by Wendy Gabriel
Linda McNair is the president of Surf City Growers, a small organic nursery located in Aptos, California. She co-founded the company with her husband, Trent, in 2005 and together they launched My First Organics seed starting kits this year. After a combination of 25 years in high tech, they wanted to get back to basics. Their goals are to help families and schools eat healthier, support local organic farming and do their part in saving the planet. They have 2 kids, 2 dogs, 2 cats, six chickens, and just started a quarter acre of other babies on their property – a community garden for neighbors, family and friends.
How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?
My list is very long, so I’ll name just a few that are easy to implement. We carry around reusable coffee tumblers, stainless steel personal water bottles and canvas totes for our shopping trips. Composting and recycling are integrated into our lives. In fact, every week we fill two recycling cans and only half of our one garbage can! When we go out, my son sees garbage, throws it away in the appropriate place and asks: “Mom, why do people litter?” Of course, we garden organically which nourishes us, the Earth and our pocketbook!
Why is being green important to you?
Our life on Earth is very short, and I feel it’s our responsibility to conserve it for future generations. That means making lifestyle choices that preserve our natural resources, as well as our health and those of our loved ones.
What would you tell people about the importance of organic produce for the health of themselves, their families and the Earth?
Choosing local, organic produce is not just about consuming it. People are not aware how much is affected by that choice. So we created and posted a free e-coloring book on our website to educate parents and their kids. The story is about Reed, who buys his tomatoes from the supermarket, and Posey, who grows her own in the backyard. The tale tells how each tomato was grown, the journey it took to get to them, and what the Earth thinks about it all. It also talks about how special it is to share a harvest.
Why did you create My First Organics seed starting kits?
Our favorite part of running the nursery is hosting field trips showing kids how plants grow and where food comes from. The kids’ enthusiasm for the process made us realize that they can shift the way their families think about food. As a result, we expanded our business this year with My First Organics seed starting kits. We chose varieties based on garden favorites that kids love to eat, and ones that work well in the ground or in a container. The seeds and growing media are organic, and every component of the kit is recyclable, reusable or biodegradable. A percentage of each purchase goes towards a fund to provide public schools with My First Organics kits. We also offer them as a healthy, educational and eco-friendly fundraising alternative.