Sundog Poetry Book Award

The Sundog Poetry Book Award for a first or second book of poetry is open to any Vermont resident. The winning manuscript is published in partnership with Green Writers Press. And the winner is . . .

Julia C. Alter | Photo by Karen Pike

2023 Winner: Julia C. Alter for Some Dark Familiar

I was drawn to this book for its singular voice and remarkable tonal control. Each poem has an intensity and a sense of risk that makes the stakes immediately feel palpable and real. Some Dark Familiar is filled with poems that are hard to turn away from, and the feeling it evokes lingers long after each reading.

Matthew Olzmann, Final Judge

Runners Up

Ben Aleshire for Poems for Bystanders
Partridge Boswell for Ensō Carousel

2023 Final Judge: Matthew Olzmann

Matthew Olzmann is the author of Constellation Route as well as two previous collections of poetry: Mezzanines and Contradictions in the Design. A recipient of fellowships from Kundiman, MacDowell, and the National Endowment for the Arts, Olzmann’s poems have appeared in the New York Times, Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prizes, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. He is an assistant professor at Dartmouth College and also teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Thank you!

One Bite at a Time – Part 9!

By Lindsey Gallagher

Lindsey Gallagher (they/them) is a non-binary nonfiction writer from Shelter Island, New York. They are currently pursuing their MFA at Northern Arizona University. They serve as the Editor-in-Chief of Thin Air Magazine and teach English Composition. Their work can be found in The Oval and The Palhouse Review. Outside of writing, they enjoy running and outdoor adventures of many sorts.

Coming to a close!

Welcome back! This is the final post in the One Bite at a Time series! I’ll keep this short and sweet, just to impart one last bit of wisdom for you as you begin your plant-based journey!

Final words of advice!

We’ve covered a great deal in this blog: the basics of animal agriculture, its impact on the environment, questions to consider before you begin your plant-based diet, staple plant-based foods, an interview with a seasoned vegan, and a whole lot more! The amount of information is overwhelming, and this blog is certainly not an exhaustive resource or guide for going plant-based. If I were to include everything, you would be endlessly reading! And, despite the value of advice and recommendations, the real learning comes when you jump in and begin to experience life as a plant-based eater. You will grow so much as you face and overcome the challenges (and enjoy the delights) of this life change. All this is to say, at a certain point you’ve got to just start and embrace each step of the journey!

I want to remind you one more time that no one plant-based diet is objectively the “best.” The “best” plant-based diet is the one that works for you, whether that’s having three plant-based meals a week or a full-on vegan diet. It is so important to recognize your life experiences and circumstances and how to adapt your diet to fit your life so you can stick to it for the long term. Keep this in mind as you make the transition to plant-based eating, too. Make the transition work for you—there’s no need to stop eating all animal products overnight if you know that will be hard for you. Take it in small steps so you can adjust to the diet incrementally and ultimately make it sustainable for yourself!

Plant-based eaters: eating out is not off limits! Embrace social eating even as a plant-based eater! Pictured is a vegan Pad Thai from the wonderful Zoo Thai in Missoula, Montana.

No matter what kind of plant-based eater you are, flexibility remains crucial. Remember that straying from your diet is okay! Sometimes you have to deal with less than optimal situations and there’s no reason to get down on yourself or worry if you have to make changes. Flexibility also goes hand in hand with being creative in how you prepare for and handle experiences involving food, how you cook, and how you structure your eating habits. 

Through all this, be patient with yourself! Listen to yourself throughout every part of your journey and make sure each thing you do is for you and not because of what others have told you or expect of you. 

Celebrate plant-based living! Here is an intensely decorated vegan cake my sister and I made some time ago for a special occasion!

Finally, you are not alone in this exciting journey! There are countless resources out there (many of which I’ve included in this blog) to take advantage of. Educate yourself on specific topics of interest concerning plant-based eating, try new recipes, and build community with other plant-based eaters!

Thank you so much for following along the past nine weeks! I sincerely hope some of my advice resonated with you and you’ve been able to apply it to your own life. If you ever have any questions regarding a plant-based lifestyle, I’m happy to answer! You can reach me at

I wish you all the best in your plant-based journeys! No matter where you are, remember to take it one bite at a time!

Recipe of the week: Apple Crisp!

We’ll end with something sweet—apple crisp! This is one of my family’s favorites. Growing up, we would often make it after a fall apple-picking haul. 

The recipe itself is rather simple, though coring and slicing the apples will take some effort and time. All you need to make this delicious treat is:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup oats
  • Apples! You’ll need enough to cover a 9×13 inch pan about 2 inches thick, which is roughly 8-12 apples. You can pick the variety of apple but Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Golden Delicious are some of the best for baking. 

To make the crisp:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F. 
  2. Core and slice the apples. You can cut the apples into chunks, you can slice them into rounds, or into the everyday slice.
  3. Place the apples on the bottom of a greased pan so they cover the entire pan and are roughly 2 inches thick.
  4. Add all other ingredients to a bowl and mix until butter is well incorporated. 
  5. Bake at 350 °F for 45 mins. Turn halfway through. At 45 mins, check how it’s doing—the crisp may need more time depending on your desired crunchiness.
  6. Enjoy! This pairs wonderfully with vanilla ice cream!

One Bite at a Time – Part 8!

By Lindsey Gallagher

Lindsey Gallagher (they/them) is a non-binary nonfiction writer from Shelter Island, New York. They are currently pursuing their MFA at Northern Arizona University. They serve as the Editor-in-Chief of Thin Air Magazine and teach English Composition. Their work can be found in The Oval and The Palhouse Review. Outside of writing, they enjoy running and outdoor adventures of many sorts.

Interviewing a Vegan!

Emma hanging out with some sunflowers while visiting me in Missoula, Montana.

Welcome back! This week, I interviewed my sister Emma, who has been vegan as long as I have! Emma (she/her) is currently a student, entering her senior year at George Washington University. She is majoring in environmental science, along with political science and geographic information systems minors. She is an exceptionally involved member of her community, and fighting for climate justice is one of the causes most important to her. In our interview, we talked about her journey to veganism, how she has managed challenges the diet has presented, some of her favorite vegan foods, her experience being vegan abroad, and much more! Let’s hear what Emma has to say!

When was the first time you learned about vegetarianism and veganism? What was your initial opinion of it?

I don’t remember exactly when I first learned what it was, but I do remember the first time I really considered it was something that a lot of people actually did. The summer after 10th grade, I went to a summer camp where there was a significant group of vegetarians and vegans. It was the first time I really saw people encouraging and being respectful of the choice in a group setting. In fact, it was so encouraged at the camp that some people even decided to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet just for the duration of the camp. I think prior to that, I had only experienced vegetarians and vegans being made fun of. I think like most people my initial opinion was probably judgmental, an “I could never do that” attitude. I remember laughing along to jokes at the expense of vegetarians and vegans without really knowing what it was like or why people did it. 

One of Emma and I’s first vegetarian creations, a grilled tofu and zucchini sandwich.

Why did you first go vegetarian? Why did you decide to take it further and go vegan?

Around the time I went to this camp, I was simultaneously becoming more aware of the climate crisis and the impact of my individual behavior. At this point, it had become clear to me that I wanted to study environmental issues and ultimately pursue a career that would allow me to turn my love for the environment into something good. I remember reading articles and watching documentaries about the environmental, health, and socioeconomic impacts of plant-based diets. A few days after I had returned from camp, I distinctly remember sitting in the living room with my mom and Lindsey and saying that I had been thinking about going vegetarian. As it turns out, Lindsey was too, and we decided to embark on the journey together. It was great to have a support system from the start. I remember making fun vegetarian meals together that summer. It was only a few months before Lindsey and I made the transition from vegetarian to vegan. I think once I realized how much I enjoyed being vegetarian, and that it actually wasn’t that hard, I saw the jump to vegan as an easy feat. 

Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma is a read Emma and I highly recommend! Source

Has your reason(s) (your why) for being on a vegan diet changed over time? 

Initially, my decision was driven by a desire to reduce my environmental impact. But when you are doing something and you love it, it is easy to realize other positives. As a runner, I knew how important health was for performance. I remember reading more articles and watching more documentaries about the negative health impacts of too many animal products. During this time, a group of people on our team also started experimenting with vegetarian and vegan diets. As time went on, I learned more about the practice of factory farming in the US and I was appalled. I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Micheal Pollen, and it really opened my eyes to how detached from our food system we are. I think that it is possible to ethically produce and consume animal products, but I believe most of the products in our stores are not derived from ethically sourced places. It would be a stretch to say I am totally tuned into where every single ingredient in every single thing I eat comes from, but I certainly feel more aware than I did before. So I would say my initial reason still stands, but other reasons for doing so have compounded and reassured me of my decision.

How was the initial transition to vegetarianism and then veganism? Was it easier or harder than you expected? What things were challenging? What things were easier? 

Honestly, I don’t really remember struggling too much. Sure I faced some annoyances and challenges, but I was loving my decision. It is totally worth it. At home, it was easy because our family was supportive. I was motivated and excited about my decision, so any cravings for animal products were far outweighed by my larger goal. Plus, it was fun to find so many alternatives I had no idea existed. I often think about how lucky I am to live in a time when vegetarians and vegans have so many more options aside from the staple fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, grains, etc. (but many places still have a long way to go!) Certainly, the most frustrating part was attending events outside my home. Although places usually scraped together something to accommodate me, they were not nutritionally adequate or always pleasing to eat. Most often, the vegan option was a salad or some grilled vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, I love both, but after a while, it gets old when that is the only option when you’re out to eat. 

The other aspect was pushback from people who didn’t understand my decision and were judgemental. I remember getting really mad sometimes and thinking, since when do people care so much about what I am putting into my body? Suddenly everyone is thoroughly and deeply concerned about my protein intake! I remember snapping a few times at my friends or family members because I was so annoyed. Since then, I have come to peace with the fact that no matter what you do, people are always going to question or judge you, so you might as well get on doing what makes you happy and what is best for yourself. Now when people share their concerns about my “protein intake,” I just move along. Keeping track of your nutrition is essential, no matter what diet you choose, but I find that people often speak without knowing all of the facts (I know I still have a lot to learn). I think there are a lot of people who consider animal products the best and only source of protein when that is so far from the truth. Many plant products are just as rich, if not richer than their animal-based counterparts, in protein (which you have probably already read about in this blog). 

Emma and I a few years ago enjoying a meal with family!

What was the biggest surprise when you went vegan?

I think the biggest surprise when I went vegan was really becoming more aware of what I was consuming. I suppose most people naturally become more conscious as they get older, but I think being vegan amplified that for me. It made me more aware of the nutritional content of food, where my food was coming from, how to be creative with limited ingredients, and many other things. I somehow feel more respectful of my food now. I was also surprised that there are so many vegan alternatives!!

Emma and I enjoying some vegan food in Washington D.C.

What are some of your favorite vegan foods?

I am always obsessed with Oatly chocolate oat milk. On holidays at home, I usually make a vegan frittata with JUST Egg that turns out great. MorningStar Chik’n Nuggets and SIMULATE CHICKEN NUGGS (dino shaped) are also delicious. Miyoko’s classic chive cheese is a favorite of mine. Ben and Jerry’s has an assortment of vegan flavors but vegan Phish Food is my personal favorite! I go through phases where I am obsessed with Hippeas and White Cheddar Skinny Pop. Many of my favorite snacks growing up, like Oreos, Sugar Wafers, Tofutti Cuties, pretzels, and chips and salsa were already vegan! I love tofu because it is so versatile—you just need to know how to cook it properly (luckily it is actually quite simple). As much as I love all the vegan alternatives, they do tend to be more expensive and processed, so I enjoy them in moderation. On a day-to-day basis, I rely on oatmeal, rice, pasta, bread, beans, nuts, other grains, and lots and lots of fruits and vegetables. Burritos are one of my favorite things to eat; I love them for any meal (and they are so easily made vegan). Last summer, one of our close family friends found the most amazing recipe for a vegan lemon cake from Nora Cooks. It is one of the best cakes I have ever had. At home, we use Purple Carrot, and some of my favorite meals are General Tso’s tofu, lemon pepper tofu, black pepper tofu (there’s a theme here haha) and buffalo cauliflower quesadillas

How do you manage people who aren’t welcoming to veganism?

I have come to terms with the fact that there are many people who will be judgmental of my choice. Generally, if someone makes a comment, I try my best to share my perspective and experience in a respectful manner. Some people are receptive and engage in a good conversation, but there are others who remain close-minded. I have learned some people just make comments or ask questions without actually being willing to consider the legitimacy of my response. They really just want to get a rise out of me. In these cases, after I have tried and failed to engage with them, I have learned to just hold my tongue and move along. I understand that there are a lot of misconceptions about plant-based eating out there, like our diets are lacking in protein, and some people just don’t want to try to understand when you go to correct them. But many people are willing to listen. In the beginning, I remember even some of my close friends would make snide comments and I would get mad at them and make comments back. Now, these friends are supportive and have even considered it for themselves. I always try to remember that it is easy for us as humans to attack things that are unfamiliar to us. 

Enjoying a delicious vegan brunch at The Catalyst Cafe in Missoula!

It has been almost four years since I started my plant-based journey, and I have learned a lot. One of the things I have learned is that vegetarians and vegans can be just as rude and critical of others as non-vegetarians or non-vegans. Early on, I remember feeling a sense of superiority because of my decision, but I have come to strongly disapprove of that holier-than-thou attitude in myself and in others. In thinking my diet was “better” than someone else’s, I was being just as judgmental as those who gave me pushback and made me feel frustrated. Even more than that, there is absolutely no “right” diet for anyone. Every person has their own health, cultural, religious, financial, and emotional considerations in determining their diet. Deciding what food to put in your body is a very personal choice, and no one, myself included, has the right to make that decision for another. 

I believe I will be a champion of a plant-based diet for the rest of my life, but I am very intentional about respecting others’ choices. Of course, I am willing to have conversations with and support people wanting to make the change, but I try my best not to make anyone feel shameful or guilty over such a personal decision. I guess what I am trying to say is that because I have experienced and perceived many benefits, I hope anyone willing and capable will try it out, but I never think forcing someone into something, especially something so personal, is a good idea. I have seen campaigns try to use guilt and shame to get people to go vegetarian or vegan. Sometimes it may work, but most often it has the reverse effect and drives people away. If the goal is to encourage plant-based eating, it should be done in a positive, intelligent, and respectful way. Sometimes if someone makes a rude comment to me, it is still hard to hold my tongue, but I am getting better at it. 

How do you manage social situations (or eating out) when there are limited (or no) vegan options?

I always prepare myself. I check out the menu beforehand and strategize about what I am or am not willing to be flexible about. Often a restaurant will not have a completely vegetarian or vegan option, so I will plan two or three options to modify. For example, if there is pasta with meat and a sandwich with cheese I will ask the server if the pasta can be served without the meat or if the cheese can be removed from the sandwich. More often than not, they are happy to make the change. Being vegan definitely requires more attention to detail. Sometimes it is stressful, not because I am questioning my desire to be vegan, but because I don’t want to be a hassle or make others change their plans. But I also know I deserve to eat food that I want to put in my body. And I have learned that my best friends are people that care to plan ahead and make sure there are options for me so I don’t have to compromise myself. If I am in a situation where there truly is no vegan option, I will just go ahead and eat something with a little milk, butter, or cheese because I know that I need to fuel my body. Even still, sometimes I leave a place a little hungry. In cases where I know this will be true, I just eat some more of my own food before I go out or when I return after an event. It is all about planning so you don’t have to compromise your health, well-being, or adherence to your diet. 

Vegan treats at a vegan festival in Washington D.C. that I attended! 

What have you found is the greatest challenge to being vegan?

I think I answer this in previous questions, but it’s unaccommodating service. That is the greatest challenge for me, but I know how to navigate that after a few years of practice. Rude and judgmental comments are annoying, but I don’t let them get to me like I did at the start of my plant-based journey. 

Emma enjoying a White Zombie donut from Veera Donuts, an all-vegan donut shop in Missoula!

What’s the best vegan food you’ve ever had at a restaurant? (Both an entree and a dessert)

Oh god, it is really hard to just choose one. I will just brainstorm some favorites off the top of my head and see if I can pick out just one. Favorite desserts include vegan key lime pie from Busboys and Poets in Washington D.C., chocolate ice cream sundae from Flax and Kale in Barcelona, vegan red velvet and cinnamon apple cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake in D.C., donuts from Donut Run in D.C., donuts from Veera Donuts in Missoula, cupcakes from Sticky Fingers in D.C., Oreo cupcake from Baked and Wired in D.C. Favorite meals include absolutely anything from Aunts et Uncles in Brooklyn, vegan chipotle super sandwich from Brunch and Cake in Barcelona, vegan caesar salad from Flax and Kale in Barcelona, chicken wings from Sticky Fingers. At Essex market in Manhattan, there is a vegan cheese shop called Riverdel that is amazing. If I have to pick just one, I think it would be the french toast at Aunts et Uncles and a Boston cream donut from Donut Run. 

Emma’s favorite spot in Arc Iris, looking down from the balcony. Photo by Emma

What is your favorite vegan memory?

The first thing that comes to mind was actually when I was studying abroad. Right across the street from my homestay in Barcelona was a little restaurant called Arc Iris. They always had a line out the door. For 14 euros, you got bread, a three-course meal, and a dessert. Every day the menu changed, and the restaurant displayed three options for each of the three courses outside on a chalkboard. The service was incredibly quick, the food was fantastic, and it was all vegetarian. I went a few times simply because I so enjoyed sitting up in the corner of the restaurant alone with my thoughts and my delicious plant-based food admiring the thriving eatery. The energy always felt so positive there. It was a simple thing, but I just remember being so happy in there. 

How did you manage your diet while studying abroad? Did you decide beforehand that you would be flexible with your vegan diet? How did it feel to be off the vegan diet? How does it feel now that you are mostly back to being strictly vegan?

A gnocchi dish from Palmenhaus in Vienna. Photo by Emma

Quite honestly, it was often easier to be vegan while I was studying abroad than it was to be vegan in the US. Studying abroad has been something I have looked forward to for as long as I can remember, and I knew I was going to make the most out of every second. Before I went abroad, I knew I was not going to be strict. I wanted to experience parts of the culture and I knew that traveling around almost every weekend to new places would require some flexibility. At the end of the day, I needed to make sure I was eating enough to fuel my body! 

Tofu omelette and side of potatoes from Equilivrium Cafe in Barcelona. Photo by Emma

I decided to stay with a host family for my abroad experience. At first, I was worried about my diet, but then I was assigned a host mother and roommate who both also ate mostly vegan. My host mother was an excellent cook, and it was fantastic to enjoy vegan versions of traditional Spanish food such as tortillas. I was very fortunate. I studied in Barcelona, and I was absolutely blown away by the number of vegetarian/vegan options at restaurants and grocery stores— even more so by the number of plant-based only restaurants. Within a few minutes walk of my apartment, there were three, and the food at each one was amazing! Most of the cities I traveled to in Western and Eastern Europe had great plant-based options. I expect my experience would have been different had I traveled to more rural places, but overall it was wonderful to see how celebrated and respected plant-based eating was. 

