Ashley spent his early childhood in rural Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, where his family lived a self-sufficient lifestyle complete with home gardens, fruit trees, hunting, and fishing. This continued when his family moved to the coastal community of Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula.
When he left school, he moved to Auckland City to become a health & fitness instructor. During his 10-year career, he participated in amateur body building competitions. While he enjoyed it, he realized that the basic nutritional knowledge he gained through these activities did not add up to optimal health. It was at this time that Ashley decided to plant his first vegetable garden.
Ashley has a passion for learning and earned degrees in history and ecology from Auckland University. After graduating, he got a job running an inner-city community organic garden, which operated a works-skills programme for people undergoing mental health and/or substance rehabilitation.
During this period, he also got married. When his children were born, he felt it was important to raise them in a healthy environment with clean air to breath, pure water to drink, and nutritious food to eat. He and his wife decided to leave the city and purchase their own homestead in the countryside. They spent seven years growing organic vegetables for regional farmers’ markets, using low-input, low-tech organic growing methods to generate a livelihood for themselves.
From this experience, plus his own research, Ashley realized that understanding and working with soil biology and seed genetics is essential to growing nutrient-rich food for optimal health. He also realized that there are wider social & economic issues at play that need to be addressed for us to efficiently produce an abundance of nutrient-rich food to feed not only ourselves, but our communities as well.
Ashley is committed to continually learning and strengthening his skills to be a better support to others, both locally and in our online community!