Josh has been fascinated with plants ever since he was three years old and big enough to help his Grandmother in her greenhouse. He remembers thinking he had walked into a tropical wonderland when it would be freezing cold outside during the harsh winters of Southern Utah. Josh knew at an early age, he wanted to live in a greenhouse and grow plants!
At 18 years old, Josh went to work for EuroFresh in a 5-acre cucumber and tomato greenhouse near Snowflake AZ. He was promoted to Greenhouse manager and refined his skills in growing plants at a large scale. After seeing the toxic chemicals and unsustainable practices of monoculture, he decided to go a different route.
In 2012 Josh opened a hydroponics and indoor garden supply shop in Flagstaff AZ called Just Grow With It. He would teach weekly classes on composting with worms, hydroponics, growing sprouts, and micro greens, and did lots of consulting for bigger commercial outfits.
Josh has helped with several “bio-reclamation” projects on the Navajo reservation from toxic chemical dumping and helped native farmers install water filters that enabled them to use heavily contaminated water to successfully grow crops. In 2015 Josh had the privilege of teaming up with renowned Israeli horticulturists Yosef Bender and Roan Brewster to build experimental vertical hydroponic systems in an aircraft hangar at the Flagstaff airport, that later became the model for a project at NAU. Josh continues to do consulting for several commercial operations.
Josh’s ongoing project at The Sanctuary has involved:
- Rehabilitation of the greenhouses and automation of climate controls
- Rebuilding and expanding of garden beds and supplying bio-dynamic “super-soil”
- Installation of flood and drain hydroponic systems that save 90% on water usage
- Installation of a commercial water purification system that supplies the entire campus with reverse osmosis water to every tap
- Implementation of a comprehensive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system that utilizes beneficial fungi, bacteria and predatory insects to eliminate the need for toxic chemicals and systemic pesticides
Josh continues to refine his cultivation methods on his 7-acre riverside micro-farm in Cornville AZ, where he is currently planting a vineyard and applying permaculture techniques to his large organic garden.
He believes we are all stewards of the Earth and have a personal responsibility to protect our environment, make a deeper connection with our food and the soil it grows in, and learn to use nature as an ally, after all, “it’s the only perfect system we have!”