Escalivada (a traditional Catalán dish) pumpkin and coconut soup and sangria from Casa Lolea in Barcelona. Photo by Emma

There were a few challenging times, and I strayed from my diet due to need or desire to. One time, my friends and I went on a day trip to Andorra la Vella, the capital of a super small country called Andorra between France and Spain. We arrived early on a Sunday morning, and it was a very cold January day. It was one of our first trips outside Barcelona. We got off the bus and had absolutely no idea where we were going or what to do. We wandered for a while until we finally found a small breakfast place that was open (most things were closed because it was Sunday). The workers spoke French, Spanish, and Catalan, but no English. Between us, we knew a decent amount of Spanish and very little French. Not all of the menu items were available, and most of them were sandwiches with meat. I ended up having to order a sandwich with an egg. I ate as much of it as I could because I knew it was going to be a long day. I got a few bites in and eventually was too grossed out to eat anymore, so I just finished the bread. That was probably the hardest experience I had—yet I survived! 

Vegan Supersandwich and carrot cake cupcake (not plant-based) from Brunch and Cake in Barcelona. Photo by Emma

Many other times, I willingly ate cheese or desserts with milk and eggs simply because I felt like it. I have no regrets! I did not eat any meat because at this point I truly have no desire to and don’t think I ever will, but this of course could change at some point in my life. The longer I have been vegan the more flexible I have become, and being abroad was a great reminder of how important it is to consider and celebrate the emotional and cultural significance of food alongside our moral beliefs about it. In the two months since returning from Spain, I have had an occasional slice of cheese, some ice cream, and Goldfish. Goldfish are definitely the snack I missed most being vegan. And they make me happy! Since they make me so happy, I have decided I will break from my vegan diet when I have a craving because it is not the end of the world if I have a few handfuls now and then. It felt good to break from my vegan diet while abroad, and it feels good to mostly be back to being vegan now that I am home. 

Açaí bowl and pan con tomate from Bristol in Barcelona. Photo by Emma

This experience has reminded me of how dynamic life is and how crucial it is to check in with yourself. During those months, it was important to me to break from my diet, and now it is important to me to mostly go back to being vegan. I will add that although I had a relatively easy and positive plant-based experience while traveling abroad, this should not always be expected. It is best to err on the side of caution and do as much research as you can before you travel. Make any necessary accommodations, and look up grocery stores, markets, and restaurants that will have things you can eat. It is sometimes most convenient to shop and cook for yourself. But always be aware that the potential for you to stray from your diet is there. In some places, it is expected that you eat what is put in front of you. If you are traveling to one of these places and are uncomfortable with this, you might want to reconsider your plans. My personal opinion, and something I live by when I am traveling, is that I do not want to miss out on an opportunity just so I can stick to my diet. My diet is very important to me, but there are lots of other things that are just as or more important. Every person should consider their own priorities and what will make them the happiest. 

Vegan carrot cake cupcake from Melbourne Street Cafe in Ibiza. The server told Emma that they use pineapple to replace eggs—how creative! Photo by Emma

What advice do you have for people who are looking to go plant-based (or for new plant-based eaters)?

The greatest advice I can give to anyone considering the move towards a plant-based diet is to remain open-minded and flexible. Don’t be too hard on yourself or others! You are not tied to anything, and you can always change your mind if something doesn’t feel right for you for any number of reasons. Be flexible, but also know your boundaries. You should know what you are or are not willing to break your diet for and in what circumstances. Of course, these boundaries can always change. For me, I know that eating meat is something I will not do, but I am okay with consuming some milk or cheese if that is the only option. Be as flexible as you are comfortable with and be an advocate for yourself. Sometimes people really don’t understand what you mean when you say vegan, so you might have to clarify what you can’t eat. Usually, restaurants are accommodating enough, but do be prepared to encounter some pushback now and then. It is going to happen! More advice: surround yourself with other plant-based eaters, or at least with people who are going to support your decision. It is a much more positive experience if you are not doing it alone. If there is no one immediately around you, seek out that community. It is there somewhere! (It might even be online ;). 

For both Emma and I, having support from one another as we began our plant-based journeys was crucial! That support remains crucial to this day!

Anything else you want to add?

I ended up writing my high school senior thesis about the implications of going vegan. While I am proud of the work I produced, looking back, I now have a much broader perspective. When I produced that project, I was very much focused on the individual environmental impacts of going vegan. I have mentioned that it is a very personal choice, and I do believe we should each be doing what we can to reduce our environmental impact. I believe even one person making a change can make a difference, but at the same time, I want to emphasize the necessity of situating our individual choices in the context of a larger system. It is very apparent there are several major forces driving climate change, and I wholeheartedly believe that fighting these forces is more impactful than my decision not to eat steak for dinner today. So, in terms of the environment, do as much as you can without compromising your needs, but do not take on the moral burden of forces out of your control!


I’m so glad I was able to share Emma’s perspective and experiences on plant-based eating with you! Emma had so many important things to say! I sincerely hope you enjoyed hearing from her!

Next week, August 11th, I will be taking a break from One Bite at a Time. I’ll be back on August 18th for one more post to conclude the series!

Thanks for reading!

Lindsey 🙂

Recipe of the week: Homemade Red Sauce (my mom’s recipe)!

Red sauce is a staple for most people, considering its versatility. Growing up, my mom made this delicious meatless red sauce that my family always adored. For this recipe, all you will need is one large can (28oz) of crushed tomatoes, 1-2 cloves of minced garlic, olive oil, garlic salt, and sugar. My mom doesn’t have exact proportions for putting this together, it’s mostly to taste, so do your best! To prepare:

  1. Put minced garlic in the middle of a big frying pan and drizzle with a fair bit of olive oil to surround it
  2. Pour on garlic salt 
  3. Saute for 1-2 mins. Do not let garlic brown up!
  4. Turn off stove
  5. Add crushed tomato. Turn the heat back on low and stir a lot
  6. Add 1-2 tablespoons more of olive oil
  7. Add up to ⅛ cup sugar (to taste)
  8. Mix and taste adding more garlic salt and sugar as needed
  9. Keep mixture on heat for about 10 mins, stirring a lot

This sauce works great with pasta, for chicken or eggplant parm, for pasta bakes, for dipping, and really anything you can think of! Enjoy!

Some homemade eggplant parm and broccoli with my mom’s red sauce!

One Bite at a Time – Part 7!

By Lindsey Gallagher

Lindsey Gallagher (they/them) is a non-binary nonfiction writer from Shelter Island, New York. They are currently pursuing their MFA at Northern Arizona University. They serve as the Editor-in-Chief of Thin Air Magazine and teach English Composition. Their work can be found in The Oval and The Palhouse Review. Outside of writing, they enjoy running and outdoor adventures of many sorts.

Common Questions & Challenges!

Welcome back! This week we will explore some common questions and challenges that those new to plant-based eating face. Then I’ll offer my answers and the best advice in response. 

Let’s jump right into this Q and A!

How do I handle social events and peer pressure as a plant-based eater? Can I still go out to eat? What about at restaurants that don’t have any plant-based options?

It’s almost impossible to avoid eating with others—eating is a social event! Certainly we should embrace this and the joy that comes from sharing meals with others. But I would be remiss to say that plant-based eating doesn’t create some complications when eating in social settings. 

Surely you don’t want to be rude to people who cook for you, but you also don’t want to be forced to eat animal products if you’re not comfortable. The best way to avoid uncomfortable situations is to be prepared ahead of time. Of course, there are so many social events with food with many different contexts, but I can offer some general guidelines. 

A meal together is a meal well spent! Sharing a meal (pre-plant-based) with my dad while camping in South Dakota! 

If you are going to someone’s house for a meal and you know ahead of time, be upfront about your diet before you get together. This will give the host time to accommodate your diet (if they choose to). If they don’t accommodate it, it will make it clear that you not eating a dish with animal-products is because of your diet, not you personally rejecting their cooking. I personally never expect people to cook vegan for me, and I don’t want people to feel like they need to, so I often bring my own dishes to events that others can also eat and I can rely on for a meal if I know it won’t be in a vegan-friendly environment. It’s actually quite fun to bring a plant-based dish to share because you can expose others to the diet and show them how delicious and expansive plant-based food can be. 

If you are at a social event and offered something that is outside of your diet, simply decline politely. You certainly don’t have to explain yourself, though you can if you feel comfortable. Sometimes you will find yourself in less than optimal situations where you have no plant-based options. In that case you can decide that is a day to embrace flexibility and have some items you don’t normally eat. In some cases, you can try to remove the non-plant-based item (like peeling cheese off). Or, if your situation permits, you can decide to eat after the event. In most cases when I go to an event and I suspect my diet may not be accommodated, I eat some snacks/a meal prior to the event, or I bring snacks to have after in case I don’t get enough to eat while there. Keep emergency snacks in your glove box, bag, or pocket so you always have something!

In terms of restaurants, you can absolutely still go out to eat! Your diet should never limit your ability to enjoy eating out. There are many approaches you can take when going to restaurants. If possible, you can look at menus ahead of time and pick the restaurant that has plant-based options (or pick the one with the option that’s most exciting to you, if you have many restaurants with plant-based food nearby). If you can’t pick ahead of time, then you’ve got to make the best with what you’ve got. Sometimes this looks like a meal made up of sides. Most restaurants have a variety of sides, like salad, fries, baked potato, veggies, bread, etc. that you can add together to make an eclectic meal from. Another option is to see if the kitchen is willing to make adjustments to some of the menu items, such as holding the cheese on a pasta dish or not adding a sauce with animal-products to the dish. This will depend on the restaurant you’re at, as each one has a different degree of flexibility in allowing alterations. If you are feeling a bit nervous about the restaurant remembering and following your dietary preferences, one trick I’ve used is simply saying I’m allergic to dairy or meat or whatever else it is. Restaurants seem to pay more attention to the word “allergy” than the word “vegan” or “vegetarian.” 

A plant-based nacho bowl I enjoyed at Sticky Fingers Diner in Washington D.C.

How do you deal with people (including family) who may not be welcoming to plant-based eating? What do you do when you have to explain your diet or justify your lifestyle?

The truth is, many non-plant-based eaters feel threatened by the plant-based diet. This is for a number of reasons, but like any other lifestyle choice other people always have an opinion about how you chose to live your life and want to tell you the right way is their way. Unfortunately, many people who are not on board with the plant-based diet simply lack education on the topic and perpetuate myths and other harmful ideas (vegans don’t get enough protein, real men eat meat, etc.). For some they feel that you, a plant-based eater, will tell them that they need to go plant-based, too. They fear that you will condemn their diet choices. There is a stereotype about the vegan that thinks they’re better than everyone and shames anyone who is not vegan. For the most part this is not true. More often than not when vegans talk about their diet it is because they are excited to share how it has positively impacted their life. 

Depending on the person you encounter and your relationship to them, you may decide to not engage or you may decide to help share the facts about a plant-based diet. You can certainly encourage other people to try a plant-based diet, but never put them down because they aren’t plant-based. This only turns them further away from plant-based eating. It’s much more likely a person will change their diet if it is done by choice, not force. 

I’ve had a family member tell me I’m “missing all the fun by being vegan” and others have simply dismissed being vegan as a stupid thing to do. When things like this happen, I have found it useful to reframe things when I encounter resistance simply by saying, “I’m not telling you to be vegan. I respect your choice to not be a vegan and I hope you can respect my choice to be vegan in return. This is a choice I am making for myself, not for you.” Importantly, you aren’t required to defend yourself, you can simply ignore it and smile when others are condescending. It’s funny, no one ever questions meat-eaters like they do plant-based eaters. On the other hand, you may find people are curious and want to know more. Yay! When this happens, it’s always nice to have a good sense of your why to explain to them. Having some facts and statistics in your back pocket that show how beneficial the diet can be is also nice!

The absolute best vegan chicken tenders I’ve ever had! These were chickpea-based ones also from Sticky Fingers Diner. 

If you are in a setting where you suspect the group as a whole (perhaps a restaurant) may not be welcoming of a plant-based diet, I suggest avoiding saying I’m vegan, I’m plant-based, I’m vegetarian, etc. I’ve found that these words can actually trigger tension. You could instead say, I don’t eat meat or I don’t eat dairy or ask if it is possible to get the item with the animal-product removed (would I be able to get the fried Brussels sprouts with the cheese on the side?). People don’t catch on as easily and for some reason they feel less threatened by this phrasing, perhaps because it seems like a more individual preference rather than being part of a collective (of vegans, of vegetarians, etc.). 

How hard is it to go plant-based? 

Well, I can’t really answer this question for you because everyone will have a different experience based on their individual experiences and preferences. But I can tell you about my experience, and perhaps that can help. Certainly, it’s not easy. In the transition phase you will spend a lot more time thinking about and preparing your meals. You will also have to think more about your nutritional needs to make sure you’re getting enough of the vitamins and minerals that are harder to come by on a plant-based diet. You will need to plan and prepare. Going into it and expecting little to no work only spells an unsuccessful transition and a likely return to your original diet.

The hardest part, I think, is not eating many of your old staple foods or foods that you may really enjoy (for most this is meat and cheese). As humans we’re eating all the time, so losing our staples does have a big impact on our life—we can’t ignore this! With this being said, you will adapt sooner than you think (especially if you plan ahead and find plant-based alternatives to your favorite things). If you remember my first post, I grew up with lots of meat and dairy. In high school, I remember saying I would and could never go vegetarian because I loved steak too much. When I went vegetarian it was a relatively slow transition at first, and then it was cold turkey no meat (pun intended). I got used to it relatively quickly because I filled the gap with other things like tofu and veggie burgers. Over time, I found my desire for meat diminished because I learned more about animal agriculture and its impacts on the environment and human and animal vitality. After learning about these consequences, it was no longer justifiable to eat meat just because I liked it. Sooner than I expected I actually became grossed out by the thought of putting meat in my mouth. And now I’m here a few years later and couldn’t even imagine eating steak, my old favorite—it no longer has any appeal to me. I don’t actually think I would be able to eat it if I had to, which is a complete reversal from my high school self. It’s incredible how much we can change. 

Visit your local Farmer’s Market to find some fun fruits and veggies to add to your rotation!

When I transitioned to veganism, I was more nervous because I knew how big of a role dairy played in my diet. Cheese, specifically, was my favorite thing. Almost everything I ate had parmesan or cheddar on it. I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it. And, when I went vegan, I didn’t even have any non-dairy alternatives in place to fill the gap. This made it tougher at first, no longer having access to many of my staples (this is why having plant-based alternatives you like before the final switch away from animal products is so important). But I was surprised again at how quickly I adapted and got used to life without cheese. I found alternatives, I was forced to get creative and to try new things. The excitement of this helped me greatly in getting used to the new diet. 

So, no, going plant-based is not easy, and it gets harder with more restrictive diets (i.e. veganism). It will take work, planning, and learning. But I don’t think it’s as hard as you might think it is. Novelty and change have an incredible power to make us excited and resilient. If you asked a plant-based person how hard the transition was, I’d bet that more often than not they tell you it was easier than they initially thought it would be.

How do I cook plant-based?

If you know how to cook veggies, you already know some plant-based cooking! Source

A lot of people think that plant-based cooking is something entirely new. Good news: it’s not! You will still use most of the same cooking methods, and you’ve already been cooking plant-based if you’ve ever had veggies, grains, or nuts in your life! What will be new is simply the ingredients and the combinations of ingredients. You will likely have to learn how to cook tofu, which is really quite easy. It’s just a matter of pressing the water out, cutting it up, and baking or frying it. On that note, I 100% recommend a tofu press if you want it crispy and crunchy. But things like these don’t take much skill or time to learn. Overtime, as you get better with cooking plant-based, you can find recipes for animal-based versions of foods and substitute with plant-based alternatives as you go. I’d say that creativity and flexibility are the biggest keys to plant-based cooking. It is actually quite exciting to try new ingredients and combinations! I found a new love for cooking once I switched to a plant-based diet. If you do want more on plant-based cooking, here are 20 vegan cooking tips for beginners!

How can I be a plant-based eater in an animal-product household? 

If you live with others who eat animal products, don’t try to force your diet on them. Simply let them know what you do and don’t eat (and you will probably have to remind them a lot as most people don’t actually know what plant-based or vegan is). Be patient, especially if they are the one cooking your meal and they now have to learn how to make plant-based ones. I was lucky to go vegan at the same time as my sister, and we were able to work together at the start to prepare our meals. We also had very accommodating parents who didn’t discourage us and actually became vegan after seeing my sister and I’s success with the diet. 

I now live with my partner Rachel who isn’t plant-based and, while I’ve influenced her to have a lot more plant-based food, she still eats meat and dairy. I understand that forcing her to be plant-based wouldn’t work, and she understands that forcing me to eat dairy or meat wouldn’t work either. We have largely had to work together so we can still share meals but have them meet our individual needs. One thing that we do is make the meal in pieces so that an animal-based item can be easily substituted for a plant-based one. For example, if we are having a stir fry we’ll make tofu and chicken separately and then we can each add our protein to the rice and veggie mix that we can both have. Sometimes we have to make our meals relatively separately, like eggplant parmesan, because the dairy and non-dairy cheese gets mixed in. But, sometimes it’s as simple as Rachel having a beef burger and me having a veggie burger. In all cases we get to enjoy the same meal while accommodating our diets. 

What do I do if I want to go plant-based but don’t have access to plant-based alternatives near me?

When I moved from Missoula, Montana I no longer had access to my favorite vegan donuts. So I got creative and made my own version!

This is an unfortunate reality for many people. Our country is moving toward plant-based, but we’re not all the way there. There are still many plant-based food deserts, you might call them. On the bright side, the most basic plant-based foods like produce, grains, and nuts, are available at even the most basic grocery store. What will be hard are the plant-based meats, dairy and specialty snack products. If you have the means you can decide to pay more to have it delivered to you from other areas. But if you can’t afford that, you may decide not to do an entirely restrictive diet for the sake of longevity as a plant-based eater. Once again, flexibility is your friend. Don’t make yourself strictly vegan for the sake of being a “pure” vegan. Be willing to work with what is available to you and branch out from strictly vegan foods. For instance, you might be vegan five days of the week and then eat animal-products that you can’t access alternatives to the other two days so you can enjoy your favorite things, experience eating in social settings where you live, and remain happy and satisfied with your diet! 

I’m an athlete, is plant-based still okay for me?

