Ashley Smith is a native and life-long resident of Lexington, KY. She is a proud mother of 2-year-old twins Caroline and Trevor, Jr., and partner to Trevor Claiborn, Sr. She owns Black Soil, a family operated, Black woman owned agritourism company, and Little Champagne Cart, a mobile bar service.
Ashley’s community involvement includes the MLK Holiday Committee program co-chair, MC, and producer since 2018. She was Emmy nominated for Kentucky Educational Television’s December 2017 Kentucky Life segment featuring voiceover of famed Kentucky writer Effie Waller Smith. She is versed and experienced in strategic partnerships and community engagement with diverse institutions and organizations for over 20 years across various industries. Her hobbies include reading with her twins, binge watching Dateline and outdoor recreation.
Narrative from original post:
“Our names are Trevor and Ashley and 3 years ago, we co-founded Black Soil: Our Better Nature. We are an agritourism company with a mission to reconnect Black Kentuckians to their heritage and legacy in agriculture. As the pandemic arrived to Kentucky, we were about to launch into a busy in-person event season. It was crushing to lose what we thought was our plan.
In the middle of this season, where so many are suffering, exhausted from worry and stress and tragic loss of life—we have taken this time to stop, listen, confront, and restart.
Spending time with our 16-month-old twins allows for some priceless and invaluable moments. Being with them has been the biggest blessing thus far.
As we looked to our Black Soil network, they weren’t shuttering or backing down from these challenging times. With quick and innovative adaptation we have fostered a cooperatively based and sustainable solution in addressing urgent, yet long-standing, community needs. We are led by our strong, incredible network of farmers, culinary artists, vendors, and artists. Each has served by jumping into action within their communities—individually and collectively—as The Superheroes Amongst Us.
Our upcoming launch of our farm shares program and youth initiatives such as the Grow Hard Garden Challenge, GreeneLandings Summer Horticulture Enrichment Program and cultivating a network of cooperatively operates grow sites to further aid and stabilize our local food system.
During this time, our ability to strategically collaborate has led to partnerships with entities such as The LEE Initiative and Crank & Boom Craft Ice Cream. We’re thankful for how folks have leveraged their privileged identifies to support frequently overlooked communities.
In a lot of ways, Black Soil is our first baby, now about to celebrate 3 years this August. We look back with joyful contemplation and reach toward a collective hope for the future.
As we stand here at grow site in our network, we think about the power of relationships that has guided and buoyed us in trying times. We think about folks like Lamar with Sunjoined and Sasha and CJ with S’Hemply Made—how their trusted partnership has allowed us to gain access to resources and facilities to expand our business and further contribute to the stabilization of our local food system and to stand tall in the legacy of longstanding contributions of Black Kentuckians to agriculture, our state, nation, and world. Follow our work at www.blacksoilky.com.”