Leonard Brown lives on the eighty-acre homestead where he grew up in Water Valley, Mississippi. His father purchased the land so that future generations might benefit from it. As a farmer, his father sold produce in nearby Grenada, Mississippi. His family lived a self-sufficient lifestyle, growing or trading for most everything they needed.

After studying Agriculture Education at Alcorn College and Tuskegee University, Mr. Brown worked as an extension agent in Montgomery, Alabama. Approximately twenty years ago, he returned to Water Valley take care of his family farm.

Today, the land includes rolling pastures, maintained by goats and cattle, as well as forests managed for timber. Inspired by his late uncle, Mr. Brown grows a wide array of edible and medicinal herbs, as well as shiitake mushrooms and fruits. For the past two years, Mr. Brown has sold his products at the Oxford City Market. He is constantly learning more about the benefits of herbs and sharing that knowledge with his customers. He describes the farmers’ market as a family and feels support from the greater Oxford community. In the spirit of his parents, he cares for the land, so that present and future generations might enjoy Brown’s Farm.

View the interview transcript, or listen to the interview below.

Interview with Leonard Brown

Abby Huggins completed this project as part of Dr. Catarina Passidomo’s Southern Studies course on Foodways in the fall of 2015.