Maybe you’ve come out to an event at our garden, called in to Fresh Harvest or emailed us with a question or concern. If so, you likely communicated with one of our most wonderfully eccentric employees. Trying to put Betani in a box will always be a futile effort; but there’s a George Bernard Shaw quote that seems to at least partially capture the essence of her contagiously fun philosophy. He says, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

Here’s a little more about the cat-lady behind the customer service curtain…

Betani (bottom left) and the FH Office Team

Joe: Tell me about your fascination with cats and kittens. How did this all begin?

Betani: I grew up with cats & dogs and absolutely love both, but developed allergies to cats after I left home for university. That realization was a game changer – all of a sudden I couldn’t have cats so naturally I wanted 32 of them. But I don’t let that keep me from periodically being the cat lady that I was meant to be. Thankfully, both my neighbors, a coworker, and many friends have cats so I still get my fix. They all know I’ll cat-sit for free because I have to meet my monthly quota for cat snuggles! The good news is, since I have a zillion plants, I just pet them and talk to them and pretend like they’re all cats!

The Cat Lady

Joe: Tell me something you love about working at Fresh Harvest?

Betani: I love that I always get to help really cool people who’re supporting super awesome farmers while working alongside incredible teammates.  I can’t think of anything better than what I’m doing – being a part of this system & family makes me smile daily.

Joe: Where are you from and how does that place impact who you are now?

Betani: I’m from a very small town in South Carolina. Growing up in the country with cows as neighbors and horses, turkeys, etc nearby, I definitely gained an appreciation for rolling fields and the quiet that comes with them. But the lack of things to do, combined with the open land also inspired a deep need for exploration. I knew that I had to wander. Even though I live in a big city now, nature beckons often so I’ll still find trails to hike and waterfalls to stare into now and again to remind me of my roots.

Wandering with Betani

Joe: What are some things you enjoy doing in Atlanta?

Betani: There’s something to do every single night & I have to seriously restrain myself from doing just that! My favorites are the Java Speaks poetry slam (now at the The Pinewood in Decatur every 2nd Sunday) and a family friendly maker-space called Decatur Makers where I can literally build anything imaginable.


Betani and the FH Office Crew

Joe: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re at home?

Betani: I really love gluing trash together. Some might consider me a hoarder…but I love seeing the possibilities of objects that might have ended up in the landfill if I hadn’t rescued them. Time stands still when I’m up-cycling bits of scraps into sculptures & collages. I don’t really make anything special and I especially don’t tend to finish any of the gazillion projects that I start. I just stumble around in my craft studio like a mad scientist. I also really enjoy bird meditation.

Betani and Her Mom/Hero

Joe: Can you describe the role of food in your life?

Betani: A few years back food suddenly became a central part of my life after I witnessed many of my family members suffering from medical conditions, including my mom who has diabetes. I started educating myself about nutrition in hopes of helping my family, & realized how much I enjoyed assisting others with food education. That marked a pivotal transition in my life. For a couple years I worked at a local non profit as an instructor teaching low income families around Atlanta how to cook healthy meals on a tight budget. I also served as an Americorps member in that same capacity for a year.

Joe: Do you practice any particular way of eating?

Betani: I’m mostly a Pescatarian. Some days I strive to be vegan. I try to consume green tea, nuts or seeds, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, ginger, olives, and dark leafy greens every single day. Oh and real fruit. Versus candy hahaha. But don’t ask me about that.

Betani: Face Painter Extraordinaire

Joe: What’s the deal with your candy box?

Betani: Oh the giant box I keep at my desk full of candy? Or are you talking about the one in my car? Wait you weren’t supposed to ask about the candy! I think my diet is 49% produce and 49% sweets, with fish thrown in every now and again. I definitely have a bit of a sugar addiction. I wasn’t allowed to go trick or treating as a child so I went the past couple of years to make up for lost time. The irony is that I really don’t allow myself to eat a lot of processed food..but I’ll make the exception for candy!

Joe: What keeps you motivated in your work?

Betani: Knowing that I’m helping the people who are supporting their local organic farmers is a really big deal to me. I feel like I’m a part of something revolutionary. What we’re doing isn’t easy.  The fact that we have many many customers who have been with us for multiple years says a lot. We’re making a legitimate impact on our community!