Kristina Hicks-Hamblin lives on a dryland permaculture homestead in the high desert of Utah. When she was growing up, she loved to play in the wild, un-landscaped zones between the houses and developments in the suburbs of her native Charlotte, North Carolina.
When she was in high school, Kristina landed an after school job with a family-owned plant nursery where she learned to sling a garden hose, rub herbs to release their scents, and propagate plants from cuttings and by division. She continued working for this wonderful family business on and off throughout college, until a spontaneous move to Paris, France took her away from gardening.
For over nearly a decade and a half in Paris, she spent the bulk of her free time visiting museums or city parks, where the beautifully landscaped plants got her green thumb itching. Kristina became a fan of the wonderful neighborhood farmers markets of Paris, and began to develop an awareness of food and provenance.
When she moved back to North Carolina, she immediately bought a pack of seeds and began to garden very haphazardly. No, the watermelon seeds she planted in a small terracotta pot did not produce fruit, though they did grow lovely leaves.
To learn more about gardening, Kristina checked out every book she could find about organic gardening, edible plants, and permaculture. She soon took over as organizer of a local permaculture group, started a neighborhood food swap, and planned crop mobs to help others complete garden projects quickly with free labor.
Meanwhile, Kristina took native plant classes at the local university, and enjoyed finally learning the names of some of the plants in those wild zones she had loved growing up. A week-long class on wild foods and fermentation taught her to identify even more plants, both edible and not, and gave her confidence in fermenting the produce from her garden – which had finally become a proper one, with 12 beautiful raised beds.
Love whisked her to Utah where she switched out her raised beds for sunken ones. Kristina loves the challenges of dryland gardening, teaching others to use climate compatible gardening techniques, and creating gardens where there are as many birds and bees as there are edibles.
Kristina writes about living on a homestead where health is the top priority and decisions are guided by nature, at The Healthy Homestead. She is a fanatic fermenter, and gluten-free recipe developer. Her downtime is spent relaxing with her numerous dogs and cats, rubbing her donkeys’ noggins, or hiking with her wildman husband. She considers it a point of pride that she spends more money on seeds every year than she does on clothes.
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