Clara White Mission’s farm grows with market, training center in area considered food desert

Eartha’s Farm and Market will be open Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in Moncrief Springs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The fruits (and vegetables) of many years of hard labor were on display Friday as the Clara White Mission cut the ribbon to open Eartha’s Farm and Market.

The slice of paradise in the Moncrief Springs neighborhood is named for prominent Black philanthropist Eartha MM White, who lived on the property and dedicated her life to giving back.

Her legacy planted a seed that has now grown into a 6,000-square-foot facility that will bring a much-needed economic boost to the underserved area’s residents.

Clara White Mission broke ground on its 10.5-acre farm (then called White Harvest Farms) in 2020. The goal was to offer a solution for what’s considered a food desert. The community is filled with convenience stores instead of grocery stores.

WATCH: What is a food desert? (Press play below)

Now, the facility includes a community farmer’s market and training center.

“It’s an opportunity for myself and small businesses to have a place where we can consistently sell our wares and goods and for me that’s honey,” said Mika Hardison-Carr with The Herban Bee.

People starting small businesses can sell what they love in a supportive training ground at the market.

RELATED: Urban farming a solution for lack of fresh food (Solutionaries)

“Revitalizing an area starts with economic opportunities,” said City Councilwoman and Clara White Mission CEO Ju’Coby Pittman. “What’s important is it’s going to be an economic infusion for this neighborhood. This farm came to fruition thanks to funding from the city of Jacksonville, grants and donations from groups as big as the Jaguars. Contributions that will keep it going.”

Pittman led a ribbon cutting Friday officially opening Eartha’s Farm and Market, which will be open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 4850 Moncrief Road.

Mika Hardison-Carr sells honey with The Herban Bee (WJXT)

From honey to herbs, cabbage to compost the market will have a big selection for the community. And the sales will be planting a seed for the next generation.

“Everything that’s sold here goes back into the community to create educational programs, field trips, feeding programs for the kids in this community,” said youth facilitator Cleo Fisher.

For the grand opening Saturday, the farm and market will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

About the Authors:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.