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Farm-to-Face Skin Care

by Feifei Sun
board and batten
Amid citrus groves and cypress trees, a farmer seeds a skincare line

For nearly a decade, Patricia Walker had lived on—and off of—her plantation-style farm, growing vegetables for food and raising animals, including horses and chickens. But it wasn’t until 2011 that Walker began to use her farm products for skincare.

Diagnosed with thyroid disease in 2004, she was always on the hunt for clean, good-for-you products. But even when products boasted the words “all-natural” on packaging, their labels often betrayed them, listing one toxic ingredient after another. “Creating my own products allowed me to research and handpick each and every ingredient,” Walker says. “And what started as a simple curiosity quickly turned into a passion.”

By 2012, she had officially launched Board and Batten, an organic and natural skincare line made with ingredients primarily found on Walker’s farm. Located in Lake County, FL, less than an hour north of Orlando, the scenic landscape of green pastures and cypress-lined lakes served as the perfect birthplace for a green skincare collection.

“We’re so far removed from anything artificial, anything commercial,” she says. And the farm’s setting—600 acres of greenhouses, tree farms and pastureland—is reflected in each of Board and Batten’s products. “I want my customers to approach skincare the same way they select their food,” Walker says. “The more colorful the plate, the more healthy.”

Board and Batten’s products are made right on Walker’s farm from a mix of ingredients, including goat’s milk and oils from the nut or seed of trees, fruits, vegetables and flowers. The Bamboo Charcoal Soap, for example, combines bamboo grown on the farm with goat milk, olive oil and cocoa butter. The Grains and Seeds Facial Set uses organic grains and fruit enzymes to polish and moisturize skin without toxins. And the My Softer Side Organic Sugar Scrub is made with Florida pure cane sugar, as well as organic almond oil and raw honey.

Sharing her environment with deer, bobcats, alligators and other animals, Walker hasn’t forgotten about her four-legged customers either. Board and Batten offers an eco-friendly dry shampoo for dogs that’s made from a blend of odor-absorbing bamboo charcoal, organic corn starch and organic lavender buds—a fresh combination designed to leave pups and human companions happy.

Though her skincare goods are currently sold online and through a select number of local retailers, Walker hopes to expand the collection’s availability in the future. But she knows that’s not an easy task for a brand like hers. Unlike farm-to-table dining, which has reached mass popularity, farm-to-face skincare is still a growing concept. “I know there’s going to be a learning curve, where people will have to be educated on our idea,” she says. “But that’s my hope—to inspire people to take a genuine interest in what they put on their body. And on their skin.” farmtoskin.com

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