Navy Officer turned flower farmer Annicka Weber has carved out her own form of self-care while turning it into a sustainable business model focusing on regenerative agriculture and family.
Annicka enlisted in the Navy over twenty years ago. During her initial five years stationed on USS John C Stennis, the Florida native developed a strong work ethic and fitness regimen, as the rigorous physical demands of her job had her working twenty-hour days.
After marrying her military sweetheart, Scott, in 2014, Annicka decided to switch up her boxing and half-marathon running routine by incorporating some of Scott’s cross-fit workouts, which the two now enjoy doing together.
The Webers began gardening in 2015 with a modest mélange of squash, cucumber, tomato, carrot, and herb plants. They expanded upon moving to Tennessee in 2019, where the military couple is currently stationed.
Annicka’s fascination with soil science, plant biology, and horticulture led her to discover companion planting, a methodology of planting vegetables with certain flowers to help them thrive and attract beneficial insects.
“You start with a couple, and all of a sudden, flowers take over your garden. It just happens.”
Last year, the family of four purchased a 60- acre home in Oakland, Tennessee, where they built a cross-fit gym packed with barbell weights, pull-up bars, a row machine, and stationary bikes. They also opened a flower farm business, NovaJames Homegrown Garden – an ode to children Jameson, 7, and Novalie, 5, whom Annicka credits as her inspiration.
Gardening is therapeutic for the Navy Officer. It also allows her to spend time with her children while teaching them food sourcing skills that have atrophied because of reliance on mass farming systems.
“People don’t get to see how much work goes into growing the food they’re eating. Our kids learn it first-hand because we’re choosing to grow our own food.”
Annicka’s favorite flowers are the ones that give back.
Varieties such as dahlias, gladiolas, and daffodils create several tubers upon being planted, which can be separated and replanted at the end of the season, growing back the following year in multiples.
Annicka loves using basil and other aromatic herbs as bouquet fillers. She tends to combine complementary shades while incorporating fun, bright pops of color in a variety of schemes, so there’s something for everyone.
Cross-fit workouts and Sunday family days are central to Annicka’s self-care practice.
The Webers eat a Whole 30-inspired diet, consisting of fruits, veggies sourced from their home garden, and meats hunted by Scott, and the farm grows flowers for sale and offers fresh eggs.
They hope to expand their production to include the sale of poultry. As a licensed nursery, NovaJames plans to sell plants in the future, too.
“I’m excited about where we’ll grow.”
Visit them at the Arlington Farmers Market, which takes place at The Crossing every Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon.
By Shlomit Ovadia
Photo by Tindall Stephens