Regenerate Garden Co. creates native, edible landscapes

Jonny Thomas’ green thumb is a product of both his artistic creativity and years spent in the garden.

The 37-year-old California native moved to Dayton in 2018, he launched Regenerate Garden Co. the following year, then rebranded it in 2020. The company specializes in creating native and edible gardens designed to be aesthetically pleasing and resource rich, Thomas said.

“Historically our focus has been to offer folks an alternative to conventional landscaping by bringing the practices and earth-stewardship I learned as an organic farmer into the home landscape,” he said. “‘We create edible and ecologically sound landscapes with beautiful presentation’ is the elevator pitch, but next year we’ll also be branching out into larger scale projects including running an organic farm of own.”

Thomas said the common denominator with Regenerate Garden Co.’s customers is the desire to simply get more from their land.

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“People are understanding more and more how much of an asset their land is, and to let it just sit there with a big, water-hungry lawn seems more and more wasteful,” he said. “Also, folks who are wanting to get away from using harmful chemicals around their property.”

What Thomas said he does with Regenerate Garden Co. is “very much a synthesis” of two endeavors: visual art, which he has practiced most of his life, and organic farming, which he has been doing for about 10 years.

“My background in visual art ... led me to go into school for art and film, which led to the beginning of a video career,” he said. “A year or two into it, I realized it was just a lot of computer work, and I was going to be inside a lot and that didn’t resonate with me.”

Around that same time, Thomas was getting interested in growing food and understanding more about the food system in the United States

“So I started to take these farming internships, and just fell in love with the work you know, understanding how to work the land and be a steward of the land and to produce food in a mindful way,” he said. “Years later, once I realized I could do that and also kind of tap into my creative side, it really just brought both of those worlds together in a really fun way for me.”

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It also helps, Thomas said, that he grew up with a mother who had “the greenest of thumbs” and was a career nursery-woman.

“I’ve always been surrounded by beautiful gardens and plants,” he said. “I started the business because it’s something I’m passionate about and there was nothing quite like it in Dayton, that I was aware of.”

Thomas said he pandemic has highlighted the fact that there are numerous ways to get more out of their property and their landscape

“A lot of homeowners I think realize that they have an asset,” he said. “If you own land ... even a small property, you could do so much with it.”

Working with homeowners typically creates “a shared vision” and every project is very different, Thomas said.

“We offer a very much tailored experience and some clients have a real specific vision and some not so much, but they still want to be involved, so they have a lot of loose ideas,” he said. “It’s our job to help curate that.”

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