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Biodynamic Bliss: Embracing the Holistic Approach to CSA Gardening

June 26, 2024

Table of Contents

Biodynamic Bliss: Embracing the Holistic Approach to CSA Gardening

The Roots of My Gardening Journey

Growing up, I was one of those kids who just couldn’t get enough of the great outdoors. Whether I was playing hide-and-seek amidst my grandfather’s towering tomato plants or digging my hands into the rich, fertile soil of our family garden, I was utterly captivated by the magic of cultivating my own food. Even as a young sprout, I knew there was something truly special about watching those tiny seeds transform into bountiful harvests – a connection to the natural world that has only grown stronger with each passing year.

As I got older and had places of my own, I was always trying to grow anything I could, whether it was a solitary plant in the singular window of my Boston apartment, a few pots on our blazing hot Las Vegas patio, or a large in-ground potager garden once we bought our home in Kingman. Growing came naturally to me, although I was not without my share of plant deaths along the way. But the joy of seeing something flower and fruit was unparalleled, and I knew that other people needed this experience in their lives too.

That’s when I came across Nicole’s profile in 2017 and thought, “Yep, that’s my dream job!” When her coaching society went live, I jumped at the opportunity to invest in myself and follow my passion. Since then, I have developed my coaching business to include a small farm and CSA program, teaching monthly workshops in the winter and taking on coaching clients to assist our community members in troubleshooting our tricky high desert climate.

From City Dweller to Countryside Cultivator

Seven years ago, I was living in New York City and working in the Fashion industry. I was craving a change in my career, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next. Little did I know, I was already starting down a path that would lead me to start my business as a Garden Coach.

You see, it was in NYC that I first learned to grow food. While living in the East Village, I joined a community garden on my block and fell in love. When I joined, I knew nothing about gardening – not a thing! But my fellow community gardeners taught me everything, from planting seeds to composting and everything in between. Learning from other gardeners was such an amazing experience, and it’s part of the reason why I started my business. In a world where Google can send you down a research hole so overwhelming it makes you cry, I wanted to give people the experience of learning and growing with a fellow gardener.

Fast forward a few years and one move to Columbus, Ohio – I got married, bought a house, and became a mother. During this time, I designed myself a large urban garden that my husband and father-in-law lovingly built for me. It was the second garden I had designed, having designed one for our tiny apartment yard when we first moved to Ohio, and I was starting to get the itch to do more.

I started designing and planning kitchen gardens for friends and family, and I knew pretty quickly that this was what I wanted to do with my life. So with lots of fear and hesitation, I started Seed Babies. My first season was not a smashing success by any means – I had about 5 clients total, one of them may have been my mom – but my goodness, did I have fun! I had so many ideas for growth, but I had no idea how to get to where I wanted to go.

Finding Mentorship and Community

That’s when I stumbled upon Nicole and The Kitchen Garden Society. Nicole had done so many of the things with her business that I wanted to do with mine, and I knew instantly that I had to join the Society and learn her ways. It was one of the best decisions that I made for my business.

Having a mentor on my side who motivates and challenges me has made such a difference. I’ve been able to grow my business and expand my services, and I continue to do so while learning every step of the way. Now I get to spend my days designing amazing spaces for clients and coaching them through the season. The excitement I see on clients’ faces when they learn or master something for the first time brings me so much joy. It reminds me of that same excitement I felt when I first started my gardening journey back in that East Village community garden.

Cultivating Connections through Gardening

I am the owner of The Birch Arbor Gardens, and I focus on year-round organic gardening and educating blossoming gardeners. I am delighted to serve clients through virtual services around the globe, which include kitchen garden plot plans, formal garden design, and in-person garden design, build, and installation, as well as garden maintenance packages and garden sitting services for traveling clients in the Greater Boston and Seacoast area.

The Birch Arbor Gardens is named for the arbor built by my grandfather, under which I was married. The arbor was placed in our kitchen garden as a symbol of the connection our family has to our roots and how we nourish ourselves. My dream is to be an agent in building this relationship in homes throughout my growing community.

Heirloom Potager designs year-round seasonal kitchen gardens for home cooks and culinary professionals in Orange County, California. Each design is unique, but the end result is the same: heirloom fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers harvested for fresh and healthy meals. From container gardens to raised beds to full garden landscapes, there is a garden design waiting to please your taste buds.

I am passionate about gardening and an advocate for the “grow local” movement. My gardening style is a blend of form and function, inspired by the bountiful, rustic gardens of Europe. As a member of the Garden Coach Society and a certified Garden Designer, I have a wealth of training to help clients create a garden that matches their style, experience, and garden goals. Most importantly, I believe everyone has the ability to cultivate their own potager – a space to grow nutritious, seasonal fruit, vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers in one practical and beautiful place.

Empowering Others through Gardening

Ground Culture is growing and changing with each new season. I started out by offering garden consultations and basic vegetable garden designs and have now evolved to a small team offering both kitchen garden and ecological and edible landscape designs and installs, in addition to offering workshops and engaging with the community through different projects.

I have spent many years learning the ins and outs of nutrition. Functional, holistic, and culinary nutrition are all a type of a nutrition focus-practice that I hold certifications in. While learning as much as I could about nutrition, I’ve spent just as many hours in the kitchen cooking for my family – I have 3 amazing teenage boys who eat a lot! I have also done many cooking courses over the years, including Rouxbe’s Plant-Based Professional course and the CNE program from the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.

