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The world of mushrooms extends far beyond the common varieties found in your local grocery. Harmony West has known this for decades. The founder of Mushroom Mama, a local company that blends and markets medicinal mushroom teas, Harmony first embraced healthy, nutritious, organic foods in the 1970’s when she worked for Erewhon, an early manufacturer and distributer of whole foods. Hippocrates’ quote, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” became Mushroom Mama’s words to live by. When she moved to Santa Fe in 1980, Harmony fed her family home-made specialties like kefir, tofu, sea vegetables, and whole-grain bread, long before the natural food movement became commonplace.
While running Magical Child Playschool, a preschool Harmony founded in the early 1990’s, a parent gave her a soup broth made from Chaga and so began her adoration of medicinal mushrooms. She quickly discovered these superfoods, enjoyed in the Far East for millennia, possess outstanding nutrition and can taste delicious.
Harmony began alchemizing mushrooms in her kitchen, blending Chaga, Cordyceps, Shiitake and other varieties into nutritious, enjoyable teas. While many take mushrooms in capsules, Harmony rightly suspected others would enjoy her nutrient-dense teas. Golden Stamina was Mushroom Mama’ first tea in the marketplace. Its bright golden color, from turmeric known for its anti-inflammatory wonders, diminishes inflammation and fortifies the body. The black pepper makes the properties of turmeric more bioavailable, and Cordyceps, another powerful mushroom, boosts overall health and well-being. Harmony has since created five more blends, including Immune Warrior (delicious when mixed with coffee) and the very popular Chocolate Chaga, loaded with raw cacao. Power Soup is a powerful bouillon, blended from eight kinds of medicinal mushrooms.
Mushroom Mama’s skillful alchemy, combined with powerhouse mushrooms, has created a line of delicious, rejuvenating, unique products that increases the health and immune system of both your body and the planet. Through a partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects, your purchase of Mushroom Mama tea results in the planting of two trees. Get your next elixir at MushroomMama.com.
Rod Gesten loves solving puzzles. He embarked on a career as an architect and found the work rewarding. It offered the opportunity to be creative, meet interesting people, and be inside and out, all factors that stimulated and fueled his work. Despite success that included seeing his work published, designing structures to satisfy the needs of a few, failed to meet one of Rod’s career criterion, using his talent and skill to benefit many.
Cut to Rod’s own home where he struggled with backyard gardening. Soil full of rocks, sand, and clay where water either percolates too slowly or runs right through, wildlife decimating seedlings, extreme weather conditions, and a short growing season all exacerbated his frustration. His search for existing solutions came up short so Rod set about designing a controlled garden environment himself. Mud Hub Greenhouses was born.
Observations and mistakes proved valuable lessons that guided the design of a four-season organic gardening space. The prototype was a sealed, protected structure supported by raised beds that held organic composted soil while keeping critters at bay. It’s strong, durable and tall enough to walk under, with a mesh cover topped with shade cloth to let rain and pollinators in and keep birds out.
Continuing down this unintended, circuitous path, Rod found himself inspired to learn more and joined a Master Gardener program. Interacting with others, they shared his frustrations and made the decision to turn his idea into a business. Armed with a poster and some flyers, Rod attended grower’s markets to test the waters, but discussions led him to realize others weren’t grasping his idea. He returned home to build a full-scale model. On display for the first time, he made a sale. Alas, Rod hadn’t even priced it!
Today, Rod and his crew continue to refine the processes and aesthetics. Mud Hub Greenhouse owner are a diverse group. Some, never having gardened before now have beautiful, productive spaces that feed their families. And Rod, who chose the name Mud Hub as a nod to New Mexico’s adobe, its farming and building heritage that have long relied on our soil, rests in knowing he met his goal to benefit the greater good.
To see Rod’s creations and order your greenhouse, visit www.mudhubgreenhouses.com
“I want to educate and empower my community to take responsibility for their health.” Says Melissa Wethington Sandoval. Accompanying her mother through a string of illnesses that lasted a decade, Melissa saw first-hand how pharmaceuticals alleviate some problems while their side effects cause others. At the time, she wasn’t aware of traditional healing arts including herbalism and Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old Hindu system of whole-body medicine. In 2012, she enrolled in her first botanical medicine class at the University of New Mexico. Melissa was immediately overwhelmed by the task of learning Latin names and chemical properties of a litany of herbs. Not one to give up easily, she pursued and was rewarded as the class grew from rote memorization to more fascinating applications. Three years later, she had completed both Level I and II Clinical Herbalism and the Ayurveda certificates.
Using her newfound knowledge of western and Ayurvedic herbs, Melissa began making salves, tinctures and capsules. Most were not too complex until she received a call from a relative asking for arthritis relief. After careful research, she designed a blend to ease inflammation and pain. Success! Not only did her relative love the salve, it made a huge difference in her dexterity and quality of life. This achievement gave Melissa the confidence she needed to create new recipes.
It wasn’t until people started asking, "How much is your salve?" that the idea of starting a small business crossed her mind. Melissa debuted an array of products at Albuquerque Summerfest. Since then, what started as a hobby and desire to bring natural healing products to family and friends has grown with the support of her husband, a Reiki Master, and the couple’s mindfulness and care. Today, Wethington Holistic Arts attends a dozen local events, Albuquerque’s Railyards Market, and sells its herbal remedies, natural personal care products and household cleaners to a global market.
“E-commerce is great for business, but my true love is meeting and talking with people.” Melissa goes on to say, “It makes my heart happy to hear from clients/customers who tell me how one of my handmade products helped them.” Previously unbeknownst to her, Melissa is a natural-born educator. Her new role as a small business owner with extensive herbal, nutritional, and knowledge of complementary medicine allows her to consult with and offer healing remedies.
Wethington formulas include local organic products whenever possible, fostering deep connections to her neighbors, honoring her family history, and passion for the earth with all its wisdom and wealth. Look for make-and-take classes in Albuquerque and Farmington. Attendees create their own aromatherapy sprays, herbal body scrubs and natural household cleaners. To learn more, find a class, and shop for products, visit Wethington Holistic Arts.