A longtime veteran of the insurance industry and a frequently published author, Randi Glazer’s current professional role is as an underwriting consultant. Randi originally hails from Long Island, New York and now resides in Walnut Creek, California, making it relatively simple to commute to San Francisco as often as necessary to meet her professional responsibilities.

Randi has written several articles and books detailing various aspects of her career in the insurance industry, including how to deal with some of the more stressful aspects of any professional workplace. Throughout her career, Randi has consistently found solace in nature and has grown quite fond of gardening as a recreational and stress-relieving activity.

 What is your hobby?

Though I would have never identified myself as someone with a green thumb just a few years ago, I have developed a deep interest in gardening and maintain a relatively expansive vegetable garden at home. I grow a wide variety of flowers along with a number of other plants as well.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

When I was still living in San Francisco, my neighbor asked me to tend to his herb garden while he was away on business for about six weeks or so. He left detailed care instructions for me to follow, and I was surprised to discover just how much I enjoyed it. I started a little vegetable garden of my own and have been expanding my efforts ever since.

Tell us what you love about it.

It’s just so different from my work responsibilities. Instead of being in an office in front of a computer or a stack of papers, I get to be outside getting my hands dirty while creating a sustainable source of delicious food.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

There is a community garden that I help out with quite a bit, and I have taken some master gardening courses as well. There are also plenty of informal activities and events that I attend with great frequency.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

I have a few compost bins and water collection containers that I use for the drip irrigation system I hooked up, and I recently set up a shelving unit with some shop lights in order to start more plants from seed even when the seasonal weather is not conducive for it.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I try to recycle as often as possible, so I always keep an eye out for anything useful wherever I go. When I can’t find what I need elsewhere, there is a local nursery I go to that has been exceptionally helpful over the years. If they don’t have it in stock they are always willing to order it for me or to at least point me in the right direction.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I started out with a book called “Square Foot Gardening,” by Mel Bartholomew. It was published a long time ago, but the information it includes is still very useful for beginners interested in gardening.

How has this changed your life?

It started out as just a nice excuse to be outside and also as a means for relieving stress, but I have also become much more conscious of what I eat and where it comes from. My dietary habits have improved dramatically as well.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

There is so much information out there about gardening that it may seem overwhelming at first, but just start out with simple goals and remember that it is so much easier than it looks.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

I love anything that allows me to connect with nature. I like to hike or go for a run, and I have been thinking about getting more serious about cycling as well.