About Melissa Kruse-Peeples

Melissa Kruse-Peeples

Ethnobotanist

Hi, I am Melissa. I am a plant lover, gardener, food enthusiast, and mom to a fun-loving 5-year-old. I grew up in Nebraska surrounded by cornfields and now call Phoenix home and love living in the Sonoran Desert discovering edible native plants and gardening year-round.

My academic background is in ethnobotany and anthropology and I have a passion for teaching others about biological and cultural diversity. During the day I work as an educator and grower with an urban community garden and supply a local food pantry. I am a life-long learner who continually takes on new passions. Recently I started growing microgreens, canning jams, and growing fruit trees.

Q: What’s your favorite plant?

A: My favorite plant is corn. I love watching it grow and opening the ears. It’s like Christmas! The anticipation of what lies inside is exciting.

Q: What is your plant persona?

A: My plant persona is a carrot. I can be sweet, down to earth and a little bit crunchy.

Q: What’s the most unusual plant you’ve grown?

A: I grew Jack Beans (Canavallia ensiformis) a few years ago and they took forever! But after 8 months I had dozens of bean pods 18-24 inches long. Definitely a bean fit for giants.