‘It’s in the blood’: 5 generations of Sylvester farmers learn from each other

‘It’s in the blood’: 5 generations of Sylvester farmers learn from each other

SYLVESTER, Ga. (WALB) - A Sylvester family with green thumbs sees no end in sight, after farming for over 100 years.

John Green Sr. and his granddaughter, Janya Green walk the farm with WALB News10's Bobby Poitevint.
John Green Sr. and his granddaughter, Janya Green walk the farm with WALB News10's Bobby Poitevint. (Source: walb)

Ironically, their last name is Green.

“A lot of the kids in my school, they say ‘oh no wonder you have a green thumb because your last name is Green.’ I’m like ‘hey, I didn’t put it that way. That’s just how it goes,’” said sixteen-year-old Janya Green.

Her grandfather, John Green, Sr. laughs with her about the conversation.


“It’s in the blood,” John Green, Sr. said.
“It kinda comes natural. I can’t control that,” Janya Green said.

Farming does come natural to the Green family, especially after the family has been doing it for over 100 years.


“I learned teamwork right here on this farm from my dad,” John Green, Sr. said.

It’s teamwork that helps grow everything from sugar cane to turnips and collards on this farm.

Sugar cane is the main crop on the Green’s farm.

Jayna Green also uses her green thumbs off the farm. She is the farm manager at Sylvester’s Village Community Garden.

She said it’s important to continue the tradition in agriculture because "if we don’t do then who else will?”

John Green Sr. (Left) John Green Jr. (Center) Janya Green (Right)
John Green Sr. (Left) John Green Jr. (Center) Janya Green (Right) (Source: walb)

This third, fourth and fifth generation of “Green” thumbs continue to learn from each other.

“Well, from my grandfather, personally, I learned how to adapt to the trials and tribulations that come with farming. In the future when I have my own farm I know how to handle these different situations. From my uncle (John Green Jr.), I’ve learned things from the sciences part of agriculture,” Janya Green said.

John Green Jr. is Green Sr.'s son and Janya Green’s uncle.

Green, Jr. said his plant science leanings from Fort Valley State University has helped him on the farm.

However, he learned the basics from his dad.


“What I learned from my dad is the, I guess, people say the old way of doing things. Learning to plant with less. From (Janya), we learn from technology," Green, Jr. said.

And it’s that technology, with Janya’s help, that’s bringing the Greens’ farm to the 21st century.

“From Janya, well, I learned that you don’t really have to get out and get dirty, from her career in the aeroponics. The first time I seen the field that she’s studying now, I was surprised about how much you can grow in that little space," Green, Sr. said.

Taking a little space and growing a generation of “Green” thumbs.

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