324. Organic Biodynamic Regenerative Farmer | Heart & Soil Magazine | Natalie Forstbauer | Saskatchewan, Canada

Natalie Forstbauer


Natalie Forstbauer is a TEDx speaker, award-winning entrepreneur, author, organic/biodynamic farmer and traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor. She is passionate about human potential and seeing people live their best lives. 

Raised on an organic farm, trained in Polarity Therapy, alternative medicine, Neurofeedback and Transformational Leadership she brings a wealth of knowledge and life experience to her audiences and clients.

In 2003 Natalie acquired a life changing brain injury.

Gardening and farming with a brain injury showed her healing is not always about “fixing what we perceive to be broken”. Compassion and grace can to turn brain injuries and adversity into brain upgrades and new opportunities. 

Getting dirty in the fields, taking equipment apart and leaning into the powerful wisdoms of nature, Natalie learned what it is to nurture and harvest one’s gifts and to compost adversity into something meaningful and valuable.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Heart & Soil Magazine she brings together quality information and advice on regenerative agriculture and global health. 

Free copy of my book, Health in a Hurry, Simple Solutions for the Time Starved



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TEDx Brain Injury to Brain Upgrade



Welcome to the GREEN Organic Gardener Podcast. Today. It is Friday, June 19, 2020, and what a day and the most exciting thing was you can’t wait for this. The amazing Patti Armbrister actually came to our place and let me take video footage of her telling us what’s going on in our garden, what we can do to improve it and just all the great things Mike’s doing right. Also the Apple pruning trips and we’re in touch with somebody else.


You can see that episode here:https://mikesgreengarden.com/2020/07/12/patti-armbrister-at-mikes-green-garden-with-the-green-organic-garden-podcast-fortine-mt/



So we all know Patti Armbrister is an amazing soil specialist. Today. We are going to talk to somebody else. Who’s also going to talk about the importance of healthy soil.


So my guest today is a TEDx speaker and award-winning entrepreneur and author and organic biodynamic farmer and traumatic traumatic brain injury survivor, which is something super passionate to me because we had a first grader at my school, get hit by a car going 40 miles an hour, crossing the highway, getting off the bus. And she is recuperating down in Texas after being in a coma and had major.



I was born and raised on an organic and biodynamic farm in BC, British Columbia, Canada in the phrase of Valley. So my parents were pioneers in the organic industry in, in Canada and really in North America, my mom was recognized throughout the organic industry and they helped put together the guiding principles for certification and verification of organic farming. And I kind of grew up, you know, the girl who went to school with odd ball lunches and a homemade everything. And I had Apple juice instead of Kool-Aid And I thought Kool-Aid was the best thing until I actually tried it and I was mortified and I was actually really grateful for the, the pressed Apple juice.



And, and then I’m not sure I should really laugh about that because there are a lot of kids who grow up drinking Kool-Aid because it’s affordable and they can’t afford that super delicious Apple juice.


So that’s right. And it’s really though Jackie, because



We also didn’t grow up. Like we never had juices in our house. We drank water and Apple juice was huge street. It was only at the end of the season when we press the apples that were kind of, that were, you know, that were seconds. Or, or if we had like an excess amount of apples, then we got to make Apple juice. And then it was really coveted. Like it was not something we got all the time, but it was like our treat. And so we didn’t get it all the time, but we were really blessed to have gotten it. And, and that was, you know, that was one of the only treats we didn’t have juice or anything like that.



And I always felt so ripped off until I actually tried that Koolaid. And I was like, what?

This is it, it looks really pretty, but it doesn’t taste so good.


Like the difference between the, you know, it’s like party in the mouth when you have something really fresh and, and like living in and full of nutrients. And it was this kind of flat and foreign the Koolaid.


So anyways, so that was very similar experience with like

Like my mom wouldn’t buy that. It was just because she just wasn’t going to, she did let us buy soda pop, but not a lot of it, you know, but yeah, I was surprised at Kool-Aid like when you would taste it like birthday parties and be like, I was like totally as such a downer.



So super disappointing. So anyways, I grew up on this organic farm and we ran around barefoot and we all worked in the fields. I’m the oldest of 12 kids as well. And so it was it. And we all, I was big family and, and, and super intentional. My parents intentionally, they both wanted to have a large family and they, and they really included us in the farming operations.


Blueberry Girl


I was like looking after the blueberry fields that you pick and the end looking after the pickers at the age of 11 and, and, you know, taking people’s money when they came and picked vegetables and berries and giving them change and all that kind of stuff. So really empowering.


And then in 1989, we moved from Chilliwack BC to no, pardon me from Masley BC to Chilliwack BC. And it was really profound because I had grown up on an organic farm. So I only knew organic soil. I only knew weeds everywhere and, you know, having to like, well, my hands are in the dirt all the time weeding.


So when we moved out to Chilliwack, we bought a, my parents purchased a farm that had been used for like dairy farming and conventional dairy farming. So it’s been sprayed heavily with different chemicals and Roundup and that type of thing.


And I remember walking onto the ground onto the farm and noticing the dirt was just like dirt and I will call it dirt was really dry. And I was like, huh, interesting.


And then the first thing I did, I was about 18 at the time, was I wanted go and find worms because I wanted to take my little brothers and sisters fishing in the Creek. Well, it wasn’t Creek. It was like a ditch kind of a waterway that ran along the property.



Fishing without worms?


And in Matzke where we were moving from wheat, we, we grew up with a stream that we used for fishing, just for fun. We never really caught anything. And, and you know, on this new property, we scoured the entire 110 acres for a worm.


We turned over every piece of wood. There was, we dug along the barns, we dug along the house and there was nothing like not one worm on the whole property!


And that was super foreign to me because I was used to worms everywhere. And not only were there no worms, but I noticed there were no bugs. And I was like, this is weird.



I wonder if this is what it’s like to like touch the surface of the moon, because it was that it was that vacant.


Where’d all the bugs go?


Mike and I were talking about how, when you sit, drive in Montana, your windshield would be covered with bugs. You know, you couldn’t drive from Eureka to Whitefish, which is like 45 minutes. And that just doesn’t happen anymore!


Wow. That’s amazing because my I’m going, my girlfriend was saying that her friend who’s not into like organic, anything really was driving through just, I can’t remember what part of it’s a States through Seattle, just East of Seattle and through like Idaho or Eastern Washington or Spokane Eastern Washington and she’s, and I’d go down there all the time, every year.



And she was saying the same thing. She said, it was so weird. She said, not one bug hit the windshield. And she said, usually it’s covered. And she’s like, every, but there’s nothing like nothing. Like they didn’t have to wash a windshield once on a six hour drive.


And so now we have to wash our windshield from like this like film that gets on there! But anyway, I didn’t want to throw you off.


What you’re saying is super powerful because that’s what I experienced with the earth, right.



With the soil. And then as we farmed it, I got to actually see it wake up and come back to life. And before that, I just was like, Oh yeah, organic farming. It’s supposed to be better. I’m told it’s better. And the food does taste better, even though at the time it might not have been the prettiest.


But then to experience the earth coming back to life was probably one of the most powerful and profound things to witness.


Like Jackie, it was, it was, it was like an awakening for me on a cellular and ethers level, because I didn’t not know.



I did not understand that the soil is a living organism that the soil can actually heal itself.


And it’s nothing that we



Did or didn’t do in terms of, Ooh, we made it better. It was just nature taking care of itself and really like leading us to where it wanted to be when it’s supported. So anyways, that changed my experience with soil and organic farming. And I got to really witness the power of nature.


Right. Well, that is just awesome. And like I said, it couldn’t be more timely because yesterday Patti was here picking up our soil and like, I managed to like, turn my phone on video record and just kind of like, cause I could not take notes fast enough for what she was saying, but she really like went into the specifics about what’s feeding your soil and how this is like, what’s going on here.



What’s going on underneath here and all the micro organisms and micro, what is it? Or is it nematodes? And just all, exactly all the living soil, things that are going on. And she just explained it so well, like I was like, I could listen to you say this like 25 times before this is going to actually register.And I can still remember like Elaine Dr. Ingham much of this when I interviewed her.



