Introducing Gather Voices, The Podcast

After many years of having one-on-one conversations with others that I’ve wanted to share, I’ve finally started a podcast. You might remember a few years back I recorded one conversation from a talk I had with another business owner, well this time there will be more than that.

I aim to release these once a month though sometimes there may be more content than that. You can listen anywhere you stream podcasts just search for “Gather Voices“.⁠⁠

The first episode is a zoom conversation (so there may be blips and some noises here and there!) with Preeti Waas of Cheeni Raleigh. I hope you enjoy it! ⁠⁠You can listen to it below (or wherever you find podcasts).

I’d love it if you subscribe, rate and review and share with your friends so that others can find it too.

Office Spaces Available

A few private offices are coming available at Gather Goods Co within the next few months:

Gather Goods Co which is located in downtown Cary across from the Cary Arts Center and beside the new library and park has a couple of private office spaces coming available soon. 

The building has a total of 7 private offices, a big backyard with a young farmers collective who aims to turn it into a community garden over the next few years, a front classroom/sitting area and a shop showroom for Gather’s online shop

The space is beautiful, serene, cozy and has lots of light. It feels like a home but is instead an inspirational shared office space/building/community space. The location is great as well as the other studio tenants within the space. 

Please let me know if you are interested and I can share more details. There are also a few “open coworking” options for those looking for a more flexible, casual space that doesn’t require a private office.

Masks are required in the common areas. There is also lots of beautiful outdoor space to enjoy and work in as well.

If you know someone who might be looking for space or may be interested in Gather Goods Co’s offerings can you share this post with them? I would really appreciate it!

Gather Garden Update

Last year I reached out to some farmers to see if they wanted to help me turn the back space into a community garden. It was a vision I’ve had for a long time. Growing up there was a business nearby that sold cut flowers from their farmland and I have fond memories of visiting it and dreaming about owning a business like that one day. I also grew up with grandmothers and extended family members (not to mention my own mother) who were extensive home gardeners. I have vivid memories of the columbine’s blooming at my grandmother’s house or the path filled with daffodils next to the walkway at my great-grandmother’s and the smell of muscadine grapes as we sat on her screen porch for family meals. At my own home we had apple trees and a big garden in our yard. I was given my own garden early on where I took an interest in herbs and the magical qualities that plants have for healing.

I am a big believer that nature heals and that we all need safe, sacred and beautiful spaces to retreat to. I think as the spaces around us become more developed, as our anxieties rise, we need this even more so. A few years ago I experienced severe burn-out and I took a year long sabbatical from Gather Goods Co, during that time, thinking I might just open up that flower farm, I worked part-time at a greenhouse and I experienced first hand the deep and powerful healing properties of plants and the value in being outdoors no matter the weather.

With that in mind, I sourced a space for the new version of Gather where I could bring a community garden to it as well as a shared office space, where I could collaborate with others who had this desire and interest (and were maybe looking for land to work) and create a second level to the serene and intentionally nurturing space that is Gather Goods Co. – I am thrilled to have this young farmer collective making this space useful and special and over time I know it will become a truly inspiring and restful space that will benefit the community not just in being a spot to visit but also in benefitting those facing food scarcity and local food pantries.

If you are local and looking to get involved, let me know. For many months now this collective has been working the back space there and slowly growing it and they weren’t yet ready for volunteers, now they are. This year we are hoping to share more behind-the-scenes goings-on. They provided me with this blog recap to learn more about what they’ve been up to this past year:

Gather Garden Update from the farmers:
In the heat of NC summer an opportunity arose. A message from Gather Good’s founder, Michelle, found its way to us via a garden listserv and after many calls and with excitement the team formed. We had a team of six members willing to put time and energy into the garden space. Between the team, we have several years of different types of farming experience (traditional, permaculture, indoor, native landscaping) ~ Devin, Jenna, Steven, Mia, Michael and Helena were taking on this new adventure. Without further ado, it is my pleasure to introduce to you the Gather Garden Crew!  


