An Interview with Shawn Fulbright, Ojai Wild's Aromatic's Farmer
We wouldn’t be so fluidly connected with nature without the people who inspire us –– the fellow creators, makers and influencers that plant and sew the seeds, bringing Ojai Wild to life.
Meet Shawn –– she is the hands, heart and brilliant mind behind the aromatic botanicals that infuse our body oils, candles, and beloved colognes. Her life has been steeped in studying organic agriculture and passionately observing nature. She is deeply connected to the land in Ojai.
Somehow this incredible woman manages to be a mother, a homesteader and a farmer. The dedication it takes to be a giver-of-life in so many ways is extraordinary to us. Her keen instinct and knowing, nurture an array of fragrant blooms: lavender, two rose varieties, white sage, tobacco, helichrysum, patchouli, aloe and tulsi basil to name a few . There are no words in the English language to describe our gratitude for this woman and we are excited to share a corner of her life with you.
So lovely to get to share some of who you are with our following.
M: To begin, what started your passion for farming?
Shawn:I became interested in farming during college, but only discovered my love for it during an apprenticeship on a small organic farm in beautiful Upper Ojai back in 2009. Farming is a trade that just seemed to agree with me on every level. It was a practice that enabled me to feel productive in the most basic sense of the word. I'm passionate about it because it's something a human can do that attempts to create and nurture rather than destroy or exploit. And a nice side effect was that I grew healthier physically while farming.
M: What is your favorite crop to grow?
Shawn: Garlic. It's a straightforward crop that's planted at a very specific time of year (fall) and signals a shift in the seasons. It's very satisfying to harvest as well.
M: What does aroma mean to you? Is there a scent that transports you back to a time, place or memory?
Shawn: Aroma is powerful and triggering in the best and worst ways. It can change my mood in a split second; a pleasant smell can awaken my appetite or send me back in time, whereas an unpleasant one can really ruin things. I'm transported by tuberose; my dad used to grow it in our backyard when I was a child and place sprigs of it by my bed. He would always remind us that it is most fragrant at night, which has always intrigued me.
Shawn: What is your favorite Ojai Wild Product? I really enjoy the Flower Dust candles! I have a new ritual of lighting one when I sit down to practice piano after dinner time.
M:What is your most beloved season?
Tell us a bit about why organic farming is important for our environment and future going forward?
Shawn: Organic farming is important because it requires a departure from chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, and encourages beneficial practices such as crop rotation, crop diversity and cover cropping. Organic certification attempts to hold farmers accountable for their treatment of their land. It's not a perfect institution or label because it still offers loopholes to conventional practices and largescale farming operations, but in my experience, organic certifiers attempt to encourage the use of more holistic practices. Chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides have an immediate and long lasting negative impact on pollinators, water, soil and air quality. Growing organically is how our ancestors used to farm. It's long term, it's non abusive, and it's not hard to do.
M:How do you balance work on the land + being a mother?
Shawn: My kids are very young so nothing feels balanced right now, but I do make sure I spend time out in the garden both with and without my kiddos. Most of the time they are really into it and want to work alongside me. Time spent working on the land alone, whether it is my own or at Ojai Wild, falls into the self-care category right now. Some people meditate for self care, I work in my greenhouse or harvest snap peas.
M:Do you have any other passion projects you are working on?
Shawn: I have a small greenhouse where I grow seedlings that I share with friends and sell online.