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Meet the Mocha Gardener: A scientist turned backyard growing & food security advocate

Scientist, nutritionist, gardening advocate & homesteader
Rural North Carolina

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I’m excited to invite you to my conversation with Ashlie Thomas. Ashlie is a scientist, writer, health coach and food security advocate. She is the woman behind the Mocha Gardener on Instagram, where she shares her tips, advice and growing journey.

Ashlie was inspired to start gardening after spending time in rural South Carolina with her grandparents. She realized how few healthy, fresh food options were available locally and decided to roll up her sleeves and learn to grow. Ashlie and her husband Tyler settled in the suburbs of North Carolina and built a garden oasis on their 1-acre lot, where they grow food year around.

Ashlie's growing journey has been so profound that she has decided to go back to school to study nutrition. She wants to encourage more people to tear up their lawns and get growing - not just for the food but also for the healing that comes from reconnecting with the soil. Gardening has shifted Ashlie's outlook on the world and how she interprets living a successful, happy life.

“When I think of success, I think of - I want to live a life that is impactful. I want to live a life in which I have served to the fullest of my abilities, utilizing all of these unique gifts that I have been given. And I want to be a value that is created to not just people, but also this environment. I want to contribute, as others have contributed to me. Even the worms have contributed to me. And I want to bring honor to those things.”

This November, Ashlie authored her first book How to Become a Gardener: find empowerment in creating your own food security. This book walks readers through the practical ins and outs of gardening, providing tangible pathways for people to take charge of their family’s food security by learning how to grow their own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. In addition, Ashlie discusses the often overlooked, but equally important, benefits of gardening - beyond the nutritious food it provides.

“No one is born with a green thumb. We develop this over time. And the moment you take interest in a plant, that’s when your thumb starts to turn green. Because that curiosity, you're gonna want to research it, you’re going to want to understand how to become a cultivator of the green life around me.”

This is a story about the life altering experience of becoming a gardener and the gifts, magic, and lessons that growing gives.


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