Wren Bellavance-Grace is a writer, religious professional, and amateur backyard gardener living in western Massachusetts where she has raised children (who she cannot believe are adults already), a rotating cast of cats, dogs, and pigs, and – this season – 39 varieties of fruits and vegetables. She is currently busy jellying this year’s Concord grapes, canning her five-tomato-and-hot-pepper salsa, and pickling everything else in sight. Her work has been anthologized in Lesbians Raising Sons, and has appeared in such places as Multiplicity magazine, and The Forge Literary Magazine, which nominated the essay If for a Pushcart Prize.
Bonnie Lee Black
In addition to having been a caterer in New York City for ten years and a small farmer in New Mexico for seven years, Bonnie Lee Black is the author of three memoirs, one novel, and a new book on the way, titled Sweet Tarts for My Sweethearts, plus numerous essays published in anthologies and literary journals. She is a graduate of Columbia University’s writing program and holds an MFA from Antioch University. She currently writes a weekly blog from her new home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, called “The WOW Factor,” about the expat retirement life. Visit her website at http://www.bonnieleeblack.com .
DK Crawford is a food writer and photographer who lives in Ojai, California. Her farming “roots” were established in Cajun Louisiana, and her love for growing things and tending animals comes from her father Howard, who fulfilled his dream by purchasing a farm when she was 3 years old. She spent her life sneaking out to the farm with him (they called it church), as often as she could. Their home was the only one in the neighborhood with gardens, ducks, geese, and DK always had a slew of wild orphaned animals she nursed like possums and wild rabbits. She still lives her passions by constantly pushing seeds into the ground to grow as may plants as possible and cohabiting with her creature familiars.
Jesse Curran, PhD, is a poet, essayist, gardener, and educator who lives in Northport, New York and teaches at SUNY Old Westbury. Her creative work has appeared in a number of literary journals including Ruminate, About Place, Spillway, Leaping Clear, Green Humanities, Blueline, and Still Point Arts Quarterly; her chapbook of poetry, Elegy & April, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2019. Jesse is also certified in hatha yoga and permaculture design, two practices that inform her commitment to contemplative service and community building. Her family owns a small business, Home Organic Gardening Service, which builds, plans, plants, and maintains organic vegetable gardens and other sustainable systems on Long Island. She is the mother of two bright stars, Leona and Valentine. www.jesseleecurran.com
Nina Gaby is a writer, visual artist, and psychiatric nurse practitioner who lives a bit north of Moonlighting Farm with her husband, two cats, and a Golden Retriever across from the longest floating bridge this side of the Mississippi. Gaby is working on a book about her life as a transplant to a small Vermont village. Her artwork has been exhibited widely over the years and she has pieces in the National Collection at the Renwick, Arizona State University, and Rochester Institute of Technology. Most recently her essays have been featured on the NPR blog, “The New Normal,” in McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, The Intima, Psychiatric Times, and she contributes to numerous anthologies. Hew anthology, “Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women,” was published in 2015 by She Writes Press. Gaby maintains a clinical practice in central Vermont.You can read more interviews, articles and essays on her website, www.ninagaby.com, as well as view her portfolio of current mixed-media artwork.
Randy Graham lives on a Minnesota acreage with just one dog, just one cat, just one wife, and just one flock of chickens. He has retired from a career as a microbiologist and has turned instead to writing about hipster hens, wonder eggs, and the meaning of life at Randy’s Chicken Blog.
Loree Griffin Burns
Loree Griffin Burns is a scientist by training and a writer by inclination, crafting articles, essays, and books that celebrate the natural world and people who are passionate about it. This work has led to far-flung adventures, from beachcombing on the western coast of the United States, to surveying birds in Central Park, to scaling Mexican mountains in search of monarch butterflies, to trapping insects on an uninhabited volcanic island in Iceland. It has also allowed her to stay home quite a lot, raising three children and getting to know the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and (especially!) arthropods that are her nearest neighbors. She has recently joined the faculty at Montserrat College of Art and Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she teaches writing and the joys of close observation. She and her husband Gerry keep bees, raise chickens, tend vegetables and spoil Max, the family springer, in suburban central Massachusetts. Catch highlights from these exploits on Instagram (@LoreeGriffinBurns) or visit Loree’s website to read more of her writing (www.loreeburns.com).
