We caught up with Joseph and his wife Tawna from Gratitude Garden and they gave us the grand tour of their farm. It just finished raining when we pulled up and all the greens and turmeric leaves had a beautiful mist. Their farm is magical, you need a minute to take it all in. At first glance you see raised rows of cucumbers and thai yard beans, hundreds of pots with turmeric and a shade house with ginger root. You look a little further and you’ll see shipping containers, this is where the mushroom magic happens. He’s growing shiitake, blue and pink oysters and lions main just to name a few.
What made you get into farming?
In 2008 I was diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer. I went through some conventional treatment and had to stop early, as the treatments were devastating to my body. I transformed my life literally overnight and went raw vegan for 3 years (cooked vegan till present) within that time I started growing my own food. We started with a few raised beds and within a year or two our whole front yard and backyard was covered in raised beds. We converted a room of our house into a sprout room and grew sprouts and wheatgrass, which were used as medicine. My wife Tawna and I decided to leave our old lives behind and start a new one designing it the way we want. This was the start of our journey to open our own organic farm. Your true passion and purpose in life usually stems from the pain you have endured in your life. Everyone will get dealt crappy cards at some-point in their lives, its how you play those cards that counts.
Grew up in London England but moved to boarding school in New Hampshire when I was 16 and moved to Florida when I was 18.
What’s your favorite mushroom?
Love lions main and shiitake
How do you like working with your wife Tawna? What are some of the challenges?
It’s actually great! We love doing farmers markets together, we have a lot of fun, we work great together. Tawna is a hard worker and is much more focused than me as I tend to have too many ideas, she helps rein me in and focus.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Farming is hard work, until you actually experience what it is like it may be a rude awakening for people who may have other fantasies of what it entails. Go work on some farms you are interested in emulating that are successful. Learn from someone that is doing what you want and amerce yourself in it and you will know pretty soon if it is for you or not.
Do you cook a lot at home?
Yes we do we usually eat light throughout the day. Juices and smoothies for breakfast and lunch and usually a cooked vegan meal in the evening