Influencer: Meet Farmaesthetics Founder Brenda Brock

East Bay-based brand on sustainable beauty and upcoming pop-up at Sweet Berry Farm

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Farmaesthetics was one of the first brands in organic, sustainable beauty. Did you set out to create an iconic brand? 

In the summer of 1999, a group of our friends – all women with little girls – decided to open an organic farmstand on my friend’s organic farm in Portsmouth. Everyone had their specialty: flowers, herbs, vegetables. Mine was making herbal preparations from the farm’s harvests. So this was a wonderful summer project and opportunity to show my daughter that products do not grow on shelves, but rather they come from hard work and careful processes that rely on a healthy, beautiful environment. 

How do you come up with your locations and potions?

First, I observe the need and then pursue the solution. I have been passionate about traditional herbal formulation all my life. I learned the skill of growing and using herbs and flowers for skin health from the women on my own family’s farm in Texas. Rural culture is rooted in conserving the health of land and is a crucial component of sustaining a successful farm. It is those same principles of stewardship that are crucial to a healthy body. The skin is the body’s largest organ to absorb beneficial (or detrimental) compounds. What we put on our skin goes down the drain in the shower and into the water table. That goes into the environment, watering the fields that grow the crops and feeding the animals…and the cycle goes on. We are either feeding or fouling a healthy environment – internally and externally. 

How did the pop-up at Sweet Berry Farm come to be? 

We opened our little farmstand on Wapping Road in 1999, the same summer Jan and Michelle Eckhart opened their beautiful store at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown. We were just down the road from each other and were admirers of each other’s work. I am and have always been a loyal customer of Sweet Berry Farm and have always had a dream of working with Michelle on some kind of collaboration. Then my daughter returned to RI last year after five years in LA, and moved down the street from Sweet Berry Farm. She visits the store at least once a day. It was her idea to do a Farmaesthetics pop-up. Michelle and Jan were open to the idea and a wonderful seasonal collaboration has emerged. 

What is your favorite Ocean State place to visit?

I love Castle Hill Inn in every season. There is something so magical about the property and its dramatic unobstructed views of Narragansett Bay as it spills into the Atlantic Ocean. Farmaesthetics has its Retreat at Castle Hill Inn on property, so it’s kind of perfect for me to go and do a little work, have a little lunch, then stay for a Farmaesthetics facial or massage in the mansion suite.

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