Caribbean Immigrant Woman Raises Over 60K to Build Sustainable Farm

shellie-anne-kerns
Shellie-Ann Kerns of Jamaica, who describes herself as running a black-led farm and bread school, raised the money on GoFundMe from over 1,000 donors.
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By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. April 1, 2021: A Caribbean immigrant woman in western Washington state has raised over US $61,000 of her nearly $75,000 goal to build a sustainable farm there.

Shellie-Ann Kerns of Jamaica, who describes herself as running a black-led farm and bread school, raised the money on GoFundMe from over 1,000 donors. The top donor was an anonymous donor who chipped in $3,000.

Kerns and her husband, Allen, run the 20-acre farm, Bunkhouse Acres in the Middle Satsop Valley in the homelands of the Tsihalis Salishan people in Washington state.

She says the donations will help them buy purchasing a compact tractor and hire help to clear additional land for large-scale planting. It will also be used for building high tunnels and a demonstration kitchen for preparing spice blends and imparting another of her passions – baking with sourdough.

“In 2013, I left my native Jamaica to join my spouse in Washington State and I immediately set out to plant whatever I could in the dead of winter. “That turned out to be garlic. It did wonderfully, and I have grown some, every year since,” she noted.

Kern disclosed that as the child of Jamaican subsistence farmers, she is a committed locavore.

“Over the years, I have kept chickens for eggs and manure, and have grown vegetables seasonally for my kitchen and to trade with neighbors,” she posted.

The couple grow all their food, enriched with compost, featuring manure from their organically fed chickens or in locally sourced garden soil.

She also says they donate surplus eggs to the Matlock Food Bank and have started a quarterly county-wide Food Swap, where residents could converge to barter their homemade, homegrown, and wild-foraged edibles.

Her father, in his youth, was a migrant farmworker in Canada and Kerns is well on her way to leading a sustainable movement.

She recently launched Grays Harbor’s first black woman-led Community-supported agriculture program with fifty families subscribed to receive veggies each week, à la carte. Eighteen weeks of farm-fresh goods cost between $300 ($16/week) and $600 ($33/week) depending on household size and income. To donate log on HERE