I’ve been enamored with farming since I was a teen. I set out on a path to pursue farming as a lifestyle that would bring me closer to the earth. I’ve been able to engage that lifestyle through both paid and volunteer opportunities. Before COVID-19 I was pursuing hands on education through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), a program that facilitates work trade opportunities with organic farms. I was only on the road for 9 months before COVID-19 set in but the experience I gained was invaluable. Since I’ve resettled in NC, I’ve continued to further my knowledge of agriculture and explore the intricacies surrounding food and broader food systems.


I feel whole when I get to interact naturally with this treasure of a planet I am on. Playing in the dirt sparked for me in 2016 when I created a garden at my childhood home and soon after found myself in community with earth centering individuals and teachings that I cherish to this day. I advocate for eating fresh/local as it is a testament to the well being of my physical body, mind and spirit. Supporting all those doing healing work and doing my part to give back in this reciprocal relationship of life and love with Mother Earth is a responsibility and an honour. Sharing tools on emotional intelligence, dismantling white supremacy and taking small steps to homesteading all in community are deep values of mine. My bunny, Carter, cherished relationships with chosen family, birds, the community garden in East Raleigh I have the pleasure to play in, trees and water keep me sane. Favorite veggies: brussel sprouts and mushrooms! 


My name is Michael, I first got introduced to farming/gardening through my passion for healing. It became obvious to me that growing your own food and medicine is the best thing you could do to heal yourself, your community, and the Earth. That journey started in 2014, since then I have apprenticed and worked at many farms and gardens learning as much as I could directly from the awesome farmers and communities themselves. Now I still grow my own food but have moved more into growing native and medicinal plants. I am currently trying to increase the diversity of the native ecosystem in our beautiful state by starting a Native plant nursery. As well as working at the Well Fed Community Garden to help increase the biodiversity in their pollinator garden and in their landscape bordering their food production. Build the soil, plant something, and heal all!!


Helena Boehling loves people, music, art, and nature! She is currently finishing her bachelors degree at NCSU in Middle Grades Education and Spanish. Her talents include finding free items everywhere she goes and making a meal with random ingredients. Her favorite plant is the Venus fly trap – only found in the Carolinas (: 


Steven is a mathematician and musician. His background in gardening stems from volunteer experiences and is always grateful for a chance to get his hands in the dirt. He is passionate about regenerative farming practices, including composting and chemical-free growing. His favorite foods are tomatoes and beets (boiled!) 


Mia is currently finishing her Associates in Arts degree at Wake Tech. Her inspiration and ardent love for gardening comes from grandpa Frank who taught her the importance of clean eating and getting your hands dirty. She enjoys yoga, cooking, sun soaking on local hikes, and scouting for vintage pieces at her favorite thrift stores. Her favorite flower is the sunflower. 

Garden Intention & Plan (recap):

We realized fast during a distanced outdoor gathering on a beautiful late afternoon in June that all of us have the desire to nurture a deep relationship with the earth and to feed others, especially those in need, with healthy and fueling produce. Our idea for the garden space takes a permaculture and community-oriented approach and appeals to the triple bottom line ~ planet, people, and profit ~ framework. Our intention and plan for the garden is as follows: 

June 2020 Plan (recap)

  – Companion planting for vegetable production: we intend to use the majority of the space where the beds are to grow fruit/vegetable produce alongside native plants and herbs by following companion planting guidelines. Companion planting is a permaculture technique that provides pest control, pollination, and maximum utilization of space. It is friendly to the environment and increases crop productivity, all while being aesthetically interesting. Our plan for the vegetable production is to give back to the people directly involved. This could include volunteers at the garden, produce for meals at Gather events, and donating to local food shelters. 

    – Cut flowers: we intend to dedicate an area of the space for growing flowers. Besides encouraging the presence of pollinators, cut flowers are an easy way to make money for the amount of work being put in. Our thoughts are to donate it to local nonprofits working to provide food security to our communities and to help cover garden costs. A positive bottom line is an important aspect of sustainability. 

