South Fulton, GA
When you first observe Kendall Rae Johnson in her garden, she appears to be your typical seven year old. Just a little girl; playing, laughing with her friends, and truth be told she really is just a kid at heart, but ask Kendall Rae for a tour of the garden, and that same little girl grows up before your very eyes.
Kendall Ray certainly knows her way around the garden. Exactly how, and when she developed that knowledge and love for gardening, her parents say they first noticed it when she was just three years old.
“When her grandmother would tell us to bring her collar greens out and just put them back in the ground or put them in a pot or something, so we could have collar greens again in a couple months off of the same stalk; and she was interested on how these, she would go out and look at how it would produce new little stalks and stuff like that. And she’d be excited about it; Like ecstatic,” says Quentin Johnson, Kendall Rae’s Dad.
“You know, she’ll see a yellow leaf. She’s going to question, ‘why is it yellow? Well, what type of bug is eating it? Can we find, she calls it the culprit?’ ‘You know, where is the culprit?'”, says Urusla, Kendall’s mom.
Most kids her age don’t want anything to do with vegetables, but for Kendall, it’s an unexplainable passion that’s blossomed in her.
“I enjoy it so much because it means sharing food with the whole community”, says Kendall.
Sharing and community: Two of the major emphasis and foundation for which ‘A Grow Culture’, Kendall Rae’s business entity was built upon. As mentioned, she’s a certified farmer and a member of various farm organizations, including Georgia Farm Bureau. Her story, capturing the hearts and attention of many, some of which felt the need to step up and lend a hand. Last December, Kendall Rae, Mom, Ursula, and Dad, Quentin were invited to the big apple for an appearance on Good Morning America. Once there, Kendall Rae was presented with an early Christmas gift – A check for ten-thousand dollars to help with future farming endeavors.
“I think it’s pretty good that I talk to people, and I, and I love it because I get to meet new friends everyday,” says Kendall.
“It definitely almost breaks me into tears almost every time I think about it, because I, would never, myself as a kid, I never had that much confidence. You know, she’s so young with a lot of confidence and just like you said, she just walked up to you and gave you a hug. She’s not really afraid of anybody,” says Quentin.
“She did an interview with, I think it’s Boyd Elementary School. And from kindergarten through fifth grade, she was entertaining to everybody. She was entertaining to everybody. The fifth graders wanted to ask her a question. She used a fifth grade word. She said microbes, which they know it as microorganisms, but she did the short version of it. And then the teacher had to step in and say, ‘she’s talking about microorganisms people’, but she’s using the word microbes. She’s using the terminology, compost, you know, soil. And I mean, she can use everything. She knows the plant cycle. So, she’s allowing those who are younger than her. Those who are right at her age, her peers, you know, and beyond to kind of connect with her in a way that is just brilliant,” says Ursula.
But Kendall Rae’s enthusiasm for farming, not only contagious to her peers and children alike, but also to adults, especially her dad.
“This is the longest I’ve ever stuck to anything. And it’s just because she gave me a passion for it because I mean, I love it too now, you know, because learning the different things about growing and stuff like that is fascinating. So it’s been keeping my attention for some years now,” says Quentin.
By: Ray D’Alessio