Clarenda Stanley has spent countless hours climbing the corporate ladder in the fundraising world. When she decided to trade her keyboard for a shovel and some seeds on her own farm, her family wasn’t quite on board at first.
“They initially thought I was going insane, a few of them thought it would just be something nice, like a little side job or a hobby,” Stanley said.
Although she came from a long family of farmers and grew up on a farm herself, she said her family always saw her office job as a much better option than the pastoral life.
But Stanley wanted a change.
Then she had the idea for Green Heffa Farms, now a successful tea and herbal blends company, named after her quick-witted grandmother, Charity Mae. Since 2018, Stanley has been growing flowers, herbs, teas and other medicinal plants with the goal of healing on her own farm in Liberty, North Carolina.
“Because of the trauma that has been inflicted on the Black community, the Indigenous community, when it comes to land, many of us have lost that connection, and we don’t look to the land for some of the reinforcements we need for our well-being,” said Stanley.
“I really want it to … look at agriculture as reparative in the sense that it reconnects us with the land and does that through medicinal plants, which is what we used to use with all these medicines, I would address.”
Turning her vision into reality was not easy. In building her own farm, she received a crash course in the many obstacles black farmers face. Banks refused her loans and she said her agricultural instructors doubted her success.
It’s a recurring pattern for black farmers in this country, and this The US Department of Agriculture has paid billions about the past several years in discrimination settlements by admitting that black farmers were stopped or prevented from entering farm space without justification.
one study also found that black-owned farms were smaller, less profitable, and received less government support compared to other farms in the United States.
“Farming in this country should benefit white males who owned property, preferably of a Christian faith,” Stanley said. “I’m coming into an arena where it’s not equal.”
Stanley is in which is less than 1% of black landowners in this country. These statistics have motivated her to bring other black women into farming to find her own source of healing and freedom.
Stanley also said she couldn’t resist posting or participating in the occasional dance challenge viral trends on TikTok, which provides her kids with just the right amount of embarrassment and pride.
The consequences of America’s dark and complicated history of forced labor and agriculture are still being felt today, particularly through long-standing barriers to generational wealth.
Stanley said she believes her energy and focus is best invested in her quality of life and the well-being of her community.
“I don’t expect America to do everything right in my lifetime, and I’m not a pessimist. It’s all about where we are now,” Stanley said.
“Nor do I even pretend to offer a solution to a problem that those responsible for continuing the tradition of that problem fail to address,” added Stanley. “For me it’s more about how do we create as much black joy as possible? I’m prepared for that. How can we have as many black people as possible living lives that respect their worth as human beings?”
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/black-women-are-trying-defy-odds-farm-ownership-rcna39105 Why some black women try to brave the odds of owning a farm