Kimi Hardesty is originally from Dallas, TX, where she grew up on a cattle ranch about thirty miles out of the city. While on the ranch, at various times, she had sheep, pigs, chickens, cows and horses. Kimi has been a pediatric RN for 35 years and having lived a while in Seattle, Washington, now calls Lexington, Kentucky her home, where she tends vegetable and flower gardens and has a small flock of chickens. Next year, she hopes to have bees. Kimi was awarded an MFA in Creative Writing in 2018 and, besides writing essays, is currently working on a memoir about living in India and the dissolution of her marriage there. She has been published in The Pitkin Review, Ritualwell and Speak Magazine.
Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee
Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee is a writer, an artist, a photographer and a producer. She started her academic life studying Biochemistry as a pre-medical student, but finished her degree in conceptual and installation art. She started her writing life as a poet, but is known for her personal essays, food and travel writing. A James Beard Award nominee, she was a restaurant critic and food writer for the LA Times for nearly two decades. Her publication history includes Food + Wine, Eating Well, Serious Eats, Eater, Vice, and the Washington Post. She has authored several travel guides, including all editions of Frommer’s South Korea and Frommer’s Day by Day Seoul. Her cookbooks include Quick & Easy Mexican Cooking, Quick & Easy Korean Cooking, and Eating Korean: From Barbecue to Kimchi, Recipes from My Home. Her books have been chosen as the Best of the Best by Food + Wine, the cookbook of the month by Gourmet magazine, and nominated for the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. When she’s not climbing a mountain somewhere, she writes, paints, cooks and gardens in the city of angels. She is currently working on her first novel.
Carrie Honaker is an educator and freelance writer who lives in Panama City Beach, Florida. Most days you can find her plowing through a good book, writing, dabbling with a new recipe, or chasing after her three foster kittens. You can find her on Twitter: @writeonhonaker, Instagram: @writeonhonaker, and on her blog Strawbabies and Chocolate Beer.
Christina Lundberg is a poet, an educator, and a writing coach who lives in the Chicagoland suburbs in Illinois. Her poems have appeared in the Naropa Summer Writing Program journal Guilty as Charged and the Naperville Writers Group publication Rivulets. She works as a writing instructor and coordinator for the Walden University Writing Center and teaches composition and creative writing courses at College of DuPage. Upon being awarded an M.F.A. in Creative Writing in 2007, Christina embarked on a writing and teaching career, which has served as her guiding light. Recently, she launched her own business, My Page Break, where she provides writing services to uplift and inspire creative writers. When she is not working, she indulges in good coffee, appreciates nature and the simple things, and practices the art of meaningful connection. You will often find her spending quality time with her husband and son kayaking down a river or baking something delicious.
Andrea J. Mahoney
Andrea J. Mahoney is a mom, teacher, and maker. While she is not originally from Maine, she loves everything about the state. Three years ago, she moved with her family from the a busy city in the desert across the country to beautiful Maine. Andrea has always been a creative, and has been sewing since her mom taught her when she was 6. She loves sewing clothes, memory bears, crafts, and is the go-to for friends when they would like hemming or clothes adjusted. Andrea teaches online art classes for Outschool. This is her first publication.
Debra Moffitt is a former newspaper journalist and the author of The Pink Locker Society (St. Martin’s Press-Macmillan), a middle grade series. Her essays have been published in Slate and the Washington Post.