    – Compost: any permaculture project involves composting. Composting is a way to address the problems of soil health and the overuse of landfills. It provides free, nutritious soil for planting. Our plan involves a compost pile with a possibility of educational materials for community members to learn about composting!

I want to take a moment to share some gratitude to the elements and the thousands upon thousands of life forms in the soil that produce and grow miracles every moment. A big thanks to Michelle and Gather for lending your trust and resources to (essentially) a bunch of strangers to share in the abundance behind your shop. To our team for coming together during such a hard year, encouraging one another and pushing ourselves, even on the really tough days. During a global pandemic, social and racial justice uprisings and political unrest, we all deserve a moment of rest and encouragement: Deep breath in ~ give yourself a squeeze and words of encouragement ~ you are doing great and you matter. 

Continued thanks and blessings to those who have gifted the garden whether in thought, monetarily or in items. In 2020 with so much gratitude we received: 

~$100 from Jennifer Flowers

~$10 from Nicole Gulotta

~$25 from Debby and Michael Lim

~Cat litter boxes – which we have used for making soil YAY! – and gloves from Erica and Shawn Dolan

~Bamboo sticks, trays, plants, and table/storage unity from Heather and Paul Dezzutto

In the coming blog posts we will share what happened at Gather Garden in 2020 and provide updates of what 2021 holds! I feel as if I can smell the growth of spring these days, soon approaching. 

Want to get involved? I believe strongly in community participation and giving of time, energy, passing on resources and connections. Some items we could use as donations: Spade shovel (multiple), digging fork, hard rake, trowel (a few), 5 gallon bucket, tomato cages, small enclosure to hold tools and protect from the rain. 

This year (2021) we hope to open up to the neighbors and community more. Want to get dirty in the soil with us? Reach out to, we look forward to connecting with you! 

DIY Conversation Hearts Candy Recipe

If you’re looking for a fun food activity to do at home and are okay with being a little “extra” then this DIY Conversation Heart Candy Recipe is worth trying. Next time, I go about this I think I will try the effect with sugar cookies instead, still, this was a fun weekend project. Below is the recipe my husband and I pulled together from various sources online before trying our own hand at it:

DIY Conversation Hearts Candy Recipe


  • 1 .25oz packet unflavored gelatin powder
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 lbs confectioner's sugar (though you might need even more)
  • food coloring
  • food coloring pens
  • letter stamps
  • optional flavor extracts (peppermint or almond)


  • Whisk the gelatin, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt with 1/2 cup boiling water until the gelatin dissolves. 
  • Start beating in the confectioner's sugar some at a time until a soft sticky dough forms.  Have some extra powdered sugar (as much as 1-2 cups or maybe more) handy, and start kneading the dough together, adding extra sugar as needed. 
  • Knead for several minutes until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
  • Divide the dough (using a bench scraper or chefs knife) into as many pieces as the number of colors you want to end up with.  
  • Working with one piece at a time (cover the others in plastic wrap), add 2-3 drops of food coloring and knead until the color is evenly distributed and nicely pastel colored.  You can also add a drop or two of extract flavoring before this kneading step.  
  • Take a piece of parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray.  Roll out each piece of colored dough until it's maybe 1/8 – 1/4" thick, and then cut out hearts (of whatever size you like).  I found it easiest to take the rolled out dough and place directly onto the parchment and then cut out the shapes, removing the excess dough around the hearts.  This way, you don't have to transfer cut hearts from one surface to another, a process which can render the surfaces imperfectly smooth. 
  • Take the dough trimmings and re-roll as many times as you need to keep cutting out more hearts.
  • You can imprint messages into each heart at this stage with small letters.  Otherwise, leave them out to dry at room temperature overnight before writing messages onto them with food decorating pens.

Photos by Michelle Smith Creative for Gather Goods Co