Amber Tamm Canty is a farmer and healer from Brooklyn, New York who plans to raise the vibration of the Earth through educational farming. Her work aims to empower her community and the communities in which she works, by eliminating deeply rooted mistreatment of lower income individuals whose main source of nutrition comes from unhealthy, highly processed foods.
By working to spread the knowledge of sustainable living she's gained through trial and triumphs, Amber envisions our generation and generations to come as one who embodies autonomy, a sacred connection with the Earth, and a living and breathing society who values culture and tradition over corporate consumption.
The unfortunate loss of both of her parents proved to be trying, however, this allowed her to evolve her spiritual connection with herself and the planet.
Amber is a fascinating individual and it was interesting to learn more about herself and what motivates her along this journey.
Prox: Since starting this journey of becoming a farmer, what has surprised you the most about yourself?
Amber: When it comes to my farming journey, what I’m usually shocked or impressed by is the amount of experience I’ve gained in 2 years. I guess it surprises me that my thoughts turned into my reality. I’ve always thought about becoming a farmer since I was a child, and now that’s what I am.
What also surprises me is how much people actually care and pay attention. My social media profiles didn’t gain a lot of followers until I left for my first farm. Even when I created my website, I didn’t think people would pay that much attention to it or connect with me through it. But that stands untrue because I got this interview through my website, Praise God!
The last thing I’d say that surprised me is how much I like to work alone. I love community and socializing and talking but when it comes to my work I like to do as much as possible, alone. When it comes to transplanting, turning soil, seeding, making bundles, watering, etc., unless I’m in an educator position, I feel I need time allotted to do these things in silence and on my own. To me this work is like prayer, like meditation. I am healing myself while I am healing Earth, this isn’t just physical work but spiritual and emotional work too.
Prox: What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself since you became a farmer? Do you find the practice introspective or meditative?
Amber: The practice is healing, mostly for me and the earth but It can be that too for others. For a while, my social media info was just simply, “planting & praying” and that’s sincerely what I was doing and still continue to do. I am praying for the people, the people of Earth, praying that the people wake up and realize Earth is hurting. I’m praying for close friends, I’m praying for family, I’m praying for all those around the world who are going through deep turmoil & painful life transitions. As I’m saying these prayers, I am planting, I’m seeding, I’m watering in hopes that these prayers will go into the earth and touch all those who need support.
Prox: How did (if at all) your spirituality and self-awareness increase during your 2 month period of silence? Did you obtain a new outlook on the power of speech?
Amber: Well let me be clear, 2 months after my mother passed I was mostly silent (I did talk if it was necessary). I really didn’t go outside, I really didn’t have any drive to go anywhere, to eat or to do anything. This was really a time of incubation, it was as if I had died the same day my mom did and I was reborn, as a newborn in the womb.
My spirituality increased through feeling, just simply feeling. I spent those two months feeling whatever came my way and not suppressing any feeling, whether that feeling was deemed negative or positive. I just felt, felt everything. I would cry for hours if I needed to, I would lay on the floor if that what felt good to my body, I would yell if that’s the expression I felt at that moment, I was just responding to my feelings. I realized there was nothing anyone could tell me or do for me, I just had to listen to my feelings. I realized I was processing in its healthiest form.
My self-awareness arose during these crying sessions, I was able to realize what was triggering me and what was hurting me and what my true feelings were towards the situation & people around me because it was just me, my tears and my thoughts. I realized my thoughts are sacred & safe when shared between myself & I.
I became very humble during those two months, I remembered whispering a deep prayer where I asked the Great Spirit to:
“Allow me to be comfortable with where my divine path will lead me from this point forward and if its within my divine path to be a cashier at a convenience store for the rest of my life then I am willing, just help me be accepting, I am willing to serve the Earth even as a cashier, help me see the significance. I am willing.”
That was thee most humbling prayer and I feel I was just asking the Great Spirit to see me. It was also me understanding that my path is nonlinear and can’t be compared to someone else’s, it was me asking God to help me understand that this is not a setback, but this trauma of me losing my parents in such different ways was divine order. This prayer helped me see that the trauma shattered any ego I had, I’m unsure if I had any but if I did, it was gone!
I don’t think I had a new outlook on the power of speech; I had a new outlook on the power of silence. I recognized how crucial it is to be in silence, how powerful it is to hear your own thoughts. To hear your own thoughts and understand that some of these thoughts are just reactions, emotional reactions, and some of them are actual wisdom, some of the things I was thinking were so ugly and some of them were so beautiful. But what came out of my mouth was up to me, today I choose to speak words of beauty & healing. Learning this changed my life.
Prox: How can black families benefit from reconnecting with nature through farming?
Amber: Reconnecting with nature through farming is so crucial for black American families. Learning to farm enables Black families to eat better. I find nothing wrong with families connecting to nature through hiking, sports, camping, etc. but that camping trip, or nature walk or sport only last for a couple of hours or a couple of days, the power of farming is, it takes more than days to grow food, this knowledge can last for years and generations.
Growing food is a power, not just for black people but for all people. But for people who live in low income communities, usually people of color, growing food creates their own accessibility. Typically around low income communities there are no farmer’s markets, Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or organic/natural super markets. There’s definitely a supermarket that’s selling fruits & veggies but there is a very low likelihood that anything being sold in them is organic. But if low income communities start growing their own organic produce then accessibility is no longer a problem. But with accessibility comes space therefore we need to create spaces with the intention of food growth in our ghettos, hoods & projects.
