Entrepreneur: Alexis Nikole Nelson

Business: Black Forager

Tilt: Making foraging accessible to all

Scene: TikTok (3.8M), Instagram (1M) 

Snack Bites: 

  • As the Black Forager, Alexis educates her audience on sustainable ways to include wild plants in their diets.
  • She incorporates a historical perspective, too, to provide proper context around foraging’s connection to the Black and North American indigenous communities.
  • Alexis has attracted media attention from Bon Appétit, NPR, In The Know, and Columbus Monthly.
  • She has a cookbook deal and has done commercials with Martha Stewart

Why We Stan: Alexis launched her TikTok to help her learn the app for her day job. Her trendy content didn’t work, so she started sharing her passion for foraging. A video about how to eat acorns attracted a big audience. She had found her content tilt.

The Story of Black Forager Alexis Nikole Nelson

Ever since Alexis Nikole Nelson was little, she has been in nature. With her parents and grandparents involved in scouting and gardening, she grew up favoring forms of outdoor appreciation. 

Alexis says the thrill of seeking tasty plants grown all around sparked a lifelong interest. “Warning, if you tell a 5-year-old (about foraging), they will just start breaking plants in your yard and seeing if magical smells emanate from them,” Nelson told NPR. 

Alexis’ younger self aspired to be a scientist by day and a pop star by night. Unbeknownst to her at the time, these passions would combine and lead to an audience of a collective audience of 1.8M viewing her work.

As a girl, Alexis Nikole Nelson dreamed of being a scientist by day and pop star by night. Today, she does both as @BlackForager with 1.8M @TikTok subscribers. #Stan #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

Accidental stardom

Originally, Alexis had 800 followers on Instagram and no presence on TikTok. While working professionally as a social media manager, she was asked to create a company page on the short-video platform.

She started a personal TikTok account to learn more about the app. While following the popular trends and dance videos did not yield much traction, a random video about how to eat acorns – one of her foraging tips – took off.


Now u can be the squirrel I always knew u could be 🥺🌰 #foraging #wildfood #learnwithme #acorns

♬ original sound – Alexis Nikole

During the pandemic, Alexis continued posting her foraging content to help those who might struggle to extend their groceries access food in a different way. 

She tells Bon Appétit, “Hey! Here are a few plants that are really common and probably growing in your neighborhood that you can gather, and maybe that’ll stretch your groceries a bit.”  

Tilting toward plants

Alexis posts plant-based recipes and wild plant collection tips and discusses the cultural and environmental impacts of food. 

As she explains to In the Know, “I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to be foraging anyway … I can make a couple of videos and see what happens.’ And what happened was a lot of people wanting to come along for the ride — which is probably the most surprising to me.”

.@BlackForager tells @InTheKnow she decided to make a couple of videos as she was foraging to see what happened. It turned out a lot of people wanted to come along for the ride. Stan #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

As she realized her content tilt had an audience, she created more videos that her new community would enjoy. 

Alexis never imagined people would want to hear her geek about stuff she loved and is still shocked by her popularity. “My partner isn’t surprised by it anymore, but I am every single time,” she tells Columbus Monthly.

Alexis boasts 3.8M followers on TikTok and 1M on Instagram.

Her reach now extends beyond TikTok and Instagram to commercials for Martha Stewart and cookbook deals.

Putting foraging in proper context

While exhilarated that she made a business out of the things she loves, Alexis knows it’s hollow if she doesn’t provide context. 


When I tell you this video was originally 7 minutes long !!! 😅 #learnontiktok #tiktokpartner #foodhistory

♬ original sound – Alexis Nikole

Many historical, racial, and cultural factors influence how people consume plants in America. She tries to communicate this readily to her audience. “You always have to be thinking about the cultural touchstones that have to do with your food,” Alexis tells In The Know

“Back when a lot of Black folks were still enslaved, there was a whole lot of knowledge trading between Black folks and Indigenous folks in a lot of the southern states — and a lot of midwestern and northern states, too, actually,” she relates to NPR. “The way that you beefed up the meager meals or the scraps that you were given was often by supplementing with foraging, with trapping, with fishing.”

*Cover photo courtesy of Rachel Joy Barehl

About the author

Janie Eyerman is a strategic communication student at The Ohio State University. Although she has strong interest in meteorology and geology, she grew up with a passion for writing, words, and sharing stories.