Friends in Focus – Camille

This month we asked Camille to answer our “Friends” questions. She and Manuela have become a fantastic addition to our crew of gardeners and volunteers, and if you have any doubt as to their talents as gardeners, just look at the beautiful cucumber plant they have grown in the greenhouse!

  1. Any background information or bio that you’d like to share?

I’m from Bellingham. I love hiking, running, equestrian sports, building stone walls and learning about ethnobotany — the study of how plants have been used around the world by various societies.

2.    How long have you been gardening? 

Probably since I could walk. My parents had a big garden and I have many memories of weeding it.  My mom started seeds in our basement so that my family could get an early start planting. My brothers and I had a little farmstand where we would sell produce to the neighbors.  My favorite gardening memories include rolling around in fresh tilled dirt and chasing the elk herd out of the garden at night. Weeding two rows of vegetables every morning is my worst gardening memory. Now, I don’t mind weeding and I’m still chasing herbivores out of my garden — no elk, just deer.

3.    What have been some of your biggest challenges in the garden? 

Slugs, the cool spring, and powdery mildew.

4.    What do you find most rewarding about your involvement with the Chuckanut Center? 

Human connection and knowing that I am part of the mission. Working together to build community and feed each other is very satisfying. I believe everyone should have access to affordable organic local food.

5.    What is one piece of advice you would give someone who has very little experience growing their own food? 

Plant what you like to eat. Sometimes the pests or weather don’t cooperate but eventually something will grow.

6.    Any favorite resources? 

Other gardeners. The Soil Foodweb ( Everything I can read about permaculture.

7.    Lastly, what is your favorite thing to plant in September?

I love planting beets.