School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Sharon Michael-Chadwell


Black female, agriculture, intersectionality, food poverty, women in agriculture, phenomenology


Agriculture | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the perceptions and lived experiences of twenty Black women in the southern United States and the influence of post-secondary education on agricultural science. Two theories guided this study, Maslow's hierarchy of needs and Crenshaw’s intersectionality theory. When considering the five levels of Maslow's hierarchy, coupled with Black women's marginality as identified by the intersectionality theory, the research helped better define the relationship between Black women in agriculture and the referenced theories. Criterion sampling was used to identify ten experienced Black female producers and ten agriculture students to determine the trend. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, a focus group, and photo narratives. The setting was primarily in the southern United States. Resources from the U. S. Department of Agriculture were also reviewed to understand the perceived interest in sustainable agriculture nationally. Data analysis of this transcendental phenomenological research included the Epoché/bracketing and phenomenological reduction to allow for dissecting the experiences rather than relying on intuition. Five major themes were identified from the analysis of the participant experiences. The major themes were love and belonging, education, safety, physiological and esteem needs. Additional research is required to continue exploring the impact that education and training, coupled with fair and equitable opportunities, can have in helping Black women producers to transform communities through food security and diverse business opportunities.