[image-1] Less than an acre.
A garden, a grocery store, a classroom, a beacon of hope for a community oft forsaken, all located on less than an acre of land.
Fresh Future Farm (FFF), which started as a 0.8-acre field of grubby grass in 2014, is now a flourishing community hub, a place for the generations-old families of the Chicora Cherokee neighborhood and beyond to find healthy, locally grown food in a food desert. A space made place by the relentless attention of Chief Farm Officer Germaine Jenkins who says that after five years of leasing from the city, she’s ready to buy this patch of land. The lease is up this September, and to raise enough funds to purchase this property, Jenkins needs your help.
Fresh Future Farm’s Kickstarter campaign launched on Mon. June 24, though Jenkins’ original plan was to launch June 19 in honor of Juneteenth (Kickstarter had to review and approve the campaign, thus the delay).
For the next 60 days, until Aug. 23, the farm will be accepting funds to reach their goal — $60,000. Like all Kickstarter projects, this is an all-or-nothing affair. If they fall even a dollar short, they’ll receive none of the money. While this method of fundraising sounds risky, Jenkins says she likes the “urgency of a deadline. It helps motivate people to raise the money.”
[image-4] “We’ve been pursuing ownership for several years, we got to a point working with city partners where we were able to arrive at a price,” says Jenkins. The city offered the farm another long term lease or the chance to purchase the land. Jenkins didn’t hesitate. “We want to buy, we’re going to stay.”
FFF is an impressive scrap of earth, garnering the 2018 John Egerton Prize from the Southern Foodways Alliance; keeping at least $300,000 in the community through payroll since inception; and this past April, hosting the state’s inaugural Black Farmers Conference.
“It’s hard to build infrastructure for a place you don’t own,” says Jenkins, noting that the possibilities for the already flourishing space will be endless once they can, as they say on Kickstarter, “claim our roots.”
Specifically, the money FFF raises will go toward purchasing the land, plus completing “an incubator kitchen using a donated mobile food truck to provide healthy, ready-made value-added food options using farm produce.”
They’ll also be able to offer more educational opportunities “through farm tours, classes, demonstrations, conferences, and other activities” and they’ll be able to build out a “pavilion area at the site to rent for nonprofit fundraisers, community dinners, weddings, paid experience tours, and other private events to bring in earned revenue and introduce more people to FFF’s work and vision.”
Visit the Kickstarter page to donate through Aug. 23 — the more you give, the more you get.
For everyone who donates $30 you get merch; $50 or more gets your name added to the community history mural; $75 or more you’ll get a signed copy of Farming While Black; $100+ you get a tour and tasting at the farm with chef Deljuan Murphy; $250+ gets you Sunday breakfast with Jenkins’ mentors Will and Erika Allen, featuring a farm-inspired meal and a conversation about the future of food access; $500+ gets you a private dinner with chef BJ Dennis who will prepare a seasonal Gullah-inspired meal with FFF produce; $1,000+ gets you naming rights to the incubator kitchen; and $5,000 or more gets you naming rights for the pavilion and farm store.