Janisse Ray, award-winning writer, naturalist, and activist is author of five books of literary nonfiction, including Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, a memoir about growing up on a junkyard in the ruined longleaf pine ecosystem of the Southeast. Her latest book, on open-pollinated seeds, is The Seed Underground, published in 2012. Janisse holds an MFA from the University of Montana, and in 2007 was awarded an honorary doctorate from Unity College in Maine. She is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and a visiting professor, scholar-in-residence, and writer-in-residence at colleges across the country. Janisse lectures widely on nature, community, agriculture, wildness, sustainability and the politics of wholeness. She is an organic gardener, seedsaver, and slow-food cook.
Natalie Bogwalker is the founder and director of the Wild Abundance, the Living Skills School, and the Firefly Gathering. She lives in a lively, growing homestead nestled deep in community in the Southern Appalachians and spends her time harvesting of the wild, practicing permaculture design, building, gardening, planting, putting up food, growing, teaching, scheming about how to introduce more people to earth-based living, and worshiping the beauty around her. Natalie holds a B.A. in ecological agriculture, lectures nationally, consults and is writing a book entitled: Preparation and Preservation, a guide to the Wild Abundance of Southern Appalachia and beyond.
Marc Williams is an ethnobotanist, teacher, naturalist, herbalist, and culinary creative. He is the Executive Director of Plants and Healers International and a member of the Board of Directors of the Appalachian Institute for Mountain Studies. He has taught hundreds of people about the marvelous world of plants and has worked with over 50 international organizations to help improve our global ecological crisis. Marc’s training includes a BS in Environmental Studies from Warren Wilson College and an MS in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University. Marc’s passion is teaching people to employ botanicals for food, medicine, and beauty.
Alan Muskat, philosoforager, stand-up mycomedian, and epicure of the obscure, has been going “out to eat” for nearly twenty years. He founded the first forage-to-table program and wild foods market in the US. Author of Wild Mushrooms: A Taste of Enchantment, he has popped up on The Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods, The History Channel, PBS, CBS, and in The New Yorker, Southern Living, and Country Living. For close to two decades, Alan has sold hundreds of pounds of wild foods a year to over fifty restaurants and hotels, including The Biltmore Estate, Lantern, and The Grove Park Inn. He’s taught thousands and hasn’t lost a customer yet.
Author: Jenn Cloke
Jenn Cloke, originally from Atlanta, has lived in Western North Carolina for since 2006 and wears her Appalachian mantle proudly. Jenn was the Communications Coordinator for Organic Growers School from 2012 to 2014. She and her family run a small farm at the foot of Cold Mountain.