Sarah Ambrus is the owner of Great Oaks Farm in Leander, Texas, where she gardens and raises bees and poultry. She strives for self-sufficiency in all things.
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 .
Allison Blokland is a budding writer, wanna-be farmer, and long-time animal lover living in central Maine with her fiancé Robert. Among her current menagerie are ducks, chickens, guineas, sheep, cats, dogs, horses, parakeets, and a single turtle named Mullet.
Laken Brooks is an Appalachian writer who loves apple peelings and digital storytelling. As a graduate student of English at the University of Florida, Laken specializes in digital humanities, public outreach, gender, and wellness. When she’s not teaching or researching, Laken contributes freelance writing pieces to outlets like Refinery29, CNN, Inside Higher Ed, Good Housekeeping, and more.
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
Piyali Nath Dalal
Daughter of East Indian immigrants, she grew up in Wayne, Nebraska. Both her B.A. in English literature and her Masters in Public Policy are from the University of Minnesota. Her work experience includes facilitation, teaching, and coordination of student programs. She founded 10,000 Scripts, a screenwriting collective in the Twin Cities. She writes for children, in Minneapolis, where she lives with her family.
Sarah Fraser is a medical doctor and author from Canada. She works in both Nova Scotia and the northern Canadian territory of Yellowknife. She is also a blogger and a poet. Her book, Humanity Emergency: Poetry of a Medical Student, is a collection of poetry about her experience as a medical student in the emergency department. You can find more of her writing at www.sarahfrasermd.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.
Jessica Gillman was born in Upstate New York but was transplanted to Central Maine at the age of 8. She moved to Portland when she was 19 and has spent the subsequent 31 years there; nearly all that time was spent cooking in a professional capacity. Finding that the physical demands of working in restaurant kitchens was creating permanent damage to her body, she decided, in 2014, to pursue a BA in English Language and Literature. In 2018, she was surprised when she opted to continue her formal education by attending graduate school, where she earned an MA in English. She finished school in January of 2020 with the intention of changing careers; the pandemic has slowed progress on that front. She is not a wife, mother, or animal caretaker, but she enjoys her role as an aunt and admires all the animals she sees. She spends her free time gardening, writing, reading, spending time with family (socially distancing, of course), sitting on her porch, camping, and creating art. She continues to make her living in the cooking industry but has spent the last year pushing further with the sales of her creations. She has been selling her paintings for the last 14 years, wood miniatures just recently, and will soon have an online storefront to expand on that success. While she has spent much of her life writing, this is the first time she has been published. She is working on multiple written pieces for future projects.
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.
Ed Higgins’ poems and short fiction have appeared in various print and online journals including recently: Ekphrastic Review, CarpeArte Journal, Triggerfish Critical Review,Wales Haiku Journal, and Sun Journal, among others. Ed is Professor Emeritus, English Dept. and Writer-in-Residence at George Fox University. He is also Asst. Fiction Editor for Brilliant Flash Fiction. He lives on a small organic farm in Yamhill, Oregon where he raises a menagerie of animals, including a male whippet, Mr. Toffee, an Indian Runner duck named Duck, and a rooster named StarTrek. For a free download of his recent chapbook, click here.
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.
Catherine Marenghi is the author of Breaking Bread: Poems. Born and raised in Massachusetts, transplanted to Mexico, she is the granddaughter of Italian immigrants, and themes of migration, family, love, loss and the eternal quest for home pervade her work. An award-winning poet, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her poem “First Day of Kindergarten.” She received first-place honors in separate contests judged by acclaimed poets Richard Blanco and Jennifer Clement. Her poems also twice received first-place honors from the Academy of American Poets University and College Poetry Prize program. Her work has appeared in Sisyphus, Bangalore Review, Ekphrastic Review, Ruminate, Cider Press Review, Peregrine Journal, Crossroads, Solamente en San Miguel, Italian Americana, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Phi Kappa Phi Forum, and Conclave. She also authored Glad Farm: A Memoir, which President Jimmy Carter called “inspiring.” She holds an M.A., B.A. summa cum laude in English from Tufts University.