And, but it does take a lot to, for humans to grasp this. Like we just like look at soil and we think, Oh, it’s Brown dirt. You know, we kind of know, I think most people know that you need worms, you know, the more worms, the healthier your soil, at least my listeners. I think a lot of them know that part. But yeah, so much of what you’re saying is so powerful!


What, I guess I’m sure it’s about your brain injury because not only did the student, but like Patty just told me about this guy, Brian. Nope. Jim Kwik, have you heard of him? He has this quick brain podcast and he also had some kind of traumatic brain injury


that’s right. When he was quite young. Yeah. So, but you’re going to tell us about how, how gardening and things help with that, right? Yes. Yeah. Do you have any questions that you want to start off with there Jackie or?


No. I mean like, I’m just curious, like what happened or,


okay, well, so in 2003, I was, I had just written my first book.


I was published in two other books and, and I just published my own first book is called Health in a Hurry, Simple Solutions for the Time-starved.


Get your free copy here: https://www.natalieforstbauer.com/healthinahurryebook


And I, I set up a special page so people can get a free copy of it. And I’ll share that with you later. But anyway, so it was online. Yeah, I was, I had also met an organic farmer and we would just such a good fit for one another. And, and so I was in the process of moving out to Saskatchewan when to, to, to be a part of his farm and to a part of his,



His business. And we had already married our businesses and we had already planned to merit our life together. And we were on the way back from Saskatchewan to BC to pick up for my book lunch. And on the way there, Jackie, we picked up, I think like 1500 copies of my book from the printer and a few hours after that, early in the morning with a light snowfall, my ground, we just accidentally went off the side of the road and over the side of the mountain.



And if anyone’s listening knows where the spiral tunnels are by field BC, that’s where it happened. And, and so the tow truck driver said it took about 240 feet of cable to pull us back up and out. So that’s where I landed with the brain injury. And before, before the brain injury, I was interest into organic farming.


I, I just, can’t not interrupt. And just ask her, how was, how was your partner?



Yeah, thanks for asking. He, you know, he was, how was he? He, he got whiplash and like had, I think some type of compressed, like fresher in his lower back. And so he was okay. Like, it’s amazing when you see the vehicle, the, when we went to go get some stuff out of the vehicle, the people, the week that at the yard, we thought that people didn’t make it because of the back of the truck was appealed. The roof of the truck was peeled back.



The back cab was completely compressed. It was the, vehicle’s a mess. And for us to survive, it was a miracle up like the hands of God and the angels literally had to catch us when we landed A bigger purpose. And you’re here to share your message today and in the future and the message that you’re sharing. Yeah. Yeah. So, so the brain injury was man, it was, it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through my life because before the brain injury, I had a really easy, I CA I mean, there’s lots of things that happened that were hard in life, but I just had that tapestry within which, where I always felt like I was looked after, and if I wanted something, I just go after it and I get it.



And so I can manifest really quickly and I could heal, like if I was injured, I could heal myself really quickly. And my training was in alternative medicine. So I’d experienced like spontaneous healing and stuff like that. And I just, I had, I had, I had an easy life, but I had like a pretty effortless, effortless existence up until then. And then the brain injury hit and I couldn’t fix myself. Like I couldn’t, it didn’t matter how many visualizations I did or how much I changed my thinking or how hard I focused on remembering something.



I was still falling on my face. I was still not remembering people. I met, I was still leaving a trail behind me of unfinished things. I was still leaving the burner on and, and, you know, boiling pots dry, even though I would have reminders put around, I would still miss some phone appointments and appointments period, unless somebody called me right before it. And even if somebody called me before the appointment to remind me about the appointment, if it wasn’t at the time of the appointment, and it was five minutes later, I’d still miss the appointment.


Milled Flax Packages


It was just, it was almost crazy-making. And so there came a point and I was still working with our organic farm out in Saskatchewan and, and doing my best with that. And, you know, odd things were happening, Jackie, like we were, we had a, a line of, of milled flax that we sold into stores across Canada.



And so an example of how the brainer jury was showing up is we had labels, of course, the front and back and on the back is it says how many calories are on the package? And I don’t remember what the number was. I think it was like 25 calories per tablespoon or per three tablespoons.


And all of a sudden the name, the number was changed to 125 calories per tablespoon. And I was like, and, and the only reason I found out is because one of our customers called us and said, why does your flax has so many calories in it? Because no other flex does.



And I, and so I looked, I could not believe that that was, had happened. And so I called the design company and I called the printing company. I totally took a piece out of them and was furious at their mistake. Like, how could they do that? Why would they do that?


And, and everything has to be signed off on. And, you know, finally we, and they said that I did it and I adamantly denied that. And then I was in a conversation with my sister about it and she just reflected back to me. She said, you know, Natalie, sometimes like sometimes your brain flips things and maybe, maybe have you ever considered that it was you who changed that number?



And I’m like, yeah, but why would I do that? She’s like, well, yeah, it might be something to consider kind of thing.


So she told me without telling me, and then I went back and I, and I, at that point I had the capacity to be able to see more how I was showing up. And it totally was me. I randomly like change the number and signed off on it.


And not only like, was it just a mistake with a number, but it was also like financially cost us a lot of money. Cause now we have to print new labels and also it, it,


it costs me more, my confidence, I was starting to doubt who I was, how I showed up.



And it was, it was traumatizing to think you’re one way and think you’re a person and then just be showing up totally differently. And to be seeing that and witnessing it over and over and over again


I worked for a printer for a long time. I can totally imagine that whole, the whole thing. Right. I mean, literally have people be like, you typed my phone number wrong, like screaming at me in their face.



And I’m like, You signed the proof, I’m like, I don’t know what your phone number is.


I yeah. And just, yeah. And it was so curious all my name wrong. Right. You’re like, why don’t you sign off on it? And people don’t see the mistake. And the thing was, is like, I was a person before the brain injury. I remembered everything. I did. I had a, I didn’t have a full photographic memory, but really, really, like I had a, like a working, I would say working photographic memory so I could see the documents that I had signed and that I’d done. And then I had gone through and post-injury, I had nothing like nothing like zero recollection.


At the same time, I also believe that if I did that, I would remember it and I wouldn’t do something like that. Like I had deep skills in businesses. There’s no way.


And anyways, it was totally me. I was totally me.


And so every time something like that happened, I just kind of collapsed. I collapsed a bit more. And then I collapsed a bit more and it’s kind of like, you know, the area of the garden that you don’t get to weeding. And you originally have like maybe carrots planted and you missed the first weeding and the weeds go a bit longer and the carrots get weaker.


And then my gosh, I’m in that mode right now. Right now! And the weeds get big weeds are just growing like exponentially. And then on top of that, it’s time to thin the beets. So the radishes and the carrots, and the swiss chardand we did and mulched and totally.


And so I just became those carrots that kind of started to disappear and lose who I was and lose my sense of self and all the shit, my life or a part of my life.



Sorry, if I can’t say that word on your podcast, I’m just like what it was all amplified because I didn’t know how to, I didn’t know how to fix it. Like, I didn’t know how to fix who I was because I had so much value on showing up authentically and so much value and showing up professionally and with integrity.


And I was showing up like with what I considered, like no integrity, not authentically because I wasn’t reliable. I couldn’t remember the last conversation we had. And we were having the same conversation five times. And sometimes it was different every time, but I wouldn’t remember it. So it was very confusing.



So I’m so curious, like how you were able to turn this around. Have you seen that movie? The vow? I love that. I love it. Oh my gosh. Yeah. And fifty firstdates was another one


that I was totally could relate to that. Yeah. I could relate to both of those deeply. And those are some of the first two movies that I watched and I didn’t even, I knew the Val was about brain injuries, but when I watched 50 first dates, I didn’t know about brain injuries, but I was like, Oh, I totally get her.



