Martin Acres has the highest point and the lowest point in Muhlenberg
County, Kentucky and has been used for timber, hunting, oil and gas extraction, and agriculture. It has
been in a state of transition since the untimely death of Herbert L. Martin
and the migration of many people in this black family to the north for factory jobs. And since the
late‐1980s, this family has not practiced agriculture. Some land is leased by a neighboring farm for
non‐biological growing of corn and soy. Other land is under a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
but most of the farm is maturing forests. A creek runs through a portion of the the property, there are two
ponds, and other places where water flows.
In the late 1990s, twin brothers (sixth generation descendants of
Lorenza/Lourenza and Minnie Martin) Irucka Ajani and Obiora Embry,
tried unsuccessfully to encourage their family to grow food organically as a means of generating farm income.
After a few years of making no traction they decided to put their ideas on the back burner. However in 2012
they decided to quit talkin’ about it and be about it (Obiora’s motto since the 2000s).
In December 2012, they sought two acres of farmland on Martin Acres to develop an edible
forest garden. The two acres were previously used for cow grazing, but had been left fallow for 40 or more
years. On it were mature trees, bramble, grasses, and bushes. In early 2013, the area was cleared and
bulldozed. This left exposed soil and barren land, two large brush piles, uprooted trees, and plants that
looked like they were dying. In March 2013, they went to visit the area for the first time.
Irucka and Obiora planted stakes in the ground, took photographs and video, discussed how it would be an
uphill battle to turn the desolate looking land into a thriving edible forest garden, but they had nothing
to lose and were up for the challenge!