Puyallup Speaker Spotlights: James Zitting, Beekeeper and Terry Phelan, Straw Bale Builder

Reader Contribution by Erica Binns
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Get to know James Zitting of Bee Landing and Terry Phelan of Living Shelter Design Architects.

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

Sustainable and Natural Beekeeping.

What are you most looking forward to at the FAIR?


am most looking forward to hanging out with like minded folks.

What advice do you have for attendees?

Stop by our booth or pull me a side after my speech and introduce yourself.

If I was stranded on a Island with a batch of my wife Nikki s homemade bread and a bottle of our homemade mead, I would be just fine.

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

I’ll be speaking about straw bale construction for the Pacific Northwest on Sunday at 3pm, as well as leading parts of a straw bale demonstration at the Northwest EcoBuilding tent both days.

Tell us about your background with your particular topic.

I’ve been designing homes since the late 1970’s and came across the book The Straw Bale Home in 1992. It resonated with me as a way to align my work with my ethics, and for 4 years I studied this way of building through books, workshops, and apprenticeships. I’ve now been involved with over 20 straw bale structures in Washington and northern Oregon, both designing and teaching hands-on workshops at my clients’ sites.

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

I’m most looking forward to sharing how this natural building material can be used in ways appropriate for our climate. It is simple, highly insulating, and very durable when detailed correctly.

Why should fairgoers attend your presentation?

Create your own affordable, healthy, joyful place to live.

What are you most looking forward to at the FAIR?

I’ve been a MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader for years, and am so looking forward to seeing all the wonderful demonstrations of ways people can increase their resilience and self-sufficiency.

What advice do you have for attendees?

Plan ahead which workshops and presentations you want to attend. You might really need to go both days to fit it all in!

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

A good multi-tool pocket knife.

Thank you both. We’ll see you at the FAIR!

Please visit the FAIR website
for more information about the Puyallup, Wash. FAIR June 4-5, and
upcoming FAIRs in San Rafael, Calif. and Seven Springs, Penn. Tickets are on sale now for all fairs.

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