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Conference Instructors

Sandor Katz

Sandor Katz

The Art of Fermentation

Sandor Ellix Katz is a fermentation revivalist. His books Wild Fermentation (2003) and the Art of Fermentation (2012), along with the hundreds of fermentation workshops he has taught around the world, have helped to catalyze a broad revival of the fermentation arts. A self-taught experimentalist who lives in rural Tennessee, the New York Times calls him “one of the unlikely rock stars of the American food scene.” The Art of Fermentation received a James Beard award, and Sandor was honored with the Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Foodways Alliance.

Chuck Marsh

Chuck Marsh

Home Growing--Simple Approaches to Food Abundance

Chuck Marsh is a pioneering Permaculture teacher, designer, community organizer, and horticulturist. He founded Useful Plants Nursery and is a senior partner at Living Systems Design. He works locally with Grow Food Where People Live and internationally with the Jamaican Sustainable Farm Enterprise Program.

Melissa Fryar

Melissa Fryar

DIY Herbal Apothecary--Making Medicines at Home

Melissa Fryar is an Appalachian born herbalist focused on foraging for wild edibles and utilizing the diverse plants of our region for more than two decades. She teaches at herb schools locally, works at the French Broad Food Coop, and lives, grows, and keeps chickens, near Mars Hill, NC.

Fall & Winter Growing

Christina Newhouse
High Tunnels for Homesteaders
Christina lives on a four-acre farm in Murphy, NC alongside numerous animals and lots of green things. In 2014, she started a microgreen farm business called MIGHTY Greens Microgreens. Her goal is to foster small farm viability that caters to a local market and bring innovative techniques to our area.

Patryck Battle
No Till Gardening
Patryk is a teacher, mentor, and farm and garden manager for Living Web Farms in Mills River, NC. He has developed agricultural systems including intensive cover cropping at Sparkling Earth Farm, Highland Lake Inn, and Mountain Air Community Organic Garden. He has written for local and national publications and been featured on local and national radio and television.

Meredith Alphin
Microgreens in Cool Weather
Meredith lives and works in Southeast Virginia where she manages an urban organic farm work program that helps the income challenged. She is a permaculture designer/practitioner, self confessed plant nerd, and lover of a things green and growing.

Randal Pfleger
Planting Before First Frost
Randal Pfleger is the Program Director for Grass to Greens, an edible landscaping social enterprise affiliated with Bountiful Cities. He has worked as a gardener, landscaper, carpenter, and community organizer throughout the Americas. Randal works with the principles of permaculture, aquaculture, poultry, rain water catchment, cob building, and dry stack stonewalls as well as season extension.

Home Cooking

Karen Fowler
Whole Animal Cooking
Karen is the Meat Manager for The Fresh Market in Asheville. Formerly with Foothills Local Meats and The Chop Shop in Asheville, Karen has had a cleaver or boning knife in her hands for many years and has taught many classes on whole animal butchery and what to do with cuts afterwards.

Abby Artemisia
Cooking & Storing Wild Foods
Abby is a botanist, herbalist, forager and the owner of Mighty Oak from Little Acorn who inspires health empowerment and nature (re)connection. She loves teaching about plants and mushrooms growing in our backyards and the woods down the street, making botany accessible to everyone.

Diana McCall
Feast from the Garden
Diana manages the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden in Black Mountain which is home to nearly 70 gardening families, over 100 fruit and nut trees, mushroom logs, a native species trail and a biodynamic donation garden. Her work includes school garden programs, expanding community gardens, and partnering with numerous institutions to educate her community on how to grow, access and prepare healthy food.

Zev Friedman
Southern Appalachian Milpa Cuisine
Zev is a leading permaculture designer, researcher, teacher, and writer in western North Carolina. He grew up in a patch of kudzu in Sylva and received his B.S. in Human Ecology from UNC-Asheville. Zev specializes in hands-on, in-depth education in permaculture and earthskills.

Fermentation & Preservation

Marissa Percoco
Intro to Mead Making
Marissa is an avid fermentation enthusiast who spent the last eight years exploring fermented cultures, local plants, and their synergy. Traveling throughout the US with her four amazingly adventurous children, Marissa has gathered cultures and recipes from far & wide.

Sandor Katz
Ferments Q&A
Sandor is a fermentation revivalist. His books, Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation, along with the hundreds of fermentation workshops, have helped to catalyze a broad revival of the fermentation arts. The New York Times calls him “one of the unlikely rock stars of the American food scene.” The Art of Fermentation received a James Beard award, and Sandor was honored with the Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Foodways Alliance.

Jeff “Puff” Irvin
The Art of Home-Brew
Jeff is a lead instructor, Master Brewer, and the Director for the Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast, which is part of A-B Tech’s renowned Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program. (He knows about beer.)

Cathy Hohenstein
Canning Basics
Cathy is the Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent for NC Cooperative Extension in Buncombe County and a Registered Dietitian. She has a passion for food preservation and preparation, nutrition, food safety and quality, and health and wellness. She provides insight to human development through the ages, from childhood to older adults, as well as parenting and caregiving issues.

