Cooking Up a Story Contributors List

David GumpertDavid E. Gumpert reports and writes about health and food issues. He is the author of The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights, which includes a preface by Joel Salatin. His popular blog, The Complete Patient, has over the last five years been instrumental in launching a national discussion about government-imposed restrictions on the availability of nutrient-dense food and in highlighting an emerging debate over food rights.

Heather Jones Heather Jones is a wife, mother, freelance food writer and graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She has worked for Gourmet Magazine, TV Personality Katie Brown, and the New York based Indian-fusion restaurant Tabla. Heather resides in New Jersey with her husband and two daughters. She is a strong supporter of the Sustainable Food Movement and believes that education is the key to making a difference.

Mark Keating has worked in the organic, sustainable and local food movements since 1982. His work experience includes commercial food service, farm labor, retail sales and marketing, state and federal civil service, non-profit advocacy, academia, journalism and conducting organic inspections. While working for the USDA National Organic Program between 1999 and 2002 Mark helped draft the national organic standards for crop and livestock production. He spent two more years with the USDA Marketing Services Branch working to develop and promote farmers markets. Mark also worked for the NOP in 2010. An inveterate believer that organically raised and locally distributed food offers the surest path to human health and planetary survival, Mark, his wife and their daughter live alongside the Pequest River in New Jersey, the Garden State.

Joe Miller, Cooking Up a Story contributor.Joe Miller has worked in U.S. patent law since 1994, and has been a law professor since 2001. He teaches at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, OR, where he has lived since 2002. He loves enjoying delicious food and great wine with friends, so Portland is a wonderful place to live!

Joya Parsons, Quite Contrary GardensJoya Parsons Joya Parsons is the owner and principal operator of Quite Contrary Gardens Homestead in Sussex County, Delaware. A former IT professional and US Navy veteran, she has spent the last ten years learning the art of organic growing and sustainable living. She is working within her own community to make a local, sustainable food system a reality through education, outreach and example. If she’s not outside getting her hands in the dirt or tending her chickens, she can normally be found with her nose in the latest issue of Mother Earth News.

Lynn Redlin With family roots in the black gold of the fertile Red River Valley, Lynn Torrance Redlin has been inspired and challenged by the diversity of opinion and characters found on the Cooking Up A Story shows. An avid gardener and home cook, Redlin is also a voracious reader, and enjoys exploring new information and ideas about our food system.

Ashley Terry and Rachel (wife)

In 2009, Ash Terry and his new bride traveled around the globe for 5 months, and filmed their experiences within the WWOOF! organizations of France, Japan, Italy, and India. Together, they are working on a feature film documenting this journey. “WWOOF! The Movie” is about a collective of organizations that go by the acronym WWOOF: World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Ash graduated from the University of Montana in 2004 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Media Arts. Since then, he has worked in broadcast news, commercial and television production houses, radio, and internet broadcasting.

Rebecca ThistlewaiteRebecca Thistlethwaite is the author of the forthcoming book Farms with a Future: Creating and Growing a Sustainable Farm Business. She runs a farm and food business consulting firm called Sustain Consulting and is starting a small homestead in Washington with her family. Rebecca also serves on the board of the Sustainable Food Trade Association and writes her own blog Honest Meat. Her other recent pursuits include training oxen, trail running, and learning how to make fermented foods.

TwoJunesTwoJunes are two women with diverse backgrounds in the food industry, and have figured out how to balance their professional lives, with their home life, preparing, fresh wholesome meals, much of it from their own food garden. Lisa Bell has been a pastry chef, recipe developer, food stylist, and a food scientist, and now works as a freelance producer, writer and editor. Nicole Rees is a food writer, and cookbook author (Baking UnPlugged), and currently works as a baking scientist.

Jan Weber’s career in television and film production spans some 35 years. Over that time she has produced, directed, and written commercials, corporate programs, network pilots, and co-produced two feature films. Her 2005 documentary, As We Sow documents the vanishing family farms in Iowa, and paints a personal picture of the devastation large (mega) corporate farming inflicts upon the small farmer, and their local communities.

nathan-winters-on-his-food-farm-journeyNathan Winters Nathan Winters rode a bicycle across America to discover first-hand why our food system had grown to be unsustainable, and to find alternative solutions. He traveled into the homes and communities of organic, conventional, urban and Amish farmers and community organizers. This ongoing series—to be posted every other Wednesday— represents select material from The Unconventional Harvest, a work in progress, by Nathan A. Winters.


