Dr. Jennifer Taylor and her husband began Lola’s Natural Farm in 2009, however Taylor’s household has been working the land there for for much longer. Her grandmother, Lola, who the farm is called after, was a sharecropper in rural Georgia who was given the chance to purchase her personal farmland. She turned a profitable impartial farmer, on the land the place Lola’s Natural Farm (LOF) is positioned in the present day.
“We develop most of the similar crops my grandmother grew, corresponding to distinctive kinds of scrumptious colourful greens, fruit, and herbs,” says Taylor. And whereas in the present day the farming practices at LOF differentiate it from close by farms (LOF is likely one of the solely licensed natural farms within the surrounding counties), rising organically isn’t new to the household’s farming practices. “When my grandmother was farming,” explains Taylor, “she used natural farming practices earlier than natural certification even existed. For us, natural farming and agroecology not solely builds wholesome soil and wholesome environments, but in addition helps entry to wholesome meals in our communities. I imagine natural farming methods can, and will, be loved by all farmers and customers – in all communities.” LOF has been licensed natural since 2011, and the label has helped them entry markets. “It speaks to the shoppers,” Taylor says.
For us, natural farming and agroecology not solely builds wholesome soil and wholesome environments, but in addition helps entry to wholesome meals in our communities. – Dr. Jennifer Taylor
Along with offering natural meals for native markets, Taylor and LOF acknowledge that small and BIPOC farmers have one thing else of worth that advantages native communities: data, or, as Taylor calls it, extra particularly, conventional agroecology data. LOF has been described as a sort of “mecca” for individuals studying about natural agriculture and furthering the natural motion. The farm hosts many kinds of instructional excursions and occasions, and Dr. Taylor, by means of her work at Florida A&M College, is a celebrated small farm specialist who connects farmers to researchers and vice versa. Winner of the Florida Division of Agriculture’s Lady of the 12 months in Agriculture Award in 2019, Taylor is head of a farmer-led analysis venture (partially supported by OFRF) designed to establish wants, hindrances, and obstacles of small and BIPOC farmers and works with farmers to develop options and assets by means of related studying periods that present schooling, hands-on coaching, and technical help.
Taylor’s work engages researchers with farmers on the bottom and works to amplify farmers’ voices and data. “This venture, and on-farm analysis usually, allows relationship-building with the farmer, the group, and researchers. It builds a singular alternative to help the particular wants of that farmer and says to the world that farmers have vital data to share,” stated Taylor. “That is significantly true for BIPOC farmers and communities as a result of it provides us hope and empowerment that our voice issues. It brings our voices to the forefront of this motion.”
Small and traditionally-underrepresented farmers make up a farming majority on this (and different) areas of the nation. As President of Florida A&M College, Larry Robinson, PhD, factors out, “Someplace round 90% of the farms are small farms, proper? So though you may drive by means of these huge acreages of farmland in Florida, the overwhelming majority of farmers (the individuals) are small farmers, underrepresented farmers, low-resource farmers, and so forth. However as a nation and as a state, we actually need to be involved about their existence, as a result of it’s actually these small farmers that make us complete.”
To be taught extra about Dr. Taylor and her work, watch this video by the Florida Division of Agriculture from 2019, when Dr. Taylor was awarded “Lady of the 12 months in Agriculture”.