chicken man food politic masthead

Editor in Chief

Tove K. Danovich is a writer and editor based in New York, NY. Her work has most recently been published in Quartz, Civil Eats, Modern Farmer, Grist, and others. She is currently working on a book about animal agriculture, sustainable farming, and vegetarianism. Follow her @TKDanovich.

Contributing Editors

Albert Kleine holds a Masters in Land Economy from the University of Cambridge. The the views expressed here are his own and not those of his employer.

Aly Miller grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography. Aly served for one year as an Americorps farm and nutrition educator in Madison public schools. She has served as a research intern and content creator for the Longhouse Writer’s Revival in Rennselaerville, NY working under Molly O’Neill. She currently works The Weiser Kitchen as a test kitchen assistant.

Zoe Keziah Mendelson is from Chicago, IL. She got her BA in Urban Studies from Barnard College of Columbia University. She has been selling mushrooms at Greenmarkets around NYC since 2009. She loves cities, food, and working toward creative solutions within the city-food junction.

Guest Contributors

Michelle Annett is the author of The Lucky Penny, a blog about her life in and out of the kitchen. She is a newly married twenty-something trying to make it in the big bad world of blogging, playing house (but for real!), making reality TV (most of which is not, in fact, real), and being a mom to a 45 pound fur ball, named Penny.

Karl Baumann is a digital artist, filmmaker, and scholar. His current work explores immersive, playable, and mobile media to navigate the complex layers of urban spaces. After completing an MFA in Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) at UC Santa Cruz, Karl taught media literacy with the Boys and Girls Club and was active in Occupy Oakland. In addition to his locative and playable media projects, Karl has produced multiple award-winning documentaries and experimental videos, within the US and internationally. He is an Annenberg Fellow in the Media Arts Practice (MAP) PhD program at the University of Southern California. Karl is currently working with the Mobile and Environmental Media Lab (MEML), the World Building Media Lab (WBML), and the Annenberg Innovation Lab (AIL).

Alexander Baumgartner is a filmmaker and photographer from Switzerland. You can see more of his work on his website.

Julia Benedict is a writer for theater and television who has become increasingly concerned with food politics. She lives in Brooklyn.

Dr. Regina Bernard-Carreno was born and raised in Hells Kitchen, NYC. She holds graduate degrees from Columbia University and the City University of New York. She has taught at Hunter College and Boricua College, and is currently an assistant professor of Black and Latino Studies at Baruch College (CUNY). She is the author of two books, journal articles, as well as pieces for edited collections. Dr. Bernard-Carreno teaches courses and workshops on food access, history, culture and (in)justice in low income communities.

Allie Bornstein grew up and lives in Minneapolis, MN. Outside of working in Financial Risk Consulting, she maintains her own website, The Nutritional Epiphany. designed to use photography to inspire people to eat well, cook, and be active.  Allie also enjoys teaching group fitness classes, trying new restaurants, spending time at the lake and enjoying the vibrant arts scene that Minneapolis has to offer.

Natasha Bowens is a photographer, writer, food sovereignty activist and a landless farmer who began documenting her farming journey on her blog Brown.Girl.Farming. in 2010, and wrote a series entitled The Color of Food for She sees faces and voices of color missing from the food movement and is on a mission to find fellow farmers of color and amplify them through multi-media projects. She is working on an upcoming photo documentary in book-form, called “The Color of Food.”

Zack Bradford is a dedicated and passionate environmental advocate with over twelve years of professional experience. He has spent the past five years working in environmental policy and advocacy, but has also worked as a freelance copyeditor and writer for environmental non-profits and as a chemist working on fuel cells. Recently his passions have turned to food, and in his free time he enjoys exploring the complex world of bacterial and yeast cultures—his kitchen is a veritable laboratory of cultured foods.

Zachi Brewster is in the final year of her Gastronomic Sciences degree. Although originally a Londoner she has been living and studying at an international university in Northern Italy for the past three years. She is an avid writer, traveler and eater.

