If I’m not in a disaster zone trying to be useful, I’m probably planting a garden in San Francisco. In 2012, a friend and I founded Rhizome Urban Gardens, with the goal of helping people connect with nature, the food we eat, and our natural ecosystems. Sometimes that means offering one-on-one lessons in planting organic gardens, sometimes it’s talking about permaculture at our Farmers’ Market booth, and sometimes it’s just keeping a yard beautiful so folks want to spend more time in it.
We began with just a few clients, but have grown over the past year to complete a wide variety of garden installations, including succulent gardens, edible landscapes, and even a display for Google. I learned a lot not just about plants, but about how to run a business in the Bay Area. There were a lot of long days and challenging moments, but as winter offers a bit of rest, I’m reflecting back on the year with gratitude that I’m paying my bills doing something healthy and meaningful to me.
Check out our website! rhizomegardens.com…
I’ve planted gardens since I was a child, although I never intended to make it my day job. As a kid I learned from my sister how to plant miniature succulent gardens and enter them in the country fair, and somewhere in my parents’ garage a box of blue ribbons offers testament to my childhood passion for plants. I began studying permaculture after college, and before long co-founded the Unity Garden Collective to help plant organic food gardens and build community in San Francisco. Over the years, I planted a garden wherever I went, even if I knew I wouldn’t be around for harvest. There was always just something about it, like it was wired into my DNA, I felt compelled to do it.
Planting permaculture-based gardens made sense to me immediately. Permaculture is system of horticultural design modeled after patterns found in natural ecosystems. A natural ecosystem is all about relationships—between trees, understory, ground cover, soil, insects, fungi, bacteria, animals, people. By seeking to understand and work with these relationships, we can place elements together in ways that promote synergy and a healthier ecosystem. In this way, permaculture minimizes waste, labor, and energy input compared to standard gardening, while increasing diversity and reducing disease and the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. It’s a win-win way to garden!
We offer periodic workshops and events that are posted at rhizomegardens.com.
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