Like, I wasn’t that I didn’t have the extreme of that, but there’s some things that feel like it’s a first time, every time. And, and there’s a tenderness in that too. So anyways, that Andrew was in 2003, 2008, my world just kind of started to fall apart. My relationship was disintegrating.


I had three little kids and, and I just, and I was actually starting to accept. I’m like, well, maybe I can’t heal myself. And I was told that by a number of specialists, that this is as good as you’re gonna get.



And I was like, damn, if this is as good as I’m going to get, like, I’ll have got to change. Like I have, like, this is as good as I’m going to get. Then I have to change the way I’m showing up and stop trying to fix myself and


get everything back to focusing on what I could do and what I, I did have control over.


And those were, you know, it’s kind of like goes back to,


I planted 5,000 strawberry plants this year.


I just have my own little, little acreage here. And, and I, I didn’t order the irrigation on time. And I thought that strawberries after planting them would be good for a week. But then it got really hot here and really windy, 50 kilometer plus hour winds and everything dried out like within hours, if like that’s not an exaggeration!


you would water something, Jackie. And like an hour later you could not tell the had been water. That’s how hot and windy and dry it was.



So when I looked at the strawberry fields, I was like, Oh, well, what can I do?


When the irrigation comes? So then I just put, I just put aside time to actually water those plants by hand with a hose twice over a four day period.


And I still, I missed something. You said something at the beginning, you thought the strawberries would last for like, are they strawberries in the ground? or are you still waiting to plant them?



No, there’s in the ground, but you’re waiting for like, I planted them, but I don’t have irrigation. And I thought they, that I stopped the strawberries would be fine without irrigation for a week. I really did.


But, but the temperature got really hot here. Like, and, and the winds were so intense that it was drying the fields out really quickly. And so where this is connected with the healing is I’m like I had to focus on what I could do and what I had control over. So I knew I was just like, well, Natalie, just focus on watering the strawberry plants as much as you can until the irrigation gets here. And even that means watering them by hand, then that’s what you do and, and what survives survives and what doesn’t won’t. And that’s okay.


And that’s kind of what I did with a brain injury. When I realized that I wasn’t going to quote unquote, get better any further. I had to stop and look and go, okay, well, what can I focus on? What do I have control over? I can’t, I can’t control those strawberry plants that might not make it because it’s too dry and too hot and too windy, but I can water the ones that are still viable and still strong and give life to them and nurture them until the irrigation gets here.



And that’s kind of where I was at with the brain injury.


I was like, well, I have no control if I’m going to remember somebody or not. I have no control if I’m going to. I remember having the conversation that we had five minutes ago. I have no control over like being organized and being able to multitask and dissect and remember things.


But what I do have control over is how I show up and who I am.


So I do have control over loving my kids as best as I can with the skills that I have with the person I am.


And I do have control over making sure that I feed them regularly. And I do have control of being tender and compassionate towards myself and not beating myself up for everything that I no longer am and no longer can do.


And so I can with, if I show up with more compassion and grace towards myself, I didn’t call it that at the time, but that’s what it was. It was turning towards myself and sitting down with myself and being like, it’s okay, where you’re at, Natalie, just do what you can do.


And I think that’s the same with gardening is like the vegetables and the fruit, you know, the trees that we plant. They, they, they, as long as we support them, they do what they, they do what they do. And they grow in the best way that they can, you follow.



Absolutely. I am all about give yourself grace, because I especially in 2020 we got a lot going on and I don’t know for me, the uncertainty of knowing what’s right. What’s not right. Like everything I thought was right. I’m not always a hundred percent confident anymore. And I just, I don’t know, what’s the right thing to do or where, who to believe or right.


Usually I’m pretty on that. My husband’s a news junkie. The news is always on, we watch the news from all different sources around the world, and I’m usually pretty confident about it, and I am, I’m an and then, and then all these strange things


Hangings???? What in the world, like, yeah, yeah.



It’s shocking. It’s really, really vulnerable.


So I can completely relate sort of, I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in your, but I love the way that you’re saying you do have control. It reminds me of like is it Stephen Covey that wrote the seven habits of successful people that you, you can respond or something about responding. So the only thing you have control of is how you respond to things.



Yeah. And I think that was a really powerful learning because I think up until 2008, I was really, really, really committed to fixing myself and like quote unquote, being the best person that I could be and like getting my skillset back and all these things that I, external pieces that I valued


and, you know, be the change you want to be in the world. And I was like, that totally, isn’t true because it’s not working. And then I realized that sometimes being the change that we want to see in the world and be in the world is changing our lens.


And looking at things differently.



Yeah. Yeah. And I realized that life could be hard, like really, really, really hard. And I hadn’t really experienced, I mean, some people may be listening to me like, yeah, she has no idea what hard is.


And it’s true because I think everybody I met part of my story is just the brain injury. Right. But that story can be translated to what’s going on right now in the world with new pandemic and with learning about how all the injustices with, with, with racism and with the way that we’ve shown up for humanity.



And it can show up for people in, in different experiences or traumas that they’ve had in their life, or, you know, maybe an accident or it’s it, my story just happens to be brain injury. And I think that everyone has tenderness and everybody has Vulnerabilities to work through and to embrace and to just be gentle with,


Well, let’s try to get on a happier note, strawberries, 5,000 strawberries!


Like, what’s the plan with that? How big is your place? Where, what are you going to do with the strawberries is just for you to eat for your family, your three kids or strawberries.



Yeah. So that’s about half an acre of strawberries, depending on how you plant them.


And I live in rural Saskatchewan. I live in a really small farming community. There’s some bigger organic farmers, but a lot of it’s a lot of conventional farmers and not any market gardening gardeners, I think close to me, I think maybe the closest one might be an hour and a half away.


A lot of people do garden though. So I come from a, what’s now a market garden, but we’ve my parents farm sold like off the farm,


sold into

  • stores
  • warehouses
  • eight or nine farmer’s markets a week

eventually. So my aunt and I think it’s just source. But so my, my background in diversity is quite rich. And that way I have a lot of, different life experience in that.



And that, and, and I just, I just wondered, I was just kinda curious, you know, if I planted a, you pick strawberry field here or you pick farm or enough food, that if I had an abundance, I could sell boxes of food and provide good local or organic food.


I’m just in the first year of transition to organic, then I wonder what that market would be like.


So I just kinda, I just put a feeler out on Facebook and I really encourage people to do that when they’re looking at doing something to tap into local Facebook groups.


And I just said, Hey, I’m thinking about doing a local veggie box. I’m in the organic certification program. And I’ll also have strawberries. Who’s interested? And I had over 200 people reply and say interested, interested, interested.

And I was like, Oh my goodness. Okay, I’m going to do it and see where it takes me.


Awesome. So are you going to grow other veggies? You’re just starting with strawberries right now.


Yeah, no, I have other veggies. So I am funnily. I ran out. So I’d probably got about an acre and a half in production. And I ran out of space Jackie. I have, I have starts of kale and kohlrabi that I’m, I’m planting amongst the spinach. And I planted the squash and the melons and the corn.


And I planted, I I’m, I’m growing things on like I’m doing as much vertical. Like the melons are going to be vertical. The cucumbers are going to be vertical because I literally run out of space to apply it to everything that I might be guys wanted


To plant. So we have potatoes and beans and tomatoes and peppers and time and spinach peas. You do all this work like, well, I got three children and so far they’ve helped me. We did a whole big field day yesterday and we have over half the way we weeded over half the strawberries and all the beans got done. Half the raspberries got done. And two, the piece got done in half a set and one full one and a half sets of beats got done.


So we’re almost doing finished doing the whole weeding and mind you I’ve grown up in the industry so I can weed. Like I can, I know how to get stuff done really quickly. And, and they’re pretty good themselves.


So that’s, and now I’m also looking to bring a woofer onto the farm. So that’s another strategy I’d really recommend if people are needing extra help is to look into WWOOF, which is a willing workers on organic farms, which I’m sure you’ve talked about or heard about on your program.


