Oakwood University started as a place to educate blacks in the south in practical, academic, and spiritual disciplines, and the mission has not changed. Our Co-Founder, Ellen G. White, in a letter penned about “Oakwood Manual Training School” as it was called then, encouraged the work of training students in cultivating the soil and spiritual erudition in God’s plan for their lives: “At the Huntsville school a thorough work is to be done in training men to cultivate the soil and to grow fruits and vegetables. Let no one despise this work. Agriculture is the A. B. C. of industrial education.” White, E.G. (n.d.). Southern Field Echo, 11.
Oakwood Farms is part of the O.U. Enterprises (Industry Recovery Plan) envisioned by President Dr. Leslie N. Pollard. Among the O.U. Enterprises are the Oakwood Memorial Gardens, Edible Arrangements I & II of Huntsville Alabama, Oakwood Farms, and the Oakwood Farms Market, which is the latest project that has been completed.
Every farm needs a farmer and Oakwood Farms is no different. Artis Sidney, a local agricultural entrepreneur and the previous owner of Garden Cove Natural Food Store in Huntsville, Alabama, served as the Director of Oakwood Farms from 2017 to 2019. With over 40 years of gardening and farming experience, he is truly a man with two “green thumbs.” “All of the food produced here at Oakwood Farms will benefit students,” said Sidney. We currently have 12 plots cultivated now with over 40-acres for the future plants. Oakwood Farms began preparing the soil for planting in early 2017. As the demand for healthy organic food increased, Oakwood Farms had to expand.
Poised to be the largest Urban farm in North Alabama, Oakwood Farms wants to also offer an experience for everyone who visits. Bryan Landers is the current General Manager of Oakwood Farms, and Oakwood Farms Market. Oakwood Farms Market provides indoor/outdoor seating with Wi-Fi connections, various events for the local community, gardening tips, and cooking/product demonstrations. We also provide our locally grown quality produce in packaging that displays the Oakwood Farms name, and so much more.
Oakwood Farms is the only farm in Huntsville that provides farm fresh produce to its own market. We are also the first market to house a vegetarian bistro. Oakwood Farms Market has its own private label items such as alkaline water, natural sodas, wellness/herbal supplements, with our own bath and skin care products. We are going back to our roots, so that we can share the future. Oakwood Farms have grown extensively, with varieties of produce that will benefit Huntsville and the surrounding communities. We will partner with Oakwood University’s Healthy Campus 2020 Initiative to supply produce for their Mobile Farmers Market Bus. The Mobile Farmers Market will target food desert areas to sell our farm fresh organically grown produce. The plan is to have farm fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables available to the public. In the future we plan to introduce a university-level curriculum for students who are interested in studying Agriculture or Agri-Business Technology.