Jackon Freedom Farm may not look like a whole lot now to drivers who whiz past it on N. Porter Avenue.
Currently, it produces fresh, grass-fed beef and hay, courtesy of the land owner Austin Jackson. Anyone who stops will notice the fine split-level house and behind it rolling plains of ranch-land halted only by a pond.
But by the end of this year, it will be fulfilling its role as Norman’s first ever recipient of an agri-wedding event venue permit.
“It’ll have that modern farm feel,” Sharlee Rother, who runs marketing and social media for Jackson Freedom Farms, said.
During its Jan. 22 meeting, Norman City Council approved the farm’s agri-wedding designation. Rother said two new buildings will be constructed on the 130-acre ranch, both on the south side of where the house currently stands.
One will serve as a
wedding chapel, the other will provide space for the reception, and a courtyard in the middle will link the two. Floor-to-ceiling windows will provide natural light and a perfect view of the ranch land as a backdrop to the bride and groom’s big day.
And while most construction projects come with tentative timelines, the clock is actually already ticking for Jackson Freedom Farms to open up as a wedding venue. Rother said Jackson will be married there in September, and he’s already promised his bride-to-be that this’ll be the spot.
But the plans for Jackson Freedom Farm go beyond weddings, Rother said. The hope is to make it into a farm for the whole community.
Jackson has always wanted ranch land like this. He already had the cattle, and he was excited to move the heard over to this parcel of land after buying it from a family that was no longer using it.
He had another house on the property fixed and the barn fixed up. Now he wants to turn it into a sort of farming hub.
“I’m most passionate about the ways to bring the community out here,” Rother said.
Gardening classes open to various age groups will give locals a chance to test out or improve their green thumb. The farm environment can serve as an educational tool to children in local schools.
Rother said they will be working with Norman Public Schools and Moore Public Schools, in particular, to offer students a fun day out to learn about ranch life and the animals.
“It’s a great way to get kids outside and enjoying nature,” Rother said. “And for adults, too.”
There’s also been talk of setting up a blackberry farm on the property. People could then come out and spend part of the day picking their own berries straight from the source.
The wedding venue, though, is Jackson Freedom Farms’ biggest step. Rother said they plan to break ground on the construction in the next month.
“Getting the wedding venue up will be the biggest thing,” Rother said. “Right now, there’s nothing technically going on business wise.”
A spot for outdoor wedding ceremonies will also be available, Rother said.
That is, of course, if they don’t mind having the cattle act as special guests from behind the fence.