We are looking into getting somebody to help us this year because our goal is to, I mean, Mike school, my husband’s really the gardener. His goal has always been to like grow as much of our produce as we can. But this year we wanted to make sure that like every space on our property was maximizing production should, because we’re worried that there’s going to be food shortages in the fall.


I don’t understand how this whole thing is. Like, it just baffles me more. I’m like more nervous now than it was March 16th when school got close, like I’m an elementary teacher by trade. And so March 16th, we were told on st. Patrick’s day or the day before we shouldn’t go back. Yeah. St Patrick is a seven.


So the 16th, like I was in my classroom, bleaching and cleaning everything like crazy that Sunday, like my costumers never so spotless. I watched like every pencil, every dry erase marker, every book, every like thing the kids were going to touch. And then we never went back, but I am more nervous now that I may never see my mom again, like my mom’s in New York. I just feel like people are not taking this seriously on the news.


They say, everybody should be wearing a mask. I’m in rural Montana. Nobody wants to have anything to do with wearing masks. Hardly. Like it’s like, I almost feel like I will, in certain places, like people want to attack me.


Like there was a Facebook post that I posted. There was a black lives matter rally down in Whitefish, which is a little bit South of us, but definitely where I live is way more redneck than down there. And this guy got in this little woman’s face, she’s holding a black lives matter sign.



She’s got her mask on. And this guy is in her face. He’s tall, he’s big. And he’s just, and he eventually got arrested for, and, and then I posted the picture of it that people were sharing.




And people were like screaming at a few of my friends that commented on it. And like, how’d your, and how could you protest? And, you know, people died for people’s right to protest and how, and like the anger, like I literally shut up Facebook for three days. I have, I have not.

And I am, there are times like I won’t go to the store in the afternoons, in my town right now because I just feel like, I mean, our community? I don’t want to like peanut bad picture of it. There’s tons of really nice people here.


But I definitely feel like if I ran into the wrong person at the wrong time with my mask on, somebody would like physically maybe come up to, I mean, when my husband, during the Vietnam war, when he was here and she was in high school at that time, like there were people who would go around with chainsaws and cut people’s ponytails off, like protesters, like hippies.


They didn’t like hippies. Like it’s just kind of a different and surely it is nothing compared to anything somebody, you know … I’m a, you know, white, wealthy grew up in a very wealthy, white, rich town, you know, it’s nothing compared to what other people have to face.


I can’t even imagine it. And again, like I said, I can’t believe that people are show exposure of over like, do I just want to wear a mask? Just because what if it saves somebody’s life? Are you really willing to put somebody’s life in danger?


And I just feel like I am out voted a hundred times over and everywhere. I am like, kind of off topic, but anyway, where were we talking about? WWOOFERSyeah.


We’re for his willing workers on organic farms. And I just want to, I think it ties really nicely in ducky too at that same time, because, you know, at what cost don’t we wear a mask, even if we believe or don’t believe at what costs do we make that choice. And I just can’t imagine, I just makes me pause and wonder, like the pain and the story that people get in to, you know, take that position that they take.


I don’t even understand that myself. So, but yeah. S


Let’s go back to WWOOFERS.


So are you considering getting a WWOOFERon your farm? and your acreage?


I mean, I just talked to the woman from like, I, I paid the fee and I set up the thing and then when you pay it, you have to do a phone call with the person. And so she let me record it.


Listen to my interview with Samantha here: https://organicgardenerpodcast.com/podcast-2/319-wwoof-usa/


And I released the episode a few weeks ago and I’ve had people that do want to come here. And I was like, at first I was like, I didn’t even think my posting was going to go live until, until like I had time to like explore the site.


And there’s like these forums in there. And they said that there’s like application samples. You really want to put in an application because the best way to make sure you have a good experience and the WWOOFers have a good experiences to be really clear about what you have to offer, what they can do. And like at our place, you would really have to either bring your own camper or stay in attempt, which I can tell you, I tried to stay in a tent last summer.


And like, almost, even on the hottest nights at like two or three in the morning, I was so cold. I ended up coming in the house. It’s pretty cold here in the Rocky Mountains. So then I was thinking like a couple, and I did find a couple, have a camper who really want to come in July and I just was like, I’ll write you when school gets out in school, got out last Tuesday.


And then I started a new job for a podcast or full time on Monday of this week. And so I still have not written back to them or had any, you know, I don’t know, like I have to, I’d have to figure out those logistics. And then again, we’re worried like Montana just opened June 1st where people didn’t have to quarantine.


We are inundated. I mean, there are people from out of state all over the place. It is just packed. They’re buying houses. I mean, they see the real estate market is booming. Like people are coming here from California and Texas and New York and all over the place with cash and just buying places left and right. And so we’re kind of curious, we kind of want to see what happens, you know, as you know, the maps constantly say numbers are going up, but yeah.


So I don’t know. It’s so we, we, we are thinking of it, but I’m not sure I have all the logistics. So the couple of the camper that could like, you know, be a little more self sufficient, and then I’m also like, then I was thinking more like, can I afford to feed to be like, at first I thought, well, a couple would be better because you know, there’d be two of them if it’s cold and just also, but then I was like, wait, that means twice as much food as I have to be able to produce for people. So I don’t know


That’s where we’re at, but yeah, I’ve been thinking about it because


I think it would be like, you know, Mike has a ton of knowledge. We live in a beautiful place, you know, we’re very close to glacier national park, sort of it’s. I mean, it’s like a 90 minute drive before you’re even gonna get out of your car and start the hike, but it’s still pretty close. I


mean, you know, when you can go camping down there, I mean, our place, you could technically walk out, you know, right off of my property and go drop into glacier national park through the woods, which would be a shorter, it’s shorter through to, you know, by the Crow flies is probably 45 miles.


But yeah. Anyway, you know, there’s plenty or woods or nature. Like we always say, like, we usually have less bear attacks here because there’s less people in bigger space in a world surrounded by national forest. There’s tons of lakes. Like there’s so much camping. It’s a great place to be like, you’d be like, why do you even want to go to the park? It’s a lot prettier here. And a lot less crowded park is the park is the park though. Yeah. Anyway, so yeah, so that’s kind of where we’re at with that.


So it was really neat to talk to her and learn about different options. And then we’ll see what happens if those people come in July, if they, if it seems like it’s a good fit, there’s some I need to


Also deal with. And then I need to figure out my budget. Yeah. That’s it. Those are all really good questions. And the good thing is you do have food from your garden that you can feed them, right? Yeah. Well, but like, you know, how much food are we going to? You know, when’s it going to be ready? Like it probably the majority of food, I don’t think we would harvest until late August, September, we might start harvesting some stuff in July and the radishes are ready. My spinach blood grew in bolted already before I ever, like, I don’t even, this is why I don’t even want to plant spinach anymore.


I’m like, I’m just going to need kale. Kale is finally coming out of it and starting to, like, I was like, thank goodness Mike pointed kale down in the mini farm. Cause my kale didn’t do anything, but it’s finally really starting to look. Yeah. And then my rule, I have one little regular bed and it went from like barely being big enough to eat, to like being big enough to eat and super spicy already. And I eat it when I like go down there, but I haven’t picked a salad from it yet. And I have a feeling it’s gonna be too spicy for solid before.


So yeah, that’s our story. But so you’re thinking of getting a WWOOFer.


Yup. Yup. So I’m getting, I’m similar to you. I don’t really have, my house is full. Our house is full and it’s not a huge, not super small house, but it’s not a huge house. Mmm Hmm. And so I would need to get a camper. I thought about tents, but I’m like, Oh, it’s so windy here and bugs and I’m cold nights sometimes similar to you, sometimes they’re hot. But, and so I think a camper would be best.



So I’m actually looking for just a cheap camper, I can set up here for them and it would be second place for people to stay anyway. So that’s where we’re at. And I’m otherwise one foot in front of the other job, that’s it?