I think everybody should know how to grow their own food and cook from scratch, and the why behind it. I love teaching and sharing my knowledge and hands-on experience with others in a way that makes it easy for them to understand. With the right teacher/coach and guidance, you can become an amazing gardener and cook with no prior experience. I love sharing techniques to make the most of your harvest, farmers market haul, or CSA pick-up – whether it’s uncooked, steamed, roasted, fermented, etc. I can show you how to make it easy and delicious.

From Lawyer to Landscape Designer

Up until December 2018, I was a commercial real estate attorney in Atlanta, practicing in the resort hotel and hospitality industry. In addition to practicing law, I kept the books and records, finances, accounts, and budgets for 6 entertainment companies – all owned and operated by my husband, who is a musician. I have 3 boys – ages 22, 20, and 18 (almost). The joke in our family is that I wanted another baby – instead, I got a tour bus!

Anyway, when COVID-19 hit in March 2020, all of my husband’s businesses came to a screeching halt. All 7 of his entertainment bands – 3 that he owns and 4 that he manages – were out of work. Over 100 shows have either been rescheduled to next year or canceled completely.

Back in 2018, I became certified as a landscape designer. And in 2019, I became a Georgia master gardener. In February this year, I joined Scottsdale Farms – a nursery in our area – as a landscape designer. So when COVID-19 shut everything down, Dennis and I decided to build a raised bed garden. I started my research, designed a garden and a deer fence, ordered supplies, created planting plans, planted a bunch of fruits, vegetables, and flowers, and hoped for the best.

Then I bought Nicole’s book – which I read in a day. And in May, I joined Gardenary. For weeks, I devoured all the modules and lessons and participated in Boot Camp. I also completed the Kitchen Garden Academy. Along the way, I created Kitchenairy Gardens. The more I learned through the Garden Coach Society and KGA, the more work I put into my own garden – changing things around, planning for the next season, moving beds, and putting into practice the techniques I had learned. That’s still going on, but I’ve also sold 2 raised bed kitchen gardens – one to my best friend for $2,454 and one to my neighbor for $8,354. And I have 2 more clients that I haven’t yet met with. There is no way I could have done any of this without Nicole and the Garden Coach Society.

From Environmental Consultant to Garden Entrepreneur

Backyard Eats – actually, it was called “Living the Dream” for a while – started with the simple mission to share the magic of the homegrown food experience. In 2016, I had been working as an environmental consultant for years. I loved the design work, but I didn’t have a connection to the mission. Meanwhile, my weekend gardening hobby began to yield results and become a before- and after-work hobby too. With every fresh raspberry or ripe tomato, I wanted so badly to share the experience with everyone I met.

Soon, I realized I could put my ability to research, design, and plan into gardening, and I decided to do something new. For a couple of years, I slogged through hundreds of problems that vexed my business and my gardens. I did my best – after all, I was one of the first to realize that gardening could be a business, right? Imagine my relief when I found Nicole had brought together a community of garden coaches and gave us a platform to share information and up our game. Now my design-install-maintain business boasts a team of three happy, dedicated gardeners and over 25 ecstatic weekly maintenance clients.

From East Coast to West Coast Transformation

Lemonita Kitchen Gardens came to me in a half-sleep on a second-hand couch – the winds of change were blowing strong through my mind. I had moved back home to California from being on the east coast for nearly 15 years, and I’m determined to bring the sanctuary of a kitchen garden to the people of the Bay Area and beyond.

While I love doing full-scale kitchen gardens, I’m also an advocate for small-space gardening. The local push for urban density and affordable housing often leaves people without large yards, but I believe apartment dwellers deserve to grow their own food too. After moving back home and seeking advice from many small business owner friends and family, I was still feeling unsure exactly how to start. I knew I wanted to do everything by the book and start off on the right foot, but I was getting lost in the weeds.

Then Nicole’s introductory teaser for her KGCS course showed up in my IG feed, and what she said made so much sense. I signed up the same night. I was not prepared for the wealth of information the courses contain, but luckily for me, Nicole’s courses brought everything that was specific to my dream of a garden coaching business into crystal clear focus. Since then, I’ve been making friendships with the incredible garden coaches. Everyone cheers each other on, and we’ve bonded as a strong community, which is more than I could’ve asked for.

The Power of Community and Mentorship

The Kitchen Garten is a huge success, and the work Courtney does in her community is truly inspiring. With gardening in her family history and many years of gardening experience in her own backyard, Courtney is a natural garden consultant and coach.

I’ve had several people ask me what I think – should they join the Society? Is it worth it? I always answer wholeheartedly, yes. The courses are extremely informative and thorough, and watching everyone’s business grow along with mine is so encouraging and such a blessing. I can’t wait to meet all the new garden coaches and watch them begin their new journey.

If you love to garden, then join the Garden Coach Society. There’s no better way to share your passion for gardening and to earn an income in the process. I promise you won’t regret it. The community, the mentorship, and the practical, hands-on knowledge you’ll gain are truly invaluable.

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Thornapple CSA: A community-driven initiative championing sustainable agriculture. We connect members with fresh, organic produce, celebrating the bond between land and community.

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