eco-ista: a person who cares where things come from and where they end up; a conscientious consumer living an organic lifestyle.
As eco-istas, we promote green living, sustainability and organic farming methods, making considered choices about the pure ingredients we put into and onto our bodies, the clothes we wear, the cars we drive and the products we use in our homes. We honor the past and embrace the future, ever mindful that our collective power shapes our children, our communities and the beautiful earth.
Founder’s Story: About Terri
Terri Nacke has been an eco-ista in the making her entire life. Many of her early childhood memories such as picking rhubarb in the garden and cooking simple, nutritious food center around her grandmother, who taught her the importance of using “all good ingredients.” When she was 12 (and swathed in her favorite nature-inspired fragrance: Love’s Lemons), she celebrated the first Earth Day, proudly placing an eco-green flag on her bedroom bulletin board. That image became the inspiration for her life’s work as an eco-preneur.
Terri began eating organically in 1977, frequenting the tiny health food store in Houston, Texas that was to become the second Whole Foods market in the country. She was deeply affected by founder John Mackey’s amazing vision which ultimately led her to championing the local food movement for more than two decades.
In 1986, Terri left the corporate world and began to pursue her interest in healthy lifestyles more seriously. She operated as a licensed massage therapist until she became a mother and chose to stay home for a time. By 1993, she was back at work, this time as a volunteer for the American Heart Association’s Halle Heart Center. In collaboration with the Southwest’s leading chefs, she created two dining series – Masterpiece Chef and Adventures in Cooking – both of which were based on heart-healthy guidelines. She not only raised money for research and development but also co-authored the Kid’s Love to Cook Book, which is still given to every fifth-grader who visits the Halle Heart Center on a school field trip.
The next step along Terri’s self-directed eco-ista path was becoming a certified Holistic Nutrition Educator, trained by naturopathic physicians. While in school, she helped chair the American Express Adopt-A-School launch and participated in the national conference, working alongside James Beard Award-winners and Chef’s Collaborative founding members RoxSand Scocos and Rick Bayless. During the festivities, Terri met Chez Panisse owner Alice Waters, who founded The Edible School Yard in Berkeley, California. Inspired by the many talented people at the conference, she became a trained master gardener, spending three years as a volunteer for the University of Arizona and raising money for children’s school gardens, which has become the cornerstone of her life’s work.
In 1999, her friend Wayne Smith, who owned the lush 10-acre oasis and organic farm known as The Farm at South Mountain, invited Terri to do her “educational thing” on site, and with the help of friends, she opened Garden Territory in 2000, a lifestyle store and education center housed in an old horse stable on the property. She and her pals, affectionately known as the “barn goddesses,” were recognized for their achievements as healthy lifestyle specialists, receiving Best of the Valley and Best of Phoenix awards from Phoenix Magazine and New Times respectively.
When Chrysa Robertson (former chef-owner of Rancho Pinot) and Chris Bianco (chef-owner of Pizzeria Bianco) needed a clubhouse for hosting the Valley’s first Slow Food USA events, they turned to Terri, who played an integral role in establishing and supporting the Phoenix Convivium of a global food movement based on local, seasonal, organic foods, sustainability and social justice. At the same time, she was a frequent guest on Nikki Buchanan’s restaurant-centered talk show on KFYI, offering nutritional information and recipes while giving a voice to local growers and farmer’s markets.
Her most recent endeavors have led her full circle after extensive consultation with a bio-molecular scientist and further training in plant cell therapy with Kurt Schnabelt and Monica Hass at the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy. Terri – an Agritourism pioneer – has combined her love of teaching and her life’s work in the culinary arts & plant sciences featuring whole plant aromatics, alongside her provisions company – Terre Botanicals – a producer of botanically infused complements for foods & beverages.
Terri has found her balance as a mother and grandmother, a businesswoman and eco-ista, celebrating the good life by responsibly using all that the beautiful earth provides.