Jessica Bride is a New Orleans native who has lived in New York, Switzerland, London, Colorado, Florida and Baton Rouge. She has a background in high-end restaurants including front of the house, back of the house, openings, training, marketing, strategy, wine, sales and development. She graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with a BA in Communications and Journalism in 1996, received the Grande Diplome from the French Culinary Institute, now International Culinary Center, in 2004 and has studied wine extensively with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust in London as well as the Court of Master Sommelier in the US. Jessica is the creator and co-founder, along with Chef John Besh, of Chefs Move!, is a director of Friends of the ICC and a director of The John Besh Foundation. She is co-chair of the Strategic Partnerships committee for the New Orleans Junior League, is a food and lifestyle writer and blogs at She is married with three children and a dog named Lucy.

Kara Brown grew up in Northeast Georgia, and went on to obtain two English degrees. After graduate school, she lived in Vermont for almost five years, where she became deeply entrenched in a vibrant food culture. Now back in Georgia, she still loves preparing food, eating food, talking about food, and writing about food.

Shundara Castion is a blogger, foodie, and photographer with a passion for all things food. She cooks and photographs yummy meals for her blog savynaturalista. A city girl from L.A, she now lives in the suburbs in the middle of a desert.

Izzy Darby writes Veganizzm, a vegan food blog which was recently “Best Food Blog” in Madison Magazine’s Best of Madison 2013. Izzy also puts her love of food, writing, and the internet to to use working for Yelp in Madison, WI. In her free time she enjoys cooking, biking, and coming up with puns.

Jacob Day is a graduate student at Washington State University and has worked in and studied politics for ten year, most recently working on the 2012 governor’s race in Washington State.  He maintains a political news blog at

Leah Douglas is a student and writer in Providence, Rhode Island. Her academic focus is on sustainable agriculture and food systems reform. Her work has been featured in Rhode Island Monthly, Bluestockings, Smithsonian’s Food & Think, and Serious Eats. She loves writing, reading, and talking about food.

Lauren Dunn is a New England native with a passion for cooking and all things food, which she chronicles at her blog  She works in digital preservation for the Internet Archive, a nonprofit working to digitize historical resources for public access. She currently lives in Somerville, MA.

Lloyd Ellman is a New York to Los Angeles transplant working to make a career out of his love for fish tacos and nerdy kitchen projects. He firmly believes that good food is the answer to all of humanity’s problems. Follow his sporadic tweets here.

Pauline Georges works with a non-profit dedicated to reducing food insecurity in New York City. After completing her degree in Environmental Science in Sydney, she spent many years working with environmental non-profits in Australia. Obsessed with all things food, she writes about her cooking experiments, food and restaurant trends, social observations, food policy and hunger issues.

Olivia Gerber is a barista at the Good Food Award winning Case Coffee Roasters in Ashland, Oregon. She is also passionate about agriculture, and has worked on many farms, both at home and abroad in Italy and Turkey. You can find some of her musings on food here:

Joel Gombiner was raised in Seattle, WA and now resides in Brooklyn, NY. He works as a lab assistant, an after-school tutor, and a mushroom seller. In his spare time he likes to research mushrooms and develop hydroponic planters.

Lily Gordon is a sophomore at the University of Chicago majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. She reports on food, music, and social justice, and started a community garden on campus. She has worked at Camp Treetops for the last three summers.

Reeve Gutsell has a Master of Science, Master of Fine Arts, and is becoming a certified Master Gardener. She hopes someday to become a Master of Her Own Destiny. When not being socially and politically outraged, she enjoys reading, writing, and plotting next year’s garden.

Matt Heffernan has worked with the food systems non-profit New Amsterdam Market since 2010, most recently as Director of Operations. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and daughter.

Linsday Henry is pursuing a culinary degree and is the chef behind Vodka and Biscuits.

Meggan Hill is a mother, blogger, and the recipe developer behind Culinary Hill. She’s a passionate cook who finds inspiration in the abundance of fresh and local ingredients available year-round in Southern California.

