Why this woman left her white-collar job to become a first-generation farmer

Abu Mubarik November 24, 2023
Livingstone Gale. Photo credit: WUSA

Gale Livingstone in Maryland quit her white-collar job to become a first-generation farmer in her 40s. She acquired a 50-acre of land to create Deep Roots Farm.

“Sharing the road that I’ve traveled to get here, I think is what I’m supposed to be doing,” she told WUSA. “I’ve got to give myself kudos for all that I have accomplished. I mean, this was a blank slate.”

Prior to becoming “Farmer Gale”, she worked as a government contractor but a car accident she was involved in shifted her perspective and career options. “I was like, ‘No, you can’t do this anymore.’ You’ve got to make a change,” she said.

However, her new venture started on a rough note. It took her almost nine months to close in on her property as the land grant process was really complicated. The challenge had to do more with who she was than her competence.

“Very minimal amount of Black farmers in the country right now,” Livingstone said. “And it’s because of a lot of the injustices that were perpetrated by the USDA and many other local organizations, right? And so to me, if you want to correct those past wrongs, you get an application that says Black as the ethnic group. That application needs to be expedited.”

Livingstone had no prior farming experience. However, she said it is important for black women to learn how to farm, adding that it is in the DNA of every Black American.

“Because it’s in our DNA, and because our ancestors were brought to this land for that primary function to cultivate the soil here. OK. It’s part of who we are,” she said.

She said that going back into farming is another way of going back to one’s cultural roots and healing as well.

“Healing and liberating. Children that look like me, having them learn about how to grow anything that they can consume to nourish themselves, should be a priority,” she said.

In this regard, she named her farm Deep Roots as a promise to her community. She has also established the Deep Roots Foundation to provide education and training to the next generation of farmers.

“And that old tobacco barn behind me, we’re going to convert that into an education center. This land and this space will always be here to allow for an opportunity for other folks to come and learn and develop their skills.”

Livingstone is already planning the next phase of her farm. She is hoping to have bees and goats, sheep, cattle and pigs.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: November 24, 2023


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates