I am always excited when I have an opportunity to interview my classmates and sorors. This interview was no different. Well maybe it was a little different. I had no idea the story that would come from the amazing Kiona Wagner. Kiona and her husband Chris are the proud owners of Rocky Soil Family Farm which is a 13 acre farm that specializes in seasonal vegetables and herbs, farm-to-table events, and sourdough breads. After meeting and dating for a few years, this dynamic duo married and decided to pack it all up and move from the sunny beaches of Miami, FL to the rural town of Monticello, Florida.
Kiona and Chris started with true humble beginnings. In Miami they had a small backyard garden that grew into their own oasis. They found themselves waking up early to harvest before work and going to bed late at night after caring for their garden. The garden produced such a large harvest that they were giving away fresh vegetables to their neighbors and colleagues every other day.
"We realized how much peace and gratification gardening brought us and we started to dream about producing vegetables on a larger scale." -Kiona
After searching for the right piece of property in South Florida for a couple of years, they decided to expand their search to other areas. The Wagner's found the nicest piece of property in Monticello, Florida that offered three acres of oak trees and another 10 acres of virgin land to farm. In 2019, they stepped out on faith by quitting their jobs and relocated their family to live out their dream. Now, they are headed into their second year of production, selling at two farmers markets and are currently building their very own farm bakery.
Kiona and Chris understand the power of what they bring to the to the table. There are over 3 millions farmers nationwide and only a little over 1% are Black. Kiona notes that "we own less land now then we did 50 years ago and I take pride in being a BIOPIC and a female farmer. Though Chris and I are the only two operators of the farm for now, it is my dream to hire and offer paid internships, post Covid-19, with the students who are studying agriculture at FAMU, a local HBCU, which is only 30 minutes from our farm. This way, we can invest in opportunities to learn about the ag industry first-hand and hopefully inspire them to purchase land for their own business."
In the midst of a global pandemic they launched a new business and gave birth to twin girls. This month those sweet baby girls will turn a year old and they will be opening their bakery! The girls and their teenage son are able to watch the inner workings of the farm as well as learn day to day operations. As a child who grew up on a farm, I know firsthand how this experience will help to shape them and I am so excited to see how this amazing family business grows.
Check out my interview with Kiona and learn more about Rocky Soil Family Farm!
You can purchase fresh honey and hot sauce directly from the farm at www.rockysoilfamilyfarm.com and be sure to follow the Kiona and Chris on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube @rockysoilfamilyfarm and check out this adorable farm family!
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