Self-Reliance

Mike WeeksEasy Soil Amending
Easy Soil Amending
Mike and his wife Kristin are co-owners of Fifth Season’s new Asheville gardening store which specializes in hydroponics, organic gardening, beer- and wine-making supplies. Fifth Season provides expertise for customers who take a do-it-yourself approach to life. Mike is dedicated to serving organic growers and the sustainability community through education, outreach, and support.

Brian Rosa
Four Season Composting
Brian serves as the Organics Recycling Coordinator for NCDENR, DEAO. He brings over 25 years of experience in the organic waste reduction industry. He also owns and operates an organic waste reduction consulting and compost/vermi-composting equipment sales company. He provides volunteer technical assistance to third world countries through the “Farmer to Farmer” program.

Shane Gebauer
Beekeeping: Getting Started
Shane is a beekeeper, teacher, and President of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm. Over the years he has given countless workshops and helped numerous beekeepers get started and be success in keeping honey bee colonies.

Angie Lavezzo
Save Your Seeds!
As a gardener for over 20 years and a seed saver for 10 of those years, the magic of a sprouting seed is still Angie’s favorite thing. Her job as General Manager for Sow True Seed gives her a perfect outlet for her passion for seeds and plants, and good balance to her home life, where she is a farmer, beekeeper, maker of things, and an avid reader.

Homestead Skills

Rod Bowling
Root Cellars
Rod is a homesteader in Madison County where he and his wife Cindy Trisler cultivate 2 acres of gardens, mushrooms, berries and fruit trees. Between them, they provide workshops on shiitake mushroom production, fermentation, small flock poultry management, general homesteading, pottery & more.

Brandon Greenstein
Homestead Dreams
Brandon is the Home-Grower Programs Director for OGS, developing new initiatives to provide services to home-growers. His background is in Renewable Systems, Earth Works, Energy, Water, Homesteading, and Permaculture. He offers consulting, design, and technical services for the creation of low impact and energy conserving systems through his company, Integrated Ecological Solutions.

Byron Ballard
Urban Homesteading
for Busy People Byron Ballard, BA, MFA, is a ritualist, rootworker, teacher, energy healer, urban farmer, and author of two books on Appalachian folk magic. She offers workshops on traditional mountain culture, earth-based spirituality, and herbal wisdom. She is a founder and elder priestess at Mother Grove Goddess Temple.

Shawn Shwartz
Sustainable Timber Harvesting
Shawn is a NC Registered Forester, college forest manager at Warren Wilson College, adviser for the Student Chapter of the Society of American Foresters, a builder, and a naturalist.

Wild Ideas

Meredith Leigh
Big Food Talk
Over the past 13 years,Meredith Leigh has worked as a farmer, butcher, chef, teacher, executive director, shop owner, co-op founder, and writer, all in pursuit of sustainable food. She is a single mom, raising two boys, and is the author of The Ethical Meat Handbook.

Robin Allison
Fall Wild Plant Walk
Robin is an educator, botanist, and herbalist. He serves as faculty and apothecary manager for Appalachian School of Holistic Herbalism. He has a passion for teaching about and honoring the plant kingdom and loves to encourage students towards an easy and intimate relationship with wild plants.

Chris Smith
Home Oil Pressing
Chris is an enthusiastic grower and permaculturalist from a green-thumbed family. As Community Coordinator for Sow True Seed, he has immersed himself into the world of seed and southern growing. On his urban homestead, Chris is experimenting with landraces, selective seed saving, crop trials, and grow outs.

Jim Adkins
Fall & Winter Chicken Care
For over 35 years Jim’s passion for heritage breed poultry has ignited local and regional food movements. He is the founder of the Sustainable Poultry Network, committed to “breeding, growing, and marketing poultry that can naturally reproduce, and be genetically maintained.”

Herbal Medicine

Will Oseroff
Benefits of CBD (Cannabidiol)
Will, owner of Blue Ridge Hemp Company, is passionate about helping others and spreading knowledge about the healing powers of CBD (Cannabidiol).

Dr. Mary Bove
Kid Friendly Herbs
Dr. Mary Bove is a Naturopathic Doctor, international educator, and the Director of Medical Education for Gaia Herbs in Brevard, NC, where she has developed an herbal remedy line designed specifically for children. The author of the Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants, she is considered an authoritative reference on natural pediatric medicine.

Melissa Fryer
Fall and Winter Tonics & Syrups
Melissa is an Appalachian born herbalist focused on foraging for wild edibles and utilizing the diverse plants of our region for more than two decades. She teaches at herb schools locally, works at the French Broad Food Coop, and lives, grows, and keeps chickens, near Mars Hill, NC.

Joe Hollis
Native Medicinal Woodland Plants
Joe founded Mountain Gardens on 3 acres in Yancy County in 1972 which now hosts the largest collection of medicinal herbs in the eastern U.S. An ‘herbalist’s herbalist’, Joe is an experienced teacher, hosting 5-8 apprentices annually and teaching medical botany, herbal preapartions, chinese medicinal herb cultivation, and more at his permaculture paradise and throughout the Southern Appalachians.