Posts in THE LIST - MAY 2018
Moon Hooch • Michael Wilbur

What’s the story behind where you are today?

I found an interest in sound at an early age. There are tapes that I made when I was four years old of bird sounds from my back yard. I remember being fascinated with the intricate patterns they flawlessly produced. At eight I began playing saxophone and took to it very naturally. I found that it was an easy outlet for my pent up emotional energy and continued to develop it through guided training. At 19, I moved to NYC and met James and Wenzl. We began playing on the streets/subways together and almost overnight developed an underground following. Soon we began touring around the country and now, internationally. 

What’s your Why?

It depends on the day. Some days I don’t get out of bed. Generally I have a feeling of purpose beyond this realm of existence. I don’t have much interest in the material world and would rather spend my time exploring and developing things within myself. If I am to leave anything behind for others to experience, I want it to have depth and purpose beyond the surface of appearances in hope that it can catalyze growth in those who experience it. 

What’s on the list for today? What’s next?

At the moment I am on a flight to London to play a show. I look forward to returning to New Bedford to take boxing lessons and be with myself.

What’s one thing that you’d like people to know?

You can only change yourself. If you manage to reflect and become the person you want to be, you will inspire the world to change with you. Life is going to throw a sack of shit in your face. If you know how to clean it up without lighting it on fire, chances are you’ll be alright. 

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Coeur et Sol • Chelsa Hernandez

What’s the story behind where you are today?

It’s a long, winding path that led me here. I’ll spare you the superfluous details and just say this: I grew up in rural NJ on a small family farm. I grew up digging in the dirt, riding horses, raising dairy goats, and selling farm fresh eggs at the end of the driveway.  As I grew older, I tried out many different paths, my last one a straight track to corporate fashion in NYC.  Ultimately, I had the realization that I needed to go back to my roots who I truly am.  Planted in East Orange, a quick 25 minute train ride from Manhattan, I found a vacant lot and started my plans to grow my urban farm!

What’s your Why?

My why is simple. It is to feed the community and to grow produce organically and sustainably. At least, that’s what it started as.  As my first season has progressed, I have built many beautiful relationships with my surrounding community and truly love having the children (and adults!) in the neighborhood stop by to learn a little bit about how food is grown.

What’s on the list for today? What’s next?

Today we are trying to get through all our bed prep work to make sure we get all of our tomatoes and other crops out on time.  We are also working hard preparing for our first CSA share next week!  Next is (hopefully) bountiful harvests and plenty of weeding.  For our second growing season, we hope to hire a Farm Assistant.  We are also working on some other projects that are too young to talk about— but we are so excited for what is to come!

What’s one thing that you’d like people to know?

That we CAN change our food system.  It will take a lot of time, but there have been generations of amazing farmers preparing the landscape for what is happening today.  The solution to hunger and health isn’t to step back and allow industrial farming to expand (and create more and more food waste!), the solution is to start farming. We need more small, family farms.  We need to take the lead to inspire and educate new, young farmers.  All it takes is to start somewhere!

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Terra Luna Herbals • Elise Hanks

What’s the story behind where you are today?

My Terra Luna story started when I graduated college and came to the realization that he industry I had intended to enter (fashion) was really not for me. On a whim, my dear friend, who was experiencing similar misgivings, set off on a trip to volunteer on some vegetable farms in Colorado and Arizona. After experiencing organic farm life, we were hooked! When  returned to Philadelphia, I got an apprenticeship on a flower farm and began taking herbalism classes. The rest naturally came into place. 

What’s your Why?

My garden!

What’s on the list for today? What’s next?

Growing my business to the point where I can expand to a larger plot of land to grow on. The goal is always to connect client with what the natural world has to offer - expanding my base is always on my mind. 

What’s one thing that you’d like people to know?


Using herbs and plants in general for medicine, both physical and mental is such a gift - it’s all there for us, growing from the Earth! We just have to change our habits and empower ourselves to take control of our own health. Start with herbal tea!

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Honey Girl Grows • Robin Jones

What’s the story behind where you are today?

I had a great career as a creative director branding and creating ad campaigns for big agencies. Then a car accident landed me with anxiety that worsened over years, and a second LA rear-ending eventually graduated me to panic attacks and hallucinations before I was finally diagnosed with severe PTSD. I was disabled for two years, then got extremely lucky to find help and recovered 100% in just two years (thanks to a somatic method from the Trauma Resource Institute). I was so damn grateful to get my life back, there was no way I was returning to work inside an office again. I launched my business designing culinary gardens and apiaries for residents, hotels and corporate and never regretted it.

