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Farming program starting up at historic African-American owned farm in Lexington

Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 3:56 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Jim Coleman moved away from the family farm, went off to college and hit it big working as an executive in several Fortune 500 companies.

Now, he’s coming back to his roots. Back to the family farm to work and at the same time, give back to his community and help to shape the future for Black farmers.

For more than one hundred years, the 13-acre piece of land Coleman calls home on the east end of Fayette County has been known as Coleman Crest Farm.

Jim Coleman moved away from the family farm, went off to college and hit it big working as an executive in several Fortune 500 companies. Now, he’s coming back to his roots.
Jim Coleman moved away from the family farm, went off to college and hit it big working as an executive in several Fortune 500 companies. Now, he’s coming back to his roots.(WKYT)

“Everybody owned land everybody worked hard and really wanted the American dream,” Coleman said.

The family farm started 132 years ago. The plan was for Jim and his wife to leave the big city life and come back to the family farm in the Black hamlet known as Uttingertown.

But Jim’s wife Cathy didn’t make it back. She died in April of breast cancer.

So, now Cathy’s passing becomes Jim’s inspiration.

We’re going to use this farm for good to help other young kids here in Lexington to know they can have the American Dream. That’s why I’m home,” Coleman said. “I want to lead and help economic development in my community.”

So, to do that Jim is going to reclaim the land, build a new house on the property and set up a program that teaches young minority men and women how to farm and in turn produce financial freedom.

“We’ve got kids that grew up in bluegrass Aspendale, an inner-city where they’ve never smelled dirt, they don’t know where bacon comes from here, where cauliflower comes from and we’re gonna bring them out here so they can really touch the dirt and, not only play in the dirt but learn the economics of farming,” Coleman said. “I want to show kids and young people here how they can take a half-acre lot and make $60,000 and from that, they can then go to a community trust bank and ask for a loan and they say, ’Tina, I know what I’m doing. I’ve got customers. I know how to raise a crop and I know how to raise the right products and I know how to sell and I need a loan so I can be free just like James Coleman.”

So, with so much social unrest going on in the country, Coleman wants to look at other avenues to achieve equality besides protesting.

“I know everybody’s angry right now, but I want to sell then we’ve got other angles we can take we can really be accountable and buy land and make sure the people and make sure that people like me are being accountable to them to show them the way to inspire them that you can make it,” Coleman said.

Jim Coleman will host a groundbreaking celebration for the new farmhouse at historic Coleman Crest Farm on September 15 at 10 a.m.

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