Yes! Being plant-based can actually improve your athletic performance! One 2022 study, highlights that a plant-based diet “may provide performance-enhancing effects for various types of exercise due to high carbohydrate levels and the high concentration of antioxidants and phytochemicals found in a plant-based diet.” A review in Nutrients highlights a number of benefits an athlete has on a plant-based diet. Plant-based diets are responsible for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, which allows an athlete’s heart to stay strong. Cholesterol, which is high in many animal-products, is also known to increase inflammation that can hinder the recovery process. A plant-based diet, because it contains no cholesterol, can reduce inflammation and improve recovery times. This was one of the first things I noticed when I switched to a vegetarian diet, and it became even better on a vegan diet. With less cholesterol (and saturated fat, which is high in animal products), blood viscosity increases, enabling more oxygen to reach your muscles, and this is a benefit to athletes across pretty much all sports. 

It has also been shown “that athletes on a plant-based diet increase their VO2 max—the maximum amount of oxygen they can use during intense exercise—leading to better endurance.” On top of this, a plant-based athlete will have better blood flow thanks to fewer meals that impair arteries from doing their job well. Finally, a plant-based diet is richer in antioxidants than a diet including meat. Antioxidants are responsible for neutralizing free radicals, which lead to muscle fatigue, slower recovery, and worse athletic performance. 

A review of The Game Changers by Vogue. Source

The research-backed documentary The Game Changers explores the performance benefits a number of elite athletes have seen from switching to a plant-based diet. As an athlete, it will be more important for you to monitor your intake of vitamins and minerals because the demands of sport can deplete you more quickly, but it’s 100% doable. I have been an athlete since I was quite young, so I have been involved in sport on both a diet including animal-products and a plant-based one. I was iron deficient on an animal-product diet at one point. Not once on my plant-based diet have I been iron deficient. I have supplemented iron since my deficiency and, as a plant-based athlete, constantly monitored my levels through blood work, while prioritizing iron-rich foods. I can say with great confidence that going plant-based has not hurt my athletic performance in any way. If anything, it has only improved it. And I’m not the only athlete to say this. Some of the world’s best, including tennis players Venus Williams, Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic; NBA stars Kyrie Irving and Chris Paul, and ultra runners Scott Jurek and Rich Roll are plant-based.

For plant-based athletes I would also recommend for resources and support!


I hope you found some useful information here! As you dive into your plant-based journey and experience the diet, know that you will learn even more along the way! It is an incredibly exciting adventure!

Stay tuned next week to hear from my sister Emma about her experiences and perspective as a vegan!

Recipe of the week: Veggie burgers!

After trying many other veggie burger recipes I’ve adjusted and perfected my own. Here it is:


  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas
  • 1 cup chickpea flour (you can buy or make your own in the blender)
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed or chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup carrots
  • Water (for blending)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend. Add water slowly until it is well-blended into a fine consistency. Form into patties. They will be pretty soft but they crisp up when you put them on the stove. You can grill these immediately, but putting them in the fridge to firm up for a bit can help them stay together. You can also freeze these to use later! Makes about 4 patties for you to enjoy sandwiched between a bun and your favorite toppings (I love hummus and avocado). You can also crumble the cooked burger and add it in wraps or top a salad with it!

My homemade veggie burger, topped with lettuce, avocado and vegan feta, sandwiched between Ezekiel English Muffins!

One Bite at a Time – Part 6!

By Lindsey Gallagher

Lindsey Gallagher (they/them) is a non-binary nonfiction writer from Shelter Island, New York. They are currently pursuing their MFA at Northern Arizona University. They serve as the Editor-in-Chief of Thin Air Magazine and teach English Composition. Their work can be found in The Oval and The Palhouse Review. Outside of writing, they enjoy running and outdoor adventures of many sorts.

Taste Tests!

Welcome back! This week I’m very excited to take you with me for some taste tests of assorted plant-based products. I put some of my favorite products head-to-head with other brands, and I also tried some new items. It was lots of fun!

Clockwise from the top: Gardein, MorningStar Farms, and Impossible Foods nuggets.

Chicken Nuggets

To start, my partner Rachel and I tested the iconic chicken nugget. For this, we put three versions of plant-based nuggets to the test: MorningStar Farms Veggie Chik’n Nuggets, Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders, and Impossible Foods Chicken Nuggets. We’d both had MorningStar and Gardein before, but we got to put them head to head. And we got to try Impossible’s nuggets for the first time!

We assessed seven different criteria to determine the all-around winner. These included:

  • Flavor of the “meat” – the seasoning of the inner meat and an answer to the basic question: does this taste good, or does it taste like chemicals? 
  • Flavor of the breading – the seasoning in the breading and if it had that rich saltiness we so crave
  • Texture of the “meat” – how moist it felt and its composure (was it stringy, firm, chewy, tender?)
  • Texture of the breading – how crunchy and crispy it was
  • How chicken-like – how well the nugget mimicked a nugget made of real chicken meat, which is a sort of combination of the texture and the flavor of the “meat”
  • Protein content – how much protein was packed into the nugget
  • Value – the cost per ounce of nugget

The flavor of the “meat,” flavor of the breading, texture of the “meat,” texture of the breading, and how chicken-like were all scored on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best and 1 the worst. The protein content and value I also scored from best to worst but with a slightly different point system. The one with the most protein per serving got 10 points, 2nd most got 5 points, and worst got 0 points. Similarly, the one with the lowest cost per ounce got 10 points, 2nd lowest got 5 points, and lowest got 0 points. By adding all of these scores together I came up with the nugget’s overall score, which ranged from 0 to 70 points.

Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders

The first nugget we tried, though technically it was a tender, was the Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tender. True to form, these were longer tenders rather than the more circular nugget. The breading on the Gardein was much lighter in color and thinner than the others. You could also see the diversity of grains, with a few visible whole oats. Trying the tender, Rachel was delighted by the texture, which was firm and tender. She also enjoyed the rich variety of seasonings in the breading. She found it had a good taste, but it only did an okay job mimicking chicken. For me, this tender was relatively bland. The texture of the “meat” was fine—nice and tender—but the flavor was forgettable. In terms of the breading, I found there was very little, and it lacked that desirable salty crunch. On another note, these nuggets took far longer to cook and get crispy than the others. Overall, the Gardein was average. I would certainly eat it again, but it wasn’t great. In terms of the protein content there is 7.8 grams of nugget for every gram of protein. For value, these tenders cost 55 cents per ounce. 

Impossible Foods Chicken Nugget

Next in our test was the Impossible nugget. Rachel absolutely loved this nugget, giving it 8s across the board. She said the “meat” very closely resembled chicken meat in texture and taste. She also enjoyed the breading and the satisfying crunch. I, however, was not partial to the Impossible nugget. The “meat” had a pronounced chemical aftertaste that really ruined the whole nugget for me. The texture was like chicken but that wasn’t enough for me to like it. The breading tasted fine but it was less thick and flavorful than MorningStar Farm’s. I wouldn’t pick this nugget to try again, but Rachel absolutely would. In terms of protein content there are 7.3 grams of nugget for every gram of protein and it costs 54 cents per ounce of nugget.

MorningStar Farms Veggie Chik’n Nugget

Our final nugget was MorningStar Farms. For Rachel this nugget was forgettable, as the Gardein was for me. She thought the textures were working for both the “meat” and breading, but the flavor was lacking. In terms of mirroring chicken, for Rachel, this nugget did the worst job of the three. MorningStar Farms has been my favorite nugget for a while, and it was not outmatched in this test. I still feel that this nugget has the best flavor—a non-chemical tasting “meat” and a well-seasoned breading. The “meat” is dense and tender and bites like a piece of chicken and the breading is perfectly crunchy and crisp. This nugget will still be my tried and true and I genuinely think they are delicious. MorningStar Farm also outperformed the other two for both protein content and value: every 6.6 grams of nugget contained a gram of protein and it costs only 44 cents per ounce which is 10 cents less per ounce than the other two!

MorningStar FarmsGardeinImpossible Foods
Flavor of “meat”Rachel- 4, Lindsey- 8Rachel- 8, Lindsey- 5Rachel- 8, Lindsey- 3
Flavor of breadingRachel- 4, Lindsey- 9Rachel- 8, Lindsey- 5 Rachel- 8, Lindsey- 7
Texture of “meat”Rachel- 7, Lindsey- 8Rachel- 8, Lindsey- 5Rachel- 8, Lindsey- 8
Texture of breadingRachel- 7, Lindsey- 9Rachel- 8, Lindsey- 4Rachel- 8, Lindsey- 7
How chicken-likeRachel- 4, Lindsey- 7Rachel- 6, Lindsey- 4Rachel- 8, Lindsey- 8
Protein content Every 6.6 grams has 1g protein – 10 pointsEvery 7.8 grams has 1g protein – 0 pointsEvery 7.3 grams has 1g protein – 5 points
Value (cost per ounce)44¢ – 10 points55¢ – 0 points54¢ – 5 points
Overall (out of 70)Rachel- 46, Lindsey- 61 Rachel- 38, Lindsey- 23Rachel- 50, Lindsey, 43
Putting all of our ratings together

The clear winner of the nugget challenge depends on the taste tester. Rachel, who eats chicken and has a better familiarity with its flavor and texture than I do at this point, loved the Impossible nuggets. I loved the MorningStar Farms nuggets because their flavor was superior to the Impossible nuggets, which had a chemical aftertaste to me. I also feel MorningStar has the best breading. For me, it was less important that the nugget mimic chicken closely; I just wanted a solid-tasting nugget with a crunchy and well-seasoned breading. Rachel cared much more about how well the nugget mimicked chicken and was impressed by how well Impossible did that. She said if you gave her a chicken nugget and an Impossible nugget she would be hard-pressed to tell the difference. Rachel would happily eat Impossible nuggets as a substitute for chicken nuggets. In terms of the loser on the taste and texture-based fronts, Rachel disliked MorningStar Farm’s the most and I disliked Gardein’s the most. When it comes to criteria that doesn’t depend on flavor or texture, which are subjective, there is a clear winner and loser. MorningStar Farms was the most protein dense and it had the best value by a large margin. Gardein however, had the worst protein content and it also cost the most (by a slim margin over Impossible). 

A new snack!

This wasn’t a test pitting one snack against another, but I did try a new vegan snack product to share with you: Spudsy Sweet Potato Puffs in the Cheezy Cheddar flavor. I purchased these to see how they hold up to Hippeas Chickpea Puffs (vegan white cheddar flavor), which I think are the golden standard for vegan cheese puffs. Hippeas are incredibly light and airy and their flavor is truly cheesy. They are delightful. Unfortunately, the Spudsy puffs did not hold up. These puffs are crunchier and harder, lacking airiness. In terms of the flavor, I didn’t taste sweet potato at all. And the cheese wasn’t good either—it was super chemical-tasting and pretty awful, honestly. It reminded me of the flavor of Kraft mac & cheese. This may be a controversial opinion, but I used to hate Kraft because the cheese tasted so chemically to me. I would not recommend buying this product, and I’m glad I could save you the effort of trying them yourself. Like any other food, not all plant-based food is necessarily good. Mimicking dairy cheese still seems to present a challenge for many plant-based companies. Still, it is very fun to experiment and try new products yourself! If you’re looking for a cheese puff Hippeas Chickpea Puffs reign supreme!

Protein Bars

I was very excited to try some new plant-based protein bars this week, as it’s often hard with my allergy to find ones that I can eat and have a decent flavor. 

First, I tried a peanut butter chocolate protein ProBar. This bar was coated in chocolate and had a rice-krispie-like filling. It was soft to bite, but the krispies made for a pleasant crunch, too. The overpowering flavor of the bar was the chocolate, which I, a chocolate-lover, enjoyed. The peanut-butter krispie inside had less of a pronounced flavor. All in all, this was a very solid bar—it wasn’t chemical-tasting, and it didn’t have that icky protein powder flavor that really turns me away. Certainly not the tastiest thing ever, but I would certainly buy this again if I was looking for a protein-rich snack.

Since nutritional quality seems to be a factor in many people’s choices for protein bars, I wanted to include some of the basic nutrition facts for this bar:

  • Calories: 280 (70g)
  • Protein: 20g (1g protein = 3.5g of bar)
  • Fat: 9g total (4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat)
  • Sodium: 390mg
  • Carbohydrates: 32g
  • Dietary Fiber: 6g
  • Sugar: 12g (11g of which are added)
  • Iron: 3mg (15% of daily value)

Then I tried a peanut butter chocolate chip No Cow protein bar. This bar was not for me. The No Cow bar was smaller than the Probar and much thinner. It did not have a coating; it was simply a soft bar with chocolate chips mixed in. The overpowering flavor of the bar was the taste of protein powder, which isn’t desirable at all (at least to me). The chocolate chips were hardly noticeable. I think the worst thing about this bar was the soft texture and lack of crunch. It didn’t feel like I was eating a solid, rather something in between a solid and a liquid. That in itself prevented me from taking a second bite. As you can guess, I will not be buying this again. 

As for the nutrition facts for this bar, here they are:

  • Calories: 200 (60g)
  • Protein: 20g (1g protein = 3g of bar)
  • Fat: 5g total (2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat)
  • Sodium: 220mg
  • Carbohydrates: 26g
  • Dietary Fiber: 15g
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Iron: 3mg (15% of daily value)

Nutritionally, the No Cow bar has more protein per gram and much less sodium (170mg) than the ProBar. For those who care about the sugar content, the No Cow bar also wins there with 11 grams less than the ProBar. However, in the absence of sugar, No Cow is sweetened with artificial sweeteners Erythritol and Stevia, which have some potentially adverse health effects. Of course, all of us will have individual preferences for our protein bars, but at the most basic level the No Cow bar has more protein per gram. 

On another note, like many plant-based bars these guys are expensive. I paid just shy of $3 for each of these. Certainly, buying in bulk makes it slightly more affordable but these would still put a dent in your grocery budget. There are much cheaper ways to get your protein in!


To end the testing, I tried two different brands of vegan chocolate chip cookies, which are one of my favorite desserts.

To start I had the Made Good chocolate chip cookies, which are mini cookies. The cool thing about Made Good cookies is that they contain a number of vegetables, which add vitamins and minerals. These cookies have extracts from spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, and shiitake mushrooms. You might be thinking that sounds like a sub-par cookie. However, you really don’t taste these veggies at all! These particular cookies are crunchy (and perhaps a bit dry) but I found they have the right combo of cookie to chocolate. They are sweet but not too sweet. They reminded me a lot of mini Chips Ahoy! cookies. I very much enjoyed the size and these could have great versatility as a topping or add-in for other baked treats. I would happily buy these again! Made Good has a lot of other great products, like granola bars, crackers, crispy squares, and more, too. I highly recommend you check them out!

I also tried Back to Nature Homestyle Soft Baked Chocolate Chunk Cookies. These cookies came in a more traditional size. Since these were soft baked, they were obviously soft, which is my preferred texture for cookies. These cookies were also a bit dry, but they had a lot of chocolate to make up for that. Still, I didn’t like the flavor of the cookie itself—it reminded me of the flavor of protein powder, which is not what I want in a cookie. I don’t think I would buy these again. 


I hope you enjoyed coming along on these taste tests with me. Now it’s time for you to get out there, experiment, and try new things. It’s much more fun when you get to do the tasting yourself!

Stay tuned next week to hear about some common questions and challenges new plant-based eaters may have, along with my answers and advice!

A small note: next week’s post will come out early, on Thursday, as I have an adjustment in my schedule. 

Thanks for reading!

Lindsey 🙂

Recipe of the Week: Stuffed Sweet Potato!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned Purple Carrot as a great resource for someone new to plant-based diets. While Purple Carrot is a meal delivery service, all of their recipes are accessible online for free! This recipe for stuffed sweet potato with cucumber chickpea salad and miso tahini is one of my Purple Carrot favorites. I never would’ve thought up a combination like this and the miso tahini makes this a phenomenally umami dish! On top of this, this meal is packed with nutrients! Try it out here!

One Bite at a Time – Part 5!

By Lindsey Gallagher

Lindsey Gallagher (they/them) is a non-binary nonfiction writer from Shelter Island, New York. They are currently pursuing their MFA at Northern Arizona University. They serve as the Editor-in-Chief of Thin Air Magazine and teach English Composition. Their work can be found in The Oval and The Palhouse Review. Outside of writing, they enjoy running and outdoor adventures of many sorts.

Plant-based Staples

Welcome back! This week it’s time to explore some (but certainly not all) plant-based staples to fill your fridge and pantry with for a successful journey as a plant-based eater! Let’s jump right in!


  • Rice – All rice (brown, white, basmati, arborio, etc.) in its basic form is vegan!
  • Farro – An ancient grain of three wheat species that has a nutty flavor and chewy texture. It is a great source of fiber, iron, protein, and magnesium. 
  • Quinoa – Technically, a seed, but classified as a whole-grain, quinoa is unique from many plant-based foods in that it is a complete protein (i.e., it contains all the essential amino acids). Quinoa has the highest protein content of any grain! It is also full of antioxidants and a great source of folate, iron, thiamine, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Even better, because it’s so tiny, quinoa is incredibly versatile (you can easily add it to smoothies, desserts, salads, soups, etc.)!
  • Bulgar wheat – Another ancient whole grain, bulgur is light and nutty, sort of like couscous. A great source of fiber, manganese, magnesium, and iron. 
  • Pasta – Most store-bought pastas are already vegan (Barilla, De Cecco, store brands, etc.). However, if you’re looking for a more nutritionally dense pasta, there are plenty of plant-based options! This includes Banza, a chickpea-based pasta full of protein, or Explore Cuisine’s Edamame pasta, also high in protein. There are also lentil and pea pastas that offer more protein than conventional pasta. Try out some different ones to figure out which variety you most enjoy!
  • Soba noodles – These Japanese noodles, typically made from buckwheat, flour, salt, and water, are vegan! These make a great base in many meals!
  • Rice noodles – These noodles, made from rice and water, are also vegan and great for Asian cuisine. 
Nothing beats a bowl of oats! Source
  • Oats – To me, there is no better breakfast than a bowl of oats. A little bit of oatmeal goes a long way, and there are so many ways to change the flavor with add-ons. If you don’t like oatmeal, you can add oats to so many other things, like baked goods, and they always enhance the flavor! Oats are a great source of fiber and beneficial to heart health as well!
  • Bread – Bread is something you will want to always check the label on because different kinds and brands of bread vary in ingredients. Some breads that are commonly vegan are sourdough, pita, Ezekiel, ciabatta, and baguettes. If you haven’t ever tried it, Ezekiel Bread is delicious because it’s packed with whole grains that give it a rich, hearty flavor (always found in the freezer aisle). 

