Meet Kendall Rae Johnson at just 6 years old is making history as the youngest certified farmer in Georgia.
Kendall Rae expresses that her love of farming comes from her great-grandmother Kate Johnson. “She taught me all kinds of stuff about gardening. Like, how collard greens grow, you start with a stem and put it in the dirt and it grows,” the young girl said.
When her mother, Ursula Johnson noticed her love for gardening, she had to encourage her more.
She said: “She enjoyed this whole process of putting a seed in and seeing something come out of it, we were like, okay we have her interest”.
To encourage her more, Kendall Rae’s parents built her a small patio garden at their home in Atlanta and threw her a garden party for her fourth birthday.
In just 2 years, Kendall Rae’s patio garden has grown into a small backyard farm that produces carrots, sweet potatoes, strawberries, okra, tomatoes, blueberries, and even Carolina Reapers.
For Kendall Rae, who is home-schooled, the backyard farm also doubles as her classroom. She is learning hands-on and then able to bring it into the house and do school work because she still needs to know her a-b-c’s says her mother.
“There is always a lesson in digging in the dirt. I like playing in the dirt because it makes me happy. It makes me want to garden and share it with my friends.” Kendall Rae said.
Her parents are also cultivating a small business called aGROWKulture in Southwest Atlanta.
The urban farm is marketed as being “owned” by the youngest certified farmer in Georgia, sells food basket subscriptions, and hosts classes, among other things.
The business presently offers around 20 monthly subscription baskets of fruits and vegetables to local community members.
Ursula says: “If she can grow fruits and vegetables that fed our small community from a patio, just imagine what a full backyard of fruits and vegetables could do for your community.”
And Kendall Rae agrees: “Sometimes you just need to share your fruits and vegetables with the whole community.”
The business is already making waves as Fulton County Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman and her colleagues met with Kendall Rae to present her with one of the county’s biggest honors, a proclamation declaring 28 September 2021, Kendall Rae Johnson Appreciation Day in Fulton County.
“She has a natural organic love of farming and it’s infectious,” Abdur-Rahman said.
Kendall’s infectious energy and passion for growing fruits and vegetables is one reason she decided to make Kendall the youngest intern at the Fulton County Board of Commissioners’ office in Southwest Atlanta.
“Times have changed, and with that evolution, education has to change. With our ability to let the children know there are different things that they can do, they can become the youngest farmer in Georgia. I want her to inspire people from 2 to 102 because she did it with me.” said Abdur-Rahman.
“It feels great that they know me now, and they know my garden,” Kendall Rae said.
Kendall Rae’s parents are hoping they can use the attention and publicity to expand their farm.
In five years, Ursula Johnson says their goal is 75 to 100 acres. “We want to be able to have a fruit and nut orchard. We want to be able to have the vegetables that we love to eat and cook and possibly some new stuff that we’ve never tried before,” she said.”