I love it when one great idea blossoms into another.
The funds raised by the project served as "seed money" to support Carson's budding interest in documentary filmmaking, and to help defray costs of the racehorse rescue and rehabilitation program Lisa runs on their family ranch property.
Recently, I received an invitation to revisit the farm to see how Seeds4Needs has grown and morphed into a whole new business for the family.
When I arrive at the beautiful 1.5-acre Indian Valley property, I am enthusiastically greeted by Lisa Marvier, an affable, woman in her 40s whose dynamic energy and "can do" entrepreneurial spirit make her an unstoppable force when she latches onto an idea.
As we walk up the immaculately kept garden path toward the upper end of the farm, Marvier sets the stage for what I am about to see. "You won't believe what we've done!" she bubbles enthusiastically as she opens the gate. A nearby vintage sign, bearing the silhouette of a bonneted lass carrying a watering can, heralds my arrival at Farm Girl Nursery.
Before me stretches a large, freshly-tilled garden plot filled with neat rows and raised beds. Already, seedlings are peeking through the rich soil: spinach, peas, beans, strawberries, artichokes, onions, lettuces, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, berries, corn, and more.
On my right, an old barn-red classic Chevy pickup truck provides color for the surrounding flats of 4-inch pots beginning to sprout with a variety of organic vegetables. Around the corner, husband Mike Ceresa, is busy installing additional shelving to hold more palettes of plant starts.
The family has been hard at work.
The idea for the nursery began to take shape late last year, after son Carson launched Seeds4Needs. "We harvested so many seeds from last year's garden that we decided to use some to grow vegetable and flower starts," Lisa tells me. Before long the idea to build a nursery was born.
She surveyed their property for a likely place to create the vision. A large plot adjacent to the storage barn provided the perfect space for an organic garden. With a little ingenuity, the barn has been transformed into a store.
"We wanted the nursery to be more than just a place to buy plants," she continued, "we wanted a place where families could come." They decided the nursery should have an educational focus which would afford visitors an opportunity to experience farm life and see how food is actually grown.
With this in mind, the dream of Farm Girl Nursery has become a reality. It will open its gates to the public for the first time this Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The nursery will be open thereafter on Wednesdays from 2-5 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., or by appointment by calling 415-730-6917.
The nursery is well stocked with a wide variety of organic and heirloom vegetable, herb, and flower seeds. In addition, there are plenty of 3-inch and 4-inch potted organic plant starts, gallon flower starts, and fruit trees of all kinds for purchase. A selection of fresh seasonal mixed flower bouquets will also be offered.
Several farm animals will be on hand for kids to interact with, including Rosie and Olive, the farm's pot-bellied pig mascots. Kids will be able to get "up close and personal" with the featured animal of the day; various heritage breed chickens, Polly the Holland bunny, Oreo the guinea pig with attitude, and Shrimp, a miniature horse, will all be regulars at the nursery.
In the barn store, patrons will find local eggs from Just Struttin' Farm on McClay Road as well as unique garden art and rustic outdoor furnishing pieces. Family friend Pam Garcia, former owner of in downtown Novato, assisted in stocking and staging the space.
A room in the rear of this structure is slated for summer garden craft and cooking classes aimed at kids ages 7-12. In addition, "everything at the nursery has been donated or is recycled," Lisa tells me happily.
In a few weeks time, kids and adults will be able to pick their own produce from the large garden area, while learning how different vegetables are grown. Of course Seeds4Needs seed packets and heirloom seeds from Baker Creek will be available for those who want to start their gardens from scratch.
Farm Girl Nursery is located at 100 Pacheco Ave. off Indian Valley Road in Novato. Stop by and check out this new family-friendly venue!
*Parking is limited.