An aside on honey: Since we’re talking about bread, which often includes honey, we’ll talk about honey. Honey is one of the most contentious foods when it comes to a plant-based diet. It’s generally accepted that honey is not plant-based because it is an animal product. However, some vegans do consume honey. Every person will have to make this choice on their own. From my perspective, it is a very small thing to fuss over. I used to not consume honey on my vegan diet, but as I’ve come to embrace more flexibility, I don’t mind having things that are sweetened with honey here and there. As you make your own choice, just be aware that quite a lot of bread, snacks, and desserts are sweetened with honey, and it can be difficult to accommodate this all the time.

  • Cereal – fortified cereals are great for plant-based eaters because they contain some of the vitamins and minerals that are harder to come by in plant-based products. Cheerios (my favorite), for instance, are fortified with Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Thiamin, and Vitamin B12, to name just some. Use labels at the grocery store to find fortified cereal you’ll like!
All of the vitamins and minerals in a 1 ½-cup serving of Original Cheerios! 


Flour, like grains (and because it comes from grains), is vegan, so you have many options here! You can turn almost any grain into flour, and if you have a blender, you can even do this from home. Some of your options include:

  • Whole wheat flour
  • White flour
  • Oat flour 
  • Almond flour
  • Rye flour
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Semolina flour
  • Gluten-free flour
  • Rice flour
  • Corn flour
  • Chickpea flour (works great for veggie burgers)


So many beans to choose from! Source

Like grains and flour, all beans and legumes, in their natural form, are vegan! Beans and legumes will also be an important source of protein on a plant-based diet! Since these are a major protein source for plant-based eaters, I’ll include the protein content of each one (per a half-cup serving), which I pulled directly from the packages on these items in my pantry. Do note that there are many other nutritional and health benefits besides the protein content, though.

  • Black Beans – 8g
  • Kidney Beans – 7g
  • Great Northern Beans – 6g
  • Cannellini Beans – 7g
  • Lima Beans- 6g
  • Pinto Beans – 6g
  • Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas) – 6g
  • Peas – 3g
  • Lentils – 7g
  • Peanuts – 8g per 1 oz, Peanut butter – 7g per 2 tbsp
  • Edamame – 6.5g 


Minimally processed protein sources:

  • Tofu – This soy-based protein is one of the most versatile plant-based foods. It will absorb any flavor! 3 ounces of firm tofu has 7 grams of protein!
  • Tempeh – This soy-based complete protein is more dense than tofu and holds a nuttier taste. It also has a great protein content, with 18 grams from a 3-ounce serving. 
  • Seitan – This is a plant-based protein made of vital wheat gluten that is great for mimicking the texture of chicken. Only two ounces of seitan has 18 grams of protein! 
A delicious tofu bowl! Source

Protein sources that are more processed:

There are a number of companies that make mock meats with a flavor and texture that closely resemble animal-based meat. Many of these products are delicious and I would certainly recommend checking them out, but it’s also important to keep in mind that these are often ultra-processed and may not be the smartest choice health-wise as your main protein source. Of course, any protein is better than none, so there’s no need to completely avoid these. Just keep moderation in mind!

  • Gardein makes a variety of plant-based meats (and even some soups!), all of which are vegan. They have everything from chicken tenders and chicken nuggets to turkey cutlets to wings to meatballs to sausages to burgers to ground beef to fish filets to complete plant-based meals to chicken noodle soup. Another benefit is that many of these products also have a solid amount of protein. The ultimate plant-based burger, for example, has 20 grams of protein. I haven’t tried all of their products but I certainly love the seven grain crispy tenders, which have 10 grams of protein for 3 pieces. 
  • MorningStar Farms, like Gardein, makes a variety of plant-based alternatives to animal-based meat products. They have burgers, breakfast sausage and sandwiches, chik’n and waffles, hot dogs, corn dogs, pizza bites, and chorizo crumbles, to name a few of their products. I should also let you know that not all of MorningStar’s products are completely vegan, many are only vegetarian, so do check the label to make sure the product aligns with your diet. My personal favorite of their products are the Original Chik Patties and Chik’n Nuggets. 
  • Field Roast is a plant-based company making meats and cheese (Chao Creamery). Some of their “meat” products include sausages, appetizers like BBQ bites, hot dogs, various flavors of deli slices, pepperoni, and even roasts! In terms of cheese, they have shreds, slices, and blocks in a variety of flavors from creamy original to Mexican style blend to tomato cayenne to smoky original. My favorite of their products (though I will admit I haven’t tried the cheeses) are the Italian Garlic & Fennel and Apple & Sage Sausages. These are both so flavorful and, being made from vital wheat gluten, have a lot of protein (1 sausage has 25 grams)! My partner who isn’t vegan often prefers these sausages to animal-based ones!
Some Italian Garlic & Fennel Field Roast sausages! Source
  • Impossible Foods is a company you’ve probably heard of as they tend to be the more widely known, and it’s usually Impossible Food products that fast-food and chain restaurants turn to when adding plant-based items to their menu. Like the other companies, they have a variety of products from burgers to sausage to pork to premade meals. I’ve only ever had the Impossible burger, something that I would not repeat, because it actually tasted far too much like animal-meat and freaked me out. But if you’re a plant-based eater missing your meat, Impossible’s products are incredibly similar in flavor (and especially texture) to animal-meat.
  • Beyond Meat, similar to Impossible Foods, has plant-based products that are extremely similar to animal-meat. Beyond Meat has most of the same products that all the others have like sausages, burgers, and chicken products, but they also have some unique ones like steak and jerky (in three flavors). 
  • Soy milk – This is a nice milk alternative because it has a comparable protein content to dairy milk. In terms of protein content this is the best plant-based milk. 1 cup of soy milk has 7 grams of protein (for reference, 1 cup of whole cow milk has 8 grams of protein). 
  • Oat milk – This is another option as a milk substitute, but it doesn’t have quite as much protein as soy milk (only 3 grams in 1 cup). If you are hoping to get protein from your milk, I’d recommend soy milk. But oat milk is still delicious!
  • There’s also almond and cashew milk. I’ve never had either of these because of my nut allergy, but they are still viable options for those without nut allergies! Almond milk has only 1 gram of protein in a cup. I should also remind you that almonds have one of the highest water footprints, so if you’re plant-based for environmental reasons you might want to avoid almond milk. Cashew milk is also low in protein with less than 1 gram of protein per cup. 


Chia seed pudding! Source
  • Chia seeds – Chia seeds come from Salvia hispanica, a flowering plant native to Mexico. These little seeds are nutritionally packed—they’re not a superfood for nothing! Just 2.5 tablespoons of chia seeds has 5 grams of protein. They are also one of the best plant-based sources for omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are exceptionally versatile, too. You can add them to just about any recipe, like baked goods or oatmeal. When combined with milk, you can create chia pudding. And if you combine one tablespoon of chia seeds with two tablespoons of water and let it sit for a few minutes, the seeds will absorb the water making a great egg substitute or binder for baking.
  • Hemp seeds – Another superfood, hemp seeds have 9.5 grams of protein in 3 tablespoons (they are also a complete protein). Like chia seeds, they contain omega-3 fatty acids along with a number of other minerals and vitamins. 
  • Flax seeds – These seeds pack a nutritional punch, too! Although not as high in protein, flax seeds contain many vitamins and minerals (particularly thiamine, copper, and manganese). They also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Like chia seeds, when combined with water, these make a great egg substitute or binder for baking. Generally, ground flax seeds are better than whole seeds because your body can more easily absorb the nutrients they provide. 
  • Sesame seeds – These little seeds carry a number of health benefits and they have delightful flavor. If you love sesame seeds you should try tahini, which is ground sesame seeds (as peanut butter is to peanuts). Tahini is an essential ingredient in hummus and works great in sauces!
  • Nuts (Almonds and almond butter, cashews, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, etc.) – These are great sources of fat (which you need!) and they also have some protein.
    • As I’ve mentioned, I am unfortunately allergic to nuts (though I can enjoy pine nuts.) However, you will find that nuts, mostly cashews, are used as a base in many vegan cheese products and recipes. According to my family, cashew cheese is delicious, so it’s worth giving a try!


No produce is off limits! Enjoy as many fruits and veggies as you want! And make sure you get in some avocado for some healthy and essential fat!



Country Crock Plant Butter with Olive Oil!

There are many brands of vegan butter and I find that almost all of them melt, spread, and taste like dairy butter. I actually think that plant-based butter tastes better than dairy butter! Personally, I love Earth Balance but I’ve recently enjoyed Country Crock Plant Butter. To learn more, here’s a review of the many vegan butters.


Where do I even begin with cheese? I could make a whole post exclusively about cheese because, well, who doesn’t love cheese! I do feel it important to note that all vegan cheeses are highly processed so don’t make them the base of your diet. Still, absolutely enjoy these because cheese is amazing and makes everything so much better. It’s so important that you actually enjoy your plant-based meals, and if cheese helps you do that, then embrace it! There are so many brands and varieties of vegan cheese, which is exciting but also a little overwhelming. After my experience tasting a number of them, I’ve found that the quality of the cheese varies greatly. In order to find ones that fit your preferences the best thing to do is really experiment and taste test yourself. To start, here’s a list of the many that I know of:

  • Go Veggie
  • Tofutti
  • Babybel
  • Laughing Cow
  • Chao Creamery
  • Kite Hill
  • Miyoko’s
  • Nurishh
  • Earth Grown
  • Violife
  • Boursin
  • Treeline Cheese
  • So Delicious

**If you have a nut allergy make sure you check the label when testing cheese! Some of these are nut-based!

And here’s my favorites: 

  • Follow Your Heart is my absolute favorite brand to go to for vegan cheese. I am a religious buyer of this stuff. Growing up a parmesan lover, their shredded and grated parmesan have been a lifesaver. The flavor, texture, and meltability is impressive and mirrors real parmesan pretty closely. They also have mozzarella and cheddar shreds, slices in six varieties, bleu cheese, and feta cheese. Of all their cheese, I find that the parmesan is best in terms of resembling dairy cheese, but I would also highly recommend their feta crumbles. 
Follow Your Heart, the best cheese in the game!
  • Daiya is my other favorite brand for vegan cheese. They also have many varieties like Follow Your Heart. I would say the flavor of their cheese is slightly below Follow Your Heart, but Daiya really stands out in its meltability (Follow Your Heart does melt just not quite as well/fast). The first time I had Daiya mozzarella shreds on a pizza I thought I had grabbed a non-vegan slice! Daiya also has a number of other vegan products (mac & cheese, pizzas, desserts, etc.) that are worth checking out!

Other dairy products 

Most of the brands I listed for cheese also make other dairy-based products in plant-based form like veganaise (vegan mayo), cream cheese, salad dressings, yogurt, sour cream, and more. I haven’t tasted these products much, so I’ll leave the tasting and reviewing to you!


In terms of snacks, you will find that almost everything has a plant-based version. One of my favorite veganized snacks is Hippeas Chickpea puffs, which resemble Pirate’s Booty and Cheetos Puffs. Hippeas puffs are light and incredibly cheesy! 

There are a number of snacks that are already plant-based, too. These include:

  • Rice cakes, which are great for spreading hummus, peanut butter, or jam on.
  • Pretzels
  • Popcorn
  • Nabisco Original Graham Crackers
  • Guacamole (I did have one instance where guacamole had sour cream, but this was rather rare. In general, guacamole is a safe bet!)
  • Hummus
  • A number of chips (most original flavors are vegan), including tortilla chips, potato chips, Fritos, and Stacy’s Pita chips.
  • A number of granola/protein bars. I love Lara Bars for a hearty snack, though these are not protein dense. Here’s a great review of 18 different vegan protein bars.
Lara Bars, a delicious and filling date-based snack!


  • Miso paste – Miso paste is made from soybeans that are fermented with salt and a koji starter. The best way to describe its flavor is very salty but wonderfully umami. The greatest benefit of miso is that the fermentation process makes it rich with probiotics that are excellent for gut health. Miso works well as a soup base, in risotto, in sauces, or in marinades.
  • JUST Egg – This liquid product is an egg substitute made of mung beans that can be scrambled, made in omelets, or used for baking. Like animal eggs, it also has protein. One serving of JUST Egg has the same amount of protein as a chicken egg (6 grams)! This product does a great job of mimicking the texture of eggs. However, even though the flavor is decent, it’s certainly not the same as a chicken egg.
  • Nutritional yeast – This food is sold in flakes (it resembles fish food) and has a wonderful cheesy taste. As I mentioned last week, it is an excellent source of Vitamin B12 for plant-based eaters. This can be sprinkled on almost anything or included in bakes, sauces, and much more!
  • Applesauce – If you don’t have JUST Egg or chia seeds, applesauce makes a great egg alternative for baking. 


As with the snacks, most animal-based desserts can be found in a plant-based version. Excitingly, more and more grocery stores, bakeries, ice cream parlors, and other treat shops are adding plant-based products to their menus! Here are some of the best widely available desserts that I’ve discovered as a vegan (the best of the best I’ve found in local and small businesses):

  • Enjoy Life makes a number of plant-based snacks and desserts like cookies, brownie bites, chocolate, breakfast bars, dessert bites, and chips. Their semi-sweet chocolate chips are wonderful, closely mirroring the flavor of milk chocolate and melting like it too. I also recommend their soft-baked snickerdoodle cookies! 
  • Ice cream is similar to cheese in that there are so many plant-based brands and varieties. Most of the dessert section will cover ice cream because I’m writing this, and ice cream is my favorite dessert. So, sorry if you don’t like ice cream… For plant-based ice cream there are a number of bases, most commonly coconut, nuts (mostly cashews and almonds), and oats. There are also more obscure bases like soy and avocado. My personal favorite are the oat-based ice creams, as I don’t like coconut and obviously can’t have nuts. Here are my favorites:
    • Oatly has chocolate, vanilla, and so many other great flavors of ice cream! I find that Oatly has the richest flavor of the plant-based ice creams I’ve tried and very closely resembles (in flavor and consistency) dairy-based ice cream. Oatly is also a big seller of oat milk, and dairy-free yogurt. 
    • Planet Oat also makes ice cream. I find that their ice cream is less flavorful and sometimes tastes watery. It’s not bad, just not as rich as Oatly. However, Planet Oat’s chocolate chip cookie dough is amazing; it is far superior to Oatly’s chocolate chip cookie dough.
A big bowl of Planet Oat chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, Oreos, strawberries, and melted Enjoy Life chocolate!
  • Tofutti Cuties, tofu-based ice cream sandwiches, are a must try. It sounds strange but these little sandwiches are phenomenal (though hard to find). I was actually introduced to these when I was a kid by my aunt who lives in Brooklyn. After my sister and I first tried them, every time we visited my aunt it became a tradition to go to the market and buy some Tofutti Cuties. Perhaps I love these because they have sentimental value, but I really do think they’re delicious!
  • Other ice cream giants like Ben & Jerry’s have lots of plant-based ice creams (these are nut-based, so I can’t say anything about their quality), and recently Häagen-Dazs has stepped into the vegan game. 
  • Other plant-based ice creams include Nada Moo, So Delicious, jeni’s, and Favorite Day, among others.
  • A small bit of sad news: I have yet to find a plant-based ice cream that comes in a size bigger than a pint! And plant-based ice cream is alarmingly expensive 🙁 
  • Ice cream is not the only dessert that’s plant-based, though! There are plant-based cookies, cakes, pies, brownies, cheesecakes, muffins, fudge, and anything else you could think of! In fact, most desserts are easy to make plant-based because you just have to switch cow milk for plant-based milk, dairy butter for plant-based butter, and egg with an egg replacer! 
  • VegNews has a whole article on cookies that are accidentally vegan. The exciting news: Oreos, Nutter Butters, some Girl Scout cookies, Fig Newtons, Biscoff cookies, and Teddy Grahams are vegan!!!
  • Before you give your money to these large brands, though, be sure to check ice cream parlors, bakeries, and sweet shops local to you. Support the small businesses that are embracing plant-based options!


Whew! That was a lot of listing! I hope you are ready to try some new foods! Enjoy the tasting!

Stay tuned next week to join me in taste testing some plant-based products!

Thanks for reading!

-Lindsey 🙂

Recipe of the Week: Chocolate Pie!

Since I’m talking about dessert, this week I will share one of my favorite vegan desserts! My partner made this for me as a surprise one day. I absolutely loved it, and we’ve made it many times since! This pie is tofu-based but you don’t taste the tofu; you just taste the chocolate! The rich and creamy chocolate filling pairs perfectly with the crust. Head on over to to treat your tastebuds!

One Bite at a Time – Part 4!

By Lindsey Gallagher

Lindsey Gallagher (they/them) is a non-binary nonfiction writer from Shelter Island, New York. They are currently pursuing their MFA at Northern Arizona University. They serve as the Editor-in-Chief of Thin Air Magazine and teach English Composition. Their work can be found in The Oval and The Palhouse Review. Outside of writing, they enjoy running and outdoor adventures of many sorts.

Becoming Plant-based!

Welcome back! Last week we explored the many benefits of a plant-based diet. Now, it’s time to actually talk about making the switch!

Forms of plant-based diets

When considering a move toward a plant-based diet, recall that there are a number of different forms, including (in order from most to least strict in terms of what foods are consumed):

  • Plant-based: a diet that is mostly made up of vegetables, grains, and other foods that come from plants instead of animal products. 
  • Mediterranean Diet: a diet that focuses on fruit, veggies, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seafood, and olive oil. Animal products such as dairy, eggs, and poultry are included (in moderation). Red and processed meats are also included but rarely. 
  • Flexitarian: a diet that mostly excludes meat and seafood. Flexitarians limit their consumption of meat but may still have it sometimes. For example, flexitarians may do “meatless Mondays” or save eating meat for the weekends. 
  • Pescetarian: a diet that excludes meat but includes seafood and fish. 
  • Vegetarian: a diet that excludes meat and seafood. A vegetarian diet can be broken down in a few different ways:
    • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: A vegetarian diet that includes dairy and eggs.
    • Lacto-vegetarian: A vegetarian diet that includes dairy but not eggs.
    • Ovo-vegetarian: A vegetarian diet that includes eggs but not dairy.
  • Vegan: a diet that excludes all foods that come from animals (such as meat, dairy, eggs, and, for some, honey).

How do you decide?

