Wendy Johnson and her husband, Johnny Rafkin, own and operate Jóia Food Farm, located in Northeast Iowa. Together, they have a 5-year old daughter, Vivienne, who is currently planning her own garden for this coming spring. Wendy is originally from Iowa but moved to California after college to pursue her then love of fashion and marketing. In 2010, Wendy returned to Iowa with Johnny to live and work on the family farm. Wendy felt a strong connection to her family heritage and wanted to respect what her parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents worked so hard to create. When she returned to Iowa, she didn’t know much about agronomy, so she enrolled in a few classes at Iowa State University, took master gardener classes and found mentorship, peers, and resources through Practical Farmers of Iowa.
Jóia Food Farm raises pigs, sheep and lamb, chicken for eggs and meat, turkeys, and ducks. They also grow organic grains and pastures. The animals are grazed within the organic rotation, adding to the nutrients that the soils need to grow healthy plants. Jóia Food Farm believes in the principles of agro-ecology, with a focus on biodiversity, the sharing of animals and plants working together to create healthy soils, healthy animals, healthy plants, a healthy environment and most importantly, healthy food.