Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Roark.
Lisa, before we jump into specific questions about the work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I worked in the beauty industry for close to 20 years, loving the creativity and newness that each day brought. The more I learned about ingredients in skincare, the more fascinated I became with the growth, harvest, and use of the plants in formulas. In 2015 I enrolled in the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts upon a recommendation by my sweet friend Emily Fiala. There I earned a certification in Urban Farming and Conscious Living, which taught me about permaculture and how to conserve the earth’s precious resources. I followed that certification in 2016 with another one focused on Holistic Nutrition.
By the spring of 2006, I felt ready to leave my career in beauty to explore entrepreneurship. I launched Ike & Eli’s Organic Farm, LLC, named after my beloved dogs and garden helpers. I spent that year giving speeches on zero waste living in the kitchen and the garden at farmer’s markets in the DFW metroplex, as well as consulting with beauty brands that were wanting to grow their own plants to incorporate into their products.
In 2017, the culinary school came calling. I enrolled in El Centro’s Food and Hospitality Institute for earn degrees in both Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. I’m finished with the culinary portion of the degrees (and can officially be called “chef”!) and will be graduating with the Hospitality Management degree in May 2020. I figured I knew how to grow the plants and how to discuss the nutritional benefits of them, so why not learn how to cook them properly?
I’m currently working at the Dallas Arboretum every Monday representing El Centro College Cooks. I also work for Chef Cynthia Nevels of Soulgood, Inc. as her sous chef and Social Impact Liaison. As a vegan, I enjoy the opportunity to teach the Arboretum guests about plant-based living, and I love working for Chef Cynthia, because we share the same values!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s been a pretty smooth road, which I attribute to my faith in God. I’ve depended on Him every step of the way, starting with the decision to enroll in SWIHA to learn about Urban Farming. It’s incredibly important for me to be obedient and feel guided, which helps when I become double-minded. (“Am I doing the right thing? Am I on the right track? Is this where I’m supposed to go?”)
Please tell us about your work.
I use Love + Plant + Nourish as a platform to invite others to participate in community building. I have my blogs compartmentalized by gardening, recipes, beauty, philanthropy, and more, which I hope readers will enjoy and be inspired by. There is also a page which lists organizations I enjoy working with, and some links to like-minded charities.
My proudest accomplishment is rebuilding the community garden at The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, where guests are able to tend the garden and learn a new skill that will help them during their transition out of homelessness. I was blessed to become friends with a lot of the residents, who are beautiful people experiencing very difficult things.
As hippie as it sounds, what sets me apart from others is my disinterest in making a profit. All I want to do is share love in Dallas. Not only love for our most vulnerable neighbors, but love for Dallasites who want to get started with gardening, cooking, or volunteering and don’t know where to start. I hope people visit my website and feel as warm and welcome as they would if they were meeting me in person.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Other than anything having to do with my brother, who is still my best friend, my favorite childhood memory is meeting an astronaut at my elementary school in Richardson. A reporter from the Dallas Times Herald was there, recording information about his visit. The astronaut brought moon rocks and talked to our class about space travel. When it was time for questions, I raised my hand and asked how old the astronaut was. He replied, “Fifty,” I had just learned that certain numbers are assigned certain terms, and I happily announced, “Oh! You’re an antique!”, much to the amusement of the astronaut.
Later that week, the Dallas Times Herald printed an article about the visit – and included detail about a six year old girl who called the astronaut “antique”!
- Website: https://www.
- Email: lisa@
- Instagram: https://www.
Lisa or Mike Roark