There are many plant-based diet options, and it can be overwhelming to decide which one to select. As you are thinking things over, use these questions to help: 

  1. What is your why? Why are you interested in adopting a plant-based diet? Is it for environmental reasons? Health reasons? For animal rights? Something else? What is your ultimate goal? (Not just I’d like to be vegan, but what changes would you like to see in your life, whether that’s physically, mentally, philosophically, etc.)?
  1. What is your starting point? How often and how much meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs do you consume? Take stock of your last week of eating—how many of those meals included animal products? Once you have this number, you will have a sense of how heavily you rely on animal products. From here you can make a sustainable plan for transitioning to a plant-based diet. For example, if 15 of your 21 meals last week included animal products you might try cutting that number by three meals each week if you want to reach your goal more quickly or just cutting one meal per week if you want to take your time. Knowing that most of your meals include animal products tells you that you probably won’t want to stop eating these foods abruptly, but rather phase them out over time.
  1. Do you have any health conditions (including mental health conditions) that could create complications with a particular diet? While there are health benefits to a plant-based diet, that doesn’t mean that it can’t create issues depending on your individual needs. I am not a medical professional, so if you are considering the switch but have pre-existing conditions, you should talk to your healthcare provider or see a dietician first. For example, I have a nut allergy and I had no idea how this would become a pretty major complication for me as a vegan when I first started. Unfortunately for me, many vegan dairy alternatives, like ice cream and especially cheese, use nuts. Many times, I’ve been excited about a vegan option at a restaurant or a new product at the grocery store only to learn that it includes nuts, and then I can’t enjoy it! Luckily, I’ve found things that work for me, but there are still frustrating moments. And, ultimately, my options are much more limited than vegans without nut allergies, so it would’ve been nice to know this before I began my journey. 
The Vertical Diner, a vegan diner with locations in Salt Lake City, Utah and Portland, Oregon! Source
  1. What accessibility do you have to plant-based products? Where can you get the alternatives that you will want? Certain places, usually rural ones, have a much more limited offering of plant-based products (mostly meat and dairy alternatives, as produce, grains, legumes, and nuts tend to be available even in the smallest grocery stores). 

Remember: no single form of a plant-based diet is “best.” The best one is the one that is sustainable for you and works in the context of your life. Hopefully these questions help you to see how to make a plant-based diet work best for you!

My top tips

Now let’s consider my top tips for a successful transition to a plant-based diet. These are based largely on my experience and what I’ve learned over the years in my own plant-based journey! 

Tip 1: Start small

When I went vegetarian, I did it all at once. Granted, I did have less meat because of the road trip I took in the month leading up when I changed my diet. Still, I went from meat to no meat at all. When I started, I knew very little about protein-rich vegetarian options to replace meat-based protein sources. I had only eaten tofu once or twice before and knew nothing about how to prepare it. I didn’t even know what seitan or tempeh, staple plant-based proteins, were. Instead of preparing ahead of time with research, I jumped right in, figuring things out as I went. Luckily, I did have my sister along for the journey with me. After a few weeks, I consulted my aunt, who had been a pescatarian for years. She offered recommendations on some of her favorite meat substitutes. However, living on a small island with one grocery store, our options were rather limited in terms of what was available. Back then, tofu was really the only thing the store reliably carried. 

When I went vegan six months later, I did the same thing I did as a new vegetarian: I jumped right in. At that point, I was primarily doing it for environmental reasons and really didn’t care how it might impact my nutritional needs. I did little research and had little idea of what would replace dairy in my diet, which was then a big part of it. And vegan was a word I had heard and come to understand less than a year before!

I set a date with my sister to start our vegan journey. It was right before Christmas and I remember my mom telling us we should wait until after the holidays, as it would be hard with all the gatherings. But we did not heed her advice; we were determined to start as soon as possible even if that meant we had to make most of our own food to bring to holiday gatherings, which we did. In the days leading up to the vegan start date, I remember eating lots of dairy because I knew I would miss it a lot. Almost all of my favorite things included dairy: pasta with parmesan, cheddar and crackers, bean and rice burritos loaded with sour cream and cheese, and ice cream. Pretty much everything I ate had either parmesan or cheddar on it. When I went vegan, I missed these things a lot and wasn’t equipped with alternatives to my favorite staples to fill the gaps. Excitement about the change carried me for a bit, but after that, it became a challenge having my normal food routines uprooted and without go-to foods to rely on.

You can certainly stop eating animal products abruptly if you want. However, for the sake of making a plant-based diet sustainable for you, I highly recommend doing it in small steps. The size of these steps depends on your starting point and your end goal. For example, if most of your meals contain animal products, and your ultimate goal is to become a vegan, don’t go vegan in the span of a day. Start by working towards vegetarianism, and once you have stopped eating meat, then begin to decrease your consumption of dairy and eggs. You could also try going vegetarian a few days a week or picking one meal of each day (say lunch) to have vegetarian every day. As you go through this transition phase, branch out and try new things and learn what plant-based alternatives you like so you can build an arsenal of foods that you can rely on and enjoy once you do make the ultimate switch. In the long term this will make the diet more sustainable because if you don’t like what you’re eating, you won’t stick to it!

Tip 2: Do your research

Before you begin your plant-based journey, it is essential that you prepare by doing research. If you jump right in without exploring options, you are more likely to have a bad experience as a plant-based eater and return to an animal-product diet, which is not your goal! In your research, consider the following questions to ensure you are ready to start the journey!

  • What are your favorite animal products? What plant-based alternatives for these exist? 
  • Where can you purchase plant-based alternatives to the animal products that you want? 
  • What are some of your favorite meals? Find plant-based versions of these online or in cookbooks so you can still enjoy your favorite things!
  • Are there any restaurants near you that have plant-based meal options? 
  • If you do have any health conditions that may impact you in the transition, consult a medical professional. After that there are likely resources with tips and advice from plant-based eaters that have the same conditions as you.
  • What challenges do you anticipate facing in your transition? What can you do to overcome these? A common example is ex-cheese eaters craving cheese once they go vegan. Look around to see what other people who have faced challenges you anticipate facing are saying (there are lots of plant-based bloggers out there). Making a plan and being prepared to face these obstacles beforehand will allow you to overcome them much more easily!

Tip 3: Be smart! Make sure you get all the nutrients you need!

While many plant-based foods are packed with nutrients, plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean ‘healthy.’ Don’t immediately assume you will be healthier on a plant-based diet. As always, staying healthy takes work, and as you transition to plant-based, it will take a little more work and time each week to meet your food needs!

I don’t like to use the term “junk food” because all food is fuel for your body or can serve you emotionally, but certainly some foods can offer more benefit in terms of nutrients than others. There are plenty of plant-based foods that aren’t necessarily beneficial to your health, especially ultra-processed ones. This is not to say you can’t eat them; just don’t make them a meal three times a day. This is where tips 1 and 2 come in. If you have a plan ahead of time for what you can now eat and make at home, you won’t be scrambling and relying on freezer aisle and other processed plant-based foods to fill the gap of the missing animal products. These foods can make you feel crummy over time, hurt your health, and ultimately make you likely to return to an animal-product diet. Balance is just as important on a plant-based diet as it is on a diet including animal products!

Vitamins and Minerals

When decreasing your consumption of animal products, there are some specific vitamins and minerals to be aware of to make sure you are still supporting your body! Some of the key ones a person on a plant-based diet should be cognizant of are vitamins B12, A, and D, as well as protein, calcium, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fats. In the United States, most people rely on animal products for these essential things. There’s no need to panic, though, because you can get all of these things, except B12 and Vitamin D, from plant-based foods. And even B12 and Vitamin D, which are not naturally occurring in plant-based foods, you can supplement or get from fortified plant-based foods. I’ll now briefly touch on a few in this list that are more difficult to get on a plant-based diet. 


Iron is an essential mineral used to make hemoglobin, which is a protein that carries oxygen to your lungs, and myoglobin, a protein that gives your muscles oxygen. Iron is also needed for the production of some hormones. This explains why you feel so tired and energy-depleted if you’re iron deficient. 

Countless times people have told me, “You’re vegan, you’re gonna be iron deficient.” And while this is not necessarily the case, it can absolutely happen. On a plant-based diet, especially a vegan one, you are at a higher risk of iron-deficiency if you are not careful. Though I will say, you can be iron deficient eating animal products (as I was), so it all depends on the choices you make! 

If you are plant-based it’s important that you prioritize eating foods high in iron. These include spinach, iron-fortified bread and cereal, lentils, white beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, baked potato, and broccoli among other things.

When you have iron-rich foods or an iron supplement, pair it with Vitamin C or Vitamin C rich-foods (citrus, berries, etc.), which enhances your body’s absorption of iron. A big reason that vegans struggle with getting enough iron is because plant-based iron sources are not as easily absorbed as animal-based iron sources. Vitamin C is the solution to this! Alternatively, make sure you don’t pair iron and calcium, as calcium inhibits iron absorption!

Vitamin B12

B12 is a vitamin that helps make DNA and keep the blood and nerve cells all around healthy. B12 is only found naturally in animal foods, which is why it’s so essential to seek out B12 on a plant-based diet. Plant-based foods only include B12 when fortified. You can find B12 in fortified cereal and nutritional yeast, a cheese-tasting flake-like product. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus, which aids the body in building bones. It can also reduce inflammation and help control infections. There are only a few foods that have Vitamin D and the best sources are animal products. The plant-based foods that include Vitamin D are mushrooms and fortified plant milks and cereals. And, of course, you can get Vitamin D by sitting out in the sun!

Supplementation (taking a pill or liquid form) is another option for getting all of these vitamins and minerals, too! As a vegan athlete, I supplement to make sure I get these things with the demands of my training. Always talk to your healthcare provider before supplementing, though!

To learn more about the other key nutrients and minerals a plant-based eater should pay attention to, visit or

Tip 4: Be flexible

One of the most exciting things about stepping into plant-based eating is how flexible it is. There is a large spectrum of options from simply plant-based all the way to veganism. An important thing to keep in mind as you approach plant-based eating is that you can always change—you can always return to a previous diet or try a different one if something isn’t working for you. If you decide to go vegan, it doesn’t have to be for life! With any form of plant-based eating, you are in charge of what you eat, and there are no hard and fast rules for how to do it “right.” Flexibility is your friend! 

Flexibility was something that I struggled with in my first few years as a vegan. I believed I could never eat anything non-vegan or I wouldn’t be a “real” vegan. So I didn’t, even though this sometimes hindered my ability to fuel my body or even my emotional desires for specific foods. It was only recently that I truly embraced flexibility on a vegan diet, and this came from adapting to my circumstances. A month ago, I traveled abroad for the first time to Italy with my family. Before the trip I was nervous about how I’d be able to stick to my vegan diet. I also recognized that food is very much a part of culture, and I wanted to be able to experience authentic Italian food (especially the parmesan). 

I ultimately decided before I left that the trip would be more enjoyable for me (and my family) if I was willing to stray a bit from my vegan diet and eat what was available at the restaurants we were at. I decided I would have some cheese and egg (in pasta) while abroad. I also decided that I still wouldn’t have meat because it is now unappetizing to me and would make me exceptionally uncomfortable to eat. It was really important that I made a plan ahead of time based on my comfort levels so I was ready for the experiences I was about to have and not make stress-inducing, last-minute decisions. Throughout the trip, I had meals with cheese and egg, and much to my surprise, it was delightful. It was relieving to eat something non-vegan and see that nothing happened to me—no one condemned me for being a fake vegan. And I recognized that having a few animal products here and there wouldn’t increase my environmental impact much. As the trip went on, I found myself more and more relaxed eating parmesan and delicious Italian pasta. 

Some Pomodoro, topped with parmesan, I enjoyed in Italy!

I learned such a valuable lesson on flexibility from this experience, and I have taken it with me since returning home. On occasion, if I really want something non-vegan, like an old snack from childhood, I’ll have it because it serves me emotionally, and it keeps me satisfied with my diet. In the past, at an event where the vegan “meal” option was a simple salad with no protein, I would’ve just eaten the salad and refused to have anything else that wasn’t vegan. But I now recognize that this was detrimental to my body, especially as an athlete. Now, in those situations, I embrace flexibility and prioritize fueling my body over rigidity for the sake of being a “real” vegan. Now, I might decide to eat a baked potato even if it has some butter in it because I know my body needs a complete meal, and it will make me feel satisfied with what I ate. I never thought that going vegan would help me, a rigid person in all areas of my life, become more flexible. It is just one reminder of many that a plant-based diet doesn’t simply change what you eat, it changes who you are!

For those just starting your plant-based diet, you too should strive to embrace flexibility. You will learn to assume there won’t be food for you when eating outside of your home and be flexible as a result. Making this assumption you can decide, for this dinner, you will be okay having some cheese so you can have one of the entrees. Or maybe you want to stick to plant-based eating that day and will make a meal by combining sides at the restaurant. Or maybe you decide to eat something beforehand so you can still have a meal to fuel your body. Get used to always having extra snacks for unexpected situations so you have the option to stick to plant-based eating and, more importantly, have something to eat. And, of course, there will be times when you can’t plan ahead—sometimes you may have to eat something you don’t want to, and that’s okay. It’s ultimately more important that you fuel your body, even if it is with a food you are avoiding. Over time, you will establish a routine as a plant-based eater and learn how and when you’d like to or need to be flexible and stray from the diet. Trust me when I say flexibility is one of the biggest keys to longevity as a plant-based eater!

As a plant-based eater, always pack snacks! Source

Tip 5: Consider costs

I recognize that I am privileged to have enough money to put food on the table. Unfortunately, for many people, this is not a reality, and the option to spend more money for plant-based products does not exist. Veganism has a long way to go in terms of accessibility, but that’s why sharing this information is so important—the more people who go plant-based, the more we increase the demand for plant-based products and push our country to make these products more cost-effective and more widely available. We have a long way ahead of us to make accessibility a reality, but the plant-based industry is steadily growing! By 2030, the industry is expected to double!

Unfortunately, as it stands right now, if you do buy the plant-based meat and dairy alternatives (which are the most expensive plant-based products) or go out for plant-based meals at all, then it’s likely you will spend more on food. If you are planning to go plant-based, it’s important to determine how many of the more expensive plant-based products you can afford. And consider your food preferences and desires too—the last thing we want is for you to spend more for plant-based products but find you are less satisfied with what you eat. This is not to say you should write off plant-based eating if you can’t routinely afford the more expensive plant-based products. It’s just a reminder that cost is certainly a factor with a plant-based diet. 

The global value of plant-based foods from 2020-2030 in billions of U.S. dollars. Source

I will remind you, though, that many of the foods you eat every day, and are likely already purchasing, are plant-based. All fruits and vegetables (in their unprocessed form), grains (like rice, oats, wheat, barley, quinoa), legumes (like beans, chickpeas, soybeans, peanuts, and lentils), and nuts are vegan! That covers quite a lot of food products! If you are eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet, these items will be the large bulk of your diet. It is the plant-based meats and dairy alternatives (cheese, sour cream, milks), which are not necessarily essential for your nutritional needs and often highly processed, that tend to make a plant-based person’s grocery bill increase. And for animal-meat-eating folks, it’s meat products that are actually one of the most expensive things at the grocery store, even more than conventional veggies and fruits. So going plant-based isn’t necessarily exponentially more expensive, as many assume.

Tip 6: Get support, take advantage of resources!

Ask your plant-based friends questions about their experiences. Ask your friends for recipes. Go to plant-based restaurants and festivals near you! And take advantage of the tons of online resources like these: 

  • Vegnews– massive plant-based media outlet. Includes a magazine, website, recipes, reviews, travel, a podcast, news, and more!
  • Forks Over Knives– recipes, meal plans, health information, the Forks Over Knives documentary, and more!
  • Vegan Outreach– a nonprofit organization spreading information about the vegan diet. They have a vegan mentor program where you can get a mentor to help you in your plant-based journey. You can also sign up for 10 Weeks to Vegan for free, which includes a weekly email full of tips and resources to help you make the transition to a vegan diet. 
  • Purple Carrot– A vegan meal delivery service! Just like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron, you can select from many recipes each week and get them delivered right to your door for easy prep and delicious eating! While this is costly, it can be a great way to try new recipes and get ideas at the start of your plant-based journey! You can also access all of their recipes for free on their website if you want the inspiration but not the price!
The 10 Weeks To Vegan program at Vegan Outreach. Source
  • Nora Cooks– vegan recipes!
  • A Virtual Vegan– more vegan recipes!
  •– a center of vegan information! Includes guides, health information, recipes, an FAQ page, and more!  
  • Happy Cow– Great website to find plant-based restaurant reviews and restaurants near you! Also includes a blog and other tips of vegan living. Available as an app, too!
  • No Meat Athlete– A hub of information for plant-based athletes!
  • There are so many places to draw support from, so take advantage of them to make your plant-based journey exciting and successful!


I hope you feel more comfortable starting your plant-based journey with my tips and the resources I’ve provided. For those making the change, I am so excited for you to experience plant-based eating and all that comes with it! 

Stay tuned next week for a comprehensive guide of staple plant-based foods!

Thanks for reading!

-Lindsey 🙂 

Recipe of the Week: Homemade Vegan Feta Cheese!

I discovered this recipe after being at an event that served feta and wondering how I might be able to veganize it at home. (There are pretty good vegan fetas you can buy from the store, but if you want a cheaper, less processed option, this is a great recipe). Again, I’m sending you to someone else because so many of my favorite recipes come from other people! This week it’s vegan feta cheese from Melanie McDonald at I follow this recipe pretty loosely now and often just taste test and adjust until it’s just right. The recipe calls for coconut oil but you really don’t need it. I have made this recipe without coconut oil every time, and it’s always delicious (I don’t like coconut and it’s also expensive). So, no worries if you’re missing it! 

I like to make this feta and leave it in the creamy blender form and make a meal of it. I’ll cook up some bulgur wheat, crisp some chickpeas, and chop some cucumber, bell peppers, or lettuce. Then I’ll add it all to a bowl and top with the feta! Since I started making this meal it has been a staple for me! 

One Bite at a Time – Part 3!

Lindsey Gallagher (they/them) is a non-binary nonfiction writer from Shelter Island, New York. They are currently pursuing their MFA at Northern Arizona University. They serve as the Editor-in-Chief of Thin Air Magazine and teach English Composition. Their work can be found in The Oval and The Palhouse Review. Outside of writing, they enjoy running and outdoor adventures of many sorts.

The Many Benefits of Plant-based Diets!

Welcome back! Last week I talked about some pretty terrifying numbers in terms of the impact animal agriculture has on the planet. Now it’s time to talk about the potential a plant-based diet has to help reduce climate change, along with some other benefits to humanity and animals!

Combating Climate Change

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Getting rid of animal agriculture and substituting it with plant-based diets is “our best and most immediate chance to reverse the trajectory of climate change,” say scientists at Stanford and UC Berkeley based on a recent model

Perhaps the biggest impact a move to a plant-based diet will have is on greenhouse gas emissions. The model referenced above is just one piece of evidence among many on how emissions would change. The model, created by scientists at Stanford and UC Berkeley, sought to determine what the impacts on greenhouse gas emissions would be as a result of transitioning away from animal agriculture. The researchers concluded, a global move to a plant-based diet “would effectively halt the increase of atmospheric greenhouse gases for 30 years and give humanity more time to end its reliance on fossil fuels” (Than). Based on researchers Patrick Brown and Michael Eisen’s estimations, getting rid of animal agriculture could “reduce net emissions by the equivalent of around 1,350 Gt CO2 this century. To put this number in perspective, total anthropogenic CO2 emissions since industrialization are estimated to be around 1,650 Gt” (Eisen and Brown). But the biggest finding from the model is that “eliminating animal agriculture has the potential to offset 68 percent of current anthropogenic CO2 emissions.” That is absolutely massive and, I think, a great cause for optimism. By changing just this one aspect of our lives (though it won’t be easy) we could do so much!

