Dr. Dave Hamilton, 33, and Laura Denyes, 36, are a husband and wife team that moved to Charlotte in 2014. Together they operate Of the Earth Wellness, a wellness clinic, and live on a five-acre farm, Wish We Had Acres, located 12 miles from uptown. Their goal is to educate the public about natural foods and natural medicines.
Why is Charlotte a good place to start a business?
Charlotte is the tree city, named for its large, urban canopy of trees. This makes it a natural setting for plant medicine and natural products. Many folks who move to Charlotte have a deep connection to its trees… often these folks are also connected to nature. My practice as a naturopathic physician is inspired by and cultivates a relationship with nature to achieve health. We see food, herbs and the environment as something sacred and an invaluable part of the healing process.
The city at-large has a growing trend of support for local foods, local farms and local business. Increasingly folks want to find local alternatives for everything from produce to body care products to health care.
Who was your biggest influence and how did this person affect you and the way you do things?
My grandparents instilled a work ethic in me that has carried through into my adulthood: Making something from nothing and seeing the beauty in what others may see as garbage. Some of my fondest memories were helping my grandpa grow food in the garden and taking care of his many rabbits.
…I use these memories as inspiration to transform someone’s poor health into hope and empowerment. And like a garden, you must sometimes weed out some negatives, but you must get to the root, or else the weed will continue to grow. The same can be said for an individual’s health.
How do you begin each day?
Often I wake up taking care of the various critters on the farm… the dogs, goats and chickens. Then I have a hot cup of coffee or tea. Depending on the day or season I begin my day in the barn, milking the goats, gathering … eggs. Other days I’ll check the garden for fresh produce and pull weeds, some of which are harvested for medicine.
What do you see in your future?
We have begun the hunt for our next property. I hope to eventually prescribe veggies, fruits and herbs directly from the farm. If patients were unfamiliar with how to use a particular vegetable or herb, they could attend a medicine-making class or cooking class that would be offered at the farm.
Where do you go to chill?
When we do get time to relax, you can find us at one of the local breweries or eateries in town. Some of our favorites are OMB, Triple C, Birdsong, Heist (especially their brunch) and Free Range breweries. Sometimes we bring a goat or a dog with us.
Of the Earth: 10715 Shopton Rd W
Photos: James Robinson, Laura Denyes