Kulas | Lisa Bagwell: Artistic Gardener
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Lisa Bagwell: Artistic Gardener

Lisa Bagwell brought her talent in French intensive gardening to Kula Urban Farm and it shows in the late summer vegetable and flower landscape of the farm’s outdoor gardens.

“I do a lot of companion planting–plants that benefit from each other–like putting tomatoes, basil, parsley and marigolds together,” Lisa said. “ I’m also planting a lot of flowers as pollinators which benefits the overall ecology and health of the garden.”

A vegetarian since she was 12 and vegan since she graduated from college, Lisa majored in ecology at Rutgers University with a minor in entomology(insects). “I didn’t do well because I couldn’t kill them,” she said.

She shares her farm manager responsibilities with Thijs van Oosterhout,. She previously worked in the fields on an organic farm, sold produce at a farmers market, and managed the Long Branch Community Gardens for 9 years.

“It matters for people to see where their food comes from, especially children,” she said.

The Red Bank resident is a respected trash assembly artist, transforming the tossed out and lost items of life into arresting and beautiful recycled sculptures.

Lisa said she would be drawn to the Kula Café and Farm just as stand alone businesses but is particularly happy to be with the Interfaith Neighbors program to offer job training and work opportunities for community residents.

“I’ve see how much gardening affects the local environment and people,’’ she said. “And you can just do it. You don’t have to talk.”

The popular produce this first growing season at the farm?
“Salad mix is what everyone wants,” she said. “We can never grow enough salad mix.”