Matthew Ross of Blackhaven Ranch | Finding alternative solutions for urban oppression
I’m excited to invite you to my conversation with Matthew Ross, the community activist, minister, musician, father and homesteader behind Blackhaven Ranch. Matthew grew up on the south side of Chicago. His father a Baptist minister, Matthew was raised in the church and being of service to his community was instilled in him at a young age. A desire to be more self-sufficient inspired Matthew and his family to start raising chickens and growing food in their yard in Chicago. They instantly fell in love with the process of growing food from seed to table and dreamed of building a rural homestead where they could expand their operation and raise their kids immersed in the natural world.
Matthew also wanted to create a refuge where others who were interested in leaving city life could explore nature and learn invaluable skills for more self-sufficient living. Matthew tried for many years to fundraise to buy several thousand acres where this safe haven could be built but when he couldn’t find a way to make his larger vision work, he decided to do it for his own family and create a template that could be replicated or expanded upon in the future. He started screen printing “Freedom Ain’t Free” t-shirts to fund the purchase of 40 acres of land in the Missouri Ozarks to build his own Blackhaven Ranch.
Matthew is still in the development stages of turning his raw land into a place where he and his family live year round and work towards building their rural agritourism business. Blackhaven Ranch’s mission is to provide alternative solutions to urban oppression by promoting agriculturally centered, holistic, primitive and self-sufficient living. Building a campground that will host an array of programs that will expose attendees to primitive & basic survival skills and provide a safe haven for youth/mentoring/enrichment camps, as well adult/team building/organization retreats.
Our interview was recorded in mid-February when the catastrophic Texas freeze had people scrambling for drinking water, food and heat. For Matthew, this disaster was a reminder of why he wants to build Blackhaven Ranch - to not be reliant on corrupt systems and fragile infrastructures to provide your basic human needs.
I really appreciate Matthew’s perspective when it comes to building relationships outside of the city "Don't look at someone the way you think they are looking at you." His technique is to find common ground through conversation and not prejudge people based on appearances. We are at such a divisive and polarized time in our society and only through meaningful conversation will minds open and perspectives shift.
I am so inspired by Matthew and his family's vision for Blackhaven Ranch and the tireless work they have put into making this dream a reality. To support and follow their progress you can buy a t-shirt from their online store and follow their journey on Youtube and Instagram. Please consider contributing to Matthew’s capital campaign to help build the infrastructure for Blackhaven Ranch.
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