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"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say,

I used everything you gave me."
-Erma Bombeck

Meet Brenda Jean Sharp

A SEED OF HISTORY

 

I grew up on the High Plains of Western Kansas on one of this nation's largest native grass seed farms. My family have been farmers and stewards of native grasslands and native seed for well-over one hundred years.

 

My father, Gerald W. Sharp, was the visionary seedsman and lead co-founder of the 'original' Sharp Brothers Seed Company. He grew up during the Dust Bowl, living near where it all began, ground zero, and witnessed its destruction during his early life.

 

After seeing, first-hand, the greatly damaged ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairie; the fallout of the Dirty 1930's Dust Bowl his mission began; to discover methods and apply those to the windblown and bald-scrapped land in a way that would heal and sustain the eroded earth foundation.

 

As a leading American pioneer seedsman, who seventy-five years ago understood ecotypes, my father, working like a land doctor and using plant medicine, propagated, harvested, and multiplied native seeds that grew deep roots and did bind up the remaining soil and settled the dust. Across the entire Great Plains he broadcasted his expertise of native ecotype grasses and plants proper for each bioregion and began to repair the skin of the earth with natural vegetation that existed there before European immigration onto this continent.

 

In1967, then former Kansas House of Representative Robert Dole, after seeing the positive impact on Western Kansas grasslands, due to the work of my father and grandfather, gave a report and it was entered into the Congregational Record. My dad's work in the environment also caught the eye of former First Lady Claudia Alta 'Lady Bird' Johnson who appointed him as her advisor during her Beautification of America Project. Agencies consulted him, and our government as well as foreign governments, sought his expertise in rangeland problems and environmental projects.

 

I tell you my father's story as it is the roots of my story of how I came to do work with soil and native plants and grasses and ecosystems. He was my first teacher and like a young wildflower, I soaked up as much of him as I possibly was able. Just like the ecotypes, my ancestors' DNA courses through my veins and there is something innate in me that pushes me forward and upward to know more and do more for the natural world that is ailing today. Furthermore, I believe that the Creator's original purpose was for us to tend to the garden of our earthly home designed to fill and sustain our every need. My own father demonstrated and lived this truth, and I was raised in his glow to glorify the Maker and to make a positive impact no matter where.

 

Part of my past involves being professionally trained in the field of the healing arts where I worked as a neuromuscular therapist in private practice for 33 years. I formed and managed healing art centers that functioned to help address the pain and care of others. I also served on staff of an outreach church and assisted the homeless and struggling populations in the inner city of Colorado Springs, a place where I also worked with the Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado.

While living in Western Colorado, I created the Colorado Ecotype Research and Local Genetic Materials Farm growing native ecotype seed. I advised the Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Bureau of Land Management on projects such as restoration of a burn scar on a mountain side and how to become more successful in their native seed establishment while teaching them that their use of non-native seed, sourced from too far away, were some of the reasons for reseeding failures by their agencies.

Recently, I moved to north central Arkansas to get closer to my family and ecological restoration projects in Western Kansas. The projects involve the rehabilitation and restoration of an abused historic native grassland, the repair of two large playas so they function again, and crop conversion from monoculture annual crops to native ecotype perennials; all to increase groundwater, produce stream flow, and support the pollinators. 

 

In Boone County, I am entering into the second year as an Arkansas Department of Agriculture inspected plant nursery, the Ozark Native Ecotypes Indigenous Plant Nursery, woman-owned and where I make available to others native perennial wildflowers and grasses of the bio-regions of the Eastern Temperate Forests, the Ozarks, and the South Central Semi-Arid Prairies.

 

I work to ensure that America's lands are sustainably managed and for the benefit of all, that wildlife be plentiful, that rivers run clear, and for many families, their heritage of living on the land can be passed down to generations to come.

Passing along beautiful and powerful plants for others to grow and enjoy and that will help heal their sacred spaces while supporting the soil, pollinators, and other wildlife that depend on these acts has become a focus in my life. I believe that we must all take action as the planet is in dire need of healing. 

 

I am forever grateful to my family for teaching me about God and the natural world and showing me what diligent work can produce and the impact it can make. I am thankful for all my new customers that I met last year and those coming in the future. God Bless!

Jesus said, "Did you not know that I must be about

my Father's Business?"

- Luke 2:49 

Owner of Brenda Sharp Native Ecotypes, LLC and

Ozark Native Ecotypes Indigenous Plant Nursery

in Boone County Arkansas

Resource Conservationist, Nursery(wo)man,

Seed Keeper, Farmer, Entrepreneur,

Ecological Restoration Professional

Protecting species from extinction, maintaining and restoring habitats, enhancing ecosystems, protecting biological diversity, and guarding seeds for future medicine

  • Owner of Ozark Native Ecotypes Indigenous Plant Nursery, Arkansas Dept. of Agriculture inspected/licensed 

  • Grassland consultant and troubleshooter on environmental projects

  • Advisor to homeowners, property owners, land managers, farmers, municipalities, and anyone with soil to plant in to start a new bio-diverse habitat using native plants appropriate for the bio-region

  • Use of proprietary natural ecological restoration technologies

  • Establishment of small-scale test plots to invent successful ecological restoration technologies for future large-scale native grassland restoration, and to convert "high fuel" weed-grass back to local "low-fuel" native ecosystems

  • Grow-out of local genetic materials, grass and forbs, with consideration to seed zones and wildlife habitat

  • Biologically-based carbon-responsible regeneration technologies, resulting in increased function of soil ecosystems, aquifer recharge, water quality/quantity

  • Botanical archaeology

  • Revegetation of disturbed earth related to excavation, pipeline, oil/gas activity

  • Vegetation photo transects (both before and after the project)

 "Grass is the healer of the scars left on the land by the careless hand of man, but like any crop, it must be given an opportunity."

-Gerald Wayne Sharp

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