A veteran of many Philadelphia restaurants, Sara May is a professional cook, baker and recipe developer now based in the Finger Lakes region of New York state. In her spare time she enjoys discovering new wine, making friends with dogs and hanging out with her awesome husband.
Humble beginnings to a humble career, Jasmine Moore has always had a passion for the kitchen, leading to a profession on the line and a happy household when she tries something new in the oven. Her love of cooking started when she was young, growing up with part of her family being Korean and very into food. Jasmine was introduced to Korean cooking and all the incredible ingredients that come with it, which sparked her curiosity for international cuisine.
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.
Darrell Petska grew up on a central Nebraska family farm, surrounded by expansive corn and alfalfa fields, rolling hills populated by Hereford cattle, and a menagerie of pigs, chickens, geese, dogs and cats. Family and place have remained deeply imprinted in his mind, even as he moved on to a 30-year editing career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Forty years a father (eight years a grandfather), and longer still as a husband, he publishes fiction, poetry and non-fiction in journals such as Buddhist Poetry Review, Nixes Mate Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Verse-Virtual, Perspectives Magazine, Woods Reader, and elsewhere. (conservancies.wordpress.com)
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.
Tyler Robinson is a high school English and Photojournalism teacher in King George, Virginia. Along with his wife and four children, he maintains a small hobby farm. While being new to Farmer-ish, you can find his writing in past issues of the King George High School yearbook.
Marianne Rogoff lived for twelve years in that coastal California town, working for food while completing her Masters degree in English: Creative Writing and then working for Shelter Publications, whose mission is self-sufficiency. She is the author of the Pushcart-nominated story collection Love Is Blind in One Eye, the memoir Silvie’s Life, and many award-winning travel stories, short fiction, essays, and book reviews. She teaches Writing & Literature at California College of the Arts and Dominican University of California. Read more at mariannerogoff.com.
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.
Maya Silver (cover artist)
Maya Silver is an artist and animal lover who enjoys coming home to the company of their pet rats. Born in Scotland, Maya’s family moved to Maine when Maya was 3 years old. Maya completed their undergraduate degree at the University of Maine in May 2020. They graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with a concentration in Printmaking, as well as a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexualities Studies. They have a strong interest in environmentalism, human rights issues, and mental health awareness. Art is a form of communication they use to explore and combine these subjects.
Maya went into college with a background consisting of primarily drawing. Through their experiences in undergraduate school, they developed a strong interest in printmaking, as well as digital art and graphic design. With no current access to a printmaking studio, Maya has had to improvise and create their own home-studio. They are currently working on expanding their portfolio for digital art.
Future plans for Maya include moving back to the UK within the next year, where they hope to pursue their passion for printmaking and develop a steady base in freelance graphic design. Some of Maya’s work can be found on their Instagram @maya.silver96.
Sally Simon is a retired teacher living in the Catskills of New York State, where there are plenty of cows. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in After the Pause, Prime Number Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, Truffles Literary Magazine, and elsewhere. When not writing, she’s either traveling the world or stabbing people with her epee. Read more at www.sallysimonwriter.com.
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.
Melody Wren is a Canadian travel, food, and lifestyle writer. Recently she has had articles published in Fodor’s, World Nomads, NBC News, CAA, Family Fun Canada, Canadian Traveller Magazine, Caribbean Beat Magazine, Canadian Yachting Magazine, Active Over 50, and Inspired Seniors to name a few.
She did not begin full of courage but enormous curiosity – experiential travel has helped her consider and conquer fears by making a conscious effort to face each one checking them off a list. She considers her age (over 60) a gift in her travels. She brings wisdom and experience and a major ‘if not now, when’ attitude with heavy lashings of humor, which is required in any kind of travel.
Her life is punctuated by her love of food, reading cookbooks like novels, experimenting with new recipes and cooking favorites for family and friends. Instead of staying in hotels on holiday, she and her family rent houses to soak in the local culture by exploring markets and taking cooking classes internationally.
She has written two books on tea and is currently working on two children’s books.
Visit her website for clips of recently published articles: www.melodywren.com or follow her on Instagram @melodywrentravels