What’s your Why?

Bees are some of the most fascinating creatures on the planet, they just amaze me. Putting friendly bee species apiaries on hotels and designing guest programming around them and educating the public is so much fun, but designing culinary gardens for chefs is equally exciting. Chefs and home cooks see food differently, “get” and match my passion for growing exotic ingredients, edible flowers, organic practices, the difference good soil makes in flavor. And each chef takes our collaborations and creates thoughtful, conceptual art on the plate. And this is the stuff that gives me goosebumps.

What’s on the list for today? What’s next?

A current and exciting not-for-profit project includes a visionary young corporal on a military base and involves bees and gardens. Can’t say more than that just yet.

I’m also about to put culinary gardens and the only apiary, on a hotel in Orange County. Unlike the small “PR” garden beds at another OC hotel, this will be a sizable garden the kitchen and bar will regularly harvest, with guest experiences custom designed around the gardens and bees. 

I’m also working on a kitchen garden for a hotel in Newport Beach with a chef previously from Alinea, and can’t wait to see what she does with our ingredients. I just completed a sustainable edible garden design for Red Bull Corporate in Santa Monica, using what was previously a completely dead space. The 3-bin compost system and worm bins take the company’s paper, and restaurant’s food waste full circle, returning as rich soil that feeds herbs, greens, Alpine strawberries and more. Hopefully we’ll be adding bees next year. 

I pinch myself that I’m returning to corporate thru gardens, and getting people outside and connected to their food, bees and nature. 

Bigger picture, I hope my work with chefs, residents and corporate gardens plays a tiny part in shifting our food system away from monocrops (growing only one type of crop), which will benefit  all animals and ecosystems. I believe chefs hold the power to influence this change and are, already.

What’s one thing that you’d like people to know?

Don’t wait a minute to chase your joy. My family owns @WhiteFishStage organic farms in Montana (follow them!), my aunts are homesteaders, and I grew up with chickens and a greenhouse, cooking/baking with my mom from our tiny garden. Despite a lifetime of gardening, for years I didn’t think knew enough to launch my business. It took losing everything before I found the ovaries. I doubted myself so hard, I went to volunteer at a local farm before I’d be convinced I wax ready. On the farm (for almost a year), I learned very little. It was the most ass-kicking lesson. I watched the farmer (who I adored) till the soil repeatedly with each crop, and finally realized I knew way more than I thought knew and was beyond ready. (No Till people. Give your hoe to your enemy.)

I wish I’d made the leap years ago. I absolutely love my job.

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Honey Truck Co. • Danielle Brooks

What’s the story behind where you are today?

I love drinking tea, especially with honey. One day I had the thought of how awesome it would be to have my own hive to harvest from. I checked out every book I could from the library about bees and keeping them.  Once we got our ducks in a row, I got on a list to get a beehive, and we waited…. In April of 2016 I got my first beehive. I drove up to Jacksonville and they just put the beehive in my trunk and I drove home with them. I had no experience, and jumped in head first.

What’s your Why?

The average age of a beekeeper is 57.  I just turned 30. I love being a young beekeeper because I get to be in the forefront on implementing change. The social, economic, and environmental landscape is rapidly changing and beekeepers are facing more challenges that ever.  There’s a need for a new generation of beekeepers. Younger beekeepers often have an innovative way of approaching problems as they arise.

What’s on the list for today? What’s next?

Today's to do list consists of getting ready for a pop up shop tomorrow at a local farmers market. I have to make more lip balm, pack the truck, do inventory, answer emails, work on social media posts, etc. The list is always endless and always different. I love that no two days of being a beekeeper are the same.

Ultimately, years down the road, I hope to franchise. The Honey Truck Company is an easily replicated model. It not only provides pollinators for an urban setting, but it also educates people on the importance of bees and buying a truly local product.

What’s one thing that you’d like people to know?

While honey bees are often in the spotlight of pollination, native bees are just as important to our ecosystem. Honey bees were imported from Europe in the early 1500s and are not native to America. In Florida alone there are over 319 native species of pollinators. Of those species, 27 of them can only be found in Florida and no where else in the world. That's crazy! We should work hard to protect those little critters. So while the honey bee is at the forefront of my business, I also give voice to the native pollinators as well.

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Growing Back To Eden • Nick Ager

What’s the story behind where you are today?

For as long as I can remember I was always doing something that would give me the title of a "gardener" or even a "steward of the land". However it wasn't till just a few years back that my passion and love for growing food, and working WITH the land grew... And it grew fast!

