The Barefoot Gardener
Learning to garden with nature takes
A leap of faith
Letting go of control
Trust in the wisdom of plants
A journey to new ways of being, knowing and doing
Hello! Thanks for visiting! My name is Leila Alexandra.
A life-long gardener
I am a life long experimental gardener. Since childhood I connected deeply with nature, especially food plants. I am privileged to have grown up amongst the food forest my parents created. I have vivid memories of the gardens of my childhood. As an adult I experimented with many styles of gardening and discovered that the less I interfere, and leave things to natural processes, the more productive and beautiful the garden becomes. Nature has an innate intelligence for abundance. Over time I developed a unique style of low-work, no-dig, wild gardening.
A healing, spiritual path
For several years I was a single parent with a chronic illness, yet I always had energy to garden. In fact, the garden energised me. I discovered the healing power of gardening. I began to see gardening as a spiritual practice - the land and I healed together. Reading Masanobu Fukuoka's books was a game changer - he articulates the philosophy of natural farming, a spiritual approach to growing food and caring for Country.
I live with my partner and two children in Pascoe Vale, in Narrm (Melbourne), on Wurrundjeri/Woiwurung Country. We have created an edible wilderness that we share with increasing numbers of creatures on the huge block where we've been renting for the past 6 years. We live a wholesome life of abundance, growing many of our own vegetables and foraging the city for fruits. I go barefoot most of the year. Feeling the earth under my feet helps me feel connected to Mother Earth, my own body and to our reciprocal relationship.
I have a degree in environmental science, with an honours in social - environmental systems change. For many years I worked to create a more equitable and sustainable food system, on community projects and in research and education. I had the pleasure of working at CERES for many years as a environmental educator. I co-foundered several community organisations - The Dirty Beanstalk, Farmer Incubator and Growing Farmers.
I always wanted to 'save the world', feeling obligated and responsible, yet becoming disillusioned. I realised that if I wanted to create positive change, then I needed to embody the change I wanted to see. I slowed down, I tuned into nature, I listened for my calling. The garden spoke to me. It said "share this, inspire others", so I started my own business, dedicated to supporting others to create wild, edible gardens, to heal and to connect in profound ways to the earth, self and spirit. It is an honour and privilege to do this work.
Sowing seeds in the desert
Barefoot Food Gardens is a social enterprise. I aim to spread the practice of wild edible gardening and natural farming. Using these practices, lands that have become barren can become fertile abundant, where all creatures can find a haven and humans can learn again to revere our sacred mother earth and all that springs forth from her.
I give my time and knowledge to promote this mission, such as opening my gardening to community for events, providing free advice for community gardens, and sharing seeds and plants. I am currently learning more about growing indigenous foods and medicines, and hope to share these practices soon.