Teacher to Farmer: Embracing Community and Sustainability


In this exciting episode, Lynette Zang introduces our new farm manager, Morgan, who brings a unique perspective on the vital role of Community. Morgan’s background as an elementary teacher led her to recognize the importance of Food as a necessity for independence and preparedness. Her journey from teaching to farming is inspiring, as she addresses Food Security in challenging environments like deserts. Join us as Morgan shares her insights into the power of community gardens, tips for getting involved, and the thrilling world of urban foraging.


0:00 Farm Manager
1:10 Community Gardens
3:29 Foraging
5:45 Thrivers Community


Lynette Zang (00:02):

You guys know that for me, Community is the, you know, really right up there with the most important part to get set. So I am so happy to introduce you to our new farm manager. And I would like you Morgan, and I would like you to tell people a little bit about your background and how you feel about community.

Morgan (00:23):

Okay. So my formal training is as an elementary teacher. And one of the things I noticed while teaching was that Food was a necessity for everything. Oh yes. And you can’t learn. You can’t function. You have to have food. And so when I decided to do a career change, I really went to the root of the issue and tried to look at ways of looking at food security, especially in a desert, in a harsh environment like this. We are ripe for catastrophe. So it’s really, really important to be looking at innovative, creative ways of bringing food directly to our community in general.

Lynette Zang (01:10):

Excellent. Now, I know you have a lot of experience with community gardens. Yes. Yeah. And I know that that’s something that a lot of people that are watching are interested in. How do they get involved? I mean I can’t really speak to that, but you can.

Morgan (01:26):

Right. Well, a community garden is obviously community first. It’s not a garden community, it’s a community garden. So really it doesn’t exist unless the people come together. It’s a hub of sharing stories together, sharing experiences together. The greatest way to get involved is to just show up and say, I’m here. And that’s really how I got started, you know, about a decade ago as I showed up to a community garden and they said, sure, we need your help. And I just jumped in and started managing their production gardens and helping them with their farmer’s markets and moved an entire career from just showing up and saying, put me in Coach.

Lynette Zang (02:12):

Isn’t that most of it is really just showing up. Yes. Right? Yes. I mean, that’s like 95% of anything is just showing up. But how do people, and this could be something that maybe you talk about because like how do they even find a community garden? How did you find the community garden?

Morgan (02:31):

I went on the extension website, so every.

Lynette Zang (02:35):


Morgan (02:36):

No, U of A

Lynette Zang (02:38):

U of A, ok!

Morgan (02:38):

U of A extension website. So every county has an extension whether it’s Maricopa County every county has an extension. And then they also then have a list with their master gardeners of the various community gardens that are in the area. And it’s not always updated because it is managed by, by volunteers, but you basically go and find one there and then and then see what hours the community garden is. It’s usually if you drive by, they’ll have their post-it hours of when they’re available or stalk their Facebook or you know, social media and you show up <laugh>. So most community gardens are open on Saturday mornings.

Lynette Zang (03:21):

Yeah. I would think, I would think so for volunteers. ’cause A lot of people are working during the week.

Morgan (03:26):

Exactly. Yeah.

Lynette Zang (03:29):

So what do you plan on bringing to this garden and also to the bug out garden?

Morgan (03:36):

Showing that what’s possible, that you can grow food in a desert that you can

Lynette Zang (03:42):

And a huge variety too.

Morgan (03:43):

Huge variety. Huge variety. A huge variety that you can grow, that you can sustain your family, that you can sustain your neighbors. That with just a little bit of tweaks to your landscaping that you can actually provide and be sustainable on your own.

Lynette Zang (03:59):

Yeah. Something else that I’m very excited to do with you is foraging.

Morgan (04:04):


Lynette Zang (04:05):

I’m so excited about that because I think it’s critically important. I think, I think knowing how to forage in the city is gonna be critical in people staying alive. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> in many cases.

Morgan (04:18):

Yes. Yes. So just because we live in the desert does not mean the desert doesn’t provide food for us.

Lynette Zang (04:24):

Right. Of course. A lot of people that are watching this are not necessarily living in the desert. No. But if there’s food in the desert.

Morgan (04:31):

If there’s food here, there’s food elsewhere.

Lynette Zang (04:34):


Morgan (04:34):

Exactly. if you’re in the States, there’s a great crowdsourcing website called Fallen Fruit Network. And it basically, anybody who’s in that foraging network will basically drop a pin on what kind of food is there and when to get it and that sort of thing as well. So there’s a whole network of people who are helping each other learn how to forage and learn the recipes of how to cook with our native foods. And you can connect with your own community on that as well.

Lynette Zang (05:10):

I have to say that that’s probably one of the most exciting reasons or reasons why I’m excited to have you here. ’cause That’s been something that we’ve been struggling finding. But if you don’t know where to look, then you don’t know where to look. Right. So, you know, to have you as a resource is huge. And this is the kind of stuff that you’re gonna be showing in Thriver’s community and also on BGS. Yes. So stay tuned. Is there anything else that you’d like to tell our viewers?

Morgan (05:45):

Just stay tuned ’cause we’re gonna learn a lot.

Lynette Zang (05:47):

We are. It’s gonna be fun. It is gonna be so fun. Yeah definitely!

Lynette Zang (05:52):

Well welcome to the team Morgan. Thank you. We have all been counting the days until she got here. Absolutely. And what I told her yesterday is we’re throwing you in the deep end, but we’ll all be your floaties.

Morgan (06:03):

Yes and I like the deep end. So we’re good.

Lynette Zang (06:05):

We’re good. And until next we meet. Welcome to our very newest member. Bye-Bye.


  • Lynette’s mission is to translate financial noise into understandable language and enable educated, independent choices. All her work is fact and evidence based and she shares these tools openly. She believes strongly that we need to be as independent as possible and at the same time, we need to come together in community to survive and thrive through any financial crisis.

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