It all starts with a seed, a vision and a plan. That’s where Chris Miller comes in. Founder of the new sustainable agriculture service (aka gardens) for chefs, restaurants, home cooks, residential and a whole lot more! Introducing That Garden Guy where they take care of everything from the design, installation and maintenance of your garden. To better understand what it’s all about we recently sat down with Chris to get the full education on his new business (we also have our own Greenville360 garden in our own backyard, so we’re experiencing firsthand what it’s all about. Thanks, Chris!) Now let’s go meet That Garden Guy yourself.
360: How did the idea for That Garden Guy come to life?
Chris: That Garden Guy is the culmination of my background in Environmental Science and Sustainability, landscaping, construction, cooking in restaurants, and more recently working on/running farms. In the spring of 2017, after helping run Reedy River Farms, Chef Alex George of GB&D asked if I could help him grow food at his restaurant, and That Garden Guy was born. Quite simply, I wanted to help people grow food. I think people have become disconnected from how their food is produced and what goes into it, and I’m hoping to help to educate in and facilitate the “grow your own” and “local food” movement. Blending beauty with function, That Garden Guy crafts edible gardens for homes, restaurants, and institutions.
360: Tell us a little bit of how the process works?
Chris: It starts off with a visit to the site to account for sunlight, access to water, and various nuances specific to the location. We then work with the clients vision and needs to come up with a design and proposal. Once approved, we begin the installation process and encourage the client to be a part of the experience with educational opportunities available during the planting. If the client prefers a more hands off approach, we can do everything from seeding to harvesting and leave your food on your doorstep. That Garden Guy works with beginner and experienced gardeners alike to help you grow your own food. We can also be the much needed elbow grease to help out when the heat, bugs, and weeds come, or to help prep your garden for spring, fall, summer or winter. With our mild climate, and a little bit of planning, you can have some food growing 365 days a year.
360: What gardens are you growing right now?
Chris: Right now I help with GB&D’s experimental gardens, an herb planter on the patio at The Anchorage, Bacon Bros Public House’s back porch garden, a few up-cycled raised garden beds on top of a shipping container at Kitchen Sync, and a few home gardens. I’m currently working on a larger project at the new Saskatoon restaurant, that will consist of various potager (French kitchen gardens) around the restaurant.
360: What’s the favorite part of your job?
Chris: I love that I get to help people grow their own food. I enjoy meeting new people and sharing my passion for growing food in a sustainable way. Working with companies and non-profits that close the loop like Atlas Organics, who diverts kitchen waste from landfills via local groceries, businesses, restaurants, and homes to make compost that provides nutrients for plants; or Soteria who uses reclaimed wood from local tear-downs to build some of my raised garden beds only adds to the sustainability of growing your own food; or Feed & Seed who connects all of the area farms and produce to the local community. There are so many benefits, but my favorite is probably what happens in the kitchen post-harvest. I love seeing a chef or cook go outside their kitchen door to grab some herbs, flowers or greens that are going into their dishes just seconds, minutes, hours after being picked. The flavor that comes with the freshness is what its all about, and I am constantly inspired by what and how the chefs use different products.
360: Where do you see That Garden Guy in a few years from now?
Chris: I want to help everyone grow food everywhere. I would love to help homes, churches, schools, hospitals and out patient homes, restaurants, business the city all incorporate food into their existing space. There are so many different ways and opportunities to grow food that you could grow food almost anywhere. The benefits of edible gardens are vast, from teachable moments in school gardens to therapeutic gardens at healthcare facilities, to saving money on herbs and flowers at a restaurant or supporting and building your local community through city park, neighborhood or church community gardens. My goal is to help facilitate this process of ‘grow your own’ and provide some muscle or education in any capacity.
Check out yeahthatgardenguy.com for more information or follow them on their quest to grow food everywhere on Instagram or Facebook. PS, watch out for progression of the 360 garden as it continues grow!