Justin loves to cook and he’s been all over the world dining in Michelin star restaurants as part of job working for Tastemade. His roots are dipped in social justice. He is passionate about global food issues such as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), food justice and access to healthy local food for all. His contribution to society is to help regain power through food. He says, “we don’t need to label home grown organic food. Farming saved my life. It changed my attitude, while going through a difficult divorce, it brought me closer to my kids.” His garden was his sanctuary, “there’s something in the soil and I got bit” says Justin. This is why Justin started Seeds of Xanadu.
A self-taught permaculture practitioner, he’s learned from Diego Footer’s Permaculture Voices, Geoff Lawton, Jack Spirko, and the square foot gardener – Mel Bartholomew. Justin started greening his thumb in his backyard, then expanded to growing stacks of microgreens, then aquaponics. He’s currently cultivating a corner across from a corridor/bike trail that runs from Claremont to Rancho Cucamonga. What’s great about this corner is it’s visibility. People come by and pick up veggies all the time. Justin’s also cultivating community on his corner.
Justin started selling nursery stock at farmers markets and has learned to turn plants into profit. He currently sells at 4 farmers markets (Orange Home Grown is the only one in Orange County) and 5 restaurants in the area including The Raymond and Mi Piaci in Pasadena. His steady crops include basils, arugula and salad mixes that include dandelion and mustard greens (great liver detoxifiers) and baby beet tops. He’s getting into more heirloom tomato varieties and cucumbers these days.
He buys from seed company’s that have taken the safe seed pledge which means no GMOs. Farmer Justin uses organic practices that currently include ladybugs for aphids, Agribon cloth to help keep out the bugrada bugs and protect plants from frost. He uses a mix of vinegar and food grade hydrogen peroxide to control mold that forms in the hot summer months. He also uses a flame weeder to eliminate pests, in addition to introducing nematodes that eat pests. If pests persist, he will resort to a natural bacterial spray. He tilled the soil once, and now uses landscapers cloth for weed suppression, compost for soil amending, and mulch.
Justin’s business is expanding. He just acquired a big piece of land in Rancho Cucamonga, and is in the process of buying a house and creating a backyard farm there as well. He’ll be expanding his offerings at the market as well. You may see his farmer friends Joe and Aaron at our market.
In a past life, Farmer Justin was a bass player and a rapper turned sound guy for Tastemade https://www.tastemade.com a food and travel show. So why give up all that glamour to get dirty in the hot California sun? Justin believes we can “beat” GMOs if there are enough of us (farmers) we can supply the world.”His mom always says, that –“if you find something you like, you’re never gonna have to work a day in your life.” Stop by and introduce yourself to Justin on Saturday’s at the Orange Home Grown Farmers & Artisans Market!