Rolling Out

FarmerJawn: Christa Barfield’s trek from health care to sustainable farming

The transformational founder and CEO advocates for a holistic approach that transcends traditional farming practices
Christa Barfield went from healthcare to farming. (Photo credit: Courtesy of Christa Barfield)

FarmerJawn founder and CEO Christa Barfield embodies a narrative of resilience and empowerment in her transition from healthcare to farming.

After a decade in health care administration, a soul-stirring solo trip abroad in January 2018 sparked a transformative shift towards pursuing health and happiness through sustainable farming. Inspired by a profound connection to the land, plant life, and social issues impacting marginalized communities, Barfield established FarmerJawn Agriculture.

Rooted in her lifelong connection to Philadelphia, Barfield steers a vision centered on regeneration and nutrition security, operating with a relentless mission to redefine America’s relationship with food and health through a Farm First approach. With 128 acres spread across three counties in Pennsylvania, FarmerJawn stands as a beacon of equitable farming practices, focusing on the ethos that “Food is Medicine.” Barfield leads critical conversations on food security, advocating for a holistic approach that transcends traditional farming practices.

Rolling out recognized Barfield as a Sisters with Superpowers Philadelphia Honoree on Thursday, April 18, 2024, at The W Hotel Philadelphia. We delved deeper into discussions with this dynamic woman, exploring her career, uncovering her superpowers, and delving into more aspects of her journey.

 As a Black woman what do you consider your superpowers to be?

My superpowers include resilience, nurtured by years of overcoming challenges in a predominantly male industry. As well as empathy which allows me to connect deeply with my team and community. These powers have been my guiding force.

What thoughtful piece of advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell my younger self, “Your unique perspective is your greatest asset. Trust your instincts, embrace your journey, and know that your voice matters. The challenges will mold you into a leader you’re proud to become.”

If you could thank any Black woman for her contributions to history and society, who would it be? Why?

I would like to thank Fannie Lou Hamer for her unwavering courage and advocacy for civil rights and agriculture. Her legacy teaches us the power of voice and action in creating meaningful change.

Why mentoring is important

Why is it important for more experienced Black women to reach back and help younger women of color?

It is crucial for experienced Black women to mentor younger ones to pass down wisdom, open doors, and build a ladder of opportunity. It is about uplifting the entire community and paving a smoother path for those who follow.

Share three career highlights.

Highlight 1: Being recognized with a James Beard Emerging Leadership Award;

Highlight 2:   Launching a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program that provides fresh produce to underserved areas;

Highlight 3: Mentoring young women interested in agribusiness, seeing them grow and succeed in their ventures.

As a successful woman in business, what is your greatest achievement?

My proudest achievement is building a farm that not only sustains itself but also contributes positively to the environment and community well-being. It is a testament to what passion, hard work, and a commitment to sustainability can achieve.

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