Red carpets, designer dresses, and dirty fingernails? Yep, if you are a celebrity gardener, that could describe you to a “T!” Many people wish they could be rich and famous so that they might have an easier lifestyle and be adored wherever they go. However, some celebrities discover that the life they thought that they wanted isn’t as satisfying as they anticipated it would be – and so they go looking for their “roots.” A growing number of celebrities are taking up gardening or farming after making it to the top. It seems that gardening is beneficial for everyone, no matter what their status in life may be. And not just for the nutrition gained from the food they grow…
Roseanne Barr, who was on television for years in her self-titled show Roseanne, now lives in Hilo, Hawaii on a fifty-acre macadamia nut farm. She said on Oprah Winfrey’s television show that her “goal is to be totally self-sufficient.” She considers herself a farmer, growing a large garden, raising goats, and keeping honey bees in addition to running her macadamia nut operation. She told Oprah that what she has now is even better than the “fame and fortune she always wanted.”
And Oprah Winfrey herself is another celebrity who has ventured into gardening in Hawaii. She often posts pictures of her garden and its harvests on Instagram. One of her goals is to influence Hawaiians to grow food on their island rather than importing it from the mainland. She grows more than 100 types of fruits, vegetables, and herbs on her farm. Oprah also raises chickens for their nutrient-rich organic eggs. Oprah’s longtime friend, Bob Greene, challenged her to farm on her property as “a way to give back to the land and to Maui.” In the June 2013 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, Oprah wrote, “I’ve come to see the process of growing things as a metaphor for living. In life, as on a farm or in a garden, we get out of it what we put into it. Whatever our dreams, ideas, or projects, we plant a seed, nurture it — and then reap the fruits of our labors.”
Julia Roberts is such a gardening fanatic that Oprah Winfrey had her on the Oprah Show in 2008 as a featured Earth Day guest. In the segment, Julia taught the studio audience and home viewers about basic composting. She began an organic garden as a way to teach her three children about food and encourage them to eat their vegetables.
Brad Pitt is another celebrity who now calls himself a farmer. He and Angelina Jolie purchased a large estate in the south of France in 2012 with the goal of making wine. Pitt said, in a May 2014 article by Shayam Dodge, published in the Daily Mail, that he enjoys the peace and quiet of farm life. Their first wine, Chateau Miraval Rosé 2012, was ranked number 84 among Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the Year, making it the “best rosé in the world.” The wine was a hot seller, too, selling all 6,000 bottles in five hours. Pitt also said of his life in the French countryside, “It’s very peaceful and the antithesis of the drive, the want, the need to get ahead indicative of life in Hollywood.”
The current First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, is another gardening advocate. The garden she installed on the south lawn of the White House grows fifty-five varieties of vegetables, along with a variety of fruits and is also home to a bee hive. Her garden is the first organic vegetable garden to be installed on the grounds of the White House in modern times. Mrs. Obama wanted her daughters to eat more nutritiously, so she decided the way to accomplish that goal was to grow her own produce. She requires all the family members to work in the garden. Some of the food grown in the White House garden is used for the Obama family’s meals and to feed their guests, while the rest is given to the food bank and a local soup kitchen. Gardening at the White House actually has a long history, beginning in 1800 with Abigail and John Adams, who grew vegetables and fruits to feed themselves instead of purchasing them at the local markets.
Over in the UK, Prince Charles was an organic gardening pioneer twenty-five years ago when he began transforming his Highgrove estate into his own little garden of Eden. People at first thought he was a bit nutty about his garden, but now he is a highly regarded expert in the organic gardening movement. His mother, Queen Elizabeth, has installed an organic kitchen garden, influenced no doubt by her son’s garden where he grows rare and endangered varieties of vegetables. Charles is the author of several books on organic gardening, one of the most interesting is his book Highgrove: An Experiment in Organic Gardening and Farming, which Amazon describes as containing, “More than 160 color photographs [that] capture the transformation of Prince Charles’s previously neglected three-hundred-acre estate into a flourishing organic farm and garden and document the principles of organic horticulture.” His Royal Highness insists that “organic farming feeds the heart and warms the soul,” says Gerry Pugliese in an article published on Organic Authority.
Katy Perry is a huge gardening advocate, not only for the health benefits of the food she grows, but for the physical fitness benefits that gardening provides. Gardening can be as effective as a gym workout and offers several benefits; not only will a gardener get fit and burn calories, he or she will also have fresh, healthy produce to eat and save a significant amount of money compared to buying that same produce at the grocery store.
Martha Stewart has been a gardening advocate for years. She features garden planning advice in her monthly magazine, Martha Stewart Living, as well as on her website. Martha has a 153-acre farm where she raises vegetables, various fruits, and chickens – all of which provide her with ample ingredients for the many cooking techniques and recipes she demonstrates on her PBS television show, Martha Stewart’s Cooking School.
Gardening is a very satisfying activity, nurturing body and soul, whether you are rich or poor. Looking at this list of celebrity gardeners, it is easy to see that growing one’s own food fills a need in their lives that fortune and fame cannot. You may not have the red carpets or the fancy gowns, but if you have dirt under your fingernails, you have something in common with some of the most well-known folks in Hollywood and around the globe.