Dear Customers of
The Organic Gardener’s Pantry,
Happy Holidays and All The Best for 2010!

The New Year will bring a change at the helm of the Pantry. As of January 2010, you will be noticing a new voice on the phone and a new name at the bottom of the e-mails.

My name is Christina Nikolic and I am taking over The Organic Gardener’s Pantry from Phil Nauta.

Phil and I are colleagues and friends, sharing a passion for the organic movement in its countless aspects of everyday life, and particularly in agri/horticulture – the care of the land. I am continuing Phil’s business for the same reason he started it: There is contagious excitement about finding real (and real simple) solutions to some of today’s pressing environmental issues, and to share these finds with others so that we can effect real change, using low tech methods at low cost, one garden and one field at a time.

Phil will stay involved from a distance, kindly helping me to get on my way while pursuing new projects of his own. We will continue to work together on the process of transitioning the Organic Gardener’s Pantry from his hands into mine.

I am absolutely thrilled to be offered this opportunity. When I asked another close friend about her advice in this endeavour, she expressed her belief that as long as my business supported the earth, the earth would surely support me. That pretty much sums it up!

I currently run Stewardship Natural Landscape Design in Victoria, B.C., offering certified organic garden design and consultations as well as planting service and light garden maintenance since 2003. I have been using Pantry products at numerous sites, including my own garden, with great success.

Way back in my country of origin, Germany, I received a degree in landscape architecture and extensive industry training, yet I always felt that there was something important amiss. I found the answer to that “something” upon joining SOUL, and my approach to horticulture shifted completely towards organic principles. Ecology, a mere elective during all my years of study, has now become an integral part of my work.

A graduate of Gaia College, I became a SOUL Certified Organic Land Care Professional in 2005 and soon after that, a Gaia College instructor, teaching in both the Ecological Landscape Design program and the SOUL Organic Master Gardener course.

A “student of life” in times of considerable local and global challenges, I feel a strong dedication to living in harmony with each other and with the earth.

In Other News…:

And this is not the only change in The Organic Gardener’s Pantry.

Our supplier of EM is modifying, renaming, and repackaging some of their products. It looks to me like these changes are a good thing, the results of ongoing research and customer feedback. As these products are still among the best in the market at a fair price, I will definitely stick with this supplier. Consequently, after selling the current stock while supplies last, I will switch to the new product line. The differences are slight, actually.

  • The current EM Mother Cultures, so far known as EM Original and EM Plus, will be renamed ProBio Balance Original and ProBio Balance Plus, respectively. The “Plus” version offers higher biodiversity, combining a blend of effective microorganisms and enhanced levels of phototrophic bacteria. Therefore, Phil and I have decided to discontinue EM Original once the existing stock is sold, and to offer you ProBio Balance Plus (we will keep calling it EM Plus) for diluted or undiluted use and activation. I will continue to use this product to make Activated EM, just like Phil has been doing in the past.
  • The current EM Probiotic Drink is undergoing minor changes to its ingredient list and a renaming to “Herbal Probiotics”. It will now only be available in 500 mL size bottles (down from 1L for the previous version). This equals a one-month supply and favours freshness and quality over shelf life.

Have I mentioned the great success I have had using EM in my garden? After losing almost my entire grape crop to grey mould (Botrytis) in 2008, I enjoyed a bountiful harvest of sweet and juicy grapes this past fall. Sure, we had an awesome summer here in Victoria with lots of warmth and sunshine. But I also attribute the dramatic improvement to the fact that I applied Activated EM twice, first at the breaking of the buds and then again when the leaves were fully developed. I had perhaps a couple of mouldy grape bunches. All the foliage was healthy. And I had laundry baskets full of grapes to give away around the neighbourhood…!

Cheers and again, a Happy New Year 2010!