Annual emissions and projected atmospheric concentrations of GHGs under Business as Usual (red) and with a 15-year phaseout of animal agriculture (green). Source

The researchers also broke down emissions and impacts of specific animal products and categories. The main takeaway from this is that a completely plant-based diet (a vegan diet) is not necessary to achieve massive reductions in emissions. A diet without red meat has almost just as much of a positive impact as a full vegan diet! Ruminants (cattle, buffalo, sheep, and goats) make up 90% of the projected annualized CO2 emissions through 2100. Therefore, just by replacing ruminants we can achieve 90% of the benefit of phasing out animal agriculture. That means you can still eat chicken and eggs, which are some of the “most efficient animal products on a per protein basis,” as they have per protein emissions 25 times less than that of ruminant meat. The bottom line: you don’t have to give up everything animal-based! 

I’ve broken down the main takeaways from this model, but there are many more details that I haven’t included. To read the full publication in PLoS Climate go here

Many other studies have similar findings. In the 2022 report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) listed a move toward plant-based diets as holding great potential for reducing emissions. A 2020 study in Nature Sustainability found that “shifts in global food production to plant-based diets by 2050 could lead to sequestration of 332–547 GtCO2, equivalent to 99–163% of the CO2 emissions budget” which would drastically improve the chances of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C. Data from Our World In Data (see graphic) reveals that less meat still has a lower impact than sustainably produced meat. More and more across the board, the findings are reaching the same conclusion: plant-based diets could seriously curtail global emissions. 


Last week I spent some time discussing the water footprint of various food products. What I found from my research is that animal products (especially meat) have higher water footprints than plant-based products. And, as you can guess, by moving toward plant-based diets there is great potential to save water, which is becoming an increasingly precious (and always essential) resource. 

A 2016 study in Science of the Total Environment found that a vegetarian diet leads to water footprint reductions of 30-53%. Another study in Water Resources and Industry determined that agriculture makes up 92% of the freshwater footprint of humans and almost one-third of this footprint comes directly from or relates to animal products. By moving away from animal agriculture, humans themselves would have much greater access to water. Addressing clean water access is majorly important; in 2019 the World Health Organization reported that 1 in 3 people did not have access to clean drinking water. 

Other Environmental Impacts

Animal agriculture is a major contributor to deforestation. Recall that 35% of the earth’s habitable land is used for animal agriculture (grazing and land used for animal food production). A landmark 2019 study published in Science by Joseph Poore and Thomas Nemecek revealed that a move to plant-based diets could lower the amount of land used for food by 3.1 billion hectares, which is a 76% reduction. 

Pollution and Environmental Racism 

Pollution is another place where the plant-based diet could help. Agriculture is one of the top sources of air pollution in the U.S. This is an issue for the environment because harmful gases like methane, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide are released into the atmosphere from farms (mostly from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs). However, this is also a major human health issue. A 2021 PNAS study, which estimated the health impacts of air quality, found that “80% of the 15,900 annual deaths that result from food-related fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) pollution are attributable to animal-based foods.” That’s 12,720 deaths. The Washington Post ran an article specifically about this, with a focus on North Carolina, the state with the fourth most CAFOs in the U.S.

As The Washington Post explains, “the most insidious kinds of air pollution are known as particulate matter (PM) 2.5—tiny particles one-thirtieth the width of a human hair, which can become lodged in lungs or absorbed into the bloodstream. Exposure to PM 2.5 can lead to asthma and other breathing problems, and over the long term increases the risk of dying of heart disease, cancer, and stroke.” 

Waste from CAFOs is often put in spray fields around the farm. And the waste doesn’t stay there; it seeps into the surrounding environment in various ways (air pollution, run off, etc.). Source: 2013 Donn Young Photography 

And air pollution is not the only impact of CAFOs. The National Association of Local Boards of Health identifies nine environmental health effects of CAFOs including: groundwater, surface water, air quality, greenhouse gases and climate, odors, insect vectors, pathogens, antibiotics, and other effects (property values). 

But returning to CAFO-caused pollution, another issue emerges: environmental racism. In 2019 I did a research project called “CAFOs and the Poverty Position: Understanding the Impacts of CAFOs on Human Well-being.” What my research revealed was that U.S. counties with large concentrations of CAFOs had a great poverty level and a larger Black population. For my research, I largely focused on North Carolina, because at the time it had the greatest number of CAFOs in the U.S. Here’s one snippet from my research that reveals the CAFOs as a site of environmental injustice and racism:

The two North Carolina counties with the most CAFOs, Duplin County and Sampson County had 300 and 296 CAFOs, respectively. These two counties also have high poverty levels in comparison to surrounding areas (Duplin with 24.3% and Sampson with 26.3%). Alternatively, Wake County is one of two counties in the state with a poverty percentage below 12%. Its CAFOs count is 0. 

Beyond poverty, Duplin, Sampson, Wayne, and Bladen County, which have some of the state’s highest CAFO numbers, also hold the highest Black populations in the state. It’s no coincidence that the areas with the greatest numbers of CAFOs in the state are part of the Black Belt, a band of the south where large populations of slaves once worked on plantations. The impacts of this still reverberate.

“A century later, [B]lack residents of this region still experience high rates of poverty, poor health care, low educational attainment, unemployment and substandard housing,” says Nicole Wendee, science writer and researcher. Due to the clustering of CAFOs in poverty-stricken minority communities and their health effects, both environmental injustice and racism concerns have been raised for this region.

In the context of this blog, by moving to a plant-based diet we can reduce the demand for CAFOs and help reduce negative impacts on human health and cases of environmental racism.

A North Carolina home next to a CAFO. Source: 2013 Donn Young Photography 

Human Health

It is well-known that one’s diet is strongly linked to one’s health. There are many health benefits to be gained from a plant-based diet. To briefly summarize, “Studies ha[ve] shown that people following vegetarian and near-vegetarian diets have significantly lower prevalence of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer, and gallbladder disease, compared with non-vegetarians. In clinical trials, low-fat plant-based diets reduce body weight and blood pressure, and improve plasma lipid concentrations and glycemic control.” 

On the topic of cancer, there are strong links between a vegetarian diet and decreased risk. In 2015, the World Health Organization categorized red meat as possibly carcinogenic to humans and processed meats (bacon, sausage, jerky, ham, etc.) as carcinogenic to humans. The epidemiological studies used as the basis for the categorization established a strong link between the consumption of processed meat and colorectal cancer. There were also links, though not as strong, between processed meat consumption and stomach cancer. In terms of the risk of eating processed meat, according to WHO, “an analysis of data from 10 studies estimated that every 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by about 18%.” Red meat was also linked to colorectal cancer and showed possible links to pancreatic and prostate cancer, too.

Cancer is not the only thing the plant-based diet can help protect you from. A plant-based diet can reduce your risk of heart disease, which is caused by the buildup of plaque from cholesterol. The staples of an animal-based diet—meat, dairy, and eggs—are naturally high in saturated fat and cholesterol. A 2019 study that followed over 400,000 participants for almost 13 years concluded that consuming red and processed meat increases one’s risk of heart disease for every 100 grams eaten. A 2021 study in Cardiovascular Research determined, “the evidence is highly concordant in showing that, for the healthy adult population, low consumption of salt and foods of animal origin, and increased intake of plant-based foods—whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts—are linked with reduced atherosclerosis [a form of cardiovascular disease] risk. The same applies for the replacement of butter and other animal/tropical fats with olive oil and other unsaturated-fat-rich oil.” 

It’s also been concluded by multiple studies that a plant-based diet can lower one’s chances of hypertension (this is mostly because plants have a lot of potassium, which lowers blood pressure). In terms of mental health, there is evidence suggesting that plant-based diets can reduce depression and anxiety. 

Many of the links between a diet of animal-products and poor health outcomes are newly established and still being studied. However, more and more research is reaching the same conclusion: a plant-based diet is one of the best interventions for improving health. Though, moving to a plant-based diet does mean you need to be aware of your intake of some vital nutrients that aren’t as prevalent or easily absorbed in plant-based products—but we’ll discuss this next week! This short section is by no means an exhaustive list of the health impacts of one’s diet so I would highly recommend checking out the health topics page on Forks Over Knives if you are curious about more of the diseases and health conditions that a plant-based diet can help combat!

Animal Well-being 

Content warning: graphic language

One last thing worth mentioning is how animals in CAFOs are treated. The only law protecting farmed animals is the Humane Slaughter Act, which was passed in 1958. According to US Legal under this act, “the slaughtering of livestock and the handling of livestock in connection with slaughter must be carried out only by humane methods.” Humane methods include: 

  1. “In the case of cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep, swine, and other livestock, all animals are rendered insensible to pain by a single blow or gunshot or an electrical, chemical or other means that is rapid and effective, before being shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast, or cut; or
  2. by slaughtering in accordance with the ritual requirements of the Jewish faith or any other religious faith that prescribes a method of slaughter whereby the animal suffers loss of consciousness by anemia of the brain caused by the simultaneous and instantaneous severance of the carotid arteries with a sharp instrument and handling in connection with such slaughtering.”
Pigs kept in close confinement at a CAFO in North Carolina. Source: 2013 Donn Young Photography 

But this law concerns only the slaughtering. It says nothing about how the animals are kept between their arrival to the facility and their slaughter. And it’s no secret that conditions for the animals are abysmal. Animals are kept in dark, small spaces for long periods of time. Pigs are often kept in gestation crates during pregnancy and egg-laying hens are often kept in cages that prevent them from even turning around. There are many other inhumane methods used across large-scale farms, and this is not an animal rights blog, so I’ll let you defer to PETA for that.


There are many reasons to consider a plant-based diet, whether it’s for environmental reasons, human health and well-being, or animal rights. Everyone has their own perspective and experiences to consider as they make their personal choice. Regardless, I hope I’ve inspired some of you to consider a more sustainable alternative (across many fronts) to an animal-based diet. When considering a decision like this, remember to take it one bite at a time! 

Stay tuned to hear about how to actually go about reducing your consumption of animal-products and moving to a plant-based diet with practical tips and resources, along with my own experience!

Thanks for reading!


Recipe of the week: Ratatouille!

This week I am deferring to Tasty for another one of my favorite meals. Ratatouille is a purely vegetable-based dish originating in France. It typically consists of tomato, bell pepper, onion, zucchini, squash, and eggplant with a few spices and herbs like garlic, thyme, and basil. In this recipe, the vegetables are sliced with a mandolin or knife, which is relatively labor intensive and time-consuming, but entirely worth it! (To save time you can also buy pre-sliced veggies for a bit more money, if desired). There are many ways to prepare this dish but this specific recipe is wonderfully flavorful! Check out the recipe here. Thanks, Tasty!

P.S. This meal is best when paired with a viewing of the movie Ratatouille. My sister and I like to celebrate New Year’s in this very way—spending time together slicing the veggies and carefully ordering them in a circular dish. Then we sit down with our bowls and have ratatouille with Ratatouille

One Bite at a Time – Part 2!

Lindsey Gallagher (they/them) is a non-binary nonfiction writer from Shelter Island, New York. They are currently pursuing their MFA at Northern Arizona University. They serve as the Editor-in-Chief of Thin Air Magazine and teach English Composition. Their work can be found in The Oval and The Palhouse Review. Outside of writing, they enjoy running and outdoor adventures of many sorts.

Animal Agriculture & the Climate Crisis

Welcome back! 

I’m sure you’ve heard about the impacts of animal agriculture on our environment and how it plays into the climate crisis somewhere. Maybe from a friend, maybe you’ve done research, maybe a vegan has told you. It doesn’t matter where you’ve heard it or if you’ve even heard about it before. What’s more important is to know the truth about the impacts of animal agriculture so you can make an educated choice about how you personally want to respond. I’m certainly not saying you have to go plant-based. Making that choice is up to you. I believe the impact of going plant-based has the most potential for change when it is truly a choice, a conscious decision, one makes. So, I’m here to help you see the big picture, to give you the facts, to show you what is behind a burger. 

What is animal agriculture?

First, let’s talk about animal agriculture (or the livestock sector of agriculture). Agriculture is simply the growth and production of food products. A significant part of agriculture is animal agriculture, or animal farming, which is “the breeding, raising and slaughter of animals for products intended for human use, as well as the growing of crops used to feed farmed animals” (Sentient Media). In fact, over 92 million animals, including cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, etc. cycle through this system to be used for food across the world each year. These animals are processed through the system in many ways:

  • Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs): As defined by the EPA, AFOs are “where animals are kept and raised in confined situations” and when the “animals have been, are, or will be stabled or confined and fed or maintained for a total of 45 days or more in any 12-month period.”
  • Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs): Sometimes called “factory farms,” CAFOs are simply larger AFOs. They are categorized, from small to large, by how many animals are confined. According to the EPA, a larger CAFO, for example, has over 1,000 cattle or over 125,000 chickens (excluding laying hens). A small one, on the other hand, has less than 300 cattle and less than 37,500 chickens (excluding laying hens).

Animal agriculture makes up a significant portion of the agriculture sector. Based on the 2017 Census of Agriculture, the most recent one, that year the United States had 2,042,220 farms (a farm is where at least $1,000 of agricultural products are made and sold). With 900.2 million acres of land, these farms covered 40% of the nation’s land. In terms of the farming specialization, cattle and dairy farms alone made up 44% of the nation’s farmland and 34% of the nation’s 2+ million farms. If you combine all farms that produce animal products (cattle and dairy farms, hog and pig farms, poultry and egg farms, and sheep and goat farms) they make up 54% of the nation’s farmland and 53% of farms. As you will soon see, the proportion of land used for animal agriculture in the U.S. isn’t quite as large as global proportions. However, animal agriculture still uses half of U.S. farmland and makes up half of the nation’s farms.

If you are interested in reading the full 820 page census report, go here.

Data from 2017 Census of Agriculture on Farm Specialization. Source

Moving to the global scale, livestock makes up 40% of the agricultural output in developed countries, 20% in developing ones. Despite this, livestock uses a disproportionate amount of habitable land on Earth. As you can see in the graphic below, 46% of the habitable land consists of agriculture most broadly. But 77% of the land for agriculture is used for livestock (grazing and land used for animal food production). Only 23% is left for crops that are for human consumption. Despite the incredible amount of land used for livestock, only 18% of global calories come from livestock; 82% comes from plant-based food. And though meat is touted for its protein content, only 37% of the world’s protein comes from meat and dairy. The majority of our protein, 63%, comes from plant-based food. Yes, plant-based food has protein.

What this graphic really shows is just how inefficient animal agriculture is, taking up incredible amounts of space for a rather marginal output in terms of food production across the globe. And the 37 million km2 of land used for livestock has a massive environmental impact, which we’ll explore now. 

Animal Agriculture’s Impacts


An incredible number of resources go into creating the package of meat you see on the shelves at the grocery store. Perhaps the most valuable of those resources is water. And animal products have water footprints that are generally above other food products. The worst offender is beef, which requires 1,850 gallons of water for the production of 1 pound of the meat. This exact number is contested, and it also depends on the animal and how it is raised/produced. However, most agree that 1,800-2,000 gallons of water is the range of the footprint. In terms of categories, meat requires much more water than all other foods (vegetables, grains, fruit, dairy). Here are some water footprints of animal and plant-based products to consider (in gallons required to produce 1 pound): 

Pork = 720 gallonsSoy burger = 452 gallons
Butter = 668 gallonsSoybeans = 256 gallons
Lamb and mutton = 626 gallonsWheat = 220 gallons
Chicken = 520 gallonsTofu = 304 gallons 
Eggs= 392 gallonsBrown rice = 260 gallons
Cheese (cow’s milk) = 380 gallonsBroccoli = 36 gallons 

For more water footprints check out this awesome calculator!

I should let you know, though, that nuts have sizable water footprints—almost as much as, and in some cases more than, meat. Almonds required 1,932 gallons of water for 1 pound, cashews 1,708 gallons. So, this is not to say that all plant-based foods have a lower water footprint. However, as a whole, plant-based foods use less water than meat and dairy products. 

Some other bad news: chocolate has the highest water footprint of all foods at 2,064 gallons of water needed to produce one pound. The calculator doesn’t specify if this is dairy or non-dairy chocolate, but either way this is sad news for chocolate lovers (like me).

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Perhaps the largest impact of animal agriculture comes from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the most prominent being methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide. Animal agriculture produces GHGs in a number of ways:

  • Crop and soil management: Although nitrous oxide is something soil naturally makes, human activities that change the nitrogen content of the soil increase the amount of nitrous oxide produced. Some of these activities include using manure as fertilizer, using nitrogen fertilizer, draining soils with a lot of organic matter, and irrigation and other alterations to land.
  • Livestock digestive process (enteric fermentation): When microbes break down food and ferment food in the animal’s digestive tract, they produce methane which is expelled into the environment through burps and flatulence.
  • Manure management: Manure is a source of methane when it is managed under anaerobic conditions (lacking free oxygen) like in liquids and slurries (try not to picture that). In recent decades, a movement toward liquid manure management systems to manage larger farms led to an increase in manure methane production. If manure is handled as a solid, little to no methane is produced. However, nitrous oxide is also produced by both manure and urine, and solid manure management systems produce nitrous oxide. 

Now the question is: just how many GHGs are produced by animal agriculture?

On the global level, livestock is responsible for 7.1 gigatons of carbon dioxide per year, which is 14.5% of GHG emissions. The information I could find from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and this report estimate that:

  • Methane = 44% of animal agriculture’s emissions. Also, 44% of the world’s methane emissions across all sectors. 
  • Nitrous oxide = 29% of animal agriculture’s emissions. Also, 54% of the world’s nitrous oxide emissions across all sectors.
  • Carbon dioxide = 27% of animal agriculture’s emissions. Also, 5% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions across all sectors. 

NOTE: The data in these bullet points reflect 2007 data, which was the latest I could find from a global report. Though the relative contribution of each GHG to livestock’s overall GHG emissions has fluctuated, the overall percentage of emissions from livestock (14.5%) has not changed by more than a few points (estimates range from 11%-17%). 

In the United States, 10% of emissions came from the agricultural sector (crops and livestock). You can read the full annual report that inventories GHG emissions and sinks here. But for a little more perspective on a smaller scale, for 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of beef almost 300 kilograms of carbon dioxide are emitted. As a reference, when you drive a car 1 mile, only 0.4 kilograms are emitted (this does add up quite a bit, and cars certainly have a bigger impact on carbon dioxide emissions than agriculture). 

While animal agriculture is not the largest source of GHG emissions in either the U.S or globally, it does make up a significant portion of emissions, enough so that by cutting down the emissions from the animal agriculture sector, we could make a sizable impact. 

