High in the mountains of Northern Arizona, in a little town called Pinedale (population: 588), you’ll find SWIHA graduate Lisa Kaiser carving out her dream of a self-sustaining community.
In 2015, Lisa graduated from Southwest Institute of Healing Arts with a degree in Mind-Body Transformational Psychology and a diploma in the Mind-Body Wellness Practitioner program. The focus on body energy work, Ayurveda, aromatherapy, urban farming, raw food preparation—as well as the tools and support she got from entrepreneurial classes—provided the foundation of success that led to the beginning of Lisa building her dream.
Prior to attending SWIHA, Lisa was very busy with a natural skin care business which she had started with her daughter in 1998 after reading the labels of popular products and seeing the toxic ingredients that filled most of them. She describes this time in her life as follows: “I worked a lot, often multiple jobs at the same time, while trying to keep up manufacturing and doing events with our business. Every time we did a market or event, we always had people coming up to us asking for our help with any particular problem they had. I often created custom healing oils for people.” Eventually, Lisa and her daughter began to include more and more products in their line that could help these people ease their pain. They also began helping to teach others about the benefit of detoxing by juicing with freshly-picked organic vegetables grown through urban farming— real, organic, non-GMO foods which they also incorporated into medicines of their own crafting.
In 2004, Lisa’s father was misdiagnosed with multiple illnesses and placed on numerous medications. Frustrated with allopathic medicine and the world of treating symptoms rather than the disease, Lisa began her holistic journey. She enrolled in a certificate program at a Natural Medicine College in California, hoping to learn as much as she could about different methods of holistic healing. Lisa stepped fully into this journey of self-discovery after her father passed away, and she came to SWIHA to focus on her new objective: helping others learn to heal themselves. “Obtaining that degree, even in my 50s, was important to me,” Lisa says. “I wanted to show my kids that you're never too old to further your education. I was thrilled with the courses that were offered and could hardly wait to begin. I wanted that degree.”
It wasn’t long before Lisa realized that she finally had the tools necessary to pursue one of her biggest dreams: building a self-sustained community where people could live and work together “off the grid,” all with an understanding of the role that food and herbs play in natural healing. Lisa firmly believes that, “Nature has everything one could need, if you just know where to look and how to use it.”
With this principle in mind—and after searching from coast to coast for the right place to begin this community—Lisa purchased land in Pinedale, Arizona, in the summer of 2016. This was no easy task. As the land was raw, it required an extensive amount of money and labor to get the basics laid out and get it off the ground, including drilling for a well, putting up a well house, creating a basic solar set up, and a 30 x 72 foot high tunnel greenhouse. Currently, six people live on this property in two different RVs, and the farm is populated by five dogs, one cat, sixteen chickens, and two ducks. Lisa’s aim is to make this farm “family-first” sustainable and then to eventually expand to a commercial level by providing the local community and other charitable food programs with food and starting up educational programs around nutrition and cooking.
Lisa has a lot to say about this adventure: “It is HARD work… HARD to live out of an RV until we can build… yet, each step of progress we made is something we look back on and cherish. For the most part, this farm is run by women. We do pretty good… Sometimes now we say to each other, ‘Remember last summer when we didn't have hot water and had to take ice cold showers all the time?’ Or, ‘Remember when we didn't have electricity yet from our solar and we had to constantly run into town to charge up our marine batteries?’” These simple successes have served as milestones as the farm continues to evolve. It is truly a representation of the way mind, body, and spirit work together.
With the success Lisa has enjoyed in manifesting her dreams, she offers the following advice: “Do what makes YOU happy, not what other people think you should do simply because they think you would be good at it. You are the one who has to resonate with life; make it feel right for you, and above all else, make sure you have passion for it.”
Lisa invites you to join her on her journey as she builds the Pinedora Farms Natural Healthcare and Educational Center. Visit http://www.pinedorafarms.com for more information.