Cheryl lives on an 8-acre homestead near Topeka, Kan., powered in part by solar panels, where she manages a large organic garden and a small flock of Welsummer chickens.
Cheryl grew up in rural south-central Nebraska, spending much time on the farms of her grandparents. “They were almost totally self-sufficient, raising beef and dairy cattle, pigs, chickens, bees, grain and a large garden and orchard,” she recalls. “I still remember how good all their food tasted.”
After graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Integrated Studies, Cheryl worked for two years for an international education organization in New York City. Then she headed to the woods of northeastern Washington, where she and two friends from Nebraska, John Stuart and Carol Mack, bought land and built a small log cabin. They used a vertical log design because the property had recently been logged and did not offer the larger logs needed for a traditional horizontal log home.
“Our plan was to eventually turn this first building into a workshop, after we had built our homes,” Cheryl explains. “But then I chose to move, and John and Carol gradually added on to the “shop,” transforming it into the lovely snug home where they have raised their two children, Tighe and Liz.
Cheryl’s interest in self-sufficiency and sustainable living continued as she moved to Pennsylvania with her partner, poet/writer Linnea Johnson, where she worked at Organic Gardening magazine for 10 years before being recruited to become the editor in chief of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. She is also the author or editor of several books, including Rodale Organic Gardening Solutions.