Jonshell Johnson-Whitten’s path to farming started when she was a teen living in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. The area is known as a “food desert,” a low-income neighborhood with limited food access. But when Johnson-Whitten connected with a network of backyard gardeners, she discovered the potential for not just healthy food options, but also for community empowerment. “Being able to put [neighborhood] growers next to the folks who want to grow was the biggest part of inspiring people,” she says. That was just the beginning. Now, Johnson-Whitten takes seriously her role as a Black community farmer.