Rural Kentucky Farmland.

the Beyond Grits Guide to

Black Soil

Our Better Nature


Black Soil’s mission is to reconnect Black Kentuckians to their heritage and legacy in agriculture. The Black Soil Fulfillment Center is the central engine of that effort, by connecting Black producers with local buyers here in Lexington, like: restaurants, grocery stores, and more. When farmers know that the food they’re growing already has a market, they can plan, plant, invest and grow with confidence. When buyers have easy access to local products, they can eat better while strengthening their connection to the land we all rely on.

Representing 1.4% of the primary farm operators in the state, black farmers account for less than 600 of the more than 76,000 agricultural operations in Kentucky. Black Soil’s vision is to help foster a greater market share for black farmers and producers as they provide healthy food options to a larger consumer base.

Black Soil Programs Include:

  • Agritourism
  • Youth Outreach
  • Farmers Market
  • Meal Prep
  • AgCredit Food Demonstration Kitchen
  • Community Partnerships
  • Delivery, Curbside Pick Up, Community Pick Up Sites

Ashley C. Smith & Family

Black Soil Co-Founder & CEO

Lexington native, Ashley C. Smith graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She is the Co-founder and COO of Black Soil. Smith has worked for a number of brands like Bluegrass Hospitality Group and Kentucky State University. She’s even earned an Emmy nomination for her voiceover work on KET’s Kentucky Life episode, ‘A Kentucky Christmas,’ where she voiced the work of Kentucky native, writer and poet, Effie Waller Smith. 

Co-founders Ashley C. Smith and Trevor Claiborn are particularly focused on youth outreach and inspiring the next generation of growers to carry the torch of Kentucky’s rich agricultural traditions. One such way that they’re doing so is by offering a CSA, or community supported agriculture. A CSA is a mutually-beneficial operation for farmers and a community of individuals, where the costs of food production are shared in exchange for some of the farm’s harvest.

Learn More about Black Soil

Black Soil Events & Workshops

Black Soil hosts year-round events including Farm Tours, Farm to Table Dinners and Off-Season Workshops which connect Kentucky's black farmers/growers/producers. These events allow attendees to celebrate and educate themselves on the narratives, experience, and expertise of partner black farmers. Read More

Black Soil Partners

Black Soil is proud to partner with notable local institutions on its mission to achieve its goals. This includes Keeneland, Julietta Market, and the University of Kentucky to name a few. You can also partner with Black Soil by renting their Little Champagne Cart. This super-stylish portable bar cart brings a ton of personality and character to any event, and can be...

Shop Black Soil

Their online store makes it easier than ever to support black business owners and farmers. It includes a wide range of foods, including: farm fresh eggs, coffee, potatoes, raw honey, bacon, country ham, chicken and more. The store also includes products like potholders, candles, and Pholk Beauty, an all-natural vegan skincare line specifically designed for... Read More