Elizabeth (Liz) Hodges spent her early childhood years on a 40-acre homestead in Washington State, following her mother around the garden, pasture, root cellar and kitchen.

Liz lost her mother to melanoma when she was just 11, but her aunt has a farm just outside Santa Cruz, which she visited a few times when she was young and fell in love with. In 2006, she moved to the area to stay. In her pursuit of a more tangible life here, she has avidly gardened, raised chickens and goats, started a homesteading blog, served on the Slow Food Santa Cruz board, written for Edible: Monterey Bay and studied horticulture, then herbalism, which she now holds a certificate in.

Her mother's melanoma played no small part in Liz's growing concern over the myriad toxic ingredients in commercial beauty and body products, and she began creating her own botanical versions in her late twenties. After she gifted some to friends, they started asking for more. This all culminated in her decision to found Verdant, a handcrafted botanical goods company. A lifelong student of plant knowledge, she now lives in downtown Santa Cruz, and every time you purchase something she made, she does a little happy dance inside.