One foot in front of the other. I just did a post the other day talk. So I told you, I already, I’m running out of room in my garden to plant things. And I had ordered some, I saw some asparagus and I was like, Oh, I thought I ordered this asparagus all, I guess I didn’t, because it’s not too surprising when I think I do something, but I haven’t.


So I was like, okay, well we’ll have to, I got a sport asparagus crowns the next year. And then I’m not kidding you. Two days later, this bear Gus crown showed up and I was like, my field is already full is one thing if it seeds, right?


It’s like, Oh, well, but there were a hundred asparagus grounds. I was like, where am I going to put these? So, and my kids were at their dad’s. And so I was all by myself and, and I don’t know if you know how to plant asparagus crowns, but it’s a lot of digging and they’re planted about 18 inches apart, depending 16 to 18 inches apart.


Asparagus planting



And they’re planted like 12, eight, 12 inches deep and some plant them deeper depending on the variety. And so I had the, like 150 foot trench that I had to dig. And when I looked at it, I just was like, I just didn’t know if I could do it. I just didn’t know if I could actually physically do it. And I didn’t know if I could complete it. Like I was like, well, if I do 20 feet, maybe I’ll just, I’ll just take, I’ll just take one shovel at a time.


So I literally just did that. Just took one shovel at a time and just focused on that and planting the next plant. And it was amazing because when I did that, all of a sudden, I mean, two and a half hours later, all of a sudden I was done and I was able to look back and be like, Oh, that wasn’t so bad


Each shovel was kind of hard sometimes because my, my back was sore and it was hot and super hot out. And there was mosquitoes out!



And when I was like just one shovel and Natalie, and that’s kind of like what I did with the brain injuries, I, instead of focusing on who I wanted to be and where I wanted to go and all the things that I wanted to experience in life, I just focused on where I was like in this moment, like, you know, us connecting here, that’s where I am right now. So that’s where my, my presence says that’s my focus was or is.


Focus on the next shovel


And when I was planting the asparagus, I just focus on like that next shovel. And I think when we are able to do that, like having an intention of where we want to go and the life we want to live, and at the same time, focus on what we do, what we, where we are in this moment can be really, really powerful and help us get through the really, really hard


My question about the asparagus, like asparagus or perennial that like you put them in. And it’s A while before, like, so did you have like a specific area picked out where they were going to go or you just dedicating part of your field? Like now that’s going to be the asparagus patch?


Yeah. Well, I planted the strawberries east-west and there was one, I had a bit of a, I had left a bit of room for a tractor to drive and, but a tractor can’t drive anymore because I ended up feeling, filling it with, with summer squash and now asparagus. So I didn’t really have a spot for it, but I had about 20 summer squash planted along one of those beside one of the strawberry rows.And I just, I dug out five of them and I replanted them in other random places in the garden.


And then I, I left the rest of them and they’re just going to be intertwined in the asparagus. I do have to see if they’re good crop companion still, if they’re not, then I’ll move them. But right now they’re, they’re, they’re sharing the space and they will be there permanently that row of asparagus. So that’s it, aside from like tearing out something else in garden, it was really the only space.



And I think it’s the best space. And I think it looked really nice there. Yeah.


Fresh asparagus or like there’s nothing better? Right.


So I know my listeners are probably wondering like a little bit about biodynamic, like gardening. Do you want to talk about that a little bit? Maybe explain what that is.


If I, because I have a lot of new listeners since 2020 started, and so they might not have heard some of my older episodes. I did just replay one with just peers from the John Jeavons center.



Okay. But I did notice when I was listening to it, it was driving me crazy, like the sound like I’m loud and she’s soft or she’s loud and I’m soft and loving. And like I ended up turning off. What does that tell you?


Compost Compost Compost


Well, it, it tells me there’s just composting. You can compost compost, compost. That’s another thing that, that the brain, you know, the gardening and the farming of the brain injury taught me is like, is the power of composting?


What, you know, you can say composting the heart or composting the learnings and turning them into and letting them, and sometimes you can like, it’s instant that composting that can happen, especially when you have some really good worms, but sometimes it takes time.


And I think that’s, that’s the way life is too. Right. Sometimes working through things takes time. It’s not always about like getting to where we want to be, but it’s just being really present with where we are and working through that.




So biodynamics actually compliments that really beautifully because I, I’m kind of like, even though I grew up in an organic farm and by practice biodynamics and my grandfather was actually from Germany and he had his PhD in agriculture and was also studied at the Steiner Institute there, I think I have, I’ve helped make perhaps, but I’ve never made my own preps and so now I get to make my own preps, which I’m super excited about!


biodynamic farming.


I think to really simply explain it is really one of the most holistic, sustainable, succinct ways of farming, because it really focuses on building healthy soil and building a healthy ecosystem and sustainability ecosystem within the farm.


So the whole farm becomes this living, breathing organism that all supports one another from the animals to the soil, to the plants, to the sun, to the moon, to his whole existence.


It’s really working in harmony with all parts and all living beings and all the movement.


And so for some there’s the, I can never say it properly. There’s the anthroposophical part, which is a bit what people might call a bit. Woo.


And at the same time, there’s a lot of value. And we, we, we know that the moon where the moon is in the cycle impacts, you know, the impacts, the ocean, the impacts, the tide’s high tide, low tide.


We know this, we know that the sun impacts how, how plants grow. And so biodynamics takes into account like the planetary alignment and the moon alignment and encourages people to plant based on the, where the moon is in the cycle.


And so that’s one aspect of biodynamics.


And then it also biodynamics uses preparations, which are one of my favorite things, because I don’t know if you’re familiar with homeopathic medicine or you Jackie at all, or Herb’s or by taking herbs and vitamins.


Yeah. I forget what his name is, but isn’t like doctor Braun or something with a B yeah, yeah.


You know what it’s like going out of my brain to right now, but yeah, those are homeopathic Bach, Bach remedies. Yeah. So Bach remedies.


So, but I don’t know what the prep thing is that you’re talking about. So I was going to ask you, because you said it somewhere earlier too. And I was like, what?


So I’m going to that. So the preparations are, it’s like making super bugs or super foods for your compost and for your garden and for your land, for what you’re growing.


Horn preparation for biodynamic Farming


So one of the preparations is it’s a horn preparation and it’s, it’s horn silica. It’s called BD501 and it’s a powder. And the way it’s made is you take manure, like fresh manure, and you put it in the horn, and then you bury it. And it stays there for, I think, six months or something. And then you take it out. And when you’ve taken it out, that manure has turned into this beautiful powder that you can use on your soil, and you can use in your compost teas and it’s used it’s.



How do you say? So it’s kind of like, if you take a herb or vitam for yourself to support your body, to be in really good health or homeopathic remedy to help your body be in really good health, that’s what, like a preparation is for in biodynamic farming.


It’s, it’s putting life into the soil is it’s feeding it with microbes and it’s, and it’s, and Fostering, like a nurturing an in biodiverse environment.



So is that helpful?


Yeah, Because like we were saying before, like the soil, food web, and all, and making sure that you’re feeding all those, you know, bugs and microscopic insects and the micro corizae and the fungi down there, and the root exudites, how that all blends together.


And Yeah, it’s really powerful. And so that, so I, the idea of biodynamics is really just, is really to support a living ecosystem within itself and to support the microbiology and life of the soil and life of the farm and everything, everything works together. And you can say kind of talks together. Yeah.


Okay. Well, let’s do, like the end of my show is kind of this thing we call the, getting to the root of the thing, getting to the root of things where I’ll ask you like some shorter kind of easier questions.


Do you have, like a least favorite activity?


like something you have to force yourself to do in the garden, like dig a trench full of asparagus?


 Hey, and by the way, I Googled super quickly, asparagus and strawberries are companion plants. You are good to go there. I saw it on Mother Earth News.




So my least favorite, you know, it’s kinda, this is funny because it’s my least favorite. My favorite is my least favorite. Cause it hurts and that’s pulling missiles, but it’s my favorite because if you do it right, you don’t get hurt. And it just, it’s such a powerful metaphor for me. Like, and if you pull out, if you pull up the fiscals every single year before they flower, then you can eventually get rid of all the thistles in your garden. You, it totally disappeared. And I know this for sure, because we did it with our fields and Matt SWE.