My first real garden was simply just a two foot by fifty foot bed that ran the length of a backyard fence and followed Back to Eden gardening principles. That little garden grew a lot of stuff in it too! It was that very garden, well right next to Paul Gautschi's garden of course, that inspired me to teach and spread the word of BTE gardening!

When the opportunity came up to start a BTE garden on the farm where I worked, I was well-prepared. After work each day I was out there putting together a roughly 1500 square foot plot! This season will be my first year growing in it and I'm extremely excited to see what it blesses me with!

What’s your Why?

People are always shocked when they hear that I'm only 18 and do all that I do, at such a young age! But when you are truly passionate about something, age is seriously just a number. Unlike the majority of kids my age, I'm excited to get up early each morning and go work, and then go work some more and spend time with the animals until it gets too dark to do anything else.

I enjoy having to go take care of things like a garden or livestock each day. In my opinion, it's cool to think that if I don't get up each morning to go take care of the animals and tend to the garden then they won't take care of me in return. I feed, and provide a happy and healthy living environment for the animals, and they (well the majority of them anyways) provide me with either eggs, meat, or even a free source of pest control!!

What’s on the list for today? What’s next?

As much as I would love my 1500 square feet of heaven, I still have a dream of moving away from the east coast of Maryland to the PNW in Washington! So hopefully one day I will be able to find a property where I can grow my garden have an amazing orchard like my mentor Paul Gautschi's, and bring people out to teach them about gardening, homesteading, and living a simple and sustainable lifestyle!

What’s one thing that you’d like people to know?

When raising and growing your own food and living a self-sufficient lifestyle, it's not always going to be easy. As a matter of fact it will be hard most of the time.

You will come across many obstacles, but the only way you can truly be successful is if: one, you obviously never give up and keep trying again until you get it right, and two, you have faith! You need to have faith that whatever your doing will work out and that all of your hard work will pay off in the long run!

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Verdura Culinary Design • Sara Gasbarra

What’s the story behind where you are today?

I literally grew up in a garden. My earliest childhood memories are of spending time with my father (who was born in Italy) tending our tomato and basil plants.  My maternal grandparents had a summer lake house with a large garden and I would spent part of the summer there picking beans, learning how to compost the catfish we would catch off their pier and seeding all sorts of colorful flowers. I’m often asked if I went to school for agriculture and my answer is no - I simply grew up with this. Having access to a garden as a child influenced me in countless ways both professionally and personally. I can’t stress the importance of teaching children to garden.  It impacts the food choices we make as adults, encourages a healthier lifestyle and fosters a deep appreciation for seasonality, conservation and treating our planet kindly.

What’s your Why?

My “job" is my favorite pastime.  Prior to starting my business seven seasons ago, I had a pretty boring, uninspiring desk job. I dreaded getting out of bed each day, hopping on the train into downtown Chicago and walking into a stale office building. In the spring en route to my office from the train station, I would stroll past landscape companies planting gorgeous vegetation along Michigan Avenue and I was admittedly quite envious of the workers.  I would think to myself, “How do I get to do this?” I wanted so desperately to be outside, working with my hands, creating beauty from plants.

Flash forward several years later, I took some big career risks and figured out a way to make that a reality.  It hasn’t been perfect and its still fraught with the stresses of building a small business, but being outdoors each day is the best kind of remedy for that stress. I have fun every day I’m working.

What’s on the list for today? What’s next?

Two years ago I launched my culinary gardening business in Nashville. I’m now working with chefs and restaurants in Chicago and Nashville and splitting my time between both cities. My goal is to cultivate more projects in Nashville and embrace the slightly longer growing season.  I will always have one foot in Chicago as I have some incredible anchor projects there. Both cities are unique and offer me very different opportunities. My long term goal is to create a consulting arm of my company so that I can assist chefs and restaurants beyond Chicago and Nashville realize their gardening goals. I’m developing a project model that can be easily applied and executed whether you're a small independent neighborhood restaurant or a large scale hotel.

What’s one thing that you’d like people to know?

People often think they need a vast space to cultivate a garden and of course that’s not true.  When working with restaurants, the spaces we have at our disposal are often pretty unconventional and challenging - I set up gardens in city alleyways, on rooftops and on balconies. You don’t need beautiful yard or a larger parcel of land to cultivate a successful garden.  There are so many products out there to help transform an odd space into a beautiful and productive garden. And even just a few simple pots of herbs can make an impact. People assume because I run a gardening business that I must have a large scale home garden and I don’t.  I’ve always lived in the city and tend a very small scale, but productive garden plot. It amazes me what you can grow in a tiny space - a lot more than you think!

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