Our 110th Real Farmer Care recipient is Ashlee Johnson-Geisse of Brown Girl Farms @browngirlfarms in Hayward, CA.
Ashlee writes, “I am a queer African American farmer and the founder of Brown Girl Farms, a one-acre farm and business located in Hayward, California. Our farm is also the place I call home with my wife, our chihuahua terrier mix Jay, and our flock of chickens! The farm was born from my passion and drive to make black, queer, women farmers more visible in the growing world. When I first launched Brown Girl Farms, I could not imagine that a pandemic would hit shortly after. The business was originally managed out of our then small apartment balcony gardens. We provided community with seeds, plant starts, bouquets, and produce, and answered the call of people wanting to cultivate not only plants but themselves as well. Months later we found our current home and farm in Hayward where we inherited a beautiful apple orchard, plum trees, and so much more! Currently we are building out our market garden portion of the farm which will focus on African American heritage crops and our cut flower garden space. We are selling flower bouquets, apples, and homemade apple butter and jam to community, while holding close to our mission of "spreading loving intention through food and flowers." Navigating as a black queer female farmer in agriculture spaces that are dominated by white male farmers is a constant challenge and one that creates much exhaustion and fatigue. Because of my multiple layers and intersecting identities, I must work extra hard to be taken seriously and validated as a black queer woman farmer. I continue to lean on and have so much gratitude for the intentional community that is building around Brown Girl Farms. Since we are a new farm, there are key infrastructures and systems that need to be built out at the farm. You can visit our website at www.browngirlfarms.com to learn more about our story and make a donation. Every donation goes towards the startup costs of the farm. Much gratitude and love for your support!”