Farm Girl Nursery opened on March 24th of this year in Novato, California. It’s pretty much been an experiment, according to owner Lisa Marvier who is excited about what might happen next. The fact that she knows that she is making a difference in the world means everything to her. Farm Girl Nursery is full of fresh organic fruits and veggies as well as a variety of animals, some of which are rescued like her former racehorses. They have also opened up a camp for kids, where they can learn about how food is grown and even do some of the cooking themselves. Lisa also encourages people to reuse materials in ways they have never thought of, instead of just buying new. She encourages kids in her camp to recycle everything from their homes: egg cartons, soda bottles, water bottles, milk containers…anything that they can use to start seeds. Lisa discovered that the plastic cartons with tops are great because they act as mini greenhouses!
We just had to meet up with Lisa (interview below) to learn more about Farm Girl Nursery, her philosophies and her future plans. You can connect with Lisa and Farm Girl Nursery through e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, over the phone: (415) 730.6917 or through their facebook page found [here]. Their current hours of operation are Wednesday and Saturday from 10-4PM.
NM: Why do you think it is important for people to grow their own food and or buy natural food grown locally?
Lisa: I see so many ill informed people all over the country. They eat what their parents eat, their parents are in a hurry, and they forget about health and nutrition. When you grow your own food it means something. You see a seed turn into a harvest and you want to eat it, prepare it and enjoy it. Eating locally is everything. I often ask my son to read the ingredients in the food he wants to eat because the “other” kids like it. I then ask him what is in an apple, a green bean, an orange. He gets it. His breakfast often consists of a walk through the gardens picking blueberries, strawberries, peas, carrots and tomatoes. It puts a huge smile on my face and heart!
NM: How do you think it benefits kids to learn about gardening and how food grows?
Lisa: Children have no concept of where their food comes from. They think in boxes, packaging…not in natural forms, from the earth food. I want to change that. An unbelievable thing happens when they plant a seed, water it, watch it grow and then harvest and eat it. It’s magic!
NM: How do you feel about the current food system and its use of unnatural seeds and substances like GMOs or herbicides?
Lisa: It’s very scary where our future is heading with food. It’s not even food any longer! I want to bring the real world back. Get your hands in the earth and grow. Grow with your community, your family and your overall being!
NM: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to become Farm Girl Nursery? What was the dream behind it all and where did you get your name?
Lisa: For years I’ve had the dream to own a “farm” and do kid’s camps, rescue racehorses, educate the public on organic farming and more. It all started last year with my, then, 11 year old son wanted to make a documentary on WWII. He wanted more props and I told him that at 11, I had a paper route to support my horse. I asked him to look around the property and figure something out. Right then and there he said what about “SEEDS4NEEDS”. He said he would pick seeds and sell them. I would get half for my racehorse rescue and he would get the other half for his project. I honestly “blew him off” saying “wow, that’s great” and I proceeded to go to the barn to ride. When I came home he had picked 600 nasturtium seeds and packaged them in bundles of 10 in tin foil. He had my computer on and the order he wanted to place with Amazon for his gear for the documentary. I was amazed. We went to the County the next day and got his business license, set up a bank account, made logos, business cards. We began selling and he was a hit. Then the cousins wanted to be a part of it, plant and do something entrepreneurial. In the arena I used for the racehorses once they were sound I saw the opportunity to put in a small garden. I asked the kids what they would plant and why. Next thing you know I’ve set up a huge greenhouse in the entry to my home, bought 2000 seeds and the rest is history. The name came from a friend that had a very successful business in our town. More than half my home is from her store. She wanted to know what I was up to and I gave her my ideas. She started spewing out names and one of them was Farm Girl. I said, “That’s it!”
NM: Can you introduce us to your farm friends? What animals do you have and what food are you growing?
Lisa: Farm friends….nope they are farm family! I swear each one is like another child to me. The goats come in the house at night and sit on my lap, the horses are reborn from the racetrack. It is pure heaven. We have rescue racehorses, bunnies, pot belly pigs, baby goats, mini horses, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, chickens…and more. As far as what is growing we have tomatoes, beans, basil, fennel, sun flowers, corn, brussel sprouts, cabbage, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, boysenberries, dahlias, nasturtiums, cucumbers, peppers, a million squashes, apples, plums…pretty much everything I can think of!
NM: What are some of the ways that you work to educate kids about natural food?
Lisa: The second children enter my farm I am there to hand them a purple podded pea, a strawberry, a taste of basil. They are so excited and they love it. The most heard comment is “it tastes like candy”. Music to my ears! I also have started DAY camps where I bring in a chef and they walk through the garden deciding what to harvest and make for a meal. Tickles me pink to say they love the food and it’s the best they’ve ever had!
NM: What do you feel we need to do as a global-community to get back to some healthy basics?
Lisa: Start with parents/anyone planning a single plant! It doesn’t have to be a big garden. Find a bucket, an old tub, and then get some good soil in it and just plant. Lettuce, a tomato, a cucumber – it really doesn’t matter. Just water it, care for it, eat it and prove to yourself that you can do it!
NM: What would you say to someone who thinks that gardening is too hard for them?
Lisa: That’s a big excuse. I’ve proven that you can grow a garden in an old horse trough. Fill it with the right soil (aged horse manure) and take care of it. Anything is possible. Not enough room, no sun, live in an apartment – excuses. Do your due diligence and find out what you can grow in those circumstances. I guarantee you something!
NM: What do you most love about your work? Why is it important for you to live off of the land?
Lisa: It is so important for me to wake up in the morning, take care of all the animals, feed them the food in the yard, goats – clippings from the roses, bunnies, carrots and lettuce, and then come in have my tea, my eggs that I just took from the coop, fresh berries and enjoy this life.
NM: We know that you have a passion for re-using materials, especially in your garden. Why do you think it is important to re-purpose materials and what are some fun ideas you have come up with in your garden when working with materials someone else might throw away?
Lisa: Our society is all about the “new”. There is very little passion in re-using our recycled materials. I love finding the purpose in a thrown out article. Old horse water bins with holes, recycled seed, one gallon, 5 gallon and bigger bins wrapped in coffee burlap bags (for FREE), screens used for seed drying (love them!), shutters, headboards and other materials as garden art and trellises.
NM: What are some of your goals/future plans for Farm Girl Nursery?
Lisa: I’m taking this one day at a time. I know that I’m on the right path. The universe is helping immensely. I’m staying true to me and my love of animals, organic gardening and inspiring others.
NM: Do you have any advice for parents who are trying to raise their kids more healthfully in today’s toxic world?
Lisa: Please put away the cellular phones, the ipads, the games and everything else. Sit, listen to your children, pay attention to what they need. Teach them to live healthy. They are so wanting to be taught. Watch their faces when you plant a simple green bean and it harvests and they can eat it! MAGIC! It is the most simple thing ever — put a seed in the right soil, water regularly and magic happens. What is more special than that?! I’m so hoping we can all get back to simple living, educating others and making a difference in our world one person at a time!
Images: All images courtesy of Farm Girl Nursery. Second image is Lisa with her goat named Gibbs. Image of kids is from their children’s camp. To view more images, visit them on facebook.