Growing Knowledge in the Teaching Garden

You may have noticed it during a lovely spring day on our patio. You might have glimpsed it after getting a hot cup of coffee from our drive-thru window. And though it may simply look like nothing more than a serene green space, our Teaching Garden offers much more than just a calm place to enjoy your lunch.

Garden Coordinator Erika Richards envisions the garden on the south side of our building as a way for our customers and our community to learn about various plants that can provide more benefits than just aesthetic beauty.

“There are several varieties of plants that are either edible or have leaves that can be used as tea or are sold inside as an oil or supplement,” Erika says. “I want more people to learn how plants can heal you or just make you happier in general.”

The teaching garden is also home to several native flowers and plants that attract butterflies, hummingbirds and bees – natural pollinators that help keep the surrounding area lush and beautiful.

Erika also plans on using our teaching gardens as a living classroom, bringing in groups of children to learn where our food comes from, as well as get-togethers for adults to discover the healing power of plants.

But above all, the garden is a place to enjoy, relax, meditate and rejuvenate in a natural setting. “My goal with the teaching garden,” Erika explains, “is to give the shoppers a relaxing and pretty place to stop by and maybe learn something new or just hang out and enjoy!”

Erika is especially excited about the new pergola donated by long-time VNF owner Tom Kackman. Read more about the newest addition to our garden in our article, “Reclaimed, Restored and Renewed in the Garden.”

So next time you’re at Valley Natural Foods on a wonderful weather day, stop by, have a seat, and take a look around our Teaching Garden next to our patio!


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