For Candace Dantes, agriculture has always been in her blood. Her great-grandparents Edward and Harriet Hill were landowners, cowhands, master gardeners, and cattle farmers of the 300-acre Edward Hill Farm located on the outskirts of Baldwin County, Georgia. They shared their passion with Candace’s father, who continued a dairy-turned-beef operation. Of her upbringing, Candace says, “Herding cows, horseback riding, and creek games were my lifestyle. My peace. My adventures during childhood.”
She went on to attend Georgia State University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in Print Journalism and African American Studies. Her fields of study prepared her for her current position with Black Farmers’ Network to tell authentic stories of America’s Black Belt Region farmers. Its purpose is to take ownership of the narrative in the Black Belt, a crescent-shaped region with hundreds of counties that house large African-American populations living in underserved and underdeveloped communities. From there, Candace built the sustainable brand Southern Styles & Steeds LLC.
The path to success was not always a smooth one for Candace, with her being either the first Black journalist or first Black female journalist in newsrooms and on marketing teams. “By sticking to my underdog coverage, I’ve been able to break race and gender barriers as a rural journalist. Building a network of reliable sources and generating new funding opportunities to sustain my writing career in agriculture,” she says.
Candace’s goal is to continue to report and write about the untold stories of the Black Belt Region and its significance to agriculture and to continue to educate her followers, readers, and local communities about Black contributions and advancements to agriculture and cowhand culture. She says, “I’m on a lifelong crusade to ensure our truths on the land are never forgotten. We are agriculture.”