With these intentional spaces being formed and hypothetically thriving, I would hope that in the near future some youth would be inspired to stop urban farming and go and farm on actual farm land somewhere. And through learning how to farm, this would then inspire them to secure land for future lineage. So the whole point of reconnecting black people with farming would be to have them first grow their own food so that we can eliminate accessibility as a problem and allow urban farming/gardening skills to develop so that those can be passed on to future generations. With this comes the hope that at least one person in that community feels inspired enough to go farm, deepen their skills, and at least learn how to secure land.
Lastly, through farming, Black people are breaking ancestral trauma. Our disconnect from Earth is very deep due to black slavery in America. Because our ancestors were enslaved to work with the Earth, we tend to question why we would ever work with Earth again. In the mind of a black person, I’d imagine they’d consider farming reverting and consider other jobs as ‘making our ancestors proud.” So, black people farming not only breaks ancestral trauma but heals us and our ancestors. This also extends to youth that its okay to grow food, that its cool to be a farmer.
Prox: What have you learned from engaging with women of color and those from low income communities, when it comes to gardening?
Amber: First off, in case anyone doesn’t know, I am a woman of color from a low income community. I was born & raised in Brooklyn and spent a lot of my growing years in the hood.
I have not learned anything from women of color in these communities when it comes to garden knowledge but what I can say I’ve seen is urgency, there is urgency in the hood for women to feed their children as best they can. This urgency causes them to succumb to their surroundings aka what’s accessible, they’re not going to make a huge effort to get organic foods when they have several mouths to feed and they’re working a full time job. So one of the most powerful things we can do is make organic food super accessible so there is no excuse for the community to be eating unhealthy foods and GMO produce.
Prox: How rewarding is it to teach people to grow their own crops? What are the generational implications of your work?
Amber: For me, it’s super rewarding to teach people how to grow their own food or to even give people advice via the internet. My reward is the inspiration to keep going with my personal business and making myself available on the internet because when I’m asked to teach people to grow food or asked advice via the internet, it lets me know that people trust me, and they trust that I am going to guide them to an abundant yield. I feel very honored, flattered, thankful, and grateful that people trust me that much. It makes me feel as if I’m reflecting Earth or being Earth’s mouthpiece because people could definitely learn how to grow food from the internet, on their own or by someone else but they choose me --- so grateful!
The generational implications of my work are growing food, securing land and healing with the Earth. Healing with the Earth is the most important one, a lot of people are not clued into the amount of healing that takes place when working with the Earth and if more people did know or had more opportunity to do so, I think they’d be more inspired to work with the Earth more often and teach the youth how to do it early in their lives.
Prox: Tell us something about yourself that we may not know that influences your work.
Amber: Trap Music! I love trap music so much, I listen to a lot of it while planting. It just makes me feel so good! Right now my jam is Do What I Want by Lil Uzi Vert. I can’t stop listening to it.
Prox: Who are some of your favorite artist, business people, creatives or intellectuals?
Amber: Off the top of my head I’d say:
Toni Morrison, Reagan Lenord (co-owner of Calmbucha), R Erica Doyle, Lauryn Hill, Vanessa Stone (Founder of Amala Foundation), Robin Wall Kimmerer, Betye Saar, Yukimi Nagango, Ntozake Shange, J California Cooper, Faith Ringgold, Valerie June, Soul Fire Farm, Laura Faucey, Ron Finley, SZA, Shay Youngblood, Pandora Thomas, Grown In Haiti, Kim Katrin Milan, The Brooklyn Greenhouse, Joe Satta (Satta Livity), India Arie, Kashmir Jones (Creator of The Culture Shift Mag), Anthony B Rodriguez (revofthought) & Jah9.
Prox: Favorite hobbies?
Amber: Making ferments, drawing, dancing, singing (esp at church), reading, knitting, laying in the sun, having chai lattes, finding new music, I truly enjoy deep conversation, watching short films and I love watching TED Talks!
Prox: Tips for aspiring business owners and gardeners/farmers?
Amber: I would advise an aspiring business owner to understand that running a business is a lot of work therefore I encourage y’all to envision your business in detail before starting it. Write it out, create the visuals, visualize your logo, have ideas of how you’re going to fund it, what audience you’re aiming to connect with, how you’re going to build clients, create ways you will brand your biz, etc. I also encourage aspiring business owners to create personal and professional support teams. Group together a couple of friends or family members you know you appreciate & value their opinions and feedback on things and you know you can trust them to keep it real. Then form a team of professional people that have the skills, talent and dedication to help bring your vision to life. Lastly, make sure your business is true to you. Make sure it represents who you are right now, not who you want to be, or what you are about. If you are representing even a sliver of something that you aren’t, I’d imagine that it’d be stressful and feel like real work to run that business. I’d imagine it’d feel like real work because you’d have to conjure up ideas rather than form them from your heart.
For gardeners + farmers, I will always advise y’all to always, A L W A Y S , have seeds and to always propagate things that can grow from cutting. Also always buy gardening soil. It’s crucial.
Prox: Information on upcoming projects /releases?
Amber: I am the co-founder of Echotreee, our website is going to be released real soon. I am currently working on the logo. So be on the look out!
Prox: Final thoughts?
Amber: Once you start living from your heart, living in intelligence instead of intellect, watch your life start to blossom into deep abundance.
I am so honored to be interviewed and featured on this website. I appreciate anyone who reads this entire interview! If you’d like connect, hire me for workshop/farm services or photoshoots please contact me at ambertamm.com/connect.
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