TheFuture of Farming: Women in the Forefront

MARCH 19 | 11 AM – 1 PM ET

Program Description

Join us for our Women’s History Month 2022 Celebration of women in farming. Meet two urban farmers: Georgia’s youngest certified farmer, 6-year-old Kendall Rae Johnson with her mother Ursula Johnson; and Rochester, New York’s Pamela Reese Smith, urban farmer and member of Black Farmers United NYS. 

Discussion topics include the legacy and future of Black farmers, both historically and personally.

Kendall Rae Johnson

“She’s a registered farmer — and she’s only 6 years old. Kendall Rae Johnson is breaking barriers in an industry that has long been White- and male-dominated.”

aGROWKulture Urban Farm by Kendall Rae Johnson, Georgia’s youngest certified farmer, is a 6-year-old, born and raised in Atlanta. Kendall Rae Johnson, Georgia’s youngest certified farmer, is a 6-year-old, born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Kendall Rae, as she is known by most, has been playing in the dirt since she was 3 years old.

She was inspired by the teachings of her great grandmother Laura “Kate” Williams. Although Kendall Rae doesn’t quite remember her great-grand, she remembers hearing her saying, “Don’t throw my collard green stems away, put them back in the dirt.”  That’s when it all started…on a small, but mighty, little patio pouch with Grandma. This tranquil and comforting place was where they planted seeds of cucumbers, peppers tomatoes and broken collard green stems.

Kendall Rae was fascinated by what was once tiny seeds or stems now had grown into a beautiful garden with colorful vegetables ready to be eaten by the family. Kendall Rae Johnson indeed has a dedicated, loving, forever growing, one of a kind team to support her. Her mom Ursula Johnson, mother, wife, and former concert dancer, guides the family business and research. She is the glue that holds the family together.

Pamela Reese Smith

“Farming is a calling. Black farmers have answered this call for centuries. Our ancestors were enslaved to work this land, and through farming we have found pathways from oppression to self-reliance, and from slavery to sovereignty.”

Black Farmers United of NYS

Pamela Reese Smith is a native of Harlem and now lives in Rochester, New York. Pamela is an urban farmer and raises specialty mints and herbs for tea and organic vegetables, and flowers on her small urban farm in the City of Rochester.

Pamela graduated from the University of Rochester in 2007 with the highest distinction in her class. She was awarded the Community Champion Award in 2012 from the Rochester Business Journal, for her work in the community. Pamela assisted the residents in a challenged neighborhood by organizing, finding resources, that led to establishing beautiful community gardens on unsightly vacant lots in the City of Rochester.

Pamela’s favorite work was being part of a team that built the Children’s Garden. Pamela is also a member of the Interim Steering Committee for Black Farmers United NYS, a group of more than 60 Black farmers, educators, and food justice advocates from across the state. In addition to all of that, Pamela also serve as the President of the Rochester NY Branch of ASALH.


Anita Russell, MEd
VP of Media Relations, Dr. Edna B. McKenzie Branch

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