As one of few black woman-owned boutique herbal plant and hemp farms NC and nationally, my farm,Green Heffa Farms, seeks to expand our newly launched premium herbal tea beverage line and to offer agritourism opportunities. We provide a replicable business model for how small, minority women owned farms, gardens, nurseries, and even homesteads can diversify revenues producing local goods grown with an ecological consciousness. We have successfully launched our first tea, Brenda's Balm (a hemp and tulsi/holy basil blend) with much success.
I am a fifth generation farmer and started Green Heffa Farms in 2018, on nearly 16 acres of former tobacco land. We initially started as a monocrop hemp farm which did not allow for sustainable means of cultivation. Many, myself included, have been lured back to agriculture because of the CBD market. Many have been motivated to propagate more hemp to meet the large consumer demand. I quickly realized that the “more for your money” mindset does not always contribute to healthy environmental stewardship which ultimately affects business outcomes. Built on our 4Es guiding principles of Economic empowerment, Equity, Environment, and Education, GHF seeks to be a model for the economic, social, and environmental benefits of small farms that adopt good stewardship practices.
Farming is challenging - from understanding market demand to a need for increased resiliency to our changing climate. And for minority and women farmers, the challenges are even greater. I quickly learned that there was a dearth of resources for farmers like me and set about not only to create my own farm but to help others who dreamed of doing so as well. Since launching Green Heffa Farms, the outpour from women wanting to start small farms, nurseries, or even homesteads has been staggering. There is such a need for what we are trying to create. And our farm is gaining attention including, most recently, being featured in Oprah's O Magazine for this April!
Green Heffa Farms is committed to "leveling the planting field" by creating a living, learning lab where aspiring and current under-represented farmers can gain critical skills in starting or expanding their own small medicinal plant farm. They will gain this critical knowledge along with best practices in organic farming and regenerative agriculture.
Phase I was successfully concluded with the acquisition of 15.84 premium acres of farmland, building a seed bank, establishment of utilities, securing partnerships with leading educational institutions, and branding and marketing. In addition to landing a feature in "O", Green Heffa Farms was the face of the groundbreaking Associated Press article on the 2018 Farm Bill, which landed us in more than 200 publications. I was also selected as the 2019 Featured Farmer for National Hemp History Week, the largest national media campaign for the federal legalization of industrial hemp.
And we are still growing. We recently did a prelaunch on our first product, Brenda's Balm Hemp + Holy Basil Tea Blend. Named after my mother who was a beautiful grower, it has been met with considerable success.
We have purchased our first greenhouse which will expand our production capacity and all for outdoor classes. We have installed an access road AND we have also purchased a 150 year sharecropper's cabin that we are renovating to be used on our farm for a post-harvest/production facility and to teach small classes. We are launching this campaign to help with the expenses to grow - retrofitting our cabin and our greenhouse. Your support will not only help Green Heffa Farms but countless other women farmers, families and communities. Please help us level the planting field. Every contribution matters. Thank you!
The Project FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is the hemp you grow federally legal? Yes, the hemp we grow at Green Heffa Farms is federally legal and does not contain more than 0.3% of THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis.
Why the focus on minorities and women? As a black woman, I am often the only person of color and/or woman at many agricultural or hemp farming events. Research supports this as farmers of color own a dismal 4% of all privately owned farmland. Women farmers, who are growing in numbers, still lag behind when it comes to the male dominated agricultural arena.
Why the focus on using organic growing practices and regenerative agriculture? Organic farming reduces the risks of human, animal, and environmental exposure to toxic materials. This is especially important in a market that says that it is committed to overall well-being. Regenerative agriculture can help reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle.
Do you have any animals on your farm? Other than my three unsuccessful farm dogs, I do not have any animals on my farm.
What exactly are you going to use my contribution for? All monies raised will be used to buy needed farm equipment, greenhouses, and for drying and storage facilities, all of which will be classrooms as well.