HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — You don’t have to grow fresh fruits and vegetables or even manage a farm way out in a field anymore.
These days people are able to do that and so much more in large cities. Wisdom and Cherie Jzar are some of many who were able to transition into urban farming.
Cherie Jzar currently works as a personal planner. Her husband, Wisdom, was doing retail sales for concerts and festivals when they decided to switch things up and get into urban farming.
“We started thinking about job opportunities for young, Black men, [and] young, Black women and trying to usher in a new generation of farmers that are growing in urban spaces,” she said.
They launched Deep Roots CPS Farm where they not only manage multiple urban farms, but work to get more Black people into farming.
“It’s an amazing thing to have that vision actually come to fruition,” said Wisdom Jzar. “ It's indicative of farming itself.”
So many opportunities have come their way in the last year, including something bigger than they could have ever imagined. Wisdom and Cherie Jzar will be managing a new urban farm in Huntersville called Free Spirit Farm.
This 28-acre farm will be the newest addition to the Carolina Farm Trust family, and it will be one of the largest urban farms in North Carolina.
“What we can do here is very special as far as a community asset and really putting a substantial farm in the backyard of North Mecklenburg county,” said Zack Wyatt.
Wyatt is the CEO and president of Carolina Farm Trust, which leased this property in Huntersville.
Carolina Farm Trust works alongside farmers, markets and consumers to bring locally grown fresh food to those in Charlotte and the surrounding areas.
“Our real main goal with kind of building this urban farm network in the Charlotte metro and beyond is to get the masses to understand here’s what farming looks like,” said Wyatt.
Free Spirit Farm will include a high tunnel grow building, orchards for fruit and nut trees, an area for producing compost and much more.
For Wisdom and Cherie Jzar, managing this farm is something they are excited about.
“How do you eat an elephant…it’s one bite at a time. So, that’s how we looked at it and that’s how we’re going to handle this is, little by little and with any farm it’s always in increments,” said Wisdom Jzar.
The two have plans to hire more Black and brown farmers to help them handle this new property. They know managing Free Spirit Farm will be their largest urban farm to date, but it's a challenge this team says they're ready to take on.
“Yeah we’re nervous, but we are very very excited,” said Cherie Jzar.
Carolina Farm Trust broke ground on Free Spirit Farm back in February and says things should begin moving forward by this summer.
They are hopeful this new farm will be a resource for farming communities across North Carolina.