Krista Barfield has grown her concept from a backyard garden to a major player in Philadelphia’s urban agricultural landscape.
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Krista Barfield is the “100% systematically dope” force behind FarmerJawn. An emerging voice in Philadelphia’s urban agricultural landscape, her focus is on the intersection of education, environmental science, and food justice.
The Germantown resident’s journey to work began with a vacation to the Caribbean. As Krista sipped a tea made from herbs grown on the same property where she was staying, the burned-out 9-to-5er realized there could be more to life. So when he returned, he left the job.
Leaving the corporate job that had given her a vacation in the first place, she dedicated her life to the land, and to addressing food insecurity in her community.
Two years ago with a 4-by-6-foot plot, Krista developed a farm, a locally sourced tea company, a plant boutique, and a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture Program).
Last summer she expanded. The five-thousand-square-foot Farmerjohn Greenhouse was commissioned in Elkins Park, just outside the city line, while a 200-acre community garden is nearby at Roxboro’s Schuylkill Environmental Center. Recently added gardens can now be found in Kennett Square, graciously offered by the Kennett Square Roots Collective.
During the winter months, Krista seeds and grows her produce to maturity in a greenhouse, allowing FarmerJohn to provide fresh produce to Philly families year-round, without the traditional seasonal restrictions. During the traditional growing season, she plants her plants from the greenhouse in the field, where they grow in pesticide-free soil until harvest. Greenhouses located in Roxborough and Germantown now serve as “propaganda stations,” he said, while the bulk of the growing has begun in the ground.
Initially, FarmerJawn’s CSA provided weekly yields for 10 individuals; It now serves over 60 member families. In addition, Christa offers free and subsidized memberships for Philadelphians who need them.
A CSA membership with FarmerJawn is geared to feed 3 to 4 people and consists of 8 to 10 items each week, including a variety of organic vegetables, fruits, herbs, teas, and honey. Krista features all-natural food, home and body products from local manufacturers as well as healthy recipes that teach families how to get the best of their fresh produce. The best part of sharing at CSA, she said, is the surprise. Every week, members have the opportunity to try new and different types of produce that quickly turn into family favorites.
Spring 2021 CSA memberships are sold out, but FarmerJawn produce can be picked up a la carte on Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Food Trust’s Germantown Farmers Market on Germantown Avenue and Schoolhouse Lane
In addition to growing and supplying produce, Christa strives to educate Philadelphians about the importance of healthy, locally grown, pesticide-free produce.
Her ultimate goal, she said, is to eradicate Philadelphia’s “food desert”—neighborhoods typically home to black, Latino, indigenous and other marginalized communities with little access to fresh, nutritious, affordable food. FarmerJawn is built around the belief that access to produce is a human right.
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