Welcome to the Freeman Family Farm and GreenhouseJun 30, 2022 09:56PM ● By Michelle Dalnoky
by Martin Miron
The family owned and run Freeman Family Farm grows market-type vegetables like tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, green peppers, chili peppers, bell peppers, Italian peppers, green beans, cucumbers, cabbage, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, squash, zucchini and herbs. They also raise chickens that provide delicious, jumbo-sized, brown eggs. Their Brunch Bag includes brown eggs, gourmet coffee from a neighborhood roaster, fresh herbs, fresh veggies and a nice tote. The Bag would allow one to make a fresh; aromatic quiche with a cup of coffee on the side. Freeman says it has been well-received by their neighbors.
Owner Lisa Freeman is a social worker with more than 40 years of experience. She says, "We engage our community through educational opportunities, healthy cooking and eating demonstrations, black history month celebrations and a community gathering during National Night Out that occurs in August." They also have quarterly events that include the entire the community, including live bands, support groups, free food distributions and artists' events.
Freeman recalls, "It all began when I won an award for best front yard from my local community development organization almost 15 years ago. I had just purchased and rehabbed my Victorian home in the historic community of Manchester and planted all types of perennial bulbs that needed TLC from a local garden center. They were beyond blooming that year; but, OMG the next year, it was a celebration of majestic color! The award kind of went to my head, and I found another patch of city-owned land and began a school/community garden that was a one-of-a-kind success that grew into a special “Garden of Goodwill”. My farm came along about three years later."
Freeman bought a condemned building from the city of Pittsburgh that had gone through many incarnations and was quite run down and abused beyond repair. "The Garden of Goodwill allowed us a good reputation for building healthy relationships in the community," relates Freeman. She collaborated with collaboration with JobCorps, a local construction company and a demolition contractor. After removing the building in October 2018, they began to test the soil, remediate the earth and grow in 2019. She says, "In 2020, the world stopped with the onset of the coronavirus, and we experienced the closure of our startup business!"
After starting up again in 2020, Freeman Family Farm formed a relationship with the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank through the “Green Grocers” project. "We provided fresh produce to the Green Grocer, who in return travelled to the many food deserts in the city of Pittsburgh in order that neighbors have access to fresh and affordable produce. I really do not know how much we grew. We just kept growing, giving and giving in order to ensure our community would not experience food insecurity," advises Freeman.
The farm incorporates permaculture practices and focuses on the medically vulnerable, the elderly and the most at risk of food insecurity. Freeman notes, "We use only natural remedies to address pests and organic solutions to fertilize our fruits and veggies. Our chickens are free-ranged and fed organic feed."
Soon, a Green Grocer store will be open daily to provide good health in the form of freshly made salads, sandwiches, vegan options and morning delights. Ancient grains, legumes and superfoods will be supplied to showcase and give the best opportunities of nourishment.
Freeman is also a chef who has experience in cooking and serving food that addresses the needs of those going through chemo, radiation and/or restrictive diets. The farm is starting a pilot project to provide an extra layer of support for neighbors diagnosed with cancer, high blood pressure and/or diabetes, working closely with doctors in Pittsburgh.
The Freeman Family farm is located at 1426 Juniata St., in Pittsburgh. For more information, call 412-290-9294 or visit FreemanFamilyFarm.net.