Thursday, May 19, 2011

M R Gardens: Healthy plants, healthy landscapes

      Note from Megan: Since entering the sustainable agriculture field in 2001, I have gained a great appreciation for all scales and methods of farming, including those of the backyard or apartment patio grower. It is in our backyards that we connect to our food and enjoy the taste of a fresh tomato with basil. It is here that we experience seasonality, life cycles and the natural pace of life. It is here that we connect to past generations and relearn our grandmothers' ways of food preparation.
      We're at an important point in time when generations that did not grow up in the garden are regaining the extensive knowledge of growing food before older generations are gone. Plus, we're learning traditional methods of gardening pre-chemicals or even pre-tiller.
     M R Gardens is my small contribution to this effort. M R Gardens' products and educational materials add to the reinvigoration of fresh eating that is fueling the small diverse farms in the WNC region. Meanwhile, all of us can have the experience of walking out our back doors and picking foods that were grown especially for us.

M R Gardens: Healthy Plants, Healthy Landscapes

M R Gardens is a resource for home gardeners, local restaurants and community organizers. Owner Megan Riley gives advice on how to install no-till, weed-free garden systems and fills special orders of vegetable starts, microgreens and culinary herb bouquets.

Four principles guide M R Gardens: Health, Community, Traditions and Sustainable Systems

Health: Since Megan grows on a small scale, she gives individual attention to the plants and her customers in hopes of producing healthy products and relationships. She follows organic practices so that her plants grow strong over a natural time period.

Community: Megan sells on a sliding scale so that all residents in her community can afford healthy plants. Those who want to support M R Gardens on a larger level help offset the costs. Megan also reaches out to community organizations that are spreading access of healthy food to low-income areas.

Traditions: The corner of Oakley where M R Gardens is located used to be a strong farming community, and her neighbors often talk about the spectacular garden that the former owners of her land tended. Bits of that gardening tradition still remain in the community, and Megan hopes to reinspire her neighbors. Megan exchanges heirloom seeds with Cherokee Reservation growers and others who have been in the mountains for generations. She also buys from a local company that grows seed specifically suited for this area.

Sustainable Systems: Megan promotes a no-till, low maintenance garden system that relies on layers of organic matter and healthy soil structure to create a good habitat for plants. She also incorporates native and/or beneficial plants to attract pollinating insects and garden pest predators.

Call 828.333.4151 or email to place an order or set up an appointment.