What does the Southside of Chicago and Richville, Missouri have in common? Absolutely nothing. And that is why Matthew Ross bought 40 acres in the middle of the Ozarks.
Ross is the founder and owner of Blackhaven Ranch (BHR). When asked what his number one goal is with BHR he stated, “Alternative solutions to urban oppression.” That was the short answer. He stated that in Chicago too many people are caught paying a premium for convenience. That causes individuals to then lose their skill set. His goal with BHR is to show people how they can do things for themselves by living a self sufficient lifestyle.
When asked what did he wish people knew about self-sufficient living he stated that once everything is going the farm and the lifestyle will all take care of itself. He believes in permaculture: A system of perennial agriculture emphasizing use of renewable natural resources and the enrichment of local ecosystems. Basically, a lot can be done without machines, and nature will help you take care of you as well as itself.
Ross gave an example when talking about preparing a plot of land for planting. Fence the land off and let the goats eat all of the tall grass and vegetation. Take goats off plot. Afterwards, let the pigs onto the plot of land. The pigs will root up the land. Remove pigs. Then let the chickens into the plot of land. The chickens will aerate the land. The manure from all of the animals will provide nutrients for the soil.
Ross would also like people to know that with self sufficiency if you “are not paying for convenience you have to put in work”. He then gives his motto: No Hustle No Harvest”.
What are the long-term plans for BHR?
Ross plans to make the pond larger. Cabins will be added to the property for summer camps and primitive skill classes. He is focused on showing people how to cut out the middleman when it comes to growing and raising their own food.
For those of you who want to get your green thumb, Ross suggests start with planting tomatoes. He said that he started with tomatoes in the window seal in Chicago. Tomatoes are also what he suggests parents plant with their kids. They can be planted in pots in window seals, in small raised flower beds, or in the ground.
Matthew Ross is his name and he is doing great things for Southside Chicago and Dora, Missouri.
You can contact Matthew Ross and Black Haven Ranch