Meet Princess Cole from Memphis, United States

“I’m a city girl from The Bronx, now southern living and growing my own food. I’ve always eaten healthy, but in the summer of 2014, I truly began to think about where my food came from.

That is when I was inspired to grow my own food. I grow my own food because it’s healthier, and gives me the freedom to know exactly what my family is eating. My garden has 4 different sections, 6×30, 6×12, 6×24 and 6×12 feet. I grow lots of medicinal herbs (I’m an herbalist), fruit trees, and a great variety of fruits and veggies. I especially love growing different melon varieties.

For soil and pest management, I prefer not to use anything that is harmful to my family or beneficial wildlife. I make my own compost, and I only use 100% cold pressed neem oil and diatomaceous earth. I also use protective covers/bags to prevent my fruit and veggies from being eaten by raccoons, squirrels, etc. I harvest and save my own seeds and sell extras.

The biggest hurdle I’ve faced while gardening is fighting with certain pests, mainly squash bugs. They have been the hardest pests to keep away. However, the biggest reward gardening has given me is becoming more grounded. I love nature, and gardening gave me a whole new outlook on life. Aside from being able to feed my family, that is the best gift gardening has given me.

A community initiative that I am involved in is Black Girls with Gardens, created by Jasmine. I have been a moderator of the BGWG Facebook group for a couple of years, and I make sure I share as much of my knowledge about gardening as often as possible. We have lots of novice gardeners in the group, and I do my best to give them what they need to grow a sustainable garden. We trade seeds, plants…I even hosted an event last summer called Plant and Seed swap + Yoga (I’m a yoga teacher), and at the end of all of our fun, I ended it with a yoga session and everyone went home happy and relaxed.

With that being said, I’d like everyone to meditate on this…even if you never think you’ll garden in your life, do you at least have enough knowledge to know how to do it in case the day comes where you have no choice but to survive on what you grow? Start small and have fun with it. You’ll love it more if you do.”