In episode 189, Kestrel welcomes Clarenda "Farmer Cee" Stanley, a fifth generation farmer, to the show. In addition to being the CEO of Green Heffa Farms, a medicinal plant and hemp farm in Liberty, North Carolina, Cee is also a senior principal gifts officer at The Nature Conservancy's World Office.

”We hustle, and the reason for that is being a black-owned farm, a black woman-owned farm — I mean, you gotta look at the numbers: 96% of all private farm land is white-owned — that leaves 4% for everybody else.”
-Farmer Cee, CEO of Green Heffa Farms

On this week’s show, Cee shares more on what led her eventually back to farming, after having grown up on a farm as a child. She also highlights more on the extreme discrepancy that still exists within agriculture today, and how 96% of all private farm land is white-owned. For Cee, beyond farming, it’s also important for her to provide education to black women and women of color who are interested in learning more about growing.

Kestrel asks Cee to outline more on what regenerative agriculture means to Green Heffa Farms. For Cee, she’s currently exploring using ecological consciousness instead as she believes regenerative agriculture can be another “club for exclusivity”.

The below thoughts, ideas + organizations were brought up in this chat:

  • Green Heffa Farms 4 Es: economic empowerment, equity, education and the environment

  • “How Racism Has Shaped The American Farming Landscape” in the Eater, article Kestrel mentioned

  • Regenerative agriculture: implementing practices that are going to improve the outcomes for your soils health, enrich your soil, prevent erosion, increase biodiversity onto the land, improve the ecosystem and the watersheds — the goal is to capture carbon in the soil

  • “Even though 80% of registered producers or farmers are considered to be small farms, I think they put out less than 20% of all total commodities sold — it might even be lower than that.”

  • “How do we make regenerative agriculture so that the small farmer can even afford to do it? It’s way cheaper to grow dirty.”

  • “I say ecological consciousness because understanding sometimes change has to happen gradually, understanding that regenerative agriculture can be another club for exclusivity because as someone who works for a large environmental organization, I am committed to taking good care of the soil, increasing biodiversity, doing my part as far as carbon. You know — I can’t pay for eco-friendly inks right now on my labels or go completely no-till, so there’s definitely some cost prohibition, but I can make some steps and find out information and share that information, and that’s what I try to do.”

  • Ultimate vision for Green Heffa Farms, showcased in these 3D renderings

  • Gaia Herbs, one of Cee’s business idols

  • “Inside the Secret World of Vintage Fashion Scouting” on The Business Of Fashion, article Kestrel mentioned in the intro