After planting her first seeds at just 4 years old, the youngster soon moved on to grow everything from carrots to okra, squash, zucchini, and strawberries.
A 6-year-old's efforts to spread awareness about farming among her peers was honored by the city of South Fulton last month. According to 11 Alive, September 28 is now officially Kendall Rae Appreciation Day in the city in recognition of the young girl's mission is to teach other kids about where their food actually comes from. Kendall, who made history as the youngest certified farmer in the state of Georgia, is said to have first caught her green thumb from her great-grandmother Laura "Kate" Williams. After planting her first seeds at just 4 years old, the youngster soon moved on to grow everything from carrots to okra, squash, zucchini, and strawberries.
"She started out in a patio garden and the patio garden grew from a little bitty something to, by the time her fourth birthday came, we had a full-fledged garden in our backyard," Kendall's mother, Ursula Johnson, told Good Morning America. "And then we moved, and now she has a farm." Kendall, who is homeschooled by her mom, starts every day in the backyard after suiting up in boots, her work gloves, and all of her gardening tools. She also always has a smile on her face when working in her garden.
"The very first time we took her to go seed shopping, she spent $200! Whose kid does that?" Ursula revealed. "She started to see it go from a seed to a plant, and then die and come back. She saw the plant life cycle of that and was like, wow... She gets back here and she just explores. She will have a question like, 'I saw this bug. What does it do? She's fascinated by it. So if she wants to do it, we are going to be her support."
Along with working in her garden, Kendall has dedicated herself to sharing her love for farming with others her age. She runs a monthly gardening club, where families help her harvest, plant, and produce subscription food boxes. Additionally, after being discovered online by Georgia state Rep. Mandisha Thomas online, the youngster has made speaking appearances at press conferences in support of young farmers in South Fulton. Kendall helped raise $85,000 for the cause and is now hoping to raise $10,000 for an outdoor agricultural science lab to begin composting. "It has a big feeling in my heart. In my heart is the garden. The garden is special to me," she said.
"When you go to these meetings and you go to these conferences and things of that nature, nine times out of 10 you won't see anyone as young as Kendall there," Ursula said. "It was so important and so inspiring that they invited her to just come, sit in, listen even if she doesn't understand what is going on." She added that her daughter — who is also the youngest Black farmer in the state of Georgia — is the embodiment of young entrepreneurship and the future of Black farmers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only 2% of all the farmers in the field are Black. Agriculture is also one of Georgia's largest industries.
To become a certified farmer, Kendall received her business entity at the state and federal level under the name "aGROWKulture." She also became a member of a number of farming organizations, including Georgia Grown, a division of Georgia's Department of Agriculture, and the Georgia Farm Bureau. As an official farmer, she can now apply for grants, scholarships, and purchase land under her business. However, at the end of the day, Kendall said her main goal is to "make new friends, make new things and inspire other kids."