So it was my least favorite job because it hurt when you didn’t do it. Right. But my favorite, because it was so impactful when it was done,



What’s the secret to doing it right? So it doesn’t hurt, like wearing heavy duty gloves or grip rigid the right place?



Go into your soil. Like, so you dig, you push your hand down into the soil and then you pull it out by the root. Yeah. And you can wear gloves if you, if, if you’re pulling them out in your garden or in your yard, that hasn’t where this soil has not been tilled, then using gloves and grabbing them at the very base of the plant and trying to get as much of the root as possible.


But if you’re pulling them on your garden where the soil is tilled, then you push your hand down underneath the soil, you grab the root and then you pull it out.


Awesome. So is that my other question is On the flip side, what’s your favorite activity? Is that your favorite activity?



My favorite activity is probably actually anything to do with flowers.


Anything like anytime something is flowering, my whole, my whole body lights up. Like it’s like raise a sunshine. It’s like being kissed by rays of sunshine.


It’s so picking flowers, selling flowers!


 like pruning to help the flowers be more like affluent and vibrant and not just pruning like actual flowers like dailias, but actual like pruning blueberry bushes so that when the flowers come in, the blossoms come into bloom, that they can be less and more at the same time.


So I love flowers.


Hey, you have any secrets for growing blueberries specifically related to the soil?


Because like I put these blueberries in and then I talked to the soil test lady and like, I kind of researched it and it says that our soil should have a 4.5 pH. Meanwhile, our soil is like close to a 7.8. And I’m just curious, like


how old, how old are the plant?



I planted them last year and they didn’t do much now. I thought last year they didn’t do anything because I didn’t water them And I’ve been watering them way more this year. And they, they definitely are growing a little and they’re bigger, but one of them, like the leaves are just yellow. And I just feel like probably the soil problem.


Yeah. Yellow can be watered them too much this year.


No, no, they’re definitely not getting water too much, but they’re getting water as compared to last year, they were kind of starved for water.


Yeah. They could be, they could be rooting, you know, they could be rooting and cause one time when we planted, do they have, do you have problems with moles or voles or anything?



I don’t know what that means. Rooting.



Yeah. Just as a I’ll get to that. Do you have a problem with moles or voles or anything like that? Like any rodents?


Not really? Where these are Mike sometimes doesn’t his mini farm, but these are over in the garden by the house.


Yeah. So the rooting means when you first plant something and especially if it’s not maybe the ideal, ideal soil type or if it’s, then it takes time for the plants roots to set and to like find their home. And, and so if they’re up against that and they weren’t watered maybe enough last year, then they’re still fine.


Those roots are still finding their home. They’re still, I call it rooting where they’re still like, you know, like just getting, getting more secure, shooting off new roots and, and getting a solid foundation.


So, cause that rooting has to happen before they can grow up and out and produce food. Because as long as they’re having struggle there, if they’re struggling with rooting, then they’re not going to produce. And then of course, then there’s pruning. I can send you a really good printing video if you’d like.

Sure. Cause what I’m wondering is like, should I take them out of the bender in and moving somewhere else? And then if I’m going to take them out, move them, like where do I find dirt that has a 4.5 pH? Like, what does that look like? Where do I get that kind of dirt just for them?

Hmm. Well they like, they, like, I see a lot of people putting like wood chips and stuff like that around there, their blueberries. And so what do you think that might help?

I don’t know. That’s interesting because Patti Armbrister yesterday kept saying you should be using woodchips for mulch. You should be using wood chips from mulch.

It’s a really powerful.

She was also saying that I should put it like she’s like, I always tell people around their beds. Cause we have tons of quack, grass, and grass growing into the beds and more she’s like you would get rid of all these weeds. Like you should have four feet around every one of these beds on the outside. And that would really help a lot of your struggle with your quackgrass getting right back into your bed.



Yeah. Yeah. And wood chips


And the wood chips, she kept saying, we’re going to block out the sunlight. So the weeds would have no photosynthesis and they wouldn’t be able to grow. And it would mulch back in, like she also said we should put them all around the base of that fruit trees, but then she was also talking about comfrey we should put some comfrey there.


All right. Anyway, these are supposed to be quicker questions for you. You’re probably like when is this interview ever gonna end?


The blueberries would also like your, your, your, the comfrey as well.



Comfrey’s really powerful. Do you grow it?


No. And then she was like, you can’t get it from seed. You need to get it from a mother plant. She’s like, if I would’ve known, I would’ve brought you some. So she said, next time she’ll bring me some cause then she said that would work a lot better for mulching if I just like chop the comfrey off and like was laying it down because I started laying like grass that I had collected from the lawnmower.


And she was worried that just, I don’t know, we never tried that before, but I don’t know what it made me ask Mike, if I, and he’s like, yeah, go ahead and put that around the broccolis. And she told me, she’s like, well, I would have probably let it dry out first before I put it around your, instead of just taking it fresh green. And then she was worried that it was going to get gooey and too wet in there.


But I forgot what I was gonna say. So here’s the interesting thing. The whole reason I’m playing is blueberries is I went over to my neighbors. She was like less than a mile through the woods. Like maybe half a mile from my house. And her blueberries two summers ago were just like huge and giant and fresh. And her plants just look so good. And she’s the one I should probably go talk to. And I was like, I want to go plant blueberries too!


And she’s like, Oh, I just got him like at Lowe’s or home Depot. That’s what I did and went and got him and put these two plants in. And I mean, like I said, they’re twice as big already this year as they ever got last year. And it’s still only June. And I did see some berries growing on one of them, but I just feel like they’re looking very yellow


and I just really want them to be these monster plants that she has and get the monster blueberries.


And I don’t know how yellow they are, but some blueberries, some jewelry leaves are more like lime greenie than others.


So yeah. I know. Maybe they’re just supposed to be that way. Cause my husband’s just like, he’s like, they’re fine. Don’t worry. I’m like the perfect example of like sometimes a little too much knowledges could hurt you, you know where I’m like, but we should have, like, there was one point I was kind of laughing yesterday. Just Patty was talking about how much lawn we have. And I wanted to be like, well, over here I was going to try to do some native planting. But then I, a couple of years ago, cause I talked to this like native landscaping specialists down in Missoula and I’m like, Oh, we should do more native planting.



And then like I, after, I don’t know why, like the more I pay attention, the more do my podcasts, more gardening. I’m like, okay, Mike has spent the last 10 years, like building this fence, creating a lawn and shoving the native landscaping out, like, cause we’re in 20 acres of forest. And it’s like only the little tiny bit around our house where the grass is that creates like major fire, you know, what’s it called the fire break or whatever. So our house, doesn’t burn down… we still have a million trees. I don’t know what would happen if a fire got too close to this house.



But anyway, you know, fire prevention any way, Natalie, what’s the best gardening advice you’ve ever received?


man, you know, it’s probably from my dad and my dad says things are going to do what we’re going to do. We think we have so much control and really we have no control and it was so freeing.


So for example, sometimes you get a hit with aphids and it might suck, but that’s also a feeding ground for all the lady bugs and all the, and all these other really beneficial insects.



And so sometimes letting an area of the garden just go to that is feeding into what the garden actually needs. So getting rid of the foods isn’t necessarily the best choice.


So that was really, really powerful.


And just to, to listen and to, to what the land is asking and what the visuals are asking


okay, my last little interruption here, Patty did mention yesterday, we were talking about ladybugs and aphids and that often even there’s something that you have too much nature in your plant and it might look really green and lush, but chances are good if it’s getting attached by aphids you have a nitrogen imbalance.



Yep. That’s right. Yeah.


So anyway, I hadn’t heard that before, cause we’ve always bought ladybugs to try to deal with it’s or we did, like there was this one year where there was like this broccoli point, we planted a whole bunch of broccoli and white brings this broccoli into me and it is like prickling moving.


