The Los Angeles-based gardening company creates edible gardens in public spaces and homes and spreads knowledge while selling seedlings at the Santa Monica and Hollywood farmers markets.
Logan Williams sits at his stand at the Santa Monica and Hollywood farmers markets each week, watching as customers peruse the wide array of edible plant species he offers. Over the 21 years since Williams and his father, Jimmy, started Logan’s Gardens, an edible plants business, he has watched once-novice gardeners return to his stand knowledgeable and emboldened.
Edible gardening, which can reduce carbon emissions from the transport of produce and help foster a connection between growers and their food, has been catching on in Los Angeles since the pandemic. As interest has blossomed, Williams has been there to offer a unique array of seedlings, teach buyers how to care for their plants, and simply share the joy from his farmers market stand.
Williams, born and raised in Hollywood, grew up going to farmers markets. He would also help his dad in the garden on weekends. But Williams says the family ties to gardening go back even further; 500 years of family history shapes his practices today. His ancestors are Gullah Geechee people, descendants of West African farming communities who were enslaved on the lower Atlantic coast of the U.S.
“I do this to be connected to my ancestry,” he says.
The father-son duo started Logan’s Gardens after a few neighbors noticed the flourishing garden in their backyard and suggested they turn it into a business. In addition to the farmers market, Logan’s Gardens sells their organic, nonGMO plants at their nursery in Silverlake and designs and builds edible gardens.
The company has created gardens for celebrities such as Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Jim Carrey, and Lisa Bonet. Williams also built raised bed gardens for the Natural History Museum in Downtown Los Angeles and for restaurants such as Providence, the two Michelin Star hotspot, and Marino, an Italian restaurant he has frequented since he was a kid.
During the pandemic, Williams says, demand for edible plants skyrocketed as people with yards realized they had empty space and lots of extra time on their hands. And, in a time of uncertainty, there was an element of stability to growing your own food. Williams says customers told him that they’d watched their parents or grandparents gardening, but never asked to join in. They were finally learning and reclaiming this lost art.
These days, Williams says gardening is becoming a family affair for many other people.
“When we first started 21 years ago, my main customer was a little old lady,” Williams says. The demographic has since expanded, and Williams sees younger couples, families with young children, and groups of kids on school field trips at his stand. Children even approach Williams’ farmers market stand asking for plant types as specific as Persian cucumbers or bronze fennel.
Williams tries to help people overcome their hesitations about edible gardening. Many people, he says, worry it can’t be as aesthetically pleasing as other forms of landscaping. But Williams points out that there are many beautiful edible plants and offers guidance on the design of their gardens.
He also does his best to guide people toward the right plants for them. When he was featured on the first episode of Marie Kondo’s “Sparking Joy,” Williams related advice based on Kondo’s motto: “If the plant sparks joy for you, that’s what you grow in your garden.” If you’re new to growing your own food, he says, the best fruits and vegetables to start with are those you love to eat.
When it comes to gardening, Los Angeles residents have a temperate climate on their side. Take advantage of it, Williams says.
And for those a bit timid about getting into gardening, Williams says you don’t need to transform your whole yard into a garden right off the bat. Starting with even one plant might spark a greater appreciation for our food.
Witnessing people take a chance on edible gardening and develop a passion for it is a big another perk of the business for Williams. “Seeing a person go from, ‘I can’t do this,’ to ‘Oh my gosh, I got this plant from you, and now it’s doing really well’ is probably one of the best feelings,” Williams says.