Saturday, July 12, 2008 | Wearing an Atlanta Braves baseball hat and carrying a large potted plant, Leslie Goldman, also known as the “Enchanted Gardener,” fancies himself a planter of dreams. A former journalism student and a freelance photographer by profession, he has spent the last 15 years traveling around telling people why they should grow their own food — or at least one plant — and buy locally grown, organic food. He’s convinced that if people feel more connected to what they eat, problems ranging from obesity and childhood sugar highs to hotly-contested immigration issues could be solved.
Goldman gave up his aspirations of becoming a mainstream reporter 40 years ago when he was diagnosed with a form of chronic arthritis. Looking for an alternative to prescription drugs, he came to California and lived on a health ranch in Escondido. He left the ranch several years later when his health was on the mend, but he has hung his hat in San Diego ever since.
The potted plant he totes is actually an organic — and edible, he points out — beet that he carries to promote his latest campaign encouraging everyone to own at least one plant. The motto of the campaign, called “Keep the Beet,” is “one pot, one plant and I’m a gardener.”
We caught up with the Enchanted Gardener and his beet, named Keep the Beet Media Star, on his way to the Farmers’ Market in Hillcrest.
Tell me about the “Enchanted Gardener.”
It’s the persona I’ve created. I use to get very emotional early in my life when I would find forms that said, “what do you do?” you know, for a living, or even, “who are you?” But I just had my 60th birthday and I’m pretty clear about who I am right now, and who I am is the persona I’ve created, “The Enchanted Gardener.” I basically plant dreams for the super right people. I hold the highest aspirations for a beautiful world. In my persona as your enchanted gardener, I consider my employer Mother Earth.