Soil³ Story: The Kitchen Garden at Skyterra Wellness Retreat

Laurie Wakefield
Guest blogger Laurie Wakefield is a Master Gardener and PR and Marketing Communications Consultant. She loves to spend time in her own garden and visit others, and learn new gardening techniques and tips for healthy living. She is creator of the GardenZeal website where experienced gardeners share their enthusiasm and share great information. Laurie's website:
March 5, 2024 2 minute read

Building Healthy Soil with Soil³ at Skyterra 

Skyterra Wellness Retreat is located in Pisgah Forest, nestled in the Western North Carolina mountains. Recognized among the country’s top wellness retreats, Skyterra is centered around personal growth, mental well-being, and physical health. In 2020, Skyterra moved its main campus to a beautiful new location.

Skyterra Wellness Retreat Campus Cabins

Charming cabins are situated along a path that runs through a gorgeous landscape, surrounded by mountain views. A brand new Natatorium has also recently been added that houses a pool, sauna, and whirlpool for guests.

Skyterra Wellness Retreat Natatorium Soil3 Story

In addition to on-campus programs, Skyterra provides a variety of free content through the Skyterra at Home website, which includes videos, posts, and wellness tools that teach fitness, mobility, self-care, stress management, and yoga, along with culinary and nutrition information including recipes. Skyterra also hosts the “Inspired Intentions” weekly podcast that covers a variety of topics associated with whole-body wellness.

Nutrition is Key at Skyterra Wellness Retreat

Three chef-prepared meals are served daily in the main building, which includes a teaching kitchen, dining room, community space, yoga studio, fitness room, and classrooms. Skyterra’s campus spans 155 acres and includes a spa for guests and nine miles of walking trails that lead to a waterfall.

Don't miss our video where we take you on a drone tour of the campus and show you how they are using Soil³ in the Skyterra kitchen and teaching garden.


Master Gardener, Jess Hamilton-Brown

Soon after the new campus opened Jess Hamilton-Brown joined the team and created the Skyterra kitchen garden to provide fresh garden-to-table food for the kitchen. Jess brings enthusiasm, significant experience, and formal education, including a Bachelor's Degree in Plant Biology and Genetics and a Minor in Ecology, as well as a Master's Degree in Crop Science.

Skyterra Jess Hamilton-Brown Soil3 BigYellowBag

They built 24 raised beds and filled them with Soil³ and also added fruit trees and Blueberry bushes to the garden. Gorgeous pollinating and ornamental plants have been added to the garden and all around the property.

Skyterra Garden Raised Beds Soil3 BigYellowBag

Although the garden is just 2 years old, it already supports the Skyterra culinary program with produce. The executive chef and dietician use produce from the kitchen garden to prepare delicious and healthy meals. Skyterra guests also take classes in the teaching kitchen and learn how to incorporate more fresh vegetables into their diet.

They’ve added a greenhouse to extend the growing season all year round. Jess uses Soil³ to start from seed and give plants a head start before they are moved outside to the kitchen garden. They also grow microgreens in Soil³ and supply them to the kitchen every week. Plus, the greenhouse is used to shelter ornamental plants over the winter months.

Skyterra Greenhouse Soil3 BigYellowBag

Guests Learn How to Garden at Home

The kitchen garden fits right into the Skyterra holistic view of whole-body wellness. They focus a lot on all aspects of the garden including sustainability, the health of the soil, and of course, the health of the gardener. They reinforce that gardens are such a great place for all aspects of wellness from the mental health aspect to the physical health aspect, to the joys of growing and eating fresh local produce

In addition to growing the produce, they teach gardening classes and coach guests on ways they can continue to garden at home. Jess models the benefits that are associated with gardening and helps them experience the delights of harvesting and eating fresh vegetables.

The Skyterra Kitchen Garden Provides Inspiration & Education

While teaching classes in the kitchen garden, Jess emphasizes the importance of a healthy soil foundation. Guests can see and compare the difference between plain backyard soil and healthy Soil³ compost.

Jess has used Soil³ compost for a long time. While they continue to use the original compost at Skyterra, Jess really likes the new Veggie mix for the raised bed garden and noted that its lighter, fluffier texture is great for growing vegetables.

Skyterra Garden Soil3 Veggie Mix Raised Bed

Video and photography by Laurie and Simon Wakefield. 


Did this help you out? Have any questions for clarity? Leave a comment below!


Soil³ Guarantee

When you buy our BigYellowBag of Soil³ we are so confident that you will be happy with the quality of our product, that if it’s not to your satisfaction when we deliver it, we will pick up the unused bag for FREE and give you a 100% refund.