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Local Creative Highlight - Kayla Ratz, Gardener

Alpena, MI - May 2023

For May's local creative highlight, we are highlighting Kayla Ratz. Kayla is a hardworking and talented gardener who is always looking to diversify her garden in Northeast Michigan.

Keep reading to learn more about Kayla and what makes her so unique!


I'm a gardener, artist and recently, a content creator.

I became involved in my path at a young age learning to garden with my grandpa. We were close when I was young and spent summers together where I learned the trade. I moved away for college because that's what I thought I had to do (spoiler alert, you don't have to), dropped out, and moved back to the area where I got my bearings, got an associates degree at ACC in business management and then met my husband who, as luck would have it, was living on his family centennial farm property. When I was on maternity leave with my daughter, I wanted a way to still have an income so I used gardening and farmers market as a way to make money. This developed into a full on summer livelihood where I run a CSA program featuring produce delivered to your door for 12 weeks of the growing season.

I want the community to know I still have a few places left in my csa this summer and will be doing a plant and craft sale with some friends at the farm May 20th.

People can find me on social media as Michigan Garden Mama on Instagram or Coop Creations on Facebook.

I'm a passionate grower of things and love working with my hands. I am constantly wanting to try growing new things and adding diversity to my garden. I am a firm believer in giving anything a try and if it doesn't work, tweaking it and trying again.

Alpena, Hubbard Lake, and Ossineke have been very supportive. Listen, you always have those grumps that complain about a price or that they didn't like a product but for every one of those people, there are a dozen cheerleaders and that's what I have to focus on.

I stay motivated and find inspiration surprisingly from Instagram. I used to find it so disheartening. Like "look at how well they are doing. I don't have nearly enough growing. I'm not doing enough." Then I saw a quote; "Comparison is the thief of joy" AND IT IS! I now pull inspiration from people with similar aspirations. I want my kids to see that mindset in me and that keeps me focused as well.

Finding success here has been about the same as I have expected. "If you build it, they will come." Especially in today's world where a lot of people want to eat fresh, less processed food and also try and provide food by growing it themselves.

Lastly, I hope I am inspiring. That is a huge goal of mine. I want people to know that when I comes to growing things, anyone can do it. Do we fail sometimes? Of course. But I like to hope that the content I am creating can also inspire people to try give gardening a go or even just try a new vegetable!

The Sunset Project seeks to elevate every creative in the community regardless of subject or outlet. The ideologies and beliefs found within creative pieces are those of the artists, not necessarily The Sunset Project as an organization.

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