Know Your Farmer: Garden Dreams

Know Your Farmer: Garden Dreams

Established in 2000 as a garden design business and transformed into a seedling nursery in 2004, Garden Dreams is a woman owned and operated urban farm specializing in certified organic heirloom seedlings and garden education. The site features 2 permanent high tunnels, 3 multipurpose high tunnels, several multi-use buildings, an outdoor classroom space, demonstration gardens that exemplify wildlife habitats, medicinal gardens, organic fruit propagation beds, trial gardens and more – all on a 1/4 of an acre of land. This urban oasis supports garden dreamers of all ages through neighborhood beautification, community workshops, seedling sales, hands-on learning and resource sharing.

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 Q&A with Danielle Marvit, Production Manager

What inspired you to start the business? The owner, Mindy Schwartz, loves gardening and loves sharing gardening with others even more. Friends encouraged her to grow heirloom tomato seedlings for them to grow at home. She enjoyed it so much she turned her love of growing seedlings into a business!

What makes your products or business unique? We are woman owned and operated and we are Pittsburgh’s only certified organic urban farm that specializes in growing heirloom seedlings.

What is the most important thing for customers to know about your products? We never use chemicals on any of our seedlings. All our plants are safe for our customers’ families AND for wildlife. That is a promise that we make to our customers and our urban ecosystem.

How do you source products? Do you partner with any other local producers? We grow 50,000 plus seedlings using local supply chains whenever possible. Including our potting soil, vermiculite, compost and leaf mulch, nursery plastic, soil amendments, and more. More importantly, we source our organic seed with an increasing supply coming from Northeastern growers, making our seedlings more readily adaptable to climate pressures and growing challenges in our region.

What is the greatest challenge you face/have faced as a local business owner? Besides Mother Nature?! Every small business struggles to be viable in an ever-changing world. Garden Dreams is no exception. We are working towards expanding our resources and adding comprehensive garden education workshops with a strong emphasis on DIY herbal medicine. We want to be able to better meet the needs of our growing customer base.

What is your hope for the future of your business? To be sustainable and constantly growing our vision to meet the needs of our community and our staff.

Why do you think people should shop local? It’s important to support our local economies so that we can continue to create and sustain diverse employment opportunities in our region.

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