  1. says

    Greetings fellow organic fans,

    As an organic farmer who has been at it since the early 80′s I am writing this to ask for your help to keep the organic standards honest here in the USA. At this time the very definition of “organic” is in jeopardy because the NOP (National Organic Program is currently permitting (by omission) crops grown hydroponically (without soil) to be certified as organic! Please sign a petition demanding that the USDA follow the recommendation of their own advisory committee to not allow the hydroponic growing of vegetables to be certified organic. This only takes one minute, and will help show the USDA that the organic community does not support their weakening of the organic standards.

    Please sign our petition:
    For more information on this, please visit this website:

    Why are we doing this?

    We are doing this because of our deep concern about a failure to maintain the integrity of the national organic standards. The way that the national standards work is that a group of federal bureaucrats (called the National Organic Program, or NOP) are responsible for defining and administering organic standards for the United States. There is also an advisory committee of 15 people (called the National Organic Standards Board, or NOSB) representing organic farmers and consumers who make informed recommendations to the USDA. The USDA has sometimes taken a long time to respond to a recommendation, but never before have they actually reversed a recommendation of the advisory committee (NOSB), which is charged with the mission of representing the organic community. The NOSB is a balanced group of very committed and knowledgeable people, who have taken their responsibility of guiding the federal organic standards very seriously. They do a great deal of good research and hold public hearings to hear all points of view, before making a recommendation. They only make recommendations on subjects requested by the USDA. They are meant to be the “experts” on organic to the USDA.

    The recommendation

    In 2010 the NOSB (National Organic Standards Board) submitted a recommendation to the USDA that soil-less vegetable production NOT be certified as organic. Until that time, the issue of soil-less growing had never been addressed by the NOP, so the USDA asked the advisory committee to come up with a recommendation. The NOSB voted 12 to 1 (with 2 abstentions) to prohibit soilless production. They wrote out a carefully worded, well thought-out document, making their arguments clear. The recommendations of the NOSB are usually eventually accepted by the USDA, but in this case the USDA has not acted on the NOSB recommendation, and three years later, the USDA continues to ALLOW hydroponic vegetable production to be certified as organic. The USDA has not offered any guidance to certifying agencies on this matter, nor any explanation. They have not held public hearings. Many certifying agencies in the US are now refusing to certify hydroponic operations as organic.


    Presently, the vast majority of the “hydroponic organic” produce sold in this country is grown in either Mexico, Canada, or Holland. ALL THREE OF THESE COUNTRIES PROHIBIT HYDROPONICALLY PRODUCED VEGETABLES TO BE SOLD AS ORGANIC IN THEIR OWN COUNTRIES. Mexico, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and 24 European countries, (including Holland, England, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, and Spain) all prohibit hydroponic vegetable production to be sold as organic in their own countries. There is no labeling to announce that these vegetables are hydroponically grown. Many consumers and produce managers have no idea.

    The USA is alone

    The NOSB has formally recommended that the United States join the international community in this common definition of organic produce. The USA is virtually isolated in the world in its decision to allow “soilless organic.” In essence, a small committee of the USDA is redefining “Organic”. The consequences of this will go far beyond the US, creating pressure from hydroponic growers in other countries to redefine organic there as well. Please let the USDA know that we won’t allow this.

    There is also a petition for consumers supporting us on the website, as well as letters from members of the organic community. Please forward this letter to your friends and family. Help us protect the integrity of the term “organic” for us all and let’s keep Big Food from hijacking standards we rely upon to know what we are eating.

    Thank You!

    Dave Chapman
    Long Wind Farm
    82 Wilson Road
    East Thetford, VT 05043

  2. Jerry Mader says

    Great site! How does one become a contributor. I’m an author/photographer/publisher and I just published my book, “Saving the Soil–The New American Farmer” about organic farmers here in the Snoqualmie Valley of Western Washington. I would love to share their stories with you.

  3. denise stefanisin says

    WOW…great website. I am a healthy food advocate in Arizona working closely with various farmers markets here since 2007. I am also a Master Gardener with the University of Arizona since 2004 and love teaching gardening to children.

    I will visit your website often. Thank you.

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