Sankofa Community Garden. Photo: Sabine Carey

Blog | December 19, 2017

Young future farmers give me hope

by Willie Nelson

When I meet family farmers, I feel so much hope in our future. That’s why I’d like to introduce you to some young future farmers we met through our annual concert near Pittsburgh this year. They’re led by Mama Ayanna, as the young people in the garden call her. She’s changing her community and empowering teenagers through farming.

Ayanna Jones came back to her Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homewood after retiring from a successful career. Instead of taking it easy in retirement, she’s working hard to instill in youth what it means to do good work, to care for the earth, and to share your bounty with your neighbors. The end result is these young people feel valued—by their community and themselves.

The young people—tilling the soil and harvesting healthy fruits and vegetables at Sankofa Community Garden—may not all grow up to be farmers, but learning the values of agriculture will take them far in life. It’s already transforming their neighborhood. Ayanna says, “The garden enabled this community to blossom back to where it was when I was young. I grew up in this community and I’ve seen the best of the best here. I also saw the worst of the worst. Now I see the best of the best coming back.”

Ayanna Jones. Photo: Sabine Carey

Family farmers make us incredibly proud. They are innovative and creative, and they deserve our support in growing a better kind of agriculture. With your help, we’re ensuring a future of good food for all of us and the values of family farm agriculture in the next generation.

Your gift to Farm Aid is a way for you to guarantee that even in spite of all of the challenges we face, we have the strength of independent family farmers on the land—in rural and urban communities.

As we gather with our families this holiday season, let’s give thanks for family farmers and the way they inspire hope in all of us.

Watch a video about Ayanna and the Sankofa Community Garden below:

Connect with us