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Our Story

Virginia Garden is an independent, locally-owned and operated market founded in 1987 by Michele Shean.  Over the years, Virginia Garden has built a reputation as a store where you can shop with confidence for products that are organic, natural, and environmentally/socially conscious.

Our Mission

  • Born of the desire to serve.
  • Driven by the mission of good food for all our neighbors. Ruled by the heart, we are sustained supplied and living our Dream.

Your Local Connection

We are your LOCAL CONECTION. We make it possible for farmers from Staunton, Virginia to Elizabeth, North Carolina to sell fresh produce to you. For the past 17 years we have worked on LOCAL farm contacts and developed a thriving market for LOCAL products. We are the trend setters that sustained these LOCAL ORGANIC FARMERS, and inspired new growers. Come join our Team of LOYAL CUSTOMERS and experience the FLAVOR.

Our History

  • 1978 – The first Organic farm in Virginia Beach was established by Mark Shean.  Inspired by Alan Chadwick, the farm was worked by hand in the French Intensive Biodynamic method.
  • 1980 – Mark Shean and John Wilson work the first acre of land by hand with the vision of Organic Gardens to share.
  • 1983 – The farmer takes a wife. After two years of courtship and lots of work in the garden together Mark and Michele are married and intend to continue the vision.
  • 1987 – A space in the Virginia Beach Farmers Market becomes available. Beginning with hand made furniture and quality garden tools, we grew a business.
  • 1990 – The word Organic in Virginia is defined. A five-year soil and farm plan are submitted to receive the first certification as an organic farm in Tidewater. News of organic food was covered in the local paper and people came. We could not supply the demand ourselves.  As a service to a group of thirty people we began trips to Beltsville, MD to bring back other produce that was available. Organic carrots were the bulk of what we brought back a that time.

Read about Michele Shean’s commitment to organic living.

One Organic Daughter

Angelo and Erica

May I introduce you to Erica.

Raised on an organic farm with natural food and natural medicine, Erica has an experience deeply rooted in clean, honorable, intentional living. She and her husband Angelo have raised a 10-year-old Organic daughter.

This was not an easy choice. I’m not sure it can really be considered a choice. When Summer was a newborn and all the stress of a new mother was weighing in on Erica. She called me at our organic grocery store totally distraught with all the choices.

“Do we immunize? Am I eating well enough? Why don’t people see the value of a clean earth? Will Summer be able to swim in the ocean?

When is it my turn?” She cried into the phone.

“What?” I replied.

“When do I get to ignore how it is grown,will it pollute, are the people paid a fair wage, is it made in China?”

The answer was never, once you start to live a conscious life once you teach your children how valuable this planet and their bodies are they cant go back. Was I right to teach her all of that I had no choice it was the way we lived. How could I lighten the burden I had passed on to my precious daughter? I couldn’t – there was no going back.

“Erica” means strong like a mountain, and that she is. Sprout sandwiches, no sugar, and no TV made Erica curiously different. That wasn’t easy in the 90s but she had a self-assurance that made it cool. I couldn’t be more proud.

Summer was raised organically and didn’t have white sugar for the first 5 years of her life. Erica’s God-common sense told her, while you have the chance to control the sugar intake, you can reduce the negative effects white sugar has on a body by five years. That is a good thing. She taught Summer to make good – no, excellent choices. To this day Summer has a preference for good whole foods. Summer will often make the healthy choice when given that option. She even recognizes how certain foods affect the way she feels. This helps her make good healthy judgments. White sugar was not in our house when Erica was growing up and that tradition carried on. You can’t get totally away from these things in this society. Change is slowly coming and healthier snack are being offered in schools. But white sugar still rules.

There are new challenges raising a ten year old. I watch Erica use carefully considered, teaching methods to bring up her socially and environmentally healthy new-millennium citizen. And I am Grateful and Honored by her choices.