Exclusive interview with author 'Jimmy Jenkins"
Jimmy Jenkins was born and reared in the small subdivision of Pine View Park in Gifford, Florida. The predominantly black neighborhood of Gifford is located in the City of Vero Beach, on the Atlantic Ocean side of Florida’s coastline in the seaside region known colloquially as “Florida’s Treasure Coast.” Jimmy’s hometown of Gifford was situated merely a few miles away from the former site of Dodgertown, which was the historic spring training home for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team until that site was relocated to Arizona in 2008.
Before he started writing stories and books, Jimmy earned his law degree from the University of Maryland. After graduating law school, Jimmy undertook a commitment to public service by becoming a criminal prosecutor for several years. Next, he went into private practice representing clients in criminal defense and family law matters. Subsequent to this, Jimmy’s father, J.C., revealed to his only-child son the terminal diagnosis of being afflicted with late-stage prostate cancer. Both of his parents had already retired to his mother, Althea’s, birthplace in the Red Hills of Leon County, Florida. This ultimately guided Jimmy’s decision to return to his native state of Florida, to help care for his dad and relieve his mother from the forlorn burden of caregiving for her cancer-stricken spouse alone as she completed her own illustrious work career. According to the physicians who attended to his father’s condition, Jimmy, and his mother’s undertaking of the myriad of care-giver duties helped prolong J.C.’s 80 plus years of life for a few more heartening years.
After performing a handful of lawyering odd-jobs for a few years, Jimmy found a suitable position with a small publishing company headquartered in Leon County, Florida. After his father passed, Jimmy found that this position was perfectly suited to his newly emerging non-combative persona and non-adversarial lifestyle. That career changing decision to leave the pursuit of the brass ring to others, allowed Jimmy to re-engage with his aging mother as well as with his two sons, Isiah and James Malik, in a more profound and significant way. In addition, that transition prompted Jimmy to conquer his fear of penning prose, and to begin writing full-time about enlightening topics based on his philosophic beliefs and life experiences
Jimmy wrote Green Rush Fever because he felt a need to tell the story about how his family’s small farming operation entered the nascent Florida hemp industry in 2019. Aside from his analysis about growing hemp, in Green Rush Fever Jimmy also speaks about his family’s tradition of having a strong conviction in their faith and a tenacious belief in the power of having the robust loving support of one’s family members. Jimmy’s family is humble and prefers modesty over any ornate praises or displays of aggrandizement. He still resides in the beautiful and picturesque Red Hills of Leon County with his wife and granddaughter. He hopes that readers of his works enjoy the peculiar anecdotes and stories that encompass his life experiences.
Tell us about your journey in writing this book.
That journey was a meandering path whose ultimate destination I did not know for quite some time. The book began as a scientific styled report that would be submitted to the state regarding the cultivation of industrial hemp plants in the state's industrial hemp pilot project. As the necessity for that state report diminished, I decided that I should do something else with all of this great information I had collected and all of the wonderful photographs I had taken. The first publisher I approached with the idea for the book initially contracted with me to publish it under their listing of university academic publications. However, after meeting with me one time and discussing the material that I would use to write the book that publisher promptly fired me for no explainable reason and I have never heard back from them since. That rather abrupt dismissal from an established publisher forced me to drastically change the scope and focus of what I was writing, as well as the mode of publication I would use to get the story out to the public. That kick in the pants inspired this iteration of my book "Green Rush Fever" as my first self-published title.
You're a lawyer by choice, your family is in the farming trade and now you can add published author to your resume. How do you find time to manage everything?
While attending law school I learned the most effective time management technique for me was to write down my appointments and upcoming tasks on a calendar, or Franklin planner as we used to call them. That helped me keep track of the overlapping and conflicting responsibilities that I faced as a law student and young father. To this day, I still take the time to put entries on my calendar and make notes about my upcoming tasks in order to not have things slip through the cracks.
Your book is based on findings from the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Industrial Hemp Pilot Project (FAMU IHPP). Briefly tell us what this is.
When I was a farming partner participating in the FAMU IHPP, my responsibility was to conduct research on industrial hemp to assist the state in determining whether hemp production would be a commercially viable agricultural industry in Florida. The state of Florida has subsequently determined that hemp is a commercially viable crop and currently the state is one of 46 states that allows commercial hemp farming by permit.
What are the benefits of hemp? What products come from harvesting it?
CBD oil, pharmaceutical grade hemp for medicinal purposes, hemp building products and hemp textiles.
How do you handle the stigma that comes with farming this product?
By ethically farming the crop and not allowing it to spread beyond the boundaries of designated croplands and not allowing it to grow to a felonious chemical THC level.
What do you want readers to take away from your reading “Green Rush Fever”?
I want readers to disregard the mythical bad stigma associated with growing cannabis plants. The plant has many legitimate and legal uses apart from being considered as a recreational party favor. The cannabis Industrial hemp plant is a farm crop that has beneficial purposes as a medicinal pharmaceutical application and as a remediator of bad or harmful chemicals that can found in some farm croplands.
Your book highlights the importance of small farms, privately owned by families and individuals. Why was it important to credit them?
That is where farming begins and ends in the United States, at privately owned, small local farms. It was important for those farms and farmers to be included in the hemp pilot projects established by the various state departments of agriculture.
You're working on a children's book - tell us about that.
My children's book is a story about inclusivity, diversity and anti-bullying. Two hemp seeds are taken to a traditional farm and put into the farm crop rotation for planting with the other peas and carrots type of crop seeds. The hemp seeds initially face bullying from the traditional crop seeds. Eventually, the other crop seeds accept the hemp seeds and come to highly regard them as a high value harvestable farm crop.
What can we expect from you next?
My children’s book about hemp being a farm crop just like any other traditional farm crop. That is going to be my next book.