Meet the Modern Farmer: Jamila Norman

Meet Jamila Norman, who shows kids what cool things come out of the ground in her farm-based after school program at Patchwork City Farms.

jamila normal patchwork city farms
Shannon McCollum

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“I think it’s safe to say I’m the only solo black female farmer in Atlanta,” declares Jamila Norman. Her initial plan for this acre in the predominantly African-American West End neighborhood – leased from the city’s public school system – involved supplying students with fresh-grown produce. But, says Norman, “I wasn’t able to get food into the cafeterias because of bureaucracy and red tape.”

Though the 36-year-old wound up selling her organic collards, carrots, and Green Zebra tomatoes through the usual CSA and farmers-market channels, the mother of three fulfills her original educational mission by hosting an after-school program. “Kids are sometimes grossed out by things that come out of the ground. We have to teach them that it’s better like this.”

Patchwork City also doubles as a community space for picnics, jam sessions, and, this past June, a Father’s Day party. “Black men get a bad reputation, and I wanted to celebrate dads who do a great job for their kids every day,” explains Norman, who emphasizes the for-profit, entrepreneurial nature of her efforts. “This is a business. It’s important for people to see that farming is a viable career. Women can start farms. Black people can do it, too.”

Video created by Anthony-Masterson Productions

Plus: Are you a Modern Farmer? Show us with #iamamodernfarmer!

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Develyn
2 years ago

Thank you for your efforts. It’s inspirational. I’d like to start a program in Erie PA

[…] interact. “Kids are sometimes grossed out by the things that come out of the ground,” she told Modern Farmer. “We have to teach them that it’s better like […]

Stephanie
1 year ago

Wonderful work God Bless

Tina Kozma
6 months ago

I watched your show on magnolia network ? thank you !!
I face so many challenges in trying to grow things , failure happens often but I keep trying, I really hope to see more of you and your show, maybe you can give advice on yards with little drainage and lots of clay , how do I make it good for plants ?

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