Photo Credit: TN
CEO Of Green Heffa Farms Explains Why We Need More Black Farmers
Clarenda “Farmer Cee” Stanley is the CEO of North Carolina‘s Green Heffa Farms. Originally from a small town in the Black Belt of Alabama named Annie Manie, she has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and nonprofit fundraising.
In July 2019, Farmer Cee began transforming a weed-covered mess of land with no infrastructure into what is now a beautiful, thriving farm that grows over two dozen medicinal plants and herbs. These comprise the ingredients that Green Heffa Farms uses in their tea and steam blends.
“Think of the steam as being the same medicine as the tea but with the addition of hemp flower,” said Farmer Cee. “I recognize that as a Black woman farmer with a bit of a mouth in the South who has the audacity to grow cannabis, I have to dot my I’s and cross my T’s. So, when we add hemp flower, we sell them as a beauty product. But look, if it falls in your favorite cup, that’s your business.”
Through the products sourced from and offered by the farm, customers seeking alternatives to conventional medicine have natural, organic options to choose from. A firm believer that just as each person is unique, so too is each individual’s wellness program, Farmer Cee says the value of plants is indisputable, and that there is nothing more beneficially luxurious than organic botanicals.
“Traditional, Ayurvedic, and Indigenous plant medicine have been around since the beginning of time helping us care for the whole self – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Let me say that I am not a medical professional nor am I one of these internet herbalists. I do believe that many people resolve more heavily on conventional options and are missing opportunities to incorporate plant-based alternatives into their overall wellbeing program.”
In addition to being a farm, a tea company, and a natural health brand, Green Heffa also serves as an educational resource through which Farmer Cee assists up-and-coming/aspiring farmers.
Having realized that there was no way she could answer the volume of communications she receives daily from people inquiring about the specifics of starting, funding, and running a farm, she created a YouTube channel. There she not only answers questions, but shares free information on lessons she has learned over time.
“I focus more on the business side of things–no surprise that I talk a lot about raising funds, marketing, branding. For those who are interested in working with me personally, I offer both group and individual coaching options. From developing a farming brand that resonates with target customers to developing a social media strategy to being that initial thought partner who assists with start-up strategy, I support them in realizing their farming dreams.”
Helping other Black farmers succeed is a cause Farmer Cee holds near and dear to her heart. It is important to her for several reasons. Well aware that the American agricultural system was not designed for Black farm owners to participate in, let alone be leaders in, she recognizes the great need for more Black farmers, more Black land stewards, and specifically, more Black women to become farmers and owners of farming businesses and brands.
“The world needs us. The current system isn’t working. Agriculture has a violent history in this country, especially for Black people. Yet, despite our contributions, which built the infrastructure of the agricultural industrial complex, we don’t own any land? We make half a percent (0.5%) of farm sales? We don’t makeup 2% of the farmers in this country–we were once 14%.”
You can learn more about Green Heffa Farms and purchase their products at www.greenheffafarms.com. You can also follow Farmer Cee and her brand at the following links: