Brain Champion Justin Marcano

AGE: 29

Justin Marcano will tell you he always wanted to learn to garden. Now, he gardens with gusto. As a member of the Peanut Butter Palace Co-op, an intentional community that strives for food sustainability, Justin, lives his dream working with others to forge an agricultural system that supports the environment and social justice practices (see permaculture).


Justin is genuinely proud of his accomplishments at the Peanut Butter Palace, so named because co-op residents ate tons of peanut butter before their methods for food sustainment were realized. But times have changed. Now Justin fills up on a bounty of crops cultivated with his own hands. The soil around the Peanut Butter Palace has sprouted and from this fertile earth, Justin grows and harvests peas, eggplant, anise, squash, mango, spinach, kale, papaya, pineapple, Bok Choy, sweet potato, guava, cherries, cashews, macadamia nuts, kumquats, loquats and much more.

There’s a palatable excitement in Justin’s voice when he describes the food sustainable methods he uses to make the earth bloom. Whether he is using aquaponics to raise tilapia and full-grown plants in five weeks or practices food forestry (click links to learn more), Justin has found his life’s focus.

More than anything, he wants to lead by example, to encourage others to become action-oriented and live more vibrant lifestyles. Practicing what he preaches, Justin works with the Orlando Permaculture organization to educate and empower others to grow food and become so sufficient they need not go outside their home to feed their families. Justin’s goal is to spread the idea of permaculture among low-income communities where urbanized gardening can really make a difference. Also, through the Orlando Permaculture, Justin coordinates action days to build community gardens and to teach different food growing and preservation techniques, such as how you can ferment food in your own home.


On a grand level, Justin aspires to move people to live inspired lives and to improve the planet we inhabit. On a more personal level, Justin works to sustain his own personal health and well being through gardening, exercising, rock-climbing, cycling, hiking, guitar playing and cooking. A free-spirited person, Justin faces each day knowing his life is of his own making.