Hi! It's me, Patti!
So, who am I and what is Heartwood Forest farm all about? It's really a long story, since I'm getting to the point in my life where I have a lot to share. I'll give you the brief intro of my journey.
I am a lifelong Michigander, growing up in Southeast Michigan, and raising my children in Goodrich. I went to college to study horticulture after years of working in the mental health field. At that time I was a single mom, and with a lot of help from family and friends, was able to do this and graduated in 2000 from MSU with a BS in Horticulture. I started my first USDA Organic Certified farm in Genesee County. Well, that was in 2001, things in the world happened and we sold the farm (not that we wanted to, but needed to). I began working at Central Michigan University in the biology department managing the greenhouse, was the botany laboratory manager, and was hired to manage the development and maintenance of the new botanical garden in the center of campus. That job was an amazing opportunity. After the botanic garden was completed and botany classes canceled, I joined my husband at our home in Cedar to continue developing my next USDA Organic Certified farm, Heartwood Forest Farm. We came up with the name due to the love of the woods and a play on the words used to represent permaculture. You could also say I use regenerative farming practices. What small organic farm doesn't? It's all words, but the farming practices I use has been proven effective over and over each year as I can see the results in the land. Not to mention also proving this by all of the inspections and visits that my farm has. The farm officially began May 1, 2014.
I have always felt connected to plants. I didn't realize this until I was working more and more with plants and people. I just thought that all humans were connected to nature just as I have always been. I am most comfortable outside and moving around. I don't hear plant voices, but I do notice things about plants that is difficult for me to verbalize. I need to touch plants every day. My family will go on and on about how I always talk about plants, and hang out with plants, or that I am late for dinner because I have plant things to do. If you are reading this, you may also be the same way! If not, I highly recommend it as communing with nature is medicine for our soul. I am grateful that my work is what it is now. I spend my days outside, playing with plants. I am interested in learning more and more about growing plants that I have never grown, inside, outside, under lights, in a hoophouse or greenhouse. It doesn't matter. It's a lifelong experiment. I do however, at the farm, focus on growing culinary and medicinal plants as well as offering education and mentoring opportunities. Physically, my body cannot keep up with the needs of the farm and have developed ways to get the jobs done anyway.
The Apothecary Farmer does not mean that I am a licensed pharmacist, or that I sell drugs. I do however grow and sell plant medicines. I won't make any claims, but as a home herbalist, I do use a lot of plants in my life so I can live a healthy lifestyle. How? By eating and drinking sensibly, mostly plants (yes, somewhat of a quote by another), and spending a lot of time in nature. I try to do the best I can. In my day to day, I grow plants, eat plants, drink plants, touch plants, smell plants. You get the idea. Apothecary by definition is also a boutique. I like that. Maybe I should call myself a boutique farmer.
Was this brief? Maybe not, maybe you want to know more. I will also be including some blog posts from a time when I was a towny, living in Mt. Pleasant and had a small city lot to grow in. That was long before hashtags and Instagram. I'll be editing and using more of those since it seems to be the language of today. The purpose of this blog will be to share stories about plants, and what is going on here at the farm. I wrote for a magazine, that went out of business, so now I feel like I need another outlet for writing. Not hashtagging all of the time like on social media, but you will see some of that! My brain is full of internal conversations about plants, so if you want to hear about them, you will be able to read about them here. You may also see some pretty pictures.
Welcome to my farm! Patti