Mother Earth News Fair
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5 Questions for Josh Volk

Josh Volk

What's the one thing that's a must in this world?

Love.

What is the best purchase you've ever made?

I worked with Splendid Cycles for a few years. They sell cargo bikes and helped me get set up to deliver by cargo bike. Probably one of the all around best businesses I've ever worked with.

What brings you the greatest joy?

Seeing people generously sharing.

What's your favorite smell in the whole world?

Fresh baked bread.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

Go out and find experts to learn from.


Josh Volk is the author of Compact Farms. He is the proprietor of Slow Hand Farm in Portland, Oregon, and has been working on and managing small farms around the country for the last 20 years, studying the systems that make them efficient. He travels in the United States and abroad, consulting with farmers and researchers, teaching farm apprentices and new farmers, presenting workshops at agricultural conferences, and writing articles for publications, including Growing for Market magazine. For more on Josh check out MotherEarthNewsFair.com!

5 Questions for Kirsten K. Shockey

Kirsten K Shockey

What's the one thing that's a must in this world?

Narrowing it down to one, that's tricky, there are so many levels and its all a tangle of interconnectedness. Clean water and clean air.  I would have to say this lies somewhere in sustainable, clean food systems—that don't degrade the environment, that operates locally to feed every increasing population, that harvest and distrubute in ways that reduce and eliminate food waste, and in ways that nourish the body and microbiome and don't bring about obsesity. I know that is a lot. It is going to take radical shifts in thinking in not only how and what we produce but how we eat. (And fermentation is in there somewhere...)

What is the best purchase you've ever made?

This question has had me stumped and has kept me from pushing submit for hours and then I looked accross the room at our masonry stove—Tuli Kivi—6500 pounds of soapstone keep us warm with soothing radiant heat with very little fire wood.

What brings you the greatest joy?

My family! (Oh, and a yard full of blooming flowers.)

What's your favorite smell in the whole world?

One I will never smell again, but I would know it in a heartbeat—my grandmother's house.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

Enjoy the messy, tiring moments of being a mother while your children are growing up, while each day is long the whole of the journey is just a blink. I found this to be profoundly true.


Kirsten K. Shockey got started in fermenting foods with a farmstead food company, creating more than 40 varieties of cultured vegetables and krauts. Her current focus is on teaching the art of fermenting vegetables to others through classes and workshops. She blogs at www.Fermentista.us and lives on a 40-acre hillside homestead in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon. For more on Kirsten check out MotherEarthNewsFair.com!

5 Questions for Shawna Coronado

Shawna

What's the one thing that's a must in this world?

Without a doubt the one thing that's "a must" in this world is having relationships with our friends and family. Connecting with human beings is known to extend our lives and fill our soul with happiness. Sharing and caring with our loved ones is what life is all about.

What is the best purchase you've ever made?

Organic Mechanics Soil - it is an amazing soil filled with worm castings and one of my favorite things to add to my garden.

What brings you the greatest joy?

Food and family combined. I love spending time with my family over a good meal.

What's your favorite smell in the whole world?

Rose. It brings back memories of my grandmother.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

When I first began creating videos I struggled to have the videos look "perfect" every time. Then a social media expert I knew told me that I needed to "get over myself" and just get out there and do it no matter if I had messed up hair or clutter in the images. This advice applied to all aspects of my writing, photography, and media business, so I've jumped in and taken his advice to heart. Get over yourself and just enjoy the activity, job, or fun that you're having in order to enjoy life more.


Shawna Coronado is an author, columnist, blogger, photographer, media host, and brand ambassador in the realms of green lifestyle living, organic gardening, and low-cost cuisine who campaigns for social good. She is also an on-camera spokesperson and social media personality with more than 375,000 followers on her various social media venues and she maintains a YouTube channel with more than a million views. In 2015 she co-hosted the radio show “The Good Green Home Show” and appeared bi-weekly at her home garden as the FOX News Chicago “Gardening with Good Day” organic gardening expert. Coronado’s garden and eco-adventures have been featured in many media venues, including PBS television. Along with her green lifestyle initiatives, Coronado is concerned about promoting and teaching healthy living. She was diagnosed with severe spinal osteoarthritis, news that led her to change her lifestyle, lose weight, and consume a mostly anti-inflammatory diet. She educates audiences about beneficial diet, food, and health practices through her organic living media. She dreams that this will enable more people who suffer from similar conditions to be active. Her successful organic living photographs and stories have been shown both online and off in many international home and garden magazines and multiple books. For more on Shawna check out MotherEarthNewsFair.com!

