and powerful eyes.
Speaking to her reach and the community she has built, both locally and around the world, Mrs. Winship sees farming, beekeeping, and raising animals as an inspiration, especially during the darkest days of the Covid-19 pandemic:
Here she pivots to speaking about others in her community of growers – but she could just as easily be talking about herself:
“To see people who are resilient and strong and willing to just sacrifice for what’s important, you know, we hope to have people do those types of things in the future.”
As she talks about the inherent challenges to being a woman of color in a predominantly white male profession, she draws parallels to other societies outside of the U.S. where it is common, indeed historically so, for women to be the primary growers in their communities. Mrs. Winship draws inspiration from these women and their lives and stories.
Referencing her work in her community and the legacy she is seeking to leave for future farmers, one of sacrifice and hard work, the certified beekeeper and master gardener, while not seeming to mean to, sums up her legacy as well: “Those are, you know, typically people we see who are the historymakers.”
One gets the sense that Samantha “Foxx” Winship is one of those historymakers.