Other Impacts

There are a number of other impacts on the planet caused by animal agriculture including deforestation, biodiversity loss, air pollution, and water pollution, amongst others. But I’ve gone on long enough now, so if you want to know more about these impacts, I’ll leave the research to you!

Beef production is responsible for 41% of tropical deforestation. Source

We’re at the end of this dense, research-filled post now. I do hope this is a helpful starting point! After these astounding numbers, I think it’s pretty clear just how effective a plant-based diet can be in terms of mitigating the climate crisis. 

Stay tuned to hear more about the potential a plant-based diet has to reduce climate change and other reasons why you should consider turning to a plant-based diet.

Thanks for reading!

Recipe of the Week: Balsamic Tofu

My partner discovered this recipe a few years ago. To this day, it is one of our favorite ways to have tofu!

  1. Press one block of tofu (pressing is always optional, but if you want a nice crunch and the balsamic flavor to be stronger, use a tofu press or simply something heavy on top of the tofu block to squeeze out excess water). 
  2. After the tofu has been pressed (~30 minutes), cut the block into cubes. Place in a sealable container that is large enough so you don’t have to stack the tofu cubes on top of one another too much. 
  3. In another container that seals, like a mason jar (so you can shake to mix it), add:
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • Slightly less than 3 tbsp sugar (or sweetener of choice)
  • Slightly less than ¾ tsp salt
  • 3 generous shakes of garlic powder
  1. Once you’ve added the ingredients, shake the container to thoroughly mix.
  2. Pour the balsamic marinade over the tofu cubes in the larger container.
  3. Seal the container and place in the fridge for at least 8 hours. I would recommend letting it marinade overnight (up to 24 hours) for maximum flavor. 
  4. Once the tofu is marinaded, place on a baking sheet coated with oil. Don’t let the excess marinade spill out on the baking sheet. Save that in the container—you’ll use it later!
  5. Place in an oven at 425° for about 30 mins (flip the tofu halfway through). Monitor the tofu throughout the cooking stage as the amount of excess water in the block will determine how quickly it will crunch up. 
  6. Enjoy! I love this tofu with a grain (like a bowl of brown rice) and a veggie (like some asparagus cooked with some of the excess marinade). Combine the tofu, grain, and veggie in a bowl and dig in!


A moment of reflection as we celebrate Juneteenth

By TYLER TERMEER, PHD, Chief Executive Officer, The San Francisco AIDS Foundation (excerpted from his newsletter)

. . . Growing up I wasn’t familiar with Juneteenth because it wasn’t taught about in my school or even recognized or celebrated in the community in which I lived. I grew up in a predominately white city, in a part of town in which my grandparents fought hard to be able to purchase land and set their children, grandchildren, and future generations of our family up for the best possible success. 

I was, however, familiar with Juneteenth because I have had the privilege of growing up in a Black household that strongly believed in the power of storytelling and the importance of lifting up the lived experiences of our ancestors—no matter how painful that history may be.  

And while it is impossible to have any legitimate discussion of the HIV epidemic in America—or any other health or socio-economic disparity for that matter—without discussing race, we can’t ignore the fact that the discussion needs to go far beyond that as well. Conditions such as poverty, education and economic injustice, racial and gender bias, gender-based violence, mass incarceration, and the resulting impact of trauma are all conditions that have been intentionally ingrained in our society and help create an environment for the HIV epidemic to thrive. 

The legacy of slavery, violence against and systemic oppression of Black people hangs heavy over the U.S. and has always permeated our sociopolitical climate.  

As Black people we have always had to fight, and we are STILL fighting today! 

Over the past several years, we have had to stand strong and fight back against the efforts of the previous administration and Congress to suppress Black activism defend and give cover to violent white supremacists, disparage African countries, and relentlessly attack the health care safety net upon which Black people living with and vulnerable to HIV rely.  

Now, as Black people we don’t need anyone to tell us that the fight for equity and onwards to liberation is far from over. 

So, to honor my ancestors today, I am going to ground us with a story. This story should be as common of knowledge among us as the route knowledge we have of the Independence Day Celebration we create space for here in the U.S. every year—but for many complicated, layered, and racist reasons—it is not as widely known.

On June 19, two days after his arrival and nearly 170 years ago this week, Major General Gordon Granger steamed into the port of Galveston, Tex. With 1,800 Union soldiers where he stood on the balcony of a building in downtown Galveston and read General Order No. 3 to the assembled crowd below. “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” 

The jubilation following Granger’s announcement in Galveston moved across Texas, quickly reaching the state’s 250,000 enslaved people. A year later, a spontaneous holiday called Juneteenth—formed from the words June and nineteenth. 

Still, approximately 170 years after its birth, Juneteenth remains largely unacknowledged on America’s national calendar. Many Americans have been unaware of its existence until recent years, or its roots. Sadly, that ignorance of Juneteenth reflects a deeper issue: the continued existence of two histories, black and white, separate, and unequal. 

Frederick Douglass voiced that fundamental divide in a memorable speech on July 4, 1852. “The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me,” he said. “This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine.” 

Juneteenth is the flip side of the Independence Day coin. One hundred and seventy years after General Granger told the enslaved people of Texas they were free, Juneteenth is viewed by many of those who are aware of it as an “African-American holiday.” 

That perception, however, unfairly diminishes the fundamental significance of Juneteenth. The day should be recognized for what it is: a shared point of pride in the symbolic end of centuries of racial slavery—a crime against humanity and the great stain on America’s soul. As meaningful as Independence Day itself, Juneteenth completes the circle, reaffirming “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as the rights of all, not a select few. 

So, this coming weekend as SFAF recognizes this day and as we continue our work it’s a stark reminder to pause and remember the important commitment we have made to racial and health justice for all as a framework—not just in passing conversation or the focus of one piece of our work, but in our day-to-day practice.  

Juneteenth is a day of celebration. It is also an opportunity to begin to articulate a collective vision for addressing HIV and drug user health in our communities—one that is grounded in racial and social justice; and builds on the inherent strengths and resilience in our communities.  

It is an opportunity to uplift Black leaders and highlight the innovative programming of our Black Health Team and the creative and engaging work so many other programs here at SFAF are creating for Black people—programming that is community-born and driven. It serves as a reminder that there should be nothing about us, without us. 

As the founder of Green Writers Press, I remain committed to listening, learning, and growing together, and to making the continued investments that lift up our commitment to equity and racial justice. 

Thanks for all your support!
The GWP Team

One Bite at a Time!

By Lindsey Gallagher

Lindsey Gallagher (they/them) is a non-binary nonfiction writer from Shelter Island, New York. They are currently pursuing their MFA at Northern Arizona University. They serve as the Editor-in-Chief of Thin Air Magazine and teach English Composition. Their work can be found in The Oval and The Palhouse Review. Outside of writing, they enjoy running and outdoor adventures of many sorts.

Welcome to One Bite at a Time!

As part of my work for Green Writers Press this summer I wanted to create a blog that fits GWP’s mission to build awareness for the ongoing climate catastrophe. This blog will bring awareness to the impacts of animal agriculture on our planet. But it’s not just about awareness; it’s about action. Over the course of the summer, I will explore the various ways to reduce the impact of our current food system (hint: it involves a plant-based diet!) and be part of building a more sustainable one. My hope is to make the adjustment from a meat, egg, and dairy-based diet to a plant-based diet more manageable (to take it one bite at a time) to encourage a larger number of people to adopt a more sustainable diet. If you’ve ever considered adopting a plant-based diet (that includes vegan or vegetarian) or want to learn more about them then this is the place for you!

Source: Purple Carrot.

Topics this blog will explore include:

  • The impacts of animal agriculture on the planet
  • Benefits of reducing your consumption of animal products
  • Practical steps for reducing your animal product consumption 
  • A guide to staple plant-based foods
  • Reviews of my favorite plant-based products 
  • My own experience as a vegan and challenges I’ve faced in my journey
  • Conversations with others who follow a plant-based diet 
  • Plant-based recipes for you to try
  • And more!!!

Note: I will use both the terms “vegan” and “plant-based,” which are sometimes used interchangeably. They are, however, not the same thing. Here is how I define them:

  • Vegan: a diet that excludes all foods that come from animals (such as meat, dairy, eggs, and, for some, honey).
  • Plant-based: a diet that is mostly made up of vegetables, grains, and other foods that come from plants instead of animal products. 

My journey to veganism

Growing up on Shelter Island

I grew up in a small town, an island actually, called Shelter Island. The island is nestled between the two forks of eastern Long Island and requires a ferry ride to get to. My hometown had a population just above 3,000. There is one school on the island that is K-12. The entire school has just over 200 kids. I had only 23 people in my graduating class in high school. Growing up on Shelter Island was a unique experience, to say the least.

As a kid I spent most of my time outside—either at the beach, biking around my neighborhood, playing in my yard, or taking camping trips with my family. A lot of our outdoor adventures were influenced by my dad, who has been a Forest Ranger for New York State all my life. From a young age he taught me how to both love and respect the natural world. He showed me how to take care of the environment and be responsible when in it (as in, be prepared with the right gear and know the place you are going. It’s irresponsible to just show up, that’s when things go wrong). Thanks to my dad I quickly became aware of various ways to decrease my environmental impact and be part of the solution to climate change. Still, we never talked about one’s diet as a tool for reducing environmental impact. 

My hometown had only one small grocery store with limited selection and most restaurants were heavily seafood and meat based. You could find a few vegetarian options but finding a vegan option that wasn’t merely a salad would be a challenge. Of course, I never paid attention to this growing up on Shelter Island for I deeply loved my steak, cheese, sour cream, and milk chocolate. I did have an aunt who was vegetarian but I didn’t know anyone else who had a diet anything like hers, whether that was vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, or simply plant-based.

Onto College

Then I went to college. Spending my first year and a half of college in a big city (St. Louis) after growing up on Shelter Island was like entering a new world. Grocery stores were open past 7pm! In fact, I could get food at the dining hall until 1am. Something was always open and there were restaurants of all sorts—I could get any kind of cuisine I wanted. For the first time I was directly exposed to many types of food that Shelter Island didn’t have like Chinese, Mediterranean, Thai, Caribbean, and Indian. But besides trying new kinds of food I also met new people. This was the most diverse environment I had ever been in! Some of the people I met were vegetarian and vegan. These people, and noticing labels on foods in the dining halls, were my first introduction to the vegan diet.

Still, the idea of reducing my consumption of animal products was not something I considered for myself. I remember saying I would never and could never be vegetarian in high school. Why would I give up steak? And, as a runner, I believed I’d never get enough protein or iron. High school Lindsey was simply not educated. Ultimately, despite new exposure to these diets in my freshman year of college, I wasn’t any more compelled to give up animal products.

On the Road

But then things changed. In the summer before my sophomore year of college I took a month-long road trip around the United States hiking, camping, running, and adventuring around the nation’s protected outdoor spaces. Since my travel companions and I were living out of a car, our fridge was a cooler whose temperatures varied greatly depending on how frequently we could get ice. Out of fear of getting sick from poorly kept meat, we just didn’t buy meat for our meals for the month. During the trip I had meat on only a few occasions at restaurants. And as we explored many epic natural spaces across the country, I began to see how many of them were in great danger from climate change. I wanted to do something because I couldn’t imagine my life without places like those to explore. Realizing I had eaten mostly vegetarian for the month, I decided I would become a vegetarian. Certainly, the mountains and trees were more important to me than a ribeye.

Me hugging a Redwood on my road trip!

Becoming a Vegetarian

I returned home after the trip and did just that, becoming a vegetarian with Emma (my sister), who agreed to try it with me. Over the summer, we spent time trying new recipes and adjusting to a meatless diet. In the fall, I went back to school and took advantage of the many vegetarian options in the dining hall. But after less than half a year I began to think about my consumption of dairy and eggs—if I was doing this (being vegetarian) to decrease my environmental impact then eliminating other animal products on top of meat would certainly help, right? 

Onto Veganism

I consulted a vegan friend who encouraged me to try it out and offered some of her favorite recipes. But I knew that giving up cheese, which was a topping on almost all of my meals, would be a real challenge. Still, I decided to give it a try, for I could always go back to being vegetarian. And again, Emma agreed to do it with me—neither one of us was alone in our journey. When I returned home for winter break, I enjoyed one last rice and bean burrito full of sour cream and cheese. Then I began my journey as a vegan. The very first thing I made was this vegan quiche (thanks tofu) for Christmas! It’s already been 2.5 years since I took that step!

Stay tuned to hear more about all things plant-based! Next week we will explore how animal agriculture contributes to the climate crisis…

Thanks for reading!

-Lindsey 🙂

Welcome GWP’s Summer 2023 Interns!


Livia Cohen (Summer Fellowship) is a student at Middlebury College where she is majoring in History and Religion. Her favorite go-to book genre is memoirs (especially when written by rock stars). Raised in Atlanta, she loves the heat but has been enjoying the change of pace in Vermont where she can snowboard, rock climb, and mountain bike in her free time.

Lindsey Gallagher (they/them) (Summer Fellowship) is a non-binary nonfiction writer from Shelter Island, New York. They are currently pursuing their MFA at Northern Arizona University. They serve as the Editor-in-Chief of Thin Air Magazine and teach English Composition. Their work can be found in The Oval and The Palhouse Review. Outside of writing, they enjoy running and outdoor adventures of many sorts.

Marissa Graf (Summer Fellowship) works in college admissions and does freelance editorial work in Austin, Texas. She is thrilled to join the Green Writers Press team! She graduated from Austin College, a small liberal arts school, with a double major in English and Spanish and a minor in Art. Marissa is naturally drawn to fiction, especially mystery, and romance, but is excited to work with children’s and young adult books. You can often find her hiking, traveling, spending time outdoors, fostering puppies, and, of course, reading. Marissa hopes to open a bookshop someday and maybe even write a children’s book of her own.

Paul Hargitt (Summer Fellowship) is a recent graduate from Wabash College, where he majored in Philosophy. He became interested in the publishing industry after a conversation with his career advisor, who suggested that he should consider looking into the publishing industry if he enjoys reading and writing. In his free time, Paul enjoys taking walks with his dog, spending time with friends, and exploring new places.

Haley Smith Hutchinson is a senior at Middlebury College in Vermont where she studies Creative Writing and Psychology. Originally from the Mendocino Coast in California, she has learned how community can be cultivated through connection to local ecologies. Haley is particularly interested in telling stories of place through the unique ways individuals and organisms experience places physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. Haley enjoys exploring new and familiar environments while hiking, running, swimming, and writing poetry.

Ana Kusserow-Lair is a recent graduate of Colgate University where she was a Benton Scholar, majoring in English Literature and Creative Writing with a minor in Art History. She was born and raised in Underhill, Vermont, and spends as much time as she can there. She has been riding horses since she was 6 years old and is an avid cross-country eventer and loves working in horse barns.  She has also traveled the world with her family, from South Sudan to India. In her spare time, you can find her listening to an Audiobook or podcast, riding, mucking stalls, traveling and hanging out with her family on their back porch, looking at Mt. Mansfield and hoping a thunderstorm will pass through.

Tess Redman is a rising senior at Duke University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Creative Writing and Spanish Studies. Her favorite literary genres are suspense/thriller and fantasy, specifically magical realism. Her (probably too many) hobbies include prose writing, playwriting, singing, dancing, and listening to fiction podcasts.

Avantika Singh is a rising senior at Edgemont Junior-Senior High School. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys watching video essays, being a Formula 1 fan, and eating good food.

Ella Spungenis a senior at Brown University studying English and Science, Technology, and Society, with a focus in the environmental humanities. She also edits and writes for The College Hill Independent. She loves finding new spots around town, whether Providence or her hometown of Brooklyn, to read and/or identify plants.

Olivia White is a Vermonter and Junior studying Graphic Design at Tufts University. She enjoys wandering in the quiet landscape of her hometown (Hartland, VT) as well as drawing and writing poetry. Her graphics and layout work for her campus’s student publications and her minor in Environmental Studies have led her to Green Writers Press. Olivia is very excited to learn a lot and to assist the GWP with book typography and design projects this Summer!

Celebrate National Poetry Month with GWP

Click to register!

Coming May 9th! Order from your local bookstore, or click below to preorder on Bookshop!

“This is a very provocative book, dangerous in the way it makes us think hard about what we might need to do to save Earth’s biosphere, our only home, from a mass extinction event that is being caused not by all of us, but by some of us in positions of power. We have a wonderfully articulated rhetoric for arguments in words, but we don’t have good rhetoric for actions in the world.  What would work best? What would be morally justified in the fight for the Earth, our extended body?  These are the questions that Collins explores here, and as we live these urgent questions through his characters they tug at our hearts and minds.  We need more books like this one.
Kim Stanley Robinson, author, Ministry for the Future

AuthorJennifer Ellis with Bernie Mittens

Advance Praise for Bernie’s Mitten Maker

“In the fine old Vermont tradition, Jen Ellis keeps it real—as well as warm and fuzzy. Not even going viral stays this crafter from her self-appointed rounds of neighborliness, generosity, and radical kindness. Bernie’s Mitten Maker is an engrossing memoir about the healing power of handwork and the generative potential of an openhanded approach to life. And when you think about it, what’s an upcycled, fleece-lined mitten but a wide open hand?”

Alison Bechdel, comic artist of Dykes to Watch Out For and Fun Home

Coming May 9th! Order from your local bookstore, or click below to preorder on Phoenix Books in Burlington:

Happy Spring from all of us at GWP!

Mason Goes Mushrooming Touring California!

The Primary 1 classroom at St. Helena Montessori School in Helena, California, had the pleasure to host Melany Kahn, the author of the children’s book, Mason Goes Mushrooming. The book offers an exploration of a young boy’s foraging adventures with his dog, Buddy, through four seasons and four woodland environments and is accompanied by kid-friendly recipes that take the foraged treasures from forest to frying pan. The book weaves simple science and education through playful, fungi-finding adventure. The children had the opportunity to smell and touch many different types of mushrooms and asked many questions. Parents, educators, bookstores, and librarians can find out more about Melany Kahn and the book on the author’s website.

News in 2023

GWP is starting the new year with an exciting slate of 2023 books coming out! We also have some staffing/freelance changes and a new intern (with more joining us this spring/summer).


Livia Cohen is a student at Middlebury College where she is majoring in History and Religion. Her favorite go-to book genre is memoirs (especially when written by rock stars). Raised in Atlanta, she loves the heat but has been enjoying the change of pace in Vermont where she can snowboard, rock climb, and mountain bike in her free time.



New Freelance Editors 2023

Cassie Fancher (Editor) is a writer, reader, editor, and former teacher and tutor from New Haven, Vermont. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Florida. She first became involved with Green Writers Press when her short story collection, Street of Widows, was awarded GWP’s Howard Frank Mosher Book Prize in 2019. More recently, her short story, “By the Way, This Isn’t What I Look Like” was published in the Nashville Review. Cassie currently lives in Central Florida, where she enjoys long walks in the swamp.

