Mother Earth News Blogs > Mother Earth News Fair

Mother Earth News Fair

Our FAIRS bring living wisely to life with hands-on workshops in organic gardening, country skills, renewable energy and more.

Seven Springs Speaker Spotlight: Lisa Kivirist, Organic Cook

Get to know author Lisa Kivirist. 

What are you going to speak about at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR? 

Lisa KiviristI'll be sharing simple, practical tips out of our new cookbook, Farmstead Chef, for organic eating on a budget, offering strategies that celebrate the homespun frugality spirit of our nation’s farmstead roots. For folks who feel overwhelmed by all the expensive organic options there, I'll simplify strategies for healthful food purchases and cooking approaches, wrapped in a philosophy that eating should be a celebrated, joyful act that strengthens our families, communities and spirit with every bite. A range of recipes for homemade and healthier pantry staples will be covered like hot cocoa mix, value-packed strategies for shopping the supermarket and farmer’s market as well as buying bulk and creative approaches to preserving your garden harvest. I gave a version of this presentation at last year's FAIR to a packed crowd and enthusiastic response; I'm honored to be invited back again this year.

What are you most looking forward to sharing with FAIR attendees? 

I'm excited to share ideas for ways to reconnect with our farmstead roots and recreate that sense of independence and self-reliance that fueled so much of our nation's history, but that seems increasingly lost today. We're constantly hit with such doom and gloom messages via the news and media; more than ever we need today to get out of the debt-driven economy and recreate our homesteads for modern times filled with homegrown food, renewable energy and community around the kitchen table. 

Tell us about your background with your particular topic.  

In addition to co-authoring Farmstead Chef, my husband, John Ivanko, and I wrote the award-winning book ECOpreneuring and Rural Renaissance, all dedicated to championing sustainable living and empowering others to create livelihoods around their passion for a better world. My family and I run Inn Serendipity Farm and B&B in Wisconsin – my "home office" is my kitchen, where I spend many a happy day cooking up muffins for B&B guests and preserving the abundant garden harvest. Another "hat" of mine is supporting and leading the increase in new women farmers: I direct the Rural Women's Project for the Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) and am a Kellogg Food & Society Policy Fellow specializing in women in sustainable agriculture.

Why should fairgoers attend your presentation? 

I like to "plant" a combination of small and big seeds when I teach – i.e., I want folks to leave with some tangible, practical ideas they can take home and use that day, perhaps a new way to look at their home pantry or new idea on food preservation. But I also want to help folks leave with some "big idea seeds," big picture ideas of ways to fundamentally change their lives and lifestyles, such as thinking about installing a renewable energy system or even, as John and I did 15 years ago, trade corporate city cubicle jobs for green living in the country!  

How will you get to the FAIR, and how far do you have to travel? 

Flying in from the Midwest with carbon offsets.

What are you most looking forward to at the FAIR?  

I love all the "cross-pollination" amongst kindred spirits at the FAIR and the positive energy amongst attendees. The FAIR is a super-sized dose of all the good things happening in our country – the people who take both their and the planet's future in their own hands and want to create something lasting and sustainable. It is so inspiring to be among such a large crowd of people who never seem to say "no we can't" but "what about this idea" – and have the back-issue of Mother Earth News on file for the plans!

What advice do you have for attendees? 

I always bring a blank notebook, my "idea journal," to the FAIR and keep jotting things down throughout the weekend. From people you will meet to a information at a workshop to recommended books – there's so much going on I need to write it down.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only one thing, what would you choose? 

Definitely my husband, John Ivanko. He's tall and would pick the coconuts for me – and happens to be the most entertaining, engaging, passionate person I know.

Thanks, Lisa. We’ll see you at the FAIR! 


Please visit the FAIR website for more information about the Seven Springs, Pa. FAIR September 24-25, and upcoming FAIRs in other locations. Tickets are on sale now.

You can also get FAIR updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Keep an eye out for Trivia Ticket Tuesdays and Trivia Ticket Thursdays for your chance to win two tickets to the FAIR!