Farming as a Revolutionary Act
For Clarenda “Cee” Stanley, farming is a revolutionary act. Stanley grew up on her grandparents’ farm in the Black Belt region of Alabama. Since co-founding Green Heffa Farms in 2018, she has leveraged her marketing and fundraising expertise to overcome obstacles to black women farmers.
Thanks to social media and growing awareness about sustainable agriculture, there’s a lot of opportunity for farmers to create brands, Stanley explained. Finding her customers was a key step in establishing Green Heffa Farms, an organic medicinal plant farm in Liberty, NC. “We’re looking for a certain type of customer who cares about the environment and dealing with social challenges and inequities.”
Stanley also envisioned Green Heffa Farms as a safe space for black women to talk about unique challenges they face when creating environmentally and financially sustainable farms.
Through training and mentorship courses, she helps farmers learn how to grow their farm businesses in ways that complement their other passions. “Like many farmers, I have a full-time job and a family,” said Stanley, who works as the senior principle gifts officer for the Nature Conservancy. “It has to be a lifestyle commitment first and foremost.”
Stanley will lead two day-long workshops at the Organic Growers School’s Fall Harvest Conference: “The NC Hemp Industry” on Sept. 11 and “Brand Your Small Farm for Fundraising Success” on Sept. 12.
She plans to use her farm as a case study for how to create a brand and reach target markets. Her session will be especially useful for medicinal hemp farmers, new farmers transitioning from other careers, or longtime farmers struggling to get their products to the right people.
Organic Growers School is a non-profit organization providing organic education since 1993. Our mission is to inspire, educate, and support people in our region to farm, garden, and live organically.