McKel Hill MS, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian and Health & Wellness Coach who is the owner and blogger at Nutrition Stripped. Nutrition Stripped focuses on fusing nutrition information & research into plant-based, gluten/dairy-free nourishing and deliciously simple recipes.

Jackie Jahn researches nutritional epidemiology of cancer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health, and in every spare moment she’s dreamin of cooking. Her blog,, delves into the science and culture of food and nutrition. She’s also a co-founder of The Sunday Dinnah Movement.

Melinda James is an emerging filmmaker based out of Oakland, CA. From music videos to documentaries, her mission is to create films showcasing the lives and stories of women and underrepresented communities.

Monica Johnson is Co-Conspirator at Hudson Farms, located in far East, Texas. Monica is currently using 2014 to build the farm’s soil and experiment, but looks forward to selling nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables and value-added products in the Spring of 2015. To connect with Monica visit her website, follow her on Twitter: @broccolimojo, or on Instagram: MonicaMarvels.

Katja Jylkka is a graduate student and freelance writer living in California. In both her academic and journalistic work, she writes about farming, food culture, and animals. See more of her writing at or follow her on Twitter.

Cassandra Kane is a freelance writer whose work has been published in Portland Magazine and Orion. She also creates and proofreads content for a variety of business and nonprofit websites, newsletters and blogs. She lives in Portland, Maine.

Emily C. Kelley is a news writer for New Mexico State University, an Army wife, lover of food and wine, and collector of empty wine bottles. She currently lives in El Paso, Texas.

Jane Kolodinsky Ph.D. is Professor and Chair of the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics and Director of the Center for Rural Studies/Food System Research Collaborative, both at the University of Vermont.

Sara Lavenhar is a junior studying Environmental Science and Sustainable Development at Columbia University in New York City, but she grew up in a Northern Virginian suburb near Washington, D.C. She has worked and interned for organizations such as the Community Alliance for Global Justice, where she organized teach-ins to local organic farms and advocated for global food sovereignty, and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, where she began work on a study of microbial community dynamics in a rooftop farming system. Sara also loves to cook and has been working to expand her repertoire of culinary skills as far as the space in her mini-fridge and dorm kitchen will let her. She is currently a member of Columbia’s Women’s Varsity Archery Team.

Lisa Lawless: Through the food blog Lisa is Cooking, Lisa Lawless is able to chronicle her adventures in the kitchen. After years of collecting cookbooks, books of food writing, food history, and nutrition and compiling files of recipes from food publications, the blog, started in March 2008, is a way to track the cooking that’s inspired by all those sources. As a supporter of the Slow Food movement, Lisa joined the board of Slow Food Austin in 2010 and maintains web and social media communications for the organization. Lisa was also a contributor of cookbook reviews at Project Foodie.

Tyler Lee was born and raised Key West, FL and currently attends Florida State University in Tallahassee, studying Media Production, Spanish, Portuguese, and World Music. He works as a freelance videographer and video editor. You can find more of his work focusing on travel, social issues, music, and culture on his Vimeo Page.

Samantha Lish is a sophomore at the University of Rochester. She’s currently pursuing a double major in Public Health and English concentrating in Health, Behavior & Society and Language, Media & Communications, respectively.

Ryan Lojo is full-time student, part-time culinary adventurer at Gonzaga University. Academic interests include developmental economics, social entrepreneurship, and “how to travel the world for free.” The latter is an underdeveloped field that he is trying to pioneer. Please send any questions, comments, and suggestions for delicious microbrews to rlojo_51[at] or @TheBigLojo.

Shamsa Mangalji is a native Houstonian who works as an environmental consultant in Chicago, IL. She aims to educate clients about the social, environmental, and financial benefits related to diverting waste from the landfill, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and engaging in socially-responsible initiatives. Shamsa attended Barnard College in NYC for a year, but graduated from Rice University in Houston in 2012 with a Bachelors degree in Sociology. Shamsa actively contributed to both universities’ school newspapers, focusing on topics related to human rights and social justice.

