So Much More than 30 Acres and a Mule Named Freedom
“Mom, when I grow up, I’m going to have a house so big I will have a dolphin in my backyard.” Those were the dreams of a young boy from East St. Louis, Illinois. Fast forward 20+ years and that little boy is one of the largest African American land owners in South Fulton Georgia. Patrick S. Muhammad and his family reside on “Your Faith Farms,” a 30 Acre farm off Jones Rd in Fairburn, Georgia. There are no dolphins yet, but the Muhammad family is raising grass-fed beef and free range chickens. There is also a five acre vegetable and fruit garden. In addition, the farm specializes is breeding German shepherd and Presa Canario Dogs for farm and family use.
This is just the beginning. By day, Mr. Muhammad is a principal of an elementary school and Mrs. Muhammad is a second grade teacher. Currently, their large farming responsibilities occur in the evenings and consumes their weekends. But as their youngest son will tell you, they “love living on the farm!” As residents of South Fulton area for the past 10 years, the Muhammad’s stepped out on faith three years ago to purchase a farm and haven’t looked back. “It’s real work, but you know, we enjoy every minute of it.”
The Muhammad’s vision for the farm is not limited to traditional farm related activity as evidenced by a partnership that developed just last year. During the spring of 2015, Your Faith Farms collaborated with a local youth soccer league, Amazon Sports. Now during the spring and fall, the farm is full of energetic 3-18 years running up and down the pastures turned temporary soccer fields. “The Muhammad Family has been a blessing to our youth. We had nowhere to go after the loss of our previous location. We reached out to Patrick and the rest is history. Amazon Sports has a new home,” said Coach Sidney Lawrence, Founder of Amazon Sports. Not only are the youth of Amazon Sports learning athletic skills, such as execution and team work, they also have the opportunity to experience life on the farm.
As we approach the first growing season of 2016, Your Faith Farms is in high gear. “The key to a plentiful harvest each year is the proper preparation of your seedlings. YFF is raising some 5000 seedlings of various plants; installing their first “hoop house” or wind tunnel for year-long growing. “This will increase our local production of vegetables by 40% this season. We can’t help but be excited about that!” says Muhammad. The planned yield this year will consist of watermelon, cantaloupe, broccoli, onions, tomatoes, okra, kale, cucumbers, spinach, peppers and more. Providing organically grown, fresh fruits and vegetables for Fairburn and neighboring communities continues to be a goal of Your Faith Farms.
In July, 2016, Your Faith Farms is preparing to officially launch farm tours and the children’s village with an animal petting area. The tours and the children’s village will give the community an opportunity to experience a working farm and get the youth excited about getting back to nature. As life-long educators, The Muhammad’s are always looking for opportunities to share teachable moments with the community’s children and families.
The farms nickname is “30 Acres and A Mule,” for more than one reason. The family has 30 acres of land and a mule named Freedom. After a few minutes in conversation with Patrick, #ThePrincipalFarmer kicks in. “As I advance in my professional career there are benefits, true enough. However, when the time comes and the direction of that career shifts, I can’t beg that employer to hold a position so I can leave it for my children. When that career ends, it truly ends, it’s gone. There’s nothing that I can take from that ended career and give to my children that will establish a true foundation for them to be free. The next generation will have to start all over. There is no relay of career success from one to another. That’s why we stepped out on faith and bought the farm. You have to always be prepared to do something for yourself and family. I encourage families to BUY LAND. Why? The opportunities that will present themselves, the health benefits, the clearing of your mind, and the smile on the ancestors faces, is worth it all. BUY LAND.”
We look forward to seeing the continuous growth of Your Faith Farms. As the Muhammad’s say, “Here We Grow!”