“If there is a round hole, I have always been the square, if not hexagon peg.”
Cynthia Capers is a Chicago transplant that grew up immersed in typical city life, but set out to pursue a unique path as a farmer and now the owner of Heniscity Farm. Formally trained as a trauma nurse, she would spend 20 years finding her love of chickens as a hobby. She then decided back in 2017 to make her dream of being a full-time farmer a reality when she enrolled in the Tennessee State University (TSU) New Farmer Academy. The New Farmer Academy is a 7-month certification program designed for those with an interest in becoming an agricultural entrepreneur. Her first step of saying yes has led to Cynthia growing her 16-acre, Pegram, TN farm to over 120 plus birds, producing farm fresh eggs daily that you can purchase through her vendors across the state and online at Barn2Door.
We had a chance to tour her property, learn more about why she is seeking to be the queen of poultry and how she is hoping to also play a role in conserving many bird species that are on the verge of becoming extinct. Plus, we brought along one of our favorite chefs, Kirbee Miller of Kinimi Kitchen to grab some amazing farm-to-table ingredients for this amazing recipe she created just for our Urbaanite readers. Kirbee actually picked her own eggs for her this recipe, #bossmoves.
Heritage, Culture and Passion
Having the opportunity to chat with Cynthia will allow you to see in living form, what pursuing your passion can embody. Joy, peace, happiness, and sometimes the unknown but isn’t that also a part of the ride when we say, yes. Cynthia also felt in many ways her ancestors have been with her through her journey. She found out early on that she comes from a lineage of farmers which only solidified her pursuant of being a farmer was divine. For African Americans, farming has naturally been a part of our history with many stories never told. Cynthia’s passion for farming is evident, as she remembers, in the beginning, incubating her chicks in her own bathtub. “I’ve raised five generations of chicks in my bathtub, but I knew I needed my bathtub back when I decided to raise my meat birds.”
Conserving and preserving the land
Cynthia has her birds and also grows a variety of vegetables and herbs, in bales vs. the ground. “Many people do not know about growing produce in bales, but it can actually be an easier process”, Cynthia shares. Her out-of-the-box thinking was so refreshing and definitely one of the ingredients that have allowed her to become a successful farmer. Managing a 16-acre farm in Pegram, TN is no easy feat but Cynthia has been doing it with grace. She has also been able to tap into another mission dear to her heart – conservation.
As she shares, “Many of the birds I raise are on the threat list.” Cynthia is hoping to address these disparities within the poultry industry by focusing on unique and different varieties of birds. “You can go organic, but your food is being in-breed, We need the uniqueness and diversity, just like we are seeking in society. You don’t want all the same birds,” Cynthia reveals. Heniscity birds include pekings, mallards, guineas and she even has a Speckled Sussex, which she has lovingly named Meghan Markle.
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