It was so covered with insects, but really when I’m just leaving that plant there and, and the bugs were only on that one point and all the other broccoli heads were okay until the squirrels got them. But that’s another story.


But that’s amazing. Isn’t it? Yeah. That’s a true story. I used to grow daily is when I was out in Chilliwack, that was kind of like my thing that I did on the farm. And there were a few daily is almost every year that would be infested with bugs.



And my initial instinct was to take them out because I didn’t want the bugs to spread all over the rest of the flowers. And I was like, no, and I’ll use the sun to leave them.


And that’s exactly what had happened. Those were the, those plants for the bugs homes and all the other plant dailiahs were fine. It was amazing!


That’s a great lesson. Yeah. Cause that is always your number one fear. Oh my gosh. I’ve got to stop the this infestation before it gets any further, but sometimes in a lot of cases, it’s nice to have like that sacrificial plan.



Okay, Natalie, what’s your favorite tool? If you had to move again, what tool could you not live without? What would you take with you?


What would I take with me? I think my hands, I’m very grateful that I have hands to work with And I was thinking about this and I, you know, I love to you hoe I just love the, you, you hoe is the hole that’s like has a hole in it. It’s in the shape of a, do you know, do it, do you know what that is?



You Hoe


Oh, it’s so easy. It’s, it’s just really lovely and easy to hold with. So that’s one of my favorite tools and I was reminded of that because I came out here with no tools and it was one of the first tools I bought. Yeah. Was a you ho and then if you’re doing big market gardens, I’m going to do two, if that’s okay.


Can I do a second favorite tool? Yeah. If you’re, if you do big market gardens and you have the comfort and affordability to get a weed torch, then it there weed towards is amazing because you can do your first leading in like, you know, a very short period of time and it makes it, it makes the first weeding after you lead towards really easy because of the beets and the carrots and all your veggies.



Get a good jump on all the other little weeds that are now not there. Yeah. That’s what I did. That’s how I got ahead of everything here too. Is we torched everything.


How about a favorite recipe that you like to cook from the garden? What are your kids like to eat?


Well, yeah, you know, when I went through the questions that my, my kids are older now, so they’re 15, 14, and almost 13 and fresh vegetables have always been their favorite thing. You know, they don’t want them cook. They don’t anything on them. And so I honestly just put them on the side of the plate, carrots, even lettuce, no dressing, everything just straight.


So, and in saying that my favorite, when I think roasted roasted veggies, or like, or this is just with a really nice light, like olive and or flax seed oil and Apple cider vinegar, vinegrette kind of salads one of my favorite things.



And you know what, Jackie and my book, there’s a whole bunch of recipes that are farm-based and that, that people can check out everything from like salsa to hummus, to salads and baked veggies. So that they’re in the free ebook that I’m gifting people.


Do you have a favorite podcast that you’d like to listen to? I didn’t get the impression you were much of a podcaster, or we can just skip that question.



How about a favorite internet resource? Like where do you find yourself surfing on the web?

Soil Food Web


You know, I geek out on soil health and, and neuroscience. I get caught on both of them and aligning them is one of my favorite people to follow. I did her trainings back in 2005 and that’s for the soil food web. Right? You mentioned her. And so I, I, and I think it’s called the JPI Institute for the biodynamic information.



That’s really great. How about like a favorite reading me? I want to hear about the magazine, ah, treating, Oh, I’m so excited about the magazine Jackie. So that’s probably gonna just be one of my favorite places because I’m working really hard at bringing some of who I’d consider thought leaders and scientists and people who are really have their pulse on regenerative ag and gardening from a farming and gardening perspective and from a consumers perspective.



So I think that’s going to be one of my favorite resources because it’s putting all the really good stuff. It’s kinda like your podcast. You get to interview amazing people and have them all in one place.


Connecting peoples hearts and homes


And the magazine is, is going to be that for me, is, is really bringing resources into people’s hearts and homes and gardens and farms, connecting people with their food.


Looking at regenerative farming and gardening and connecting it to our global health or global health of humanity and our global health health of the earth and how we can influence it and how we do influence it.


Okay. Well that leads right into my next, my final question. It’s real doozy. If there’s one change you would like to see the creator greener world, what would it be for example, is there a charity or organization your passionate about or project you’d like to see put into action? Like what do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the environment either locally, nationally, or on a global scale?

Our connection with the Earth and soil


Well, I think that’s really our connection with the earth and our connection with the soil and, and, and, and not, and not just connection, like physical connection, but also emotional and spiritual and, and mental connection with it.



So, and I think the more connected and the more deeper, the more we deepen into awareness and connection with our food and where it’s grown and how it’s grown, the more we’re connected with the life of the soil and the life of the planet. So I think that they’re connected and interconnected.


I’m really passionate about creating conversations about how we can change that because when we’re more connected with the earth and connected with our food, we’re more connected with humanity and we’re connected with compassion and grace because when we eat food brings people together, like it’s a really, really powerful and inspirational medium to have conversations around.


Tell us the name of the magazine again. And like, what, how often is it going to come out and like, what’s it going to, what else can you tell us about it?


Heart and Soul Magazine


Well, heart and soul magazine is it’ll be published quarterly and it’s focuses on healthy soil, healthy food, healthy farmers, and health, like global health. And we’re looking at also adding some specialty issues for that are just for farmers. So go, it’ll go really into the, like, it’ll like, like geek out and nerd out on.



Like, I might not even be able to see that say that geek out on some really is some leading research and discoveries that people are and successes that people are having with like microbes and with nematodes and with, with insects and with companion cropping and all of those things. So those will be specialty issues.


Regenerative Agriculture conversations


And the other issues we’re looking at being a place where we can have really, I see it as a plate, like a place that we can bring people together to have inspiring and thought provoking conversations around regenerative agriculture.


what it is and how we can support each other, how we can support each other as a consumer and as a fellow human, and also how we can support each other as farmers and how we can support each other, like the F in the farmer consumer connection, because I think more and more people are wanting to be connected to their food.



They’re wanting to be connected to their farmer. They’re wanting to have a deeper understanding of what’s going on in how their food is grown and where it’s coming from. And this is a really great opportunity to create those conversations and to create a safe place, to have those conversations and, and, and an educational place.


It’s a place of, this is what we can do, and this is how we can uplift and amplify what everybody is doing and, and bring, and to bring people together in a place of opportunity, in a place of possibility and a place of like really fostering and deepening into life


and the life of soil and its impact.


You definitely have to interview Patti. She just she’s full of golden seeds.


Is it ready to order still in the stage?


And it is going in production actually this coming week. And I, I’m still for a limited time that you can get a complimentary subscription. And if you go to heart and soil magazine.com, that’s heart and soil magazine.com.



And, but as soon as the magazine goes, live, those free free subscriptions will probably be removed. So it’s a really good opportunity to jump on board. And then if you want a complimentary copy of my book, you can go to health in a hurry.com. And that it’s hell it’s simple solutions for the time.


So it’s basically how to be healthy when you have no time. And it talks about like healthy, like things that we can do on a daily basis that have big impact on our health emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.



And it also touches on organic and biodynamic farming in the book. And it has some recipes and it’s a quick, easy read. I made it really light and doable. So would love to share that with you too, if you’d like, when did that come out? That’s in 2003, I was on my way to the book lunch.


Oh, right.


And people can probably order that on Amazon. Well, you know, it’s been out of print, so we’d sold, Oh, we sold out of all of our prints and I haven’t and this, so I just recently put it back up as an electronic version.


I was published in two other books and, and I just published my own first book is called Health in a Hurry, Simple Solutions for the Time-starved.


And I’m working on getting it, put into a print version as we speak. So right now,


I always like to tell people if you get it and you like it, make sure you leave a five star review because that helps other people find it because nothing drives me crazier. Like I can’t find a podcast I’m looking for, and I know what’s out there and I just don’t know about it because their listeners have not left them enough reviews.


