This world needs good earth stewards because what we do each day ripples into the future.
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© Mary Plantwalker | Made with Garnet
Established in 1970 as an organic vegetable and flower farm, by Mary’s husband, Hart Squire, and his family, it was a 138 acre slice of Appalachia that had been overgrazed, logged and farmed unsustainably for over a century and needed a lot of conscious stewarding to build up the soil that had been washed away to the Mississippi Delta.
Hart, with the help of many hands over the decades, brought in organic matter and plant diversity and also built several structures for his family that are now used today as part of the lodging for our residential community.
For decades, Hart sold vegetable and flowers from the farm to local markets, restaurants and grocers, then built an earth-bermed warehouse on the property for the organic farmers in the area, called Hart Distributing, which eventually grew into a distribution center for organic ale and wine – long before Asheville, North Carolina was beer city! Hart also spent several years in California, opening one of the first farm to table restaurants called ‘The Seasons’ in the 1970’s. Cooking real, natural food for people (harvested from his own gardens) is one of Hart’s greatest loves!
In 2005, Mary Morgaine (aka Mary Plantwalker) first met Hart when she came to work on Herb Mountain Farm’s garlic production crew. She became the groundskeeper there until 2008, when she left to start her own business, Earth Dancers, offering an array of “Plants as Allies” classes and workshops.
In 2011, Hart and Mary Morgaine reconnected, fell in love and decided to make a life together on the farm. They married in 2012, and their union birthed the vision to transition Herb Mountain Farm into a Plants and Healing Botanical Sanctuary. In 2013, their daughter, Nadia, was born and has been absorbing the gardening and plant knowledge of her parents since day one and gives Hart and Mary Morgaine the inspiration to keep sailing on for the future generations. Herb Mountain Farm Plants and Healing Sanctuary is an ever evolving organism that encourages both land and human regeneration by supporting the biological integrity of life itself and following the lead of natural law. Here is a Youtube video for a rare interview with Hart.
Mary Plantwalker hosts her classes, ceremonies and workshops here at her home sanctuary on Herb Mountain Farm. There are small ponds, orchards, chickens, dozens of gardens, a mile-long nature trail loop and a steep, glorious hike to an escarpment overlooking the Reems Creek Valley and the Pisgah National Forest.
The warehouse on the land that was once Hart Distributing, and later gave buchi kombucha their start, is now home to the fabulous vegan cheese company, darë. Other buildings are homes to our uniquely diverse unintentional community members 😉
NOTE: Please do not drop-in without communicating first, unless we are having an open event like a plant sale or you are visiting the plant stand. This is not a public place! Thank you. Follow along on Instagram or sign up for Earth Devotions to keep up with the latest news and happenings!
We value preservation and conservation – helping restore the woods back to their abundant plant and animal life that was present under Indigenous Stewardship of this continent is key to our mission.
We are a member of the United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary Network, stewarding and introducing numerous native plants back into the ecology of the landscape. We have put 105 acres of the property into conservation easement through Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy so that it will be protected from human development.
We don’t harvest from the woods but rather use the abundance of the weeds in the cultivated areas around us for food and healing. Perhaps one day the woods will be thick enough again with the edibles and medicinals that we feel comfortable taking from it. Until then, we see the forest as a place to be observed, given unto with plantings and offerings, preserved and appreciated.
We acknowledge that the First Nations Cherokee stewarded this land long before us and that our white predecessors stole this land from them. Planting, tending and protecting biodiversity is one of the ways we make amends. Visit our blog page on the many plant species alive and growing at Herb Mountain Farm. We update the list regularly- it is a joy to return again and again to the continual wealth of diversity exploding on the property. We have and are continually interested in collaborating with indigenous peoples so please reach out if you have interest.
We do not use pressure treated wood, synthetic chemicals, artificial detergents and cleaners, GMO seeds, pesticides or herbicides on the property, to help the ecology around us. The soil, air and water don’t do well with those things, and neither do humans, ultimately. We value thinking about how our choices affect others – both human and non-human.
We value, welcome, respect and celebrate all genders, colors, and cultures and ask for your kindness and respect as reciprocity.
Diversity is the spice of life!