Skip to main content



Green Gal is a storyteller, consultant, market gardener, and garden designer with a mission to support initiatives connecting people to place, nature, community, and self. Cultivating change through storytelling since 2009.
Recent posts

Tour of River School Farm in Reno, NV

Colorful chickens, roosters, and two curious goats make up the welcome party that greets visitors to River School Farm in Reno, Nevada. I had the pleasure of meeting these farm animals, as well as Farmer Tom, during a first Friday farm tour on February 1, 2019. It was my first behind-the-scenes introduction to Reno farming, and it left me feeling hopeful and inspired to get involved with the local food system and begin growing my own food here in the high desert.

The River School Farm is nestled between the Truckee River and a business park west of downtown. It was established in 1992 and features an event space with a firepit and stage, outdoor kitchen, a nursery in spring/summer, greenhouses, spaces for workshops and classes, compost piles, chicken coops, and more. It's a community gathering place, home to a cohousing project, and an educational space. Learn more about all of the offerings and services River School Farm provides on their website here.

During the tour, Farmer Tom…

CSA Guest Post: Why is Food More Flavorful Abroad?

The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program through Green Gal's Garden is in full swing--we are already in week four of the twenty-week program! CSA boxes in the past month have contained a variety of veggies, such as chard, kale, summer squash, cauliflower, scallions, basil, dill, oregano, mint, rosemary, lemon balm, eggplant, spinach, cilantro, rhubarb, peas, flowers, blueberries, and more! The tomatoes are still green on their vines but there are hundreds of them, the corn is nearly ready, and the peppers are tempting me with their size but haven't started coloring up yet. So much deliciousness still to come! (See the latest photos from the garden on Instagram.)
I'm grateful for so much these days--the potential contained within seeds, the land I am able to farm this summer thanks to the generosity of soon-to-be-family, the encouragement and support from those who believe in my dream and have helped the garden grow. 

On harvest days like today, I am particularly …

Being the Change this Earth Week: A Speech

Happy Earth Week! I was invited to speak at my high school, Amador Valley High School, in celebration of Earth Week today. It's been awhile since I visited the place where I spent four years of my life learning and exploring my identity as an environmentalist. I actually started this blog while attending Amador Valley High School! Below is the text of my speech that I used as a reference this afternoon. What I actually said varied slightly, but here's the gist:

Hello, my name is Melissa Ott, and I graduated from Amador in 2010. I’d like to thank the organizers of Earth Week for inviting me to speak to you all today. Before I begin, I would like to a take a moment to acknowledge that we are standing on indigenous land and honor the Muwekma-Ohlone people who cared for this beautiful valley for generations before it was settled and renamed Pleasanton. The descendants of the Ohlone are still alive today, some of them in the Bay Area working to gain recognition and access to their …

Garden Update & Equipment Needs for 2018

Who else is ready for the weather to warm up the soil for our spring gardens? I've spent so many hours looking at seed catalogs and seed packets lately, I just can't wait for tomatoes and peppers!

Despite the cool temperatures lately, the 2018 growing season has officially begun for Green Gal's Garden! We sowed our first round of seeds on February 18, including three varieties of basil and one variety of cauliflower. The first seedlings sprouted up out of the soil on February 24, and more continue to sprout and grow happily in their little cells of potting soil.

I'm planting another round of seeds this week, and I finally finished my crop plan (just yesterday actually!) so now I have a schedule of what's getting planted when and how much and when it'll eventually get transplanted and then harvested.

I printed it out to have a physical copy to refer to (see below), but it will be a living document on the computer that will get updated and changed as the season p…

Reflecting on 2017

It's been almost 3 months since I said goodbye to my beautiful farm-ily and graduated from the UC Santa Cruz Farm Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture.

Life since then has been a whirlwind of organizing to-do lists and timelines, adjusting to more screen time, balancing new responsibilities and projects without the structure of a 9-5 job, and reflecting on this past growing season of learning, growth, and community.

Since October when I packed up my tent cabin overlooking Monterey Bay and closed a profound chapter of my life, the ideas that had sprouted into dreams and were woven into goals during my time at the UCSC Farm soon became integral to the fabric of my daily life.

The vision I crafted as I dug potatoes and planted ranunculus and cooked meals for 45 of my favorite people has begun manifesting as tangible stepping stones into the future, each leading to deeper understanding of the purpose and potential of those dreams.

No doubt, I have days when fear makes me question…

Giving Tuesday: Regrow Puerto Rico

Happy Giving Tuesday! If you haven't already, I invite you to please support an important cause led by four of my dear friends from the UCSC Farm Apprenticeship! They are raising funds to support a more sustainable food system in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. They have raised 75% of their $17,500 goal; help them get to 100%!

They write, "After learning that 80% of crop value has been wiped out, we think supporting our agroecological family in Puerto Rico is the best way we can contribute. We want to contribute to farmers, seed savers, and food justice organizers who believe in growing methods that do not use pesticides, that rebuild the soil, that attract beneficial insects, that grow healthy food, that believe that access to locally grown food is a RIGHT that everyone should have on the island (and around the world.)"

Please watch this video to learn more and hear directly from my four inspiring friends and fellow members of the Center for Agroecology &am…