Like Angela Watson’s treats for teachers. Like I shirts for teaching podcast all through 2013, 2014. And that’s when she launched, but I didn’t find her to almost 2016. And I was just like, where has she been all my life? And just, you know, how you have those podcasts out there that are just your favorites.


Like when you first discovered them, you’re like, how has this been around for three years? Right? Yeah. Same with books. I mean, especially right now that I feel like, you know, like our library, they finally opened it that you can go in there, but I know like my mom’s library is still closed. Some of the local libraries around two are still closed.


And when it was like curbside only, so you could order books online, but like, how do you know what book your specific library has? And like, I was Googling all these books and I was putting them on hold and putting them on hold and it wasn’t really looking. And then I realized I was getting this error saying they won’t even put a book on hope. Like I thought, at least the three libraries of my County, at least those three, it would move.



Nope. And so I had spent like an hour and I got three books out of like 45 bucks that I had tried to put on hold or something, or look for, you know, cause I thought, well, at least once the library’s open up, it’ll be in the system. And when they start moving books around, cause I order a ton of leverage. Our interlibrary loan is amazing trying to find books in my little teeny tiny library, you know, just searching the catalog is like,



Yeah, I love library soon. I love that you can order a book and they bring it in from across, you know, across the province or cross a state. And it’s powerful.



Yeah. I mean, it’s amazing. I wish we would invest more money in our local libraries in this country in a big way and expand the libraries. Like, I don’t know. I just feel like there’s this huge fallacy that like kids, you need to go to college as soon as high school is out because, you know, while you’re in learning mode, like I think people never want to learn.

I think it’s almost better to wait until you’re a little more mature and you’ve been out in the world and you can figure out, you know, some topics that you’ve decided, yes, this is definitely for me. And this is definitely not for me before you like sink all this money into a huge college education.



I don’t know. I’m sure the whole college thing is going to get revamped in the next 10 years. I think, you know, by the time of the third graders I taught this year graduated in 2026. I think college is going to be a different situation anyway, totally off topic there,


Natalie. Thank you so much. We’ve been talking for like 90 minutes probably like, Oh my gosh, this is a woman ever gonna let me get off the phone with, thank you so much for sharing all your amazing, valuable knowledge with us and just keep up your good work.



And everybody out there subscribe to the soil and health magazine and get the book, which you know, I’m going to order and read right away because I’m super time, you know, staying healthy. And then time is a very difficult thing for me, especially now I have another job on my computer, 40 hours a week working for this podcast or for the summer. And wow, it’s already been a challenge just this week already. Like my app that takes care of like watches my miles, like already jumped from 2.3 down to 1.4 on.



Wow. Wow.


That’s just not good for me. So I got to figure that out. I did hire a fitness coach and he’s like, you need to walk up and down that Hill to your garden. And like multiple times to get up from my computer every 50 minutes, which were like on the second 50, just since I started talking to you.


Oh, that’s awesome. And Jackie, I just wanted to reflect back to you what a beautiful service you give to our community with your podcast. They guess you have on the questions you ask, the connections you help us make as listeners is really inspiring and it’s helpful and it’s resourceful and I deeply appreciate it.



So thank you so much. Well thank you. Well, it’s truly, you know, I love to do it and I feel like it’s sharing valuable information out there and maybe someday it’ll pay a bill or two, I don’t know.


Yeah. And so you make sure you leave those reviews because what Jackie was saying is really true when, when we leave her and other podcasters, good reviews and comments, it helps people be able to find her.


Yeah. Or I always like to tell my listeners, even also like, if you want your neighbors to learn about my show, like when I say at the end, share this with your friends, like I literally am begging you like share this with your friends.


If you know somebody who’s a gardener, like tell your community radio station, they can have it for free that way your neighbor. They’re always looking for content. Anyway. Thank you so much, Natalie. Have a great day.


You too. No, wait, don’t hang up. I’m shutting recorder off, but on using chemicals in the garden, fertilizers and pesticides. Yeah. You know, that’s such an interesting question because Bonnie plants reached out to me and I did an interview with a woman from Bonnie plants last week. And I didn’t realize that Bonnie plants is owned by scott.com, who is the makers of miracle gro these days, I guess.



And so I’m wondering, am I even going to post this interview? I did with this woman now she, they do Bonnie plants to come up with organic plants. I saw them. I bought their plants for years now, but I will usually are not big supporters of miracle grow or Monsanto or glyphosate in any way, shape or form.


I did talk to this woman from this company called soil kit. And she talks about using like, there’s a local brand Espoma. Who’s dirt we’ve bought, like, I even used a picture of the bag of dirt in our Organic Oasis guidebook. Like I was like, if we use anybody, we tend to use this for one because one it’s for sale at our local store, Mike has bought like alfalfa meal. He’s bought blood meal, he’s putting in. But for the most part, like the only amendments we use are compost cover crops and many were from our chickens or like local manure that we’ve gotten from like maybe somebody cleaning out their donkey pen or their horses like kind of stays away from horse.



Like we, at one point got sheep because they think like, Oh, I can’t remember. It says in my book though, but there’s like one animal that like, I want to stay with horses. Like it practically is like, it doesn’t, they don’t have as many stomachs or whatever. So it doesn’t like, it’s almost like you’re still dropping the seeds. It doesn’t process the whereas like chickens, I think process it more so you’re not going to get like grassy growing up or like one thing that people have talked about a lot on my show is make sure you don’t get manure from cows that were fed.



What is it? Weed free hay because they have been fed weed free hay, that means that he was sprayed . That hay was spread with sprayed with pesticides and people who have bought maneuver from those animals have had their gardens ruined. Like there was a lady here who talked about it.


Jacqueline Freeman,who does treatment free beekeeping out in Washington, talked about that happening at their place. Like they had two beds right next to each other. And like the one bed was this new load and they just totally were able to track it down to it came from this manure they got from show.



They always a lot of people talk about that. So we don’t use any kind of chemical, anything pesticide, fungicide herbicides here. All of our inputs that we put into the ground are pretty much organic or is it organic or earth friendly as we can be.


Cool. I just think that I would like to include your podcast in the inaugural issue of the magazine. I was wondering how you’d feel about that?


You would, Oh my gosh. I would love that. That’d be awesome!


Yeah. I think I’d really like to do that. And I was thinking, I don’t know which episode I might, I might put, like, do you have an episode that stands out to you? Well, it’s just like Patty Armbrister is just such a soil expert. And I mean, I want to say my all time, favorite episodes still to this day is Mandy Gerth.



Who’s down in, she has a farm called the lower Valley farm in Kalispell because just love how passionate she talks about the wild organic farmers and how it gives us hope for a new generation. But I don’t know, Patty Armbristers practically crying when she’s talking about saving our planet for our kids and she’s advocate, but I dunno, I’ve had great guests. I mean, I love talking to Jeff Lowenfels that wrote that teaming with microbes series up in Alaska.



I mean, he was to had a new theory “what would Gretta do? and just, you know, I talked to Joel, I mean, Jean Martin Fortier, I still, like, I was shown nervous. I almost felt like coffee all over my computer. And like, I don’t know. I, you know, there’s been a lot of, I could, I could think about it and let you know. Or if you had one, who were you thinking of?


Well, you know, one person I was thinking of putting in the inaugural issue was

Jeff Lowenfels And I didn’t, I didn’t work at reach out to him because I think he’s, I’m pretty sure that’s who it is.



He’s like, I wouldn’t say the grandfather, but he’s like one of the original micro, like he’s one of the originals she’s like, totally.


Cause like he wrote that whole series teaming with microbes teaming with nutrients. Teaming with fungi? Yeah. And I just talked to him in November this year. He was super, yeah. It was not anything like I thought he was going to be, it was a great conversation. Awesome. I thought, yeah. Well just let me know.



That would be amazing if you need me to do anything or I’m not too sure.




That would be amazing. Thank you. Yeah. I’m flattered.


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About the author, Jackie Marie

I'm an artist and educator. I live at the "Organic Oasis" with my husband Mike where we practice earth friendly techniques in our garden nestled in the mountains of Montana.

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