Robin Mather, senior associate editor

Brandy Ernzen 785.274.4304 dir / 

Third-generation journalist Robin Mather grew up in a rural village in Michigan, where her parents published a weekly newspaper and her classmates at school were the sons and daughters of farmers. Within a 10-minute bike ride in any direction, she found cornfields and black-and-white Holstein cows grazing contentedly on swathes of green pasture. She frequently stayed with friends whose families ran farms, and loved everything about their lives – from bucking bales of straw and hay onto a tractor-pulled trailer to bottle-feeding calves to feeding chickens and “picking” eggs. 

At her 10-year high school reunion, she was shocked to find that the kids she’d gone to school with had, without exception, lost their family farms and were no longer working in agriculture. That’s when her passion for understanding how American agriculture works – and how it was going wrong – was awakened.

Robin wrote one of the earliest books for the general public on genetically modified crops and livestock, A Garden of Unearthly Delights: Bioengineering and the Future of Food (Dutton, 1995). The book sprang from a series she wrote for The Detroit News, where she was the food editor. In the course of reporting that series, she received death threats and found her home phone tapped.

Since then, Robin has written for Cooking Light magazine, where she was a senior writer, and the Chicago Tribune, where she was reporter specializing in food. She also started and ran a small goat creamery in Mississippi. Ten Speed Press published her second book, The Feast Nearby, a collection of essays and recipes on eating locally on a very tight budget, in May 2011.

Today, Robin is a senior associate editor with Mother Earth News. She shares her life with a brown standard poodle, an African Grey parrot, a garden-variety cat and some Buff Orpington chickens. She gardens, preserves food and continues to eat as locally as possible in northeast Kansas.