We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Leah and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, how does your business help the community or world?
It is my belief that we can solve the world’s problems in a garden. I build gardens. I build gardens for people that desire a connection to the natural world. In the garden, you will come face to face with adversity, failures, successes, hardship, and grace. It is a place to discover parts of us that have been hidden or need attention. Those parts of us that are grounded in our humanity. It’s that human call to cultivate and harvest. I support my clients in cultivating those parts and harvesting the inner peace that comes from being in a garden, especially a garden of our making. A garden is a place of gathering. Can you ever walk by a garden and not slow down? What about a garden that has cucumbers, tomatoes, and strawberries or huge watermelons and purple eggplant flowers that are buzzing with worker bees? A garden is a place of allowing; giving us permission to notice. My garden business not only brings joy, but it also heals. This world is suffering and we all need a place to surrender that suffering and set an intention to thrive. I offer that, in service to all that are ready.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My practice is steeped in sustainability and spirituality. I support clients in responding to climate change from the practical and the spiritual. Practical: I have eco-packages that assess your carbon footprint, as well as guidance to a low-waste lifestyle. I also am a garden coach and designer. Spiritual: deeper dive into one’s personal role in the climate crisis, like the patterns and habits that cause ecological harm. The modalities that I use are Breathwork, Private Listening Sessions, and Process Coaching. I am most excited about how my offerings are in direct relation to anti-racism work. With my process coaching, we address projections and beliefs that cause suffering for ourselves and others. Racism is a projection that is triggered by the lens for which we see the outside world. My work unpacks the projection and transforms it into an opportunity to heal historic issues. And then we can use building a garden as a way to sustain the healing and deepen one’s relationship to the natural world which includes diverse experiences. I hold two masters. Urban Sustainability M.A. and Spiritual Psychology M.A. I have married those learning to create my offerings. Urban Sustainability focuses on meeting the world’s dual challenges of climate change and inequality. Spiritual Psychology is the study and practice of the art and science of Conscious Awakening. Together they call for a deepening of self-exploration of our place in this vast universal system we experience as life. The challenges that I face are cyclical. They usually mirror whatever I’m experiencing inside. Some days I may have more fear around life than other days, so my business may experience a lull in revenue. However, most days I approach my business as a true purpose and a personal legacy that I am creating so that I feel complete whenever my life comes to an end. There have been many lessons but the two most lasting ones are that my voice is valuable and deserves an audience and that as long as I stay on purpose with my vision I have tremendous power to create all that I see and want in my life. I would love for the world to know that we all have the capacity to be courageous allies for the earth and its inhabitants. My business is a testament to the owning of my own personal power and the acknowledgment that my offerings are my way of caring for myself, my family, my planet, and the human collective.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My friend arrives in the late afternoon. She Ubers over to my house by the beach to enjoy an early dinner at Cafe Gratitude in Venice. After dinner, we head over to the Griffith Park Observatory for one of their star gazing parties. We stay after and continue catching up as we look over at the Los Angeles city night skyline. The next morning we get up early and take a hike up in Solstice Canyon in Malibu. The hike is beautiful and gifts us a really nice morning workout. After that, we head back our down Pacific Coast HWY and up into Topanga Canyon to enjoy a vegan organic lunch at the Inn of the Seventh Ray. There we peruse their bookstore as we wait for our table. She buys a book on spiritual growth in an urban environment. I ask her to read a little to me on the ride home. Before arriving home we stop in for an iced coffee from Groundwork on Main Street in Santa Monica and drink it while we window shop. When we get home we are pooped and decide to watch a movie before heading off to sleep. The next day my friend informs me she wants to do something low-key. We decide to book a milk and honey scrub massage at Olympic Spa in Korea Town. It’s so relaxing we decide to enjoy lunch there too. They have wonderful miso soup and yummy rice noodles. We feel rejuvenated. Since we are in that part of town we then head over to Silverlake to have a drink at Cafe Stella’s on Sunset. I love the little bar in the back. It reminds me of Paris. We see Scarlett Johansson and my friend is all giddy. It’s been a long day, we drive home but stopover to get some ice cream at Salt and Straw on Abbot Kinney in West Hollywood. The ice cream gave us refound energy so we hang out in WeHo. The Abbey is poppin’ so my friend decides to show my some dance moves. So much laughter and good times. We actually met some really cool people and decide to meet up with them the next day. The next day is Sunday and we are super excited to meet our new friends in Leimert Park for the drumming circle. Wow, the energy is insane and the vibe is fun-loving and inclusive. Smiles everywhere. Our friends take us to a Black-owned bookstore that have our interest for a couple of hours and then after we enjoy some Jamaican cuisine at Ackee Bamboo. The food is so yummy we order dinner to go and head over to Hollywood Forever Cemetary for movie night. The night couldn’t be more perfect. The weather was balmy with a perfectly cool breeze. My friend wants to see where Toto from the Wizard of Oz is buried, so we find the cute little dog’s burial site and take a few pictures. The next day we decide to take it easy and just go stroll down the Venice Boardwalk and people watch. For dinner, we craved sushi so we ordered delivery from Sugar Fish in Santa Monica. The next day my friend visits some other friends and wants some recommendations on where they should go. I tell her to go check out the Grove and La Brea Tar Pits. There’s an amazing Italian restaurant near there on Beverly, called Terroni she should take them too, but before that, I suggest a toxic-free manicure at Color Lab just doors down. The week is going by so fast I just had to fit in a trip to the Craft and Folk Art Museum on Wilshire, then over to The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City. It was a blast. I had never been but had been wanting to for years. I’m so happy we went. That evening another friend is having a small dinner party over at La Boheme in West Hollywood. We have an amazing dinner there in such a beautiful restaurant. It was a wonderful way to bookend the visit. My friend’s flight is scheduled in the afternoon the next day so we make plans to have breakfast at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in the Marina. As we sit and watch the sailboats sail in and out the marina we rejoice on the fabulous week we had together and start making plans for her next visit. This time we’ll fit in a trip to the Hollywood Bowl for the Sound of Music sing-along. We can’t wait.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout is to my father. It was my father, who was also an urban gardener, that taught me the value of building a garden wherever I lived. As a young girl my father always assigned my chores to be in the garden. It’s in that garden that I birthed my connection to nature and the power of the natural world. I remember picking tomatoes and popping them in my mouth still warm from the sun and my mother slicing zucchini’s the size of footballs for an afternoon snack while we played in the garden. It is my father that gifted me this knowledge and for that, I am forever grateful. My friend Karen Mossiah has been my gardening partner for quite some time. Together we transformed a forgotten space into an edible garden that fed five families. We enjoy sharing seeds and plant discoveries with each other. She inspires me immensely.
Grey and Elle