Full Circle Moment: From Citizen Scout to CSA Member!
Hi! My name is Paige, and I am honored to talk about my experience with Fox Haven. I vividly remember the first time I visited Fox Haven. I was working on my Girl Scout Gold Award, creating a nature trail on the farm’s property. The project included creating information boards about native plants and organisms that habitat across the farm. In addition to installing wood posts and designing signs for the informational boards, I remember working in the herb garden. Looking back, that time I spent pulling weeds and moving compost introduced me to the world of gardening and agriculture that I now cherish! I had no idea I was going to enjoy that tough, laboring work as much as I did, much less be continuing it for years to come! Fox Haven opened a door for me, and from then on I found out how much connecting with nature and herbs did for my mental health and overall wellbeing. About three years after completing my Gold Award project with Fox Haven, I started working at the Hood College Frederick Food Security Network. I had experience working in the Fox Haven garden and I really needed a job, so I figured I might as well apply and see what happens! I got the job and spent the whole summer of 2019 working in community gardens across Frederick. My passion for gardening and plants was reignited, but quickly put out when I moved to the concrete jungle of NYC for college.
I started my own garden in 2020 when the pandemic hit. Like everybody else, I was bored out of my mind and found such peace in working with nature and plants. I remember not knowing anything about gardening, and I ended up planting about five tomato plants that all ended up being yellow pear tomatoes. At that time, I did not know tomato plants had different varieties. In July of 2020, I got rehired to work at the Frederick Food Security Network, this time with a serious passion. This gave me lots of experience of working in gardens, growing fruit, vegetables, and herbs of all kinds. I began building a meaningful connection to plants, gardening, and the Frederick community at large. I worked at the Network until I graduated from Hood, and enjoyed every minute of it. I would have never taken that job unless I had the unique experience of working in the herb garden at Fox Haven years earlier.
Around the same time I started a garden in 2020, I began making bundles for smoke cleansing for my spiritual practices. I had learned about the history of poaching and appropriation of white sage within non-native populations and wanted to use ethically sourced implements for my spiritual practices. Based on what I use the bundles for, it just felt appropriate to know where the plants actually came from. I used the herbs and flowers I had in my garden and made a couple for my friends. My friends told me I should sell them, but I thought I did not know enough to turn it into something serious. As I continued working at the Food Security Network and improved my plant knowledge, I finally decided to give selling my bundles a try. I made a few bundles for family and friends, and soon enough Chappelle Candle Co. offered me a spot at their store. I cannot believe the herbal bundles are in stores across Frederick, Baltimore, and Gettysburg. I am overwhelmed with the support I have received for this endeavor.
Now, I have signed up for Fox Haven’s Baltimore Herbal CSA beginning in April. I am so excited to have a full-circle moment with Fox Haven and take my work with plants and herbs to the next level. As a prospective clinical social worker, I hope to be able to incorporate herbs and herbal medicine into my practice as a clinician one day. The connection between herbs, flowers, plants, and holistic well-being is undeniable, and I hope to begin learning other ways to use them in addition to cooking and herbal bundles. I am grateful to Fox Haven’s support from the beginning of my journey to this day, and cannot overstate my excitement to work with Fox Haven again!