“To homestead, is to create a living quarters so sufficient, that everything you need is right there.”
Cedar Hill Homestead rests atop a hill 20 miles west of Nashville. Not your ordinary ‘farm’, their property is a well tended landscape full of both wild and cultivated plants. Their collaborative passion is wild tending & ethnoecology. It meets somewhere between a well seasoned Italian chef gone wild and a Tennessee native with generations of regional plant medicine.
Francesco & Victoria both grew up in the south, where plant knowledge was common knowledge.
In Victoria’s words, “knowing what’s beneath your feet, what to nibble on and how to use it is not only a birth right, but a super power we all have access to”.
Victoria dove deep into herbalism at age 15, self-treating endometriosis and quickly learned that all of the powerful plant allies she needed to heal were already her closest neighbors. Around that same time, Francesco had begun his journey into culinary arts and fell deeply in awe of the flavors in wild foods. When they met many years later, their passions merged and supported one another. They consider themselves permanent students and forever allies to their landscape, understanding that the vast knowledge in this area is full of endless new possibilities.
Victoria explains that relying on their land, their animals and their community gives them a level of comfort and ease that city life could not provide for their family. They steward their land alongside their goats, chickens and their two pups. The canopy of cedars around their house seem to encapsulate their property, like a protective shield. I understand why they never want to leave.