Linda Bolton’s quick snapshot of her life describes the essence of a powerful and unlikely journey. “I started off as a nurse and became a CEO,” she says.
In her twenties she faced a host of personal challenges. At age 37 she met and then married Dale Bolton. Their values aligned. “He is a spiritual person who had worked in Nicaragua and Haiti – helping these broken countries,” she says.
Since then, their combined Christian faith has been the cornerstone of two lives devoted to service that blend their personal and professional interests.
A key turning point was watching her sister Debbie Haskell, a mother with a career, struggle to cope with the pain of migraines until she discovered Natural Calm magnesium, then only available in the US, which reduced her migraines by over 90%.
Soon Linda herself began using Natural Calm to reduce insomnia and fibromyalgia pain, and her doctor noted improvements in her bone density. Indeed, migraines, muscle cramps, and insomnia are among the common symptoms of magnesium deficiency, which is common in the western world. It’s the result of widespread stress and foods that are designed to look and taste great, but which industrial agriculture and depleted soils have robbed of the basic nutrients our grandparents took for granted.
In 2004, she began to import Natural Calm products from Natural Vitality in the US, becoming the exclusive Canadian distributor, which in turn inspired her mission to raise awareness about magnesium deficiency. Linda taught people across Canada how magnesium deficiency can create insomnia, aggravate tension and pain, and promote disease – including heart disease.
As CEO of Natural Calm Canada, she helped Dale create a social enterprise to address poverty. In 2004, Dale and Linda visited Africa as part of an effort to help build a home for orphans. They learned about the lack of gardens in impoverished areas, where kids were eating meagre meals of rice or corn with a few beans. Dale took a course on organic growing, investigated fundraising to start community learning gardens, and discovered how many people were dying from different tropical diseases. He realized the need for not only food security, but also health security.
Thrive for Good was established in 2008 with a mission to lift thousands of orphans out of extreme rural poverty and into a self-sustaining, disease-free life. Thrive educates and supports trainers in organic gardening, nutrition, natural medicine, and income generation.
Today Thrive has a training center that has helped equip leaders in 20 countries. It is working to create cost-effective and sustainable life gardens all over the poorest parts of the world.
“We taught everything to the poorest of the poor,” says Linda. “Now Thrive is in 20 countries globally. God orchestrated this goal of helping the poor and it became our dream and passion.”
The initiative started in Malawi, helping to build wells, orphanages, and schools. “Then we moved to Kenya and thought of how we could teach people to help themselves,” she says. That led to an organization, Organics 4 Orphans which was later rebranded to Thrive For Good in 2019, which is helping people in poor countries to grow their own healthy food.
“Seventy years ago, economies in developing countries switched to growing products commercially like corn, based on chemical fertilizers, which can’t feed the local population,” she says. Thrive represents a return to earlier days when communities grew their own food, including time-proven natural remedies for common health conditions.
“Our goal is to make a dent in extreme poverty,” says Linda “In places whose average income is less than $500 a year, we have helped more than 60% of the communities we work in become self-sustainable. We provide the seeds and the tools and teach others how to use them.”
She reflects on how poverty keeps people trapped in the present, just trying to survive. Poor nutrition also robs people of all ages of the nutrients the brain needs to thrive. This is especially true for children, whose brains are still developing.
“In Canada, we tend to lead easier and healthier lives, which allows us to think ahead more,” she says. “We want to help these people find an easier route, an easier lifestyle, and an easier way to provide food for their families.”
THE NEXT CHAPTER
In 2006, Linda met Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, author of The Magnesium Miracle, who introduced her to the use of transdermal or topical magnesium chloride to increase magnesium levels through the skin. Via oil or gel, magnesium enters the bloodstream while bypassing the GI tract. This also helps people who cannot take magnesium internally. Dr. Dean also recommended the use of topical magnesium for people with severe magnesium deficiency.
Linda started using the topical magnesium products and noticed reduced muscle cramps and improved muscle recovery. After more research, she decided to add topical magnesium products to her arsenal for magnesium deficiency relief. In 2006, she introduced her first transdermal magnesium chloride products to the market and in 2010 developed her own brand of liquid melatonin called Heavenly Sleep. In 2020, Linda and Dale Bolton launched their own brand of products under the name of Bolton’s Naturals.
Unlike almost any other company, all profits of Natural Calm Canada and Bolton’s Naturals products are donated to Thrive For Good, a non-profit founded by the Boltons that teaches sustainable organic gardening, nutrition, natural medicine and income generation in the world’s poorest communities. Both companies are social enterprises that exude their commitment to giving 100% of their money away.
Across the globe, 2 billion people – including 33% of children – aren’t getting enough life-giving nutrients to reach their full potential and fight disease. The problem is “hidden hunger” — a chronic lack of key nutrients that only whole foods can deliver.
Hidden hunger keeps people from escaping extreme poverty. It causes kids to miss school. It prevents adults from working when they’re chronically ill. And it orphans too many children. Until now, a nutrient-dense diet has seemed out of reach for the poor. Thrive has created Life Gardens, which teaches anyone to grow healthy foods.
CLIMB OF A LIFETIME
Thrive is hosting a virtual climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro as a fundraiser from September 11-17. Sponsors have agreed to match up to $100 000 in donations which will go towards Thrive for Good’s initiative of helping developing communities grow their own food. The virtual climb challenges participants to walk the 154,720 steps it takes to make it to the top and back of Mt. Kilimanjaro.