Ashley Grosch began her work in functional medicine farming 11 years ago after she exited the navy. She attended the Naval Academy and spent the early part of her career as a surface warfare officer, All-Navy triathlete, and wellness coordinator. She resides in the Creeds area of Virginia Beach with her husband and four sons.
Ashley is a certified ADAPT practitioner by Chris Kresser, a certified health coach by Dr. Sears, a certified Permaculturist by Cornell, and is currently training in the functional diagnostic nutrition program.
Ashley’s mission is to help save our sick nation from the disease of poor lifestyle and food choices.
To execute the mission, she runs a regenerative farm, owns a small organic grocery store with an in-house Farmacy product line, and works part-time in a functional medicine clinic as a lifestyle medicine practitioner. With these combined areas of service, she coined herself a functional medicine farmer. She has a passion for working with children to guide them through a preventive health routine that will last a lifetime. She also works closely with special needs children. For adults, Ashley specializes in lifestyle medicine solutions for gut health, thyroid conditions, infertility, pregnancy preparation, & prenatal/postpartum care. She opens her farm up to the community for pick-your-own land shares, farm dinners, volunteer opportunities, and educational wellness events.
In 2001, two months before 9/11, I swore an oath to protect our country’s freedom. And while I was not a front-line fighter, I quickly grasped the importance of freedom from both training and experience. It’s a paradox when serving in the military because on one front you are fighting for your country’s freedom, and on another front you lack much of your own personal freedom. You have to make yourself available no matter what. I painfully learned this requirement when I once had to leave my six month old baby at home for a deployment. That experience resulted in a complete meltdown on my part, followed by a two year PTSD recovery program.
Military life is very hard on your personal freedom. There’s no sleeping in until noon. There’s no last-minute vacation. There’s no complaining. Well you can complain, but you will gain nothing from doing so. Complaining inhibits the ability to make fast, clear decisions. There’s no blaming. Excuses are intolerable. Camaraderie is a must. You cannot fight for your country’s freedom without a team who supports each other. No pink elephants allowed….there’s just no time for them. There’s no passive aggressive behavior. Being so small-minded takes away from the ability to accomplish the mission.
Fast forward to today. Since I launched from childhood into adulthood committed to protecting freedom, it now serves as my default setting. And now I protect food freedom. I always have to be available. There’s no sleeping in until noon. There’s no last-minute vacation. There’s no complaining. There’s no blaming. There’s no passive aggressive nonsense. There’s no time for drama.
I have plenty of time for the mission, so you have access to my service. I have plenty of time to nurture the village with education and resources. I have plenty of time to help save our sick nation from the disease of poor lifestyle and food choices. I have plenty of time to steward others into this same mission.
I welcome struggles since they pave the path of character development. But I find uncontrollable struggles to be plenty for that development. I will not foster controllable struggles (mainly caused by inflammation, relationships, & cultural discords). I barely have enough time for the uncontrollable struggles! For example, this morning I woke at dawn, heard a predator trying to access my chickens, and ran out to save them. And now I must return outside to hand-pick bugs off of my crops, repair fencing, & clean the coops. Then, I will have to put a bandaid on a boo boo. This is inevitable with four sons being raised on the farm. Then, with at least two children in tow, I will run the day’s harvest up to my organic grocery store. I will check revenue and feel the daily lump in my throat of barely getting by. It’s really hard running a small organic grocery store. And finally, I will approach dinnertime with my entire body aching from the day and prepare a fresh meal.
With this lifestyle as a regenerative farmer comes plenty of blood, sweat and tears. But this is my chosen method of service to the world. I come across as a harsh woman to those who attempt to interject negative behavior or entitlement. I understand and empathize with those people and quickly asked them to leave my space. I certainly love all people, but I understand how to love from a safe distance (not historically my strength). I have to hold my ground, trust my heart’s placement with decisions, forgive my culture for seeding those actions in people, and leave room for the actual, real-life struggles that come my way.
If we allow for controllable struggles and combine those with the uncontrollable struggles, we will be swallowed up by chronic stress, followed by massive amounts of anxiety, followed by sadness, followed by an entire personal shattering. I encourage you to find your mission, truly live it (walk the talk), love people at appropriate distances by carefully gauging who you allow right beside you, and implement positive changes. This is my simple two cents for the day as I return outside to the dirt….