Brown’s Produce Farm: A Generational Endeavor
Michael K. Brown, known locally as Farmer Brown, is the proud owner of Brown’s Produce Farms. The business is located just four miles southeast of Greensboro, where the eighteen-acre farm has been for generations in Sawdust. Farmer Brown inherited the farm from his father; like him, he had it passed down from his father. Brown’s grandfather initially farmed tobacco in St. John but took the chance to purchase his own plot of land when the owner of the tobacco land moved away from Gadsden County. His grandfather bought the Sawdust parcel with the money saved from his hard work.
Farmer Brown mentioned that this land was meant to grow crops such as mustards, turnips, and watermelons; in addition to tobacco. The fresh produce from the ground was sold and given to the local community to help feed those in need. Farmer Brown says that he has now taken on the responsibility of upholding the family’s legacy to continue feeding his community and caring for the land which financially supported his family for multiple generations. He continues to farm the land, not for himself, but to support Sawdust.
Ironically, he laughs now about how neighbors and friends tease him to remind him when he said he would never be a farmer as a young man. Today, his farm is one of the area’s best, and Brown’s Produce Farms products can be found in the local Piggly Wiggly. He is even a supplier for the Gadsden County Public School System. In addition to supplying produce to schools, Brown’s Produce Farms sponsors several students annually from local schools and churches to go on college tours to help widen their worldview. Farmer Brown says this is another way he likes to help give back to the community and help mentor the youth.
Farmer Brown’s favorite season is towards the end of summer, around middle to late August. During this time, his famous muscadines ripen, are harvested, and given out to his neighbors. These summer nights give him time to reminisce while enjoying meals with everyone close to him in the community. If farming didn’t work out, Farmer Brown says he would have wished to pursue a life in music. In his eyes, being a member of FAMU’s Marching 100 would be the second-best thing he could have done after continuing his family’s legacy.