Katharyn Privett-Duren, PhD, is an English professor, writer, and farmer in rural Alabama. Her grandmother was integral in her upraising, and therefore had an impact on her understanding of working with plants and the earth. As an organic, biointensive micro-farmer focused on sustainability, Katharyn continues to reach out to her neighbors in an effort to teach them to grow their own food with minimal impact to their financial resources or the environment. From seed to harvest, she also works to echo her Cherokee roots in an ethical and holistic communion with the land. Katharyn is a Master Gardener in her local county district, as well, volunteering in the occasional outreach project in the Auburn/Opelika area. After tending chickens for almost ten years, she has now branched out into breeding bantams such as Silkies, Frizzled Cochins, and Seramas. Her small plot of land, Little Halawakee Farm, sports rare varieties of turmeric, galangal, ginger and herbs of all kinds. Katharyn and her husband, Todd, have worked to obtain a grant for a high tunnel, which has provided space and shelter to sustain a small CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture). Lined with fig, mulberry and pear trees, Little Halawakee Farm has become a haven in a section of the country heavily laden with pesticide and herbicide residues. From snakes to chipmunks, lizards to tree frogs, butterflies to native bees: the farm buzzes with life. The old well on the property provides all of the water needs for her family, livestock, dogs and plants. It is, indeed, a magical place. It is her dream to transform Little Halawakee Farm into a teaching garden. As an impending grandmother, she hopes to pass down the wonders of reading, writing, and eating a dinner that grew in peaceful communion with all that reside in a sacred, natural space. Check LHF out at: littlehalawakeefarm.org.
James Sands is a poet, farmer, and gardener. He practices sustainable farming and has spent the last eight years building the quality of the soil on the plot of land he works in rural Maine. He has published several poems and a book of children’s poetry, Why the Moon Tumbled Out of the Sky. He is also co-producer of Farmer-ish and delivers content to his wife when he is not busy planting, watering, harvesting, or caring for their son or their flocks of chickens and ducks.
Ilana Silver is a graduate student with a deep love for horses and the natural world. She was born in Scotland and moved to Maine as a child, young enough to have lost the Glaswegian accent. After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Maine, Ilana spent four years traveling and working abroad and in the western portion of the United States. She held a variety of positions, from hostel receptionist in New Zealand to horseback trail guide in Yellowstone National Park, before returning to Maine. She is currently completing a Master’s in Social Work at Smith College and simultaneously working on a certificate in equine-assisted mental health through the University of Denver’s Institute for Human-Animal Connection. After graduating, she hopes to integrate horses into a mental health practice and dreams of stewarding a small plot of land where her rascally horse can also live.
Dr. Julia Skinner is Founder and Director of Root, Atlanta’s food history and fermentation company. She was recently awarded one of Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40 (to be announced October 1, 2020), and is the first fermentation and food history professional to win a 40 Under 40 award for that work. Other recognition includes participation in the James Beard Foundation’s Owning It! program, attending Sandor Katz’ fermentation residency, regular features in the press, and appointment as a Cookbook Awards judge for the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ 2020 awards. She is an accomplished food writer, represented by literary agency The Lisa Ekus Group. Her next book, Culture Begins Here: Fermentation and the History of How we Eat, will be published by Storey in 2021. Julia feels that food, one of our most central lived experiences, should be treated with the sacredness deserving of something that gives us life and health and strengthens human connections. One of the best ways to cultivate an appreciation of food is to make nourishing food simply, drawing upon the traditions that have passed through human communities for millennia. Through her work, she helps people access the magic of food by making food education and food writing accessible and creative: Truly nourishing ourselves means playing with our food! Through her writing, teaching, and her own creative practice, Julia helps people connect more deeply with food. Community work is baked in to every aspect of her business and her personal creative practice, and she regularly donates fermented food to Umi Feeds, offers fermentation class scholarships for BIPOC and Queer/Trans community members, and more. When COVID started, she quickly provided free and low cost food preservation education through virtual classes and festivals, helping community members worldwide stretch their food stores and nourish their bodies.