You Got to Love It...Farming!

Baton Rouge, La. - Gregory Keith has a small vegetable garden in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with 22 heads of cattle on 28 acres of land in West Baton Rouge Parish. Mr. Keith was inspired by his grandfather Burnett Keith who taught him everything about growing vegetables. Growing up in Liberty, Mississippi where his family owned 300 acres of land and everyone in the community had a garden, Keith made his rounds throughout the neighborhood.  He learned all kinds of gardening tips from master gardeners who lived in the community. However, the move from Mississippi to Louisiana was also quite an adventure.  


The family moved to Zachary, Louisiana for a better life but his love for Agriculture never wavered. The more he was around farming the more comfortable he became. While growing up in Louisiana Gregory left farming for a while and became a Commercial Painter. Painting was his primary source of income for many years but he never lost his love for farming. Gregory began to produce spring and fall vegetable gardens every year for the past 10 years but didn’t stop there. He wanted to do more. He began posting his gardening produce on social media and that opened his whole world. He began to get vegetable customers from throughout the city of Baton Rouge. While selling on social media he was introduced to the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center.  


Mr. Keith began to meet with Southern University Cooperative Extension personnel. He then met the cooperative extension agents, and he invited them to his garden. There the agents and Gregory began to foster a relationship that provided him with resources to improve his operation. He was provided with information about programs, and field demonstrations, introduced to other vegetables and cattle producers, invited to workshops/trainings and yearly conferences, and he met state officials from the USDA. Since working with the Southern University Cooperative Extension program, USDA, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), and community-based organizations (CBO’s), Gregory has expanded his operation and received an $80,000 grant from the USDA and was able to make the necessary improvements to his cattle operations. He has become the Vice President of a local community-based organization called the Community Cattle Enterprise, LLC. and he is putting together his future plan to mentor children and adults who are interested in agriculture. He also plans to return to assist family members in Liberty, Mississippi on their farm and institute everything he has learned to provide food to local communities. Greogory wants to make sure that he instills farming into his 4-year-old grandson and to make sure that there’s a farm for him to cultivate when the time comes.  


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