FLINT, Michigan — The day I got to sit with Jade Marshaé, Flint native and owner of FREEdom FarmHER Farming Co., and Hidden Holistics, located on Harvard Ave. Her exultant nature grabbed me immediately. With good feelings around us, her energy felt cognitive of classic Southern comfort hospitality.
“I am free! Whatever I am moved to doing at that time is what I’ll do,” she says. “Now one thing before I do anything else, I’m going to have some tea, that is a staple of the day.”
At the age of 17, she found her mother deceased and decided to move to Illinois with her father. “I remember thinking, I ain’t been to Illinois before, but I ain't never lived without my mother.” While in Illinois, she went to Orion Technical College in Iowa, just over the Illinois border. “Working in the medical field is what started my mental health journey. I was 25 years old with four children between the ages of 2 and 10, and one day, I looked up a good place to raise small children, and that’s how I moved to Nebraska.”
“Motherhood has been the craziest, most beautiful ride I have ever been on!” Marshaé explained. “My great-granny raised me, but my grandmother was the provider and my support system. I always wanted to make my grandmother happy, but I realized that made me miserable. She had her children at 16 and 18, and I had my young men at 16 and 18. So, there was a cycle that was repeated. I didn’t want her to be disappointed in me. Once I freed myself from that, it’s been up, and sis done fell in line.”
“Motherhood has been the craziest, most beautiful ride I have ever been on!" says Jade Marshaé on Dec. 28, 2023. (Anthony Summers | Flintside.com
In society, it isn’t rare for a Black single mother to be counted out. She felt the neglect from her community and flourished despite its coldness. Her oldest son is a high school graduate and a business owner himself. “He can slap on a wig and is definitely going places,” said Marshaé. “My second oldest will be graduating high school this year and loves the video games, and I’m not mad at it.”
Having two sons break the stereotypical cycle is a manifestation of her transformative freedom mindset.
Her third oldest is the mirror image of her mother. It’s the collision of their flames that compels Marshaé to refer to her daughter as a powerhouse. Her youngest child is a young lady whose affection turns the bodacious woman into a freshly baked cookie with a soft, gooey center.
“Raising young men is totally different from raising girls,” she said. “I always tell them to ask their brothers about the old me. They’re learning.” Her laughter exposes that though she found a life outside of her children, they are still the apple of her eye. She obliterated the fear of them repeating cycles and reframed from extreme preventative measures.
“The prevention is I let them be free. I don’t restrict or restrain them. I think people are going to take it out of context, not that I care, but within their age limits, I allow them to make their own decisions. It’s your life. I feel that I have paved a stable enough way to break the cycle.”
Jade Marshaé expounds on how her father endearingly refers to her as a 'gypsy.' on Dec 28, 2023. (Anthony Summers | Flintside.com)
Eight years ago, after finding out that her nephew had pancreatic cancer, Marshaé moved back to Flint. After being home for a year, she found out that her current home was for sale. This is the home that has been in her family for generations. She hit the ground running and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
This is her seventh season of farming and uses the winter to rejuvenate and prepare for what she calls the 'real new year' which is springtime. She says the reason why she wanted to create a farm was “to station myself where I can heal, farm, and raise children — a one-stop shop.”
The local farmer is responsible for harvesting fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. She also has chickens and eggs available for purchase. This is under the Freedom FarmHer Farming Co. umbrella. Marshaé also owns Hidden Holistics. Though these are separate entities, they often work together interchangeably for a common goal. The two businesses have been a positive force in her celebration of a year without alcohol and meat.
Hidden Holistics offers an array of products and services such as garden workshops, essential oils, hygiene products, life coaching, reiki, oracle card readings, and tea. She passionately and proudly explains how she built her farm from the ground up. No matter how big or small the task, she completed it skillfully, and for the most part, by herself.
Capitalizing “her” on FarmHer was letting the world know its owner is a woman. Marshaé equates it to religion. She practiced Islam for seven years to free herself from her Christian background. She later concluded that their methods were similar and that their man-made rules like to place restrictions on people. She has made it clear that she will not be confined to anything by anything, starting with the name of her farm.
Jade Marshaé smiles for the camera on Dec 28, 2023. (Anthony Summers | Flintside.com)
“I wanted it to be clear! God is okay with me throwing these seeds out here and reaping the benefits of the land, feeding these chickens, and reaping the benefits off of them,” she said. “Don’t try to box me in. You can’t put a piece of paper on my soul’s purpose.”
“I’m not a feminist or anything like that but normally people ask, ‘Is the farm your husband’s?’” she continued. “When I practiced Islam, I covered myself fully and people asked, ‘Did you marry someone that practices Islam?’ All of these societal inflictions and projections and my response is, 'Who said?'”
Outside of motherhood, FREEdom FarmHer Farming Co., and Hidden Holistic, Jade Marshaé is a woman of the arts. She used to drive to Detroit as a vendor [Hidden Holistic] for an open mic event called First Fridays. “If I can’t find the events here that I enjoy, then I will create it.”
Marshaé advocated to be the founder of First Fridays in Flint, and was asked to facilitate what is now [in Flint] known as Fourth Fridays.
She was apprehensive at first because she wears a lot of different hats, but this was something she enjoyed doing and felt her fellow Flint artists, performers, and patrons would too. She calls it a “a partnership through my connection with Zsa Zsa Hubbard is how it got here.”
Since its established date, Fourth Fridays has been an open mic event that has been an inclusive hub where artists and patrons can hone their skills, network, support Black businesses and brands, and appreciate art. “When you come, your voice matters,” she said. “Your vulnerability is protected and respected.”
It takes place every fourth Friday at Genesee County Compassion Club located at 6340 N Genesee Rd in Flint, and starts at 7:30 p.m.
In 2024, she will be launching the Heal Mobile and a holistic bed and breakfast where she plans to create an uncomfortably comfortable environment for people.
Marshaé's personality pierces through her like a beam of light blinding anyone who can’t withstand its rays. She unapologetically shows up as her authentic self in every space that she’s in. In freeing herself she has placed a feather on each of many hats that includes FREEdom FarmHER Farming Co., Hidden Holistic, her children, and Fourth Fridays. Something she wishes to remind everyone on their journey is to “be free, whatever that looks like to you.”
Find and follow Jade Marshaé on Facebook, and for more information on FREEdom FarmHER Farming Co. and Hidden Holistic, call (563) 528-5077.