5 Questions for Barbara Pleasant

Barbara Pleasant

What's the one thing that's a must in this world?

Good knives. You can make anything, from breakfast to a house, if you have good knives.

What is the best purchase you've ever made?

In the old purchase category, it's my long-handled Cobrahead weeder, which is the most often used tool in my garden. Among recent purchases, last summer I bought a small Karcher power washer. It is great fun to use and we keep finding new jobs for it, like the annual cleaning of the chicken coop.

What brings you the greatest joy?

Morning light. I'm always up at dawn so I don't miss it.

What's your favorite smell in the whole world?

Hickory barbecue. Even during times in my life when I was a vegetarian, the smell of slow-smoked hickory barbecue made my day.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

When something feels too complicated, there is always a way to make it simpler.


Barbara Pleasant has practiced organic vegetable gardening for 30 years in gardens large and small. The author of numerous books (including Homegrown Pantry, Starter Vegetable Gardens, and The Complete Compost Gardening Guide) Pleasant earned a Silver Award of Achievement from the Garden Writers Association for writing the popular Gardening Know-How column in MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Pleasant lives in Floyd, Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers, and where she keeps a small flock of chickens..For more on Barbara check out MotherEarthNewsFair.com!

5 Questions for Deborah Niemann

Deborah Niemann

What's the one thing that's a must in this world?

Eating real food (not the foodlike substances sold by big corporations.)

What is the best purchase you've ever made?

Premier1 ElectroNet fencing.

What brings you the greatest joy?

Having babies born on the homestead (just had two litters of piglets and triplet goat kids born today!)

What's your favorite smell in the whole world?

Food cooking with garlic in it.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

Never say never.


Deborah Niemann is a homesteader, writer, and self-sufficiency expert. In 2002, she moved her family from the Chicago suburbs to a 32-acre parcel on a creek in the middle of nowhere. Together, they built their own home and began growing the majority of their own food. Sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, and turkeys supply meat, eggs, and dairy products, while a garden and fruit trees provide produce. Niemann presents workshops across the United States and in Canada. She is the author of Homegrown and Handmade, Ecothrifty, and Raising Goats Naturally.For more on Deborah check out MotherEarthNewsFair.com!

5 Questions for Janet Vorwald Dohner

Jan Dohner

What's the one thing that's a must in this world?

Something to read. A book, a magazine, a newspaper, digital, paper - doesn't matter. The very idea of being stranded somewhere without something to read is terrifying.

What is the best purchase you've ever made?

Murray McMurray Hatchery chicks. 100 years of shipping chicks to farms. I love pouring over the catalog, ordering my choices, and picking up that cardboard box at my local post office.

What brings you the greatest joy?

Family. Dogs. Playing with yarn. Reading on a tropical beach.

What's your favorite smell in the whole world?

Lilacs or fresh hay in the barn. Either one makes me inhale deeply.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

Never stop learning and trust your curiosity.


Janet Vorwald Dohner is the author of Farm Dogs and Livestock Guardians. She has 35 years of experience on her small family farm and has relied on livestock guard dogs and corgis with her sheep, goats, and poultry. She writes for magazines, including MOTHER EARTH NEWS, and she gives presentations on livestock guardians and predator control at various conferences. Dohner is a board member of the Kangal Dog Club of America and a member of several learning communities for working dogs. For more on Janet check out MotherEarthNewsFair.com!

5 Questions for Joe Putnam

Joe Putnam

What's the one thing that's a must in this world?

A well worn flannel shirt.

What is the best purchase you've ever made?

Misono Swedish Steel Chef Knife. Quick to take an edge, holds it very well. Has developed an attractive patina from cutting tomatoes and onions through use.

What brings you the greatest joy?

Remember that flannel shirt I mentioned earlier? Putting it on.

What's your favorite smell in the whole world?

It's a tie between garlic and onion sautéing in cast iron skillet or line-dried laundry.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

Advice from my Mother, "Companion plant with garlic. You'll keep pests away and wind up with much more garlic."


Joe Putnam works as a marketing copywriter and occasional shepherd for Premier 1 Supplies. He frequently appears in Premier's instructional how-to videos on YouTube. Putnam can be found at farm industry events, where his gentle, hands-on approach makes even the most complex farming topics simple. When not at work, Putnam spends time on his family's 40-acre farmstead in southeast Iowa. There the family raises cattle, sheep, poultry, multiple gardens, corn, hay, and oats. For more on Joe check out MotherEarthNewsFair.com!