After laying fallow for decades, Lafern Joseph set out to bring her family farm back to life. In 2020, she began cultivating 2 acres of veggies which she gifted to family, friends, and neighbors. Distributing this food brought to light how challenging it had been for folks to access fresh, nutritious food, as well as the prevalence of diabetes and heart disease that too often go hand in hand with low food access. Lafern sees fresh vegetables as one way she can combat both issues.
In 2023, Pinebrook is gearing up for growth. Only one step away from USDA Organic certification, Lafern has also been awarded an NRCS grant for a high tunnel, and will be applying for additional grant funding to convert the farm's old tobacco barn to a wash/pack shed. This year, she’ll increase vegetable cultivation by over 300% with the goal of donating at least 50% of her crops to food-insecure populations.
A 0% interest loan from Foodshed Capital will allow Pinebrook to build and outfit a second high tunnel and purchase seeds, tools, and soil amendments.