FarmerJawn Signs on to Activate Jasper House – Now Leasing First Floor to Minority-Owned Food Businesses

Mixed-use development offers a design approach inspired by boutique hotel-like finishes and a first floor focused on Minority-owned food businesses.

The first of its kind – Jasper House – announces a ground-breaking model for commercial spaces and multifamily. Southwood Properties, The HOW Group, and Sterling Wilson have collaborated to develop Jasper House: an adaptive reuse, mixed-use development located in Kensington and set to deliver in 2023. The building plans include 139 apartments and 10 artist studios, a courtyard garden, and 6,500 SF of light industrial space for minority-owned food businesses on the ground floor.

Jasper House is pleased to announce our first partnership for the industrial space with Christa Barfield of FarmerJawn. FarmerJawn will operate a community garden in the courtyard of the building, providing opportunities for people to volunteer and learn about urban agriculture, attend special dinners and events, and participate in FarmerJawn’s CSA program.

“We’re thrilled to have Christa and the FarmerJawn team join us in activating the community garden and industrial space at Jasper House. My partners and I feel strongly that we have a responsibility to the communities we develop in to create opportunity for a diverse range of people; especially minority business owners and food entrepreneurs who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

The building offers light industrial commercial space to BIPOC food-related business owners at approximately 50% below the current market offering. In addition to the below-market-rate pricing, the commercial space also offers a $100,000 in Tenant Improvement budget for additional features to be divided among all tenants on the fit-out. Kensington is undergoing a development boom, and the developers want to contribute a thoughtful and inclusive commercial offering to the growth of the area. FarmerJawn decided on Jasper House as their first location closer to the Central Business District, having operated spaces in Germantown.

“This garden is a way for people to know where their food is coming from,” says Christa Barfield. “I see food as medicine, so this is all about reimagining spaces for the betterment of the people. It’s about becoming more conscious of everything we do—that starts with agriculture.”

With the recent shift in restaurant businesses towards new revenue streams, like ghost kitchens and consumer packaged goods, there are opportunities for entrepreneurs in the Philadelphia food space to thrive. Jasper House is supporting those opportunities with valuable space, not only for minority and Black-owned business growth but as a standard for future equitable development in the city.

Jasper House has brought in creative placemaking firm Cohere as a facilitating partner. “FarmerJawn’s model of micro-urban farms in Philadelphia is perfect for the goal of creating a successful community engagement space at Jasper House in Kensington,” says Cohere founder Antoinette Marie Johnson. “Working with this development team on Harbison’s Dairy, we saw how they built something new while respecting what existed. That next level consideration is something Jasper House requires, and the BIPOC centric space on the ground floor is key to the engagement factor.”

About Jasper House

Jasper House is a mixed-use development in Kensington, Philadelphia that will include apartments, artist studios, and a community garden, in addition to commercial space with a vision of bringing businesses, community members, and residents together through food-driven experiences. For more information, visit

About Farmer Jawn

FarmerJawn is an agricultural enterprise focused on the reintroduction of farming into the lifestyles of urban people through CSA shares, farm placement, and education. For more information, visit

About Cohere

Cohere is a creative agency that serves the hospitality, real estate, and restaurant industries. Their mission is to transform formerly abandoned spaces into something more engaging for neighborhoods. This project is a combination of their superpower to “cohere” stakeholders from multiple perspectives to align along with the same goal.

Call to action – The development team is actively seeking businesses interested in the remaining ground floor space. For interested parties please contact – Antoinette Marie Johnson who is helping minority-owned brands get connected to affordable, equitable space.