Freesia McKee is a Milwaukee native who has worked on urban agriculture projects at schools, an abandoned bank building, and a men’s shelter. She serves as a copy editor and contributing writer for A Growing Culture. Freesia really does love kale.

Chelsea Newson studied Sustainable Foodways and Anthropology at NYU’s Gallatin School for Individualized Study and has interned at the Sylvia Center, Just Food, the High School for Public Service Youth Farm, and Sauska Winery in Hungary. She has traveled the world from Iceland to India and beyond in search of good food and good stories, and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.

Lilly O’Donnell is Columbia journalism school graduate and a freelance writer and journalist in New York City. She’s working on her first book, the story of her deceased father’s life as told through his artwork, an excerpt of which was recently published by NarrativelyNY. See her work at and follow her on Twitter.

Susan Paykin is a recent transplant to Shelter Island, NY, where she works at a nonprofit farm and education center. Building off of a background in environmental policy and nonprofit communications, she recently spent three months working on an organic farm and agritourism estate in Tuscany, where she learned more about wine and salumi than she could have dreamed. She also dabbles in photography.

Donna Pelech is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris Ottawa Culinary School and runs the blog The Devil’s Food Advocate.

Jay Pierce: With previous experience at Emeril Lagasse’s organization, cooking at NOLA in New Orleans and Emeril’s in Orlando, Fla., Jay became executive chef at Lucky 32 in 2006. Jay holds a bachelor’s degree in literature and a culinary degree from Lane Community College in Eugene, OR. The Chef Raconteur is usually seen wearing his red, ball cap backwards, and red shoes. He is a published food writer for Savor NC Magazine and Edible Piedmont Magazine, and is a board member of theAlice Waters Edible Schoolyard project at the Greensboro Children’s Museum, as well as a board member of Piedmont Grown.

Chandani Punia is currently pursuing a Master’s in Food Studies at NYU where her interest lies in food policy and advocacy. She is currently working in the financial management sector. She has extensive experience working in both private and not-for-profit organizations as well. Originally from Jaipur, India, Chandani graduated with a degree in Business Administration and Finance from Boston University in 2006.

Abby Read graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in English. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she is a content writer for a cause marketing firm. She also writes for Critical Mob and just started her own blog Kitchens & Closets.

Joseph Redwood-Martinez is an artist, writer, and filmmaker. He recently finished a feature-length documentary about Sadhana Forest Haiti: One day, everything will be free

Anthony Reyes is an urban farmer in Los Angeles. He completed his undergraduate degree in Community Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz with a focus on Food, Agriculture, and Social Justice. He worked on numerous farms, both rural and urban and also worked with schools and disadvantaged youth, providing education about various food processes and providing outreach and awareness around injustices in the food system.

Kristen Schmitt writes articles on hunting, wildlife, nutrition, the environment, and sustainable agriculture from her home in Vermont where she raises chickens, gardens, and hopes to create a completely sustainable lifestyle. Her articles have appeared in National Geographic, Deer & Deer Hunting, Modern Farmer, Mother Earth News, Utne Reader, Rutland Herald, Vermont’s Local Banquet, and Urban Times. Follow her on Twitter @kristen_schmitt.

Julia Segal is a freelance food and wine writer, and hopeful entrepreneur from Toronto, Canada. She completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology, and Master’s Degree in Business, specializing in the food and beverage industry. She has lived in France, Italy and New York but returns to her sleepy Canadian town in the summertime to run a local food tourism company. If you want more Julia in your life, please check out her blog here.

Alessandra Seiter is the author of Farmer’s Market Vegan, a vegan blog of tantalizing recipes, informative restaurant reviews, travel tips, and intriguing ethical notions.

Molly Sheridan is the writer behind Wonderland Kitchen where she has been chronicling her cooking adventures since 2011. She is also an editor, and A/V producer specializing in classical and experimental music, with a focus on multimedia content designed for the web. Find her on Twitter.

