Photo Credit: Johnie Gall

Things are looking up for Christa Barfield, owner of Farmer Jawn Agriculture, who faced many hardships this past year. In April, Barfield made a big decision to move out of her old space in Elkins Park after facing landlord problems and the destruction of her crops.  One month ago, she launched a new crowdfunding campaign to move the organization onto the Elkins Estate.

“I’m not interested in a farm that’s over an hour away from Philadelphia,” says Barfield, about the importance of the location. “I want it to be accessible, simple, and easy for people to go.”At 1760 Ashbourne Road, the Elkins Estate is a three-minute drive and a 12-minute walk from the Philadelphia borderline on Cheltenham Avenue.

The new location will bring a garage, two greenhouses, two-plus acres of land, a historic springhouse, and a residence. With the new space, Christa plans to hire a network of new employees and launch the FarmerJawn and Friends Foundation Fund. It is a new non-profit that will teach two farmers each season how to run an urban farm enterprise while completing a Community Supported Agriculture (“CSA”) program. 

Christa credits her team with the success of securing a new home for the farm, saying, “they are the ones that took everything I’ve done, packaged it, and started to do their due diligence in finding us a new location.” Her team also pushed her to leave the farm’s old space, reassuring her that it was necessary.

They argued that a bigger farm creates room for her vision to grow. “My team stopped me and said, “you realize that this vision that you have and created is YOU! You are the vision.”

With that realization, Barfield is ready to meet her new goal and move on to the estate. Alongside growing nutritious food and goods for Philadelphians and launching a more robust urban agricultural educational platform, she can imagine FarmerJawn’s expansion around the city. Christa says she’s been focusing her attention on the idea of having small farms across the city that will promote urban agricultural engagement. She calls this concept “Redefining the Cornerstore.”

She hopes to bring the complete project to the city by Spring/Summer of 2022, saying, “people can see food growing in their own neighborhood. They can walk by and see food that they can partake of and be provided with meals from the food that’s growing.”

While the beginning of the year seemed to put brief limits on FarmerJawn, the second half has proved that there is an expansion. Christa reflects on her rocky year, saying, “perseverance is everything.”

Listen to the full interview this Thursday, October 28, at 5 PM on Germantown Radio on 92.9 FM.

The Germantown Info Hub is one of over 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on solutions to poverty and the city’s push towards economic justice. Follow us at @BrokeInPhilly.  

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