It all started in 2015 when a group of twelve civic-minded individuals came together with a desire to grow enough local, pesticide-free produce to share with their community. At the time, they started by first serving themselves and growing their own food at Boggs Track Community Farm. It wasn’t long before they outgrew their 20×20 plot and were in search of more land. The stars aligned when a generous land owner by the name of Kitty Brown offered the group to farm on her land in French Camp for $1 per year. This opened the door for a larger garden and the opportunity to grow enough produce to feed more than just themselves.
Fast forward to today, the garden is now the foundation of an impactful non-profit called Black Urban Farmers Association, or BUFA. The association is inspired by the history of black farmers in the United States and the impact they made and continue to make on the availability of healthy foods. “I’ve believed in what BUFA could do for people, especially African American people, from its beginning,” says Reatha Hardy-Jordan, co-founder and director of the association. “I am very passionate about helping others, and I believe that is exactly what BUFA has allowed me to do. Food, the right food, matters.”
BUFA is focusing its efforts on providing its produce at an affordable cost to corner market shoppers in South Stockton that wouldn’t otherwise have access to locally grown, pesticide-free produce. The organization also has plans to donate produce to community partners in Stockton.
The heart of BUFA, however, is about growing more than a garden; it’s about growing a community that notices the needs of those around them and isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty in an effort to meet those needs. Volunteers at the farm not only learn about how pesticide-free produce is grown, they also get to take some home. “I love to see people come out, and experience what it feels like to give back,” says Reatha. “When you volunteer on the farm, you become a part of a community that really cares about health and hunger.”
Black Urban Farmers Association
580 W. Bowman Rd., French Camp
To further encourage farming in Stockton, The City of Stockton’s Economic Development Department has developed a grant to support urban farmers and food entrepreneurs in the community. The City received the additional grant funding being used for this program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant CARES (CDBG-CV3) in response to the effects of COVID-19. The City considers this grant crucial to sustaining the community’s food industry, while increasing neighborhood access to locally grown, affordable foods.