Stacey and Alex met as students and apprentices at the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine in 2011. In 2012, Alex joined Stacey on her family’s land in Cleveland County to support her efforts in transitioning her grandparent's conventional farm into a homestead sanctuary. Now, having joined forces, the homestead sanctuary is evolving to be a community center for education and healing, with a strong focus on sustainable living, wild foods, herbal medicines, and nature connection.
The great blue heron (Ardea herodias) is an aquatic bird that they find strength in together, and so the couple now refers to the land and their mission as Ardea Homestead Sanctuary. The words “homestead sanctuary” convey the couple’s intention, as human animals, to exist and meet their needs within the sanctity of nature.
The couple offers a wide array of market offerings. Their food offerings (grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides) include: mushrooms, garlic, sweet potatoes, field peas, specialty salad mixes, sauté mixes, okra, culinary herbs, tomatoes, and more.
The couple is also expanding to offer more native and perennial foods, many of which are wild foraged, including: sunchokes, wild greens, nuts such as pecans and black walnuts, and wild spices such as sumac spice. The couple also offers specialty items including honey, duck and chicken eggs (pastured birds fed organic, gmo-free feed), luffa sponges, potted plants, and a growing line of herbal extracts which preserve the medicinal constituents of particular plants.
In addition to their market presence, Stacey and Alex also offer a wide range of educational workshops and community events at Ardea. To learn more and view Ardea’s calendar of events, visit www.ardeasanctuary.com.