Ben Hicks, was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Shortly after high school, Ben took the path to travel across country, and discovered different bio-regions, climates of plant life and agricultural practices. It is through his travels that Ben and Alex met, in New Orleans Louisiana. And from there, they worked on various farms including a blueberry farm in Maine, and a vineyard in northern California. Ben then continued his education at Michigan State University student organic farm program, graduating in 2012. Ben is the co-owner of Black Locust Gardens Herb Farm, and plant nursery that is growing over 30 different varieties of herbs with a small orchard. Ben has managed multiple diverse vegetable farms, and has been farming for 9 years. Ben shares his expertise in his community by also doing individual land consultations on transitioning conventional fields into organic and rich ecosystems they once were.



Alex Rea was born in the southern tier of NY, among rich farmlands and birch forests. She is a trained community/clinical herbalist and doula who believes in using bio regional herbs. Alex was raised around her Southern great grandmother who was a birthing assistant for her mother who worked as a midwife and herbalist with the Chestnut Ridge People. This could explain her admiration for the plant world since childhood. She even wrote her senior year paper on the history of herbal medicine. 

She is the founder of the Community Care Camper a free mobile herb clinic serving underserved populations in and around Ann Arbor Michigan, the co-owner of Black Locust Gardens herb farm and plant nursery, and the first aid coordinator for the Great Lakes Herb Faire. She runs an Apothecary as well, distilling and making magic from plants grown on her organic herb farm, and teaches one farm classes. 

Alex first officially studied plant medicine in 2013 at the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine intensive program with 7song in Ithaca NY, and then studied with Jim Mcdonald in Michigan. She also did her birth doula training and full spectrum doula training, and studied with aromatherapist Cathy Skipper in Southeast France learning how to distill hydrosols and the safety of essential oils. She has also recently taken classes towards nursing.  

Alex works out of her home in Dexter, Michigan seeing clients on a sliding fee scale and will do house calls. Alex loves working with everything under the sun. For inquiries or consultations, she can be reached at












Matt Keating joined our Black Locust Gardens farm incubator program in 2020, starting our organic market garden and small CSA. Matt has a diverse background as a yoga and tango instructor as well as an organic farmer.  

Our farm incubator program is designed to give land access to farmers who are looking to start their own business while also helping us out on our farm. 

photo by Hannah weber from Landloom Farm