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Food and Agriculture

How Abril Donea Became a Farmer

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farmer-land buying-farm-thegirlyblackfarmer
Abril Donea | Photos courtesy of Abril Donea

Abril Donea (@thegirlyblackfarmer) was drawn to agriculture during the COVID-19 pandemic when she was having a hard time accessing foods that met her dietary restrictions. Now the owner of an 87-acre farm, she teaches her more than 270,000 Instagram followers tips for growing their own food, buying land, and even tips for herbal healing.

What intrigued you about agriculture that made you want to dive into that industry?

I was living in California for about 12 years, and I had started a few business and wanted to source my own herbs. So, that was the main thing — I wanted to stay ethical and cut out the middleman. And then the pandemic happened.

I remember going to the grocery store and not being able to find the food that I need it for my special health reasons. And I was like, “Will I not be able to feed myself?” Because I eat plant-based, I eat gluten-free — and I couldn’t find any food. I’m like, It was crazy. There was no fruit or vegetables on the shelves.

So I said, “You know what? I’m going to grow my own food. I don’t know how to grow food. So, let me learn how.”

I learned how to become a farmer at a school in San Diego, taking the train from LA to San Diego — I didn’t have a car. It was like three hours there, three hours back, so six hours every week to go to farm school. And I got my certificate in regenerative agriculture!

Abril Donea (right) and her realtor, Ashley Scott, after Donea purchased her 87-acre plot of land.

What made you create your own land-buying course?

On social media, I’ve documented literally every part of my journey of becoming a farmer, learning how to grow food, looking for land, buying land. I’m on 87 acres and, so once I purchased that land, people were like, “Oh my gosh, how did you do it?”

Now, I’m not a real estate agent by any means. I am in the wellness industry. I work with herbs and herbal teas, that sort of business. I teach people about the health and wellness benefits of herbs. So, I already had courses out there — I have a whole school on herbs and an herbal healing, so I’m not new to this type of teaching.

I figured I might as well just throw land-buying into the repertoire. And so I made a course on how to buy land. So literally, I probably would say once a day I get a question from someone who asks me how to buy land. I just direct them to the course.

How do you manage to juggle everything?

I’m not even sure — you kind of need to be like a superhero. For everything, I just kind of jump around and say, “Hey, I have to repair it because I don’t know how else this is going to get this done.” But we’re here and I’m starting my businesses in like two months.

I think when people talk about being a super entrepreneur, I really think certain people are born with certain qualities that allow them to excel at being an entrepreneur. And I don’t think it’s just any one thing that you have to have — it’s literally all the qualities that it will take for a human being to be successful.

I didn’t know if I would have those qualities in me when I started off on this path. But when I actually went off and tried to start my own business, it was like, “Okay, I’m great at this. And yeah, I’m kind of a superhero.”

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