Business Owner + Founder Rita’s Roots Backyard Harvest 2011
· Gardener · Teacher · Mentor ·
After receiving a Political Science and Art degree from the College of Charleston in 2004, Rita began her career in agriculture as an apprentice on a bountiful family farm in the Catskill Mountains of New York. She worked with an inspiring couple and their children pulling weeds, planting lettuce, thinning beets, and delivering freshly harvested produce to restaurants in New York City. Because of her experience Mountain Dell Farm she became devoted to the ideal of organic, sustainable, locally-grown food. A subsequent internship on Towani Organic Farm in central California added to her passion and knowledge.
Rita returned to Charleston in 2006 to apply her newly developed farming skills in the Lowcountry. She began by starting a small, organically certified farm on Johns Island and quickly began to develop a following amongst area chefs. Over the next several seasons she partnered with several established farmers on Wadmalaw Island to found Rita’s Roots and shared with them the value of organic farming and marketing through CSAs. Rita was a regular figure at the Marion Square Farmers’ Market and spent some time working at a hydroponic lettuce greenhouse in Huger, SC.
Transitioning from the field in 2011, Rita founded Rita’s Roots Backyard Harvest with the goal of assisting aspiring gardeners in establishing productive vegetable gardens and farms of their own in the Lowcountry. Rita simultaneously served as the Lowcountry Local First Dirtworks Incubator Farm Mentor and Manager from 2012-2014.
Rita and her dedicated crew of three currently assist about 50 gardens per season and she serves as the Green Heart Project’s Garden Mentor and Consultant.
Kim spent most of her youth in the upstate of South Carolina in a gardening family. After graduating high school in Kentucky, she returned to South Carolina to go to college at Clemson University. She holds both a BS in Biological Sciences and an MS in Plant and Environmental Sciences. During her time as a masters student, she worked on the 15-acre on campus Student Organic Farm. It was there that she learned the practices of organic farming. When she is not in the gardens, she is spending time with her awesome husband and spunky three year old, or slinging amazing vittles at Wild Olive Restaurant on Johns Island.
Office Manager + Nursery Assistant
Jessica’s educational background in accounting and prior experience in office management made her a perfect fit to take the majority of Rita’s office work off her hands, so those hands would have more time to get dirty!
Her creative side is put to use with the occasional craft project, making market signs and such.
Jessica met Rita in 2009 when her husband, Aron, worked on Rita’s CSA crew. She and their daughters volunteered on that farm and also with farms in Hawaii and California. In 2011, Rita helped her setup her first home garden here in Charleston, which was impressively productive!
With this gardening experience, she is thrilled to work in the RRBH Nursery during the early Spring and Fall seasons, potting up the baby plants that will provide our clients with nourishment and beauty!
Garden Box Builder + All Around Right-Hand-Man
Having worked for Rita’s Roots CSA back in 2009, Aron was a shoe-in with Backyard Harvest when Rita was looking to expand her team. In addition to Rita’s Roots, Aron has a career in woodworking building custom cabinets for clientele across the Lowcountry. He applies his talent towards building our clients’ beautiful raised garden beds.
In addition to building, Aron helps with garden bed installation, irrigation system installation & repair, tomato cage making, compost hauling, garden tending and mulch-making to name a few.
Aron enjoys living simply and spending time with his wife & daughters in his spare time. He’s a bit of a movie buff, and a great chef.