We had the good fortune of connecting with Katrina Blair and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Katrina, why did you pursue a creative career?
I saw a need in our society that was not being fulfilled so I wanted to help manifest a solution. I fell in love with all plants as a child and noticed that some plants were being discriminated against. The “weeds” were considered noxious and were being eradicated with herbicides. As an earth steward, I see this as a problem to the water, the soil, the birds, kids and all of life. Our mission with Turtle Lake Refuge is to celebrate the connection between personal health and wild lands. We have a wild foods cafe where we integrate the edible weeds like dandelions and thistles into the meals. We also have a permaculture farm and offer educational classes. One key project is Bee Happy Lands, an organic weed mitigation service. We harvest the weeds from public and private land such as townships and homeowners association instead of them spraying herbicides to get rid of the weeds. We regenerate the soil with greater fertility and stability so in the long run, the ecosystem finds balance and greater health overall. This creative outlet was driven by a desire to help the health of the planet and support quality of life for all beings.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Our non-profit Turtle Lake Refuge is a community hub that connects people with a sense of belonging to each other, the land and our collective health. We aim for sustainable practices in all that we do. We grow micro greens year round and supply the public schools, restaurants and stores in Durango. We value bicycles and use them for some of our deliveries. We have a bicycle blender at the farmers market for making willd fruit smoothies and a wheatgrass bicycle for making wheatgrass juice. We transform our growing space into a cafe twice a week for a local, wild and living foods lunch. At our Turtle Lake Community farm, we have several greenhouses, bee hives, grow much of the food that we use in our cafe and in our recipes. We welcome volunteers and work study students to work and learn with us in all our projects from harvesting the wild edible foods from nature to growing the local foods to preparing delicious recipes. Education is our focus in sharing inspiration for good living in honor of all beings.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would bring them to our Turtle Tuesdays or Frog Fridays lunch at the Turtle Cafe between 11:11am -2:22pm. We would also go to the Turtle Community Farm for a work day which often starts with a yoga class and at night there may be a community potluck and ecstatic dance. There are also some great cafes in Durango such as Mountain Monk where there are open mic nights.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have 3 people who I want to appreciate: my mom, Pat Blair is a core supported and collaborator of my journey, my father Rob Blair opened the door to the wild for me and Dolores LaChapelle has been my mentor of deep ecology.

Website: turtlelakerefuge.org

Instagram: turtle lake refuge

Twitter: Turtle Lake Refuge

Facebook: Turtle Lake Refuge

Youtube: Turtle Lake Refuge

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