In this episode we meet Farmer D, the new face of farming today. But he is not at all what you might think. There is no stereotypical pair of overalls and straw hat; no image of Mr. Greenjeans comes to mind. For over 14 years Daron Joffe has been out to change how we think of agriculture in a world poisoned by fertilizers and chemicals, where the miles food has to travel leaves it lackluster in flavor and nutrients and where many children don’t even know how the foods they eat are grown.
Joffe became interested in organic gardening while in his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As you will see it literally started over lunch. Since the agriculture department had no formal courses in organic farming, he was successful in securing a summer internship at a local organic farm in Madison ultimately purchasing and running an organic, biodynamic CSA farm there for 4 years.
Not feeling that he was doing enough to educate others from his farm alone he decided to sell it so he could reach a larger audience and moved to Atlanta. He picked up his education at the University of Georgia setting up an organic farm in Athens for one of his professor’s PhD students, while still running his non-profits and studying.
In a conference with his Dean that confirmed he had a much greater opportunity as an eco-entrepreneur than pursing a degree, Serenbe, a new community just South of Atlanta, was mentioned as a perfect fit for his talents. Yet, it would be another year before he actually visited the property and would be hired to develop an organic farm as part of the amenities. That project became an anchor for the community and a model, which Joffe has implemented across the country.
He continues his work from Atlanta devoting as much time as he can to educating children in his community about where food comes from in the hopes of enlightening them and getting them inspired about the foods they eat.
As if that weren’t enough he has also inspired his Whole Foods partners to become more sustainable through a program of composting all of the food spoils and compostable items store-wide thus reducing landfill pressure by about 40,000 pounds a week. The resulting nutrient rich product is sold at Whole Foods while bringing the company full circle in their sustainable practices. For the complete and unabridged edition of Farmer D’s story click here.
And, we find Chef Nathan in the kitchen creating a tasty dish with a most under appreciated vegetable, Brussels sprouts, which the children learn more about in the episode. Enjoy!
For more information
See more videos of Daron on Mother Nature Network