Tashera Taliaferro attributes her innovativeness to her parental upbringing. That’s why it’s not hard to believe that she is a perfect addition to the team at AeroFarms, vertical farm startup in Newark. Joining the company as Machine Tech 1, in April 2016, Taliaferro boasts that she is capable of solely accomplishing tasks at work that would usually require the help of four individuals. If there is one word Taliaferro describes herself as it is efficient.
Taliaferro, 35, acquired the skills that make her successful at AeroFarms through New Community Workforce Development Center’s Building Trades Program in September. She graduated in December. Arriving at the Building Trades program with ambition and drive, Taliaferro remained focused and set on her dreams despite challenges. There were times where I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t because I knew what I wanted,” she said.
AeroFarms is an indoor farming company that uses technology to grow food in an effort to limit the exploitation of the planet’s natural resources, according to the company website. With four locations in New Jersey alone, AeroFarms says it plans to expand indoor farms across the United States and has already received 10 awards. The indoor farms grow over 250 varieties of leafy greens, including kale, arugula, and herbs.
The average day for Taliaferro at AeroFarms consists of inspecting all the machinery and ensuring that as many as 2,000 bolts are in their correct position. The only complaint she receives at work is that she twists the tools too fast. Taliaferro explained that growing up, her father would reprimand her for not twisting tools fast enough.
“I have fun at work,” said Taliaferro. “I love my job.” She said that she likes working with technology because, “You can’t see electricity…electricity is in us. It just fascinates me. And I love figuring out the wiring…I love it.”
Building Trades Instructor William Robinson taught Taliaferro that precision is important. While working, she said that she constantly reminds herself of Robinson’s words: “Measure twice, cut once.” Due to that, she has now become a perfectionist.
Before attending the Building Trades Program, Taliaferro attended Lincoln Technical Institute. While attending school, she also did housekeeping with University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.In the future, Taliaferro said that she wants to start a project of her own working with the homeless population to rebuild old facilities by flipping them into homes for the homeless. In doing that, she aims to not only creating a place of solace for the homeless but also teach them valuable trade skills. She plans to call this future project Total Rebuild United, or T.R.U for short.
“They really want to give back to society, but society is stopping them,” she said.