The Prior Unity Garden Story 

abundance of food and flowers


In 2008 I had one of those life changes that had me wondering what I was to do next.  My friends kept telling me I should start a gardening business because, as they said, “You can grow anything!”  My partner Russell and I considered this idea and wondered if it had any validity.  It sounded fun, but did it really make sense to do and would it pay any bills?  As we started to greatly expand our own garden all of a sudden there was a rush of momentum; quite unexpectedly, behind starting a gardening business. Thus ushered in 2009, a transition year for me.

About this time, we read about “prior unity” as taught by World Friend Adi Da, and agreed the wisdom in the book was the most sound, lucid, social wisdom we had ever read. Russell exclaimed, “Finally something that could actually work!  Reading of the truth of prior unity in the book, I had one of those ‘Ah Ha !’ moments. “Prior Unity”, being already the case, before you or I or anything else we know has appeared, was the perfect description for how I have approached gardening my entire life. That connection many of us talk about and sometimes grasp, but often seems a bit elusive, as if just our of grasp was perfectly put into words. This was the impetus for the ‘garden business’ to truly happen. It was obvious to me that the name would be “Prior Unity Garden” – with one “N”, because there really is only one garden, spread all over the earth.

You can read excerpts from the “Prior Unity” book online.

group of gardeners pose for a pic

As customers and lifestyles changed over the last 10 years in business, I have changed how we serve you, our community.  We do this for you, keeping true to my ongoing passion to help folks grow organic.

At first we thought we would be mostly a gathering place where we would do tours and a few classes.  We soon found that much education was needed in our community.  Back in 2009, growing food at home was no longer ‘a thing’ like it had been when we were kids and we found that the heritage of growing was being lost and not understood or valued as important.  This is when we started do lots of single classes, talking to folks, networking and seeing what people wanted to learn and where their experience and knowledge was lacking.


Debby Ward and Russell Furbush show a gorup of students a garden project

The classes lead to a monthly movie night.  We screened lots of movies on gardening, sustainability in various aspects, on dirt, biodynamics, permaculture and community.  Folks would come over and we would serve popcorn that we grew ourselves as yummy inspiration. 

After a few years of this, things changed.  When we would exhibit at events, we found more people genuinely interested in growing some food and beginning to see the reasons why it was a great idea.  We found people were too busy to come to a bunch of classes and were wanting to dive deeper into gardening.  So, Debby developed The Foundations of Organic Gardening Course which combined all the single classes she and Russell had been teaching, and filled in all kinds of blanks.  She modeled it loosely after The Foundation of Herbal Medicine she had taken years before. The idea being to give folks a well rounded knowledge base of organic gardening, drawing on all the year of gardening experience, and training she Russell had.  This was when we really became passionate about growing gardeners.  Or as one permaculture saying goes, “each one, teach one.” We were out to change our community, one gardener and one yard at a time and it was fun.

Over the years the Foundations Course has grown and gotten better and remains the only in-person class Debby & Russell teach, although Debby does teach and speak for various groups and events.

Somewhere in all this we started doing Consolations, Designs, Plans and Installations.  After a few years we found that the Designs, Plans and Installations didn’t afford the income needed to sustain the business or ourselves and still be cost effective for our clients, so we stuck with Consultations and added Garden Coaching to the mix. For a time we grew plants and did big plant sales for events and by special order, wrote a couple of booklets, developed a Seed Starting System and started making Rock Dust.