By Kim Kobersmith
Especially for NKyTribune
Rachel Eten’s interest in natural healing began when she was a girl and her mother became ill. She watched her mother seek the help of a holistic practitioner, make strict dietary changes, and return to full health.
When Eten began modeling and traveling the world as a teenager, she relied on natural health practices. She admits that she always wore herbs and offered their healing properties when other models suffered from seasonal allergies or anxiety. “Models should be the image of health,” says Eten. “Many are into the world of natural health.”
Holistic health is the foundation of Eten’s new business, Garden of Eten. Her desire is to use herbs and natural practices to create a healthier community as a herbalist in the neighborhood. Through her attention to detail, from planting the seed to filling the bottle, she produces pure and useful products that she is proud to bear her name on.
The business began when Eten and her husband Ryan, both Cold Spring natives, returned to Kentucky after modeling stints in New York, London, and Asia. They bought the oldest dairy farm in Northern Kentucky and started creating two acres of land dedicated to botanicals. Eten started preparing her own herbal treatments, and the news spread to family and friends.
Two years ago she came to a crossroads – was she ready to start a business? Entrepreneurship is in her blood; Both parents own their own businesses. Garden of Eten matched her desire to help people in their community and decided to take the plunge.
Garden of Eten’s line of products includes a number of herbal health remedies. Eten’s most popular elixir is also the tastiest: elderberry syrup. To make it, Eden soaks organic elderberries from their farm with local raw honey mixed with warming cinnamon and cloves and a dash of freshly squeezed ginger juice. Elderberry is known to boost the immune system, and customers can take it either daily to help prevent seasonal allergies or as needed when they experience cold symptoms. It’s a versatile ingredient that is used in salad dressings, cocktails, and even snow cones.
One of the garden’s newest products is rose hip oil. The wildly sculptured rose hips are infused in avocado oil for 6 weeks, and the resulting topical moisturizer is beneficial for older skin. It adds elasticity and reduces discoloration for a natural glow.
Another way that Eten delivers the benefits of herbs is through Drunken and Sober Botanicals. They extract the health benefits of a single herb and keep it for up to three years. Goldenrod is used to treat fall allergies, and lemon balm has the ability to reduce anxiety and help you relax.
“I love herbs,” says Eten. “You are able to balance the body in a gentle way.”
Eten attaches particular importance to their ingredients and grows or collects all herbs themselves. They are grown organically without pesticides or made wild in natural, clean environments. Eten is the mother of three-year-old Ari and is often in her sprawling herb garden or collecting botanicals in nearby forests with her son strapped to his back. “It’s so great that I can do this job with my mate for the ride,” says Eten. “He connects with plants and loves the forest.”
The products are processed in the Incubator Kitchen Collective, a non-profit commercial kitchen for setting up a company. In addition to scheduled access to facilities, members receive entrepreneurship training and membership in a supportive and knowledgeable community. You have helped 60 local businesses grow and prosper.
Eten has found a supportive and close community of small business owners in Kentucky. These natural life entrepreneurs often work together in farmers markets, and others include their products in bundles of local produce. They are also available for business and tax questions.
Eten has a bigger vision that goes beyond their herbal product foundation. She wants to educate and connect people to lead healthier lives. Garden of Eten has a private Facebook group and publishes a variety of resources for healthy living, from articles about the benefits of chiropractic care to tips for natural house cleaning. When marketing her products, she substantiates her health claims with scientific studies on their effectiveness. “I never make false promises,” she says. “I give people information about science so they can look it up for themselves.”
As a herbalist in the neighborhood, Eten extends her reach through natural life events. An April offer is being made in partnership with permaculture Doug Crouch in his medicinal and edible food forest Treasure Lake The two will lead a wildcrafting event. The participants get to know the healing elements in nature and harvest a personal tea bouquet to dry at home.
In May, Eten coordinated a market with suppliers of natural livelihoods at Alexandria Brewing Company (e.g. greenhouse cleaners, natural lawn care companies and raw honey from the region). She also hopes to visit the health and wellness retreats again, as they were canceled last year. It was about fresh, healthy food, yoga, and treehouse accommodations.
“There really is no better time than now to be healthy,” says Eten.
Beyond herbal products, beyond immersive educational events, Eten has an even bigger dream. She wants to create an atmosphere of healing on her family farm, with a forest for medicinal food for foraging and a retreat for renewal. “Health is really about the mind, body and soul,” says Eten. “I want to act as a gatekeeper to help everyone find a balance in their lives.”
Find Garden of Eten products at Jungle Jim’s, Kentucky Botanical Co., and natural product retailers in the greater Cincinnati area, or order online at www.gardenofeten.com.
Rachel Etan tells how goldenrod became such a beautiful and powerful plant
Kim Kobersmith is a freelance writer and photographer from Berea.
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