Margaret Gathunguri: Health Coach ( Institue of Integrative Nutrition Student ) and Urban Gardening Maven

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You’re a health-conscious woman frustrated by the quality of food from the supermarket and want to know how you can grow fresher better tasting food at home

You’ve been wanting to grow your own food for a while now because you know that the quality of food you eat matters to you and your families health.

But, you’re afraid to start growing your own food because you don’t know where to start or you’ve had several failed attempts with little to no harvest.

Googling, books on various techniques, limited space, and that one basil plant you can never seem to keep alive are just some of the reasons that keep you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to put all the right information together so you can grow the quality food you desire to eat.

I can help you rediscover your green thumb so you can eat the quality and better tasting foods you desire.

I'm an Urban Gardening Maven and Health Coach (Student at Institute of Integrative Nutrition) who helps health-conscious women who want to grow their own unique urban garden but they don't know where to start.

I love helping them discover their inner green thumb and create simple, productive gardens that fuel their healthy lifestyle in a more sustainable way so they can feed themselves and family better in a way that fits into their already full schedules.

You can avoid information overwhelm and know what to do to grow your own food simply and fruitfully

Farming and gardening have been a secret passion of mine for the past 8 years. I grew up mostly in cities and suburban areas where the focus (especially as an immigrant child growing up) is getting a high paying office or medical type job.

But then one semester I decided to follow my wild random heart and went to study ecology in southern India even though I was in the Chemical Engineering Program. The wonderful teachers, ecologist, and farmers that taught us there and the ones I unexpectedly met throughout the program reconnected me to something that I never in a million years would have thought would bring me so much joy, peace, and health; growing organic vegetables herbs and fruits.

A few months after returning to Kansas, I started to read and research all I could so I could start a garden and get my hand back into the soil as soon as I possibly could. I was lucky that I was living in a housing situation where we could grow anywhere in the yard with the permission and blessing of the other house members.

So I drew detailed plans of all the things I was going to grow and purchased the seeds I need to get started. If memory serves me right the house actually supported me with the seed purchasing.

I wish I had a picture to share with my first garden because you would see how far I’ve come. Most of the things I planted died! I did get some harvest that year but it was very low for the amount of space I had used to grow on.

At first, I thought, it was because I didn’t have enough time to put in since I was a full-time student with two part-time jobs so I didn’t put in enough time to care for the garden. Then I thought oooh it must have been because I started my garden the same year we had those terrible droughts and heat waves.

Now I know both are not true. I spend less time now in my garden then I did then and have found ways to have a thriving garden even in the middle of a heat wave. The truth was that I needed to learn how to put all the knowledge I had been reading about and saw briefly in India altogether.

You see what I learned the hard way is that you need to get out of the theories and the books and really learn how farmers work with nature to grow food by doing (working as a farmhand).

"Knowing is not being. Being is being." -Harville Hendrix

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However, I didn’t realize this until I came back from a year serving as a Community Environmental Conservation Volunteer for Peace Corps Panama.

Although I was able to grow my own little garden while in Panama, I was frustrated and depressed that I couldn’t demonstrate how to grow a lot of food organically and without chemicals (and that's what I was sent out to do).

You see, chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used globally, even in the Darien Jungles of Panama. As a volunteer, I was supposed to teach and encourage the use of organic methods in a community of longtime ranchers and farmers.

Not only did they have years of actually farming as a form of sustenance but also have been conditioned to believe that chemicals are the future and the solution to the issues they face as farmers who depend on their crop for a living.

I’ve been long afraid to admit this that I really became paralyzed by the reality that the farmers I was working with had years of experience and I had only little success but here I was trying to get them to change their practices. Like how the heck am I doing any good or inspiring any change if I can’t demonstrate to them the results of following the organic practices I saw working in India or reading about in books.

After a year of beating myself up (and some other reasons), I finally called it quits and returned home. At the time, I came home feeling broken, depressed and defeated. You can ask those closest to me I was bitter and really talked down about my experience in Panama.

Now that I can look back with fresh eyes I can see this was the catalyst I needed. That year back in Kansas I felt too broken to apply for the jobs that I “should” and looked for jobs on organic farms.

Perhaps it was my subconscious or heart guiding me to exactly what I needed so I can have the skills and knowledge to do the work I desired to do in Panama ( and in the world) but that year working as a farm hand at the Buller Family Farm taught me the essential skills I need to really grow with nature and have a bountiful harvest.

Although I learned that I don’t want to be a market farmer, the essential skills I learned that year made me able to apply that knowledge to grow more in the little suburban spaces we have available to grow our food with a lot more ease and success.

Which brought me to creating rock your unique urban garden to help health-conscious women discover their inner green thumb, and create simple, productive urban gardens so that they can feed their family/neighbors. And, find a community where people learn the connection of how their food is grown while healing their bodies, minds, and planet from garden to plate.

Today I harvest pounds of produce that I use to make simple delicious satisfying meals for my family and still have plenty to preserve and, all of the food is grown in small spaces/containers without owning landing.

I’ve gained the skills and knowledge to now grow nutrient-rich food as a form of primary health insurance and to reduce our dependence on supermarket produce for myself, loving partner, and son.

I also grow 100% of the herbs we need that gives our meals added healing power and fresh bright flavor with more than enough to share with neighbors. I’ve grown so many hot peppers that I was able to share with my hot pepper loving mother in gallon sized bags that she and I were able to freeze and use for over 6 months.

And I do this with a little help from my partner and I still enjoy traveling for long stretches, working full time, raising a little one and trying new and old things I’m interested in.

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