Rachael & James Stewart of Southwest Black Ranchers
We often hear from farmers and ranchers after they've realized their dream operation, but rarely do we hear from them in those first steps, in the infancy of making their dream a reality. In today's episode of the Sustainable Dish Podcast, I chat with Rachael and James Stewart about their journey from fitness trainers to farmers in Douglas, Arizona. What began as a means to invest at the onset of the pandemic, blossomed into a plan to develop Southwest Black Ranchers, a food distributor that ships directly to families and restaurants, with two goals: feed 1,000 people every month and increase Black representation in agriculture. We discuss how their dream began, their backgrounds in fitness, why real meat is healthier and more accessible than fake meat, their learning experiences thus far, and their plans for the future. We also talk about how many farmers that we see or hear about don't often share the hard work, money, and sacrifice that has helped many farmers get started and how we can create more realistic conversations about the grit and dedication to taking a farming dream to reality. Rachael tells of her experience raising animals with 4-H as a teen and how she's applying the resourcefulness of the farmers she's learning from in Food for Mzansi. James "Stu" shares his experience as a professional bodybuilder and his plans to host fitness retreats on their farm, his complete immersion into farm life, and how their kids and family is adapting to rural life. They're currently raising funds on GoFundMe to support their mission to support nature and increase health and diversity in farming through Southwest Black Farmers. Check out their campaign here and follow them on their website, Instagram, or Facebook. This conversation is inspiring for anyone on the fence about starting their own food operation and/or working to increase representation in agriculture. Be sure to give it a listen! This episode was generously sponsored by my favorite electrolyte drink mix, LMNT. I personally drink 2 per day and recommend to my clients, athletes, or anyone following a low-carb diet or undergoing a stressful period to pay attention to their electrolytes. LMNT is the perfect combination of sodium, potassium, and magnesium.