Fa-Tai Shieh lives in New York City and has taught food studies courses as an adjunct instructor at NYU, The New School and Hunter College. He has been an urban farmer for over 10 years and currently serves as a board member of an urban ag non-profit in Red Hook, Brooklyn. He also blogs about socio-cultural issues in the food justice movement. The views expressed in his writing are his own and do not represent the organizations he is affiliated with.

Rhys Southan is a freelance writer who can’t make up his mind about where to live. He was vegan for nine years, but later started the blog Let Them Eat Meat to examine vegan culture and philosophy from an ex-vegan perspective. He writes fictional stuff too.

Dylan Strike was born and raised in Pinedale, WY. Currently studying Agroecology in the Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems degree program at Montana State University. He is also a Manager at Three Hearts Farm, a 6 acre diversified vegetable farm just outside of Bozeman.

Jason Taylor is a photographer – filmmaker activist working primarily on agriculture related issues and is based in Asia. Three years ago he set up The Source Project in an attempt to bypass much of the agenda driven development media. “The real voice of the farmer is rarely heard when society is exposed to agricultural issues” and he feels that he needs to begin to redress this balance. Ten thousand years of agricultural knowledge is often sidelined in favour of the voice of policy makers and economists, and we wonder why we are in so much trouble!

Noah Throop is a senior at Skidmore College, studying government and political science while pursuing a long-held interest in filmmaking. He recently studied abroad in Australia and spent five weeks producing a short documentary on a grass-fed cattle ranch and free-range chicken farm. Having grown up on a small farm in Potsdam, New York, Noah is passionate about food and sees film as a way to portray alternatives to the agricultural status quo and foster greater public discourse on food production. His most recent film, “Where the Food Grows,” is available online at “Vimeo.

Tanya Tolchin grows vegetables and flowers on her family farm in Maryland just 20 miles from Washington DC. She is a manager of Israeli Harvest, a small business that supports farmers in Israel by selling organic olive oil and dates in the US.  She writes about farming, parenting and Jewish life on her blog, On the Lettuce Edge, and elsewhere. Her writings have appeared in the Jewish Daily Forward, Kveller, the Washington Jewish Week and a new book about first generation farmers called “Greenhorns, 50 Dispatches from the New Farm Movement,” from Storey Press. Prior to farming, she worked for Sierra Club in Washington DC for ten years on efforts to help protect national forests and build new strategic partnerships.

Charlotte Vallaeys is a Senior Analyst of Food Safety and Sustainability for the Consumers Union and formerly the Director Director of Farm and Food Policy for The Cornucopia Institute.

Val Wagner is a farmer based in rural North Dakota. She posts regularly about life on her farm in her blog Wag’n Tales.

Steven Waldman is a farmer who is passionate about sustainable agriculture. He has worked on several organic farms, as the Manager of a farmer’s market, in production and sales for food companies, and as a WWOOFer in Italy. He is currently the CSA Manager for Coonamessett Farm in Falmouth, MA.

Carol Wallack: Her lifelong love of the Hawaiian sun and surf led her to open sola – a restaurant committed to celebrating the flavors and philosophies of Hawaii’s unique culinary culture. It is that passion for Hawaii, the warmth of the beach and surf communities and the relationship with the sand and sea is what she embraces every day at sola. (…and that which fuels her as she powers through Chicago’s long winters.)

Emma Wartzman is a senior at Scripps College in Claremont, CA where she is studying the politics and culture of food. She’s held editorial internships at Food52 and the food sections of Los Angeles Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. Follow her @emmawartzman.

Allie Williams is a Sophomore at New York University studying International Politics and Global Nutrition in Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She is a current food buyer and procurement intern with Sweet Roots NYCwho has also interned with Get Fresh Memphis.

Emily Wordsman is a rising senior at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism where she is pursuing a B.A. in journalism and minoring in philosophy. She is currently living abroad after finishing her spring semester studying at Charles University in Prague.

Maria Zizka is a Berkeley-born food writer and cook. She writes recipes and stories from a cottage near Santa Monica beach. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter @MariaZizka.