Sharyn Skeeter (Editor) was fiction, poetry, book review editor at Essence magazine and editor in chief at Black Elegance magazine. She taught journalism, writing, and literature at colleges and universities. Her poetry and articles have been published in magazines, journals, and anthologies. Dancing with Langston, her debut novel received the 2019 Gold Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year Award (Multicultural Adult Fiction). She has given readings and participated in literary events in the United States, India, and Singapore. She’s on the boards of Hugo House and Earth Creative and is a former trustee at ACT Theatre in Seattle.

Maria Tane (Associate Fiction Editor) is a student at the University of Amsterdam where she is majoring in Literary and Cultural Analysis, with a focus on environmental humanities. She has a soft spot for fantasy and sci-fi stories because of their ability to nudge people to think beyond what seems possible, which she thinks is a skill we all need to practice more and more right now. When the sun decides to come out in her rainy city, she enjoys having picnics outside by the water. When it doesn’t, she pairs the smell of rain with lavender tea and with writing her stories of magic looming at the edges of the mundane.

Upcoming Titles in 2023

In 2023, we have some new titles coming out (or just released) that may be of interest, as follows:

The Ice Sings Back by M Jackson (Oregon resident)

The Coconut Crab by Peter Fong (Hartland, VT resident, part-time)

the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life, a YA novel by Alcy Leyva (NYC)

The Views from Mount Hunger by Marjorie Ryerson (VT author)

Altar to an Erupting Sun by Chuck Collins (VT author)

Midnight Water: A Psychedelic Memoir by Katherine Maclean, Ph.D. (VT author)

Sundog Poetry Book Award Winner: Fire Index by Bethany Breitland (VT poet).

and last, but not least: Bernie’s Mitten Maker: A Memoir by Jen Ellis (VT author)

We are committed to publishing sustainably with care and respect for our authors and all our readers. Please join us in the new year to celebrate and be part of the journey! 

Our newest YA Fiction Signed

the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life

In the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life, we meet Imajin (his friends and family call him Maji), a sixteen-year-old African-American boy from the Bronx who, during one fateful summer, finds his world crumbling down around him. During his last class of the school year, he feels overwhelmed by the news of a young Internet celebrity taking his life in Brooklyn and another of a pregnant black woman held at gunpoint by cops. This is the same day that his favorite teacher and role model announces that he’s leaving the school before Maji’s senior year. Couple this with him internally dealing with the destruction of his family — his mother suffering from depression and his father slowly pulling away from his home — and Maji decides to run.

Run from everything.

Run from everyone.

Building a small raft out of materials from his neighborhood, and with nothing but the

Moby Dick book he stole from his teacher and a few printed maps, Maji sets sail down the Hudson River one night and out to the open sea hoping to find a miracle that would make his life special and worthwhile.  

the silent, subtle, ever-present perils of life is part coming-of-age story, part social commentary piece, part reimagining of a common classic — all aimed at a Young Adult audience. It’s bold and surreal, with elements of magical realism, but maintains a firm grasp on the issues we are facing in the here-and-now. 

Green Writers Press senior editor Rose Alexandre-Leach notes, “the book combines everything that the current contemporary writers are creating in the realm of exposing young readers to race relations in America through amazing storytelling and characters with the grandeur and imagination of classical literature.”

About the Author

Alcy Leyva is a Bronx-born multi-genre writer whose first two books in the Shades of Hell series, And Then There Were Crows and And Then There Were Dragons, were published by Black Spot Books. His short stories have appeared in the award-winning anthologies A Midnight Clear and Dead of Winter. He currently lives and teaches in New York City.




About the Cover Artist

Photo by Tony Powell

Kehinde Wiley (born February 28, 1977) is an African-American portrait painter based in New York City, who is known for his highly naturalistic paintings of Black people, frequently referencing the work of Old Master paintings. He was commissioned in 2017 to paint a portrait of former President Barack Obama for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, which has portraits of all previous American presidents. The Columbus Museum of Art, which hosted an exhibition of his work in 2007, describes his work as follows: “Wiley has gained recent acclaim for his heroic portraits which address the image and status of young African-American men in contemporary culture.” Wiley was included in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2018.

Artwork Credit: Kehinde Wiley, The Herring Net (Zakary Antoine and Samedy Pierre Louisson), 2017. © Kehinde Wiley. Courtesy of Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Pre-ordering info coming soon! 

Guest Post: Native American/Alaska Heritage Month

My life was informed by the brawls of a struggling family. It was shaped by the trees I climbed, and the trails I followed. It was molded by basic goodness and the poor food we scrapped for. My illiterate realities can be traced to a bone-tired mother who repeatedly fell asleep moments after laying down to read a nighttime story. My lack of understanding, in my child’s mind, about the sad and sorry secrets that were manifest in both parents but never really addressed, made the outdoors, with its mysteries and wonders, all the more my retreat. 

Six kids. Kittens flushed down the toilet . . . NO extra spent on cat food when we could hardly feed ourselves. Small balls of white iceberg lettuce storebought by a mother whose hands would never touch the soil to plant REAL lettuce. Such was her disdain caused by forced childhood farm work. A reality of the Great Depression. We, her six offspring, never knew a real honest vegetable due to both poverty and her contempt for the soil.

Neither had anything but shadowy memories of their Native parents and a stabbing pain in their beings, that some important part of their lives, had been ripped away. 

The Great Depression. That’s when they met. My father and his younger brother left the orphanage to toil in the fields of my mother’s family farm. Childhood drudgery meant fresh food on their table. Also, this built their bones and bonded them to each other. And too they shared a similar loss that further bonded them. My mom’s mom was Makah Native of Washington and my dad’s dad, Tlingit of NE Alaska. Neither had anything but shadowy memories of their Native parents and a stabbing pain in their beings, that some important part of their lives, had been ripped away. 

They brought their joined pain and longings along into their marriage to each other and tried as best, as their injured souls could, to make a home. They were not bad, just damaged and tired. The one most afforded the freedom of his sex, my father, was, as our family whittled down in numbers, able to literally “take wing” and fly off each summer to Alaska under the guise of finding work, which he did find as a mechanic in the oilfields. Also while north he searched for and found his alcoholic and bedridden Tlingit father. Finally, this brought closure, and coupled with his sorrow, he returned home.

My mom and Hilda Mae and my dad and me on the reunion day.

The success my father had, inspired my mother to search for her Makah mother. We lived less than 50 miles from the Makah and yet promising leads led to dead ends. I felt my mother’s pain when we would return empty-handed from her searches. It would not be until her mother finally came in search of her, that we all laid eyes on a woman so identical to our own mother and uncle and rejoiced but also not knowing that she would die shortly after her mission.

The visceral puzzles of pain and struggle I witnessed as a child, sensing my parent’s loss and longings as well as pride in having blood ties to this coast, took a toll on our family and also ultimately gave us understanding and pride. I have always felt at home on this wild, wet Washington coast and on my kayak travels along hundreds of miles of Alaska and Canadian shorelines and fiords. I have the DNA of the people married to this clash of sea and coast, it has nourished my senses and my heart. For this, I continue to give thanks to the Native lineages that forever bond me to this wild West Coast.


Baby birthed from baby on the Pow! Wow!
Get ‘high’ way
Not the “way” it should’ve been
But the way it was

Girl-child of the Red People
Red Lives Matter!
But who knows or cares of your suffering?
Or your girl-child mother’s suffering?
Or her mother’s mother’s mother’s suffering?

Like shadows and ghosts flickering across
Their own lands
Barely seen
Hardly acknowledged
Flickering only for a moment
Never to REALLY shine
Just ghosts

Who gave up their lands and home?
Who forfeited their traditions and future?
Who gave up their virginity
For a bottle or a needle?
The Pow! Wow!! Get ‘high’ way
Is the lost highway
Too many Red ghosts drift
Along that endless road
Do Red Lives really matter?

A Washington native, Irene Skyriver was born in Port Townsend and raised in the country. She moved with her children and horses to Lopez Island, WA in 1980. Green Writers Press published her first nonfiction title, Paddling with Spirits: A Solo Kayak Journey, in 2017. Inspired partly by her own spirit of adventure, and partly by the stories of her native coastal ancestors (Tlingit and Makah), the book interweaves the true account of her journey with generational stories handed down and vividly reimagined. Skyriver lives off-the-grid, and spends most of her time growing her garden; letting the outdoors and beaches be her sanctuary, inspiration, and teacher. A Woman’s Life on the Edge of the Sea: Four Decades of Poetry, her first poetry collection, is coming out in April 2023 from GWP.

Sundog Poetry Book Award Open for Submissions August 1

Starting Aug. 1, the Sundog Poetry Book Award will be open to submissions from all Vermont poets who have not published more than one full-length collection.

Final judge, Shanta Lee Gander of Brattleboro, will select the winning manuscript and write an introduction for the book. The winning poet will receive a cash prize of $500, 50 copies of the book, and assistance with promotion through a featured book launch and a handful of readings scheduled throughout the state.

Gander is the author of “GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak in Woke Tongues,” winner of the 2021 Vermont Book Award and the 2020 Diode Press full-length book prize. Her forthcoming collection, “Black Metamorphoses” (Etruscan Press, 2023), is what Gander describes as a 2000+ year-old phone line opened to Ovid as well as an interrogation of the Greek mythos while creating her own new language in this work. She was the 2020 recipient of the Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts as well as the 2020 gubernatorial appointee to the Vermont Humanities Council’s board of directors. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative non-fiction and poetry from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Hartford, and an undergraduate degree in Women, Gender and Sexuality from Trinity College.

First-readers include Vermont poets Sue Burton, Lucas Farrell and Diana Whitney, as well as two members of the Sundog Poetry board. Sundog Poetry Center has a long-term partnership with Brattleboro publisher Green Writers Press, run by publisher and poet Dede Cummings. Green Writers Press will design, print and distribute the book nationwide. For more information, visit the Sundog Poetry website,

Manuscripts should be between 48 and 64 pages. Proof of Vermont residency will be requested along with a $20 application fee online via Submittable. Poets with demonstrated financial need can contact the managing director to request a fee waiver, at Submissions for this book award will close Sept. 30.

Parker Huber, Kindest GWP Author Dies at 82

J. Parker Huber, a Thoreau expert, lives a simple life in Brattleboro. Photo by Tom Slayton © VTDigger.

Parker Huber of Brattleboro died surrounded by silence in his home, just before daybreak on July 8, 2022. In his final weeks, he was surrounded by a few devoted friends and medical hospice nurses, who cared for him lovingly. He lost his capacity to bicycle in early 2020 due to Parkinson’s disease, but his love of walking enabled him to stay connected to his beloved outdoors and the people on the streets of Brattleboro. Parker was a contemplative, quiet man, yet paradoxically he connected with and touched the lives of many. He was true inspiration and a guiding light with his generous, supportive presence and his extraordinary capacity for deep listening. He commonly understated his unique accomplishments, attributes and gifts, and was likely unaware of the profound affect he had on others’ lives.

Parker was a weaver of connections through the many groups of which he was a member. Circle Dancing was a great love of his, and he danced joyfully in the Brattleboro Circle Dance community for thirty-five years. He was active in and well loved by the Putney Friends Meeting for almost thirty years, and more recently, with St. Michael’s Episcopal Church through their contemplative and centering prayer groups. He also had a significant influence on the community of nature writers, both locally and nationally, through his envisioning and founding the Glen Brook writers’ group and facilitating its meetings for thirty years, as well as the Crestone writers’ group in Colorado. Parker was an avid naturalist and writer and was known for his yearly pilgrimages to the top of Monadnock on Thanksgiving Day. Perhaps less well-known, he climbed mountains all over the country, and even in New Zealand, and served in his younger years as a wilderness guide.

Click the image to purchase a copy of Parker’s wonderful book.

He published a number of books based on his own adventures and those of the writers he admired most, Thoreau and Muir. The Wildest Country, in which he followed Thoreau’s journeys in Maine on foot and by canoe, was originally published in 1981 and reissued by popular demand in 2008. In Infinite Good: The Mountains of William James (Green Writers Press, 2018), author and naturalist, J. Parker Huber, follows the famed naturalist and philosopher William James’ sojourns in New England.

He was respected, admired and loved by many people across the continents, and will be greatly missed in our town of Brattleboro.


To honor Parker’s memory, and in lieu of a monetary donation in his name,
consider making your own dedication to a practice that contributes to peace
within and stretching your capacity for generosity and kindness toward all
people as well as to the diverse forms of life that support all of us everywhere.

GWP Authors Win Awards

Below is the list of GWP award-winning books for the 2021 publishing season!

It is always a good idea to submit to book awards for an author’s publishing season, though sometimes it can get expensive to do so. GWP is a member of the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association), so we offer our authors a discount through our membership. We always encourage authors to submit because winning an award, or becoming a finalist, brings on the accolades, ego-boosting, and overall recognition for all the hard work that went into making books!

We had a fantastic surprise for the 2021 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards: a debut novel we published entitled Faron Goss won GOLD in the very competitive category of General Fiction! GWP Honors Author Diane Lechleitner, the Foreword Reviews INDIES GOLD WINNER in General Fiction! Here is a snippet from Kirkus Reviews:

When the body of Alison Goss washes up on Menhaden Island, in the Gulf of Maine, the working-class fishing community of hard-hewn ways and salty perspectives is faced with handling the future of her unusual son, Faron.
They soon discover how different he is, in strange but endearing ways, including his fascination with moths and his stunning artistic talent.
Bound together by weather and sea, Menhaden neighbors with good hearts and blunt opinions overlook Faron’s peculiarities. But their nurturing embrace cannot completely erase his troubled past, which eventually morphs into a life-changing event and forces him to confront lingering memories.
Faron faces that which haunts him, works as a sternman on a lobster boat, and paints in his studio. When he meets a bird-watching woman who has returned to Menhaden to live in her grandparents’ house, his life takes another unexpected turn.

Faron Goss was also selected for a 2021 Shelf Unbound Notable Indie book!

GWP author Nancie Laird Young was a Finalist in the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards in the Memoir category for her beautiful Tea With Dad.

“Sit back and steep yourself in Young’s reflective recounting of family stories and secrets, misconceptions and discoveries, in what ultimately proves to be the grace-infused accommodation between an aging parent and adult child, between their past and their present.”

Jim Tomlinson, author of Things Kept, Things Left Behind (Iowa Short Fiction Award)

Yet another GWP author, Keema Waterfield, won the Bookfest Award, in not one, but FOUR categories: Memoir, Humor, Travel, Outdoors! The awards honor authors who create outstanding works of fiction and nonfiction.

Keema Waterfield’s Inside Passage is a memoir chronicling her peripatetic childhood “chasing music with her twenty-year-old mother on the Alaskan folk festival circuit” while yearning for home.

Kirkus Reviews called it “a wild remembrance that will keep readers engaged” and the late Sherry Simpson enthused, “heartbreaking but never maudlin, funny without being flip, and always, always openhearted about what survival on The Last Frontier truly means.”

The Dreamcatcher Codes was named a Young Adult Fiction Honor Book by the Green Earth Book Awards, the nation’s first environmental stewardship award for children and young adults. GEBA promotes books that inspire youth to grow a deeper understanding, respect, and responsibility for the natural environment.

The Dreamcatcher Codes was also recently awarded a 2022 Nautilus Silver Medal for Young Adult Fiction! The Nautilus mission is to celebrate and honor books that support conscious living & green values, high-level wellness, positive social change & social justice, and spiritual growth.

DCC also won a Skipping Stones Award and an International Impact Award in the Multicultural category!

Congrats to ALL our wonderful authors. We are so proud of the books we publish and the authors behind them. GWP is curating our 2023 books and putting together schedules for the season. We have a few more books coming out in 2022, so let’s hope we can post more awards for this year!

Summer Internship Begins

GWP is thrilled to welcome our Summer Interns and our Fellowship Recipient! Starting this week, we are reading submissions (of which there are multitudes!), and our team will bring some fresh energy to the mix and our mission. Here is a quote from GWPSI22, Maria Tane’s letter to GWP — and we couldn’t agree with her more:

During the last couple of months, the need to more actively get involved in the environmental movement has been increasing up to the point where it made me rethink what I want my future work to look like. And the first step towards being able to channel that energy into what I find to be the most meaningful pursuit I can undertake in my lifetime is by starting to do something about it right now. My belief in the power that stories have in reshaping behavior and in bringing about change is what led me to dedicate most of my life so far to creating, consuming, analyzing, and advocating for them. It is also what led me here and why I am writing you this message. I deeply resonate with the mission of Green Writers Press to provide authors with the resources they need in the stages leading up and going beyond their vital words connecting with readers, and it would be wonderful if you would consider me for an Editorial or Developmental position as an intern.


Maria Tane is a student at the University of Amsterdam where she is majoring in Literary and Cultural Analysis, with a focus on environmental humanities. She has a soft spot for fantasy and sci-fi stories because of their ability to nudge people to think beyond what seems possible, which she thinks is a skill we all need to practice more and more right now. When the sun decides to come out in her rainy city, she enjoys having picnics outside by the water. When it doesn’t, she pairs the smell of rain with lavender tea and with writing her stories of magic looming at the edges of the mundane.

Madelyn Whelan is a junior at Merrimack College, majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing, and minoring in film studies. She helps run the school’s Film Club and Gender and Sexuality Alliance. Maddie was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and loves the beach, collecting records, and writing. In her spare time, she is either watching movies, hanging out with friends, or working at a restaurant in her hometown.


Post-Graduate Summer Fellowship Recipient

Connie McClugage is a graduate of Bennington College with a study in creative writing and linguistics. Hailing from Tampa, Florida, she’s still getting used to the cold weather but you can find her writing poetry, watching a Star Wars movie, or learning a new language. A former first-year Bennington Field Work Term intern, GWP is thrilled to have Connie “back at the office” ready to take on more editorial and management responsibilities.

Summer is Here & Some Farmy Reads!

The Summer Solstice is upon us—June 21st this year! For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, we are awaiting the longest day and the Earth tilting toward the Sun. GWP is thrilled to have the summer ahead of us. Our summer interns and fellowship recipient, Connie, are starting on Monday! We will take the summer to read our submissions on Submittable.

We love working with and publishing our farmer-writers. Here is a great summer reading list for when you find time, lolling around the barn, lying in the hammock after planting seedlings . . . so wash the sweat off your brow, change out of those Carharts, and take a break—especially on the longest day of the year!

What a fabulous review of Peter Gould’s Horse-Drawn Yogurt, 2nd Edition, Revised by Peter Coyote:

“For years I thought that I’d written the best book on the communal, counter-culture reality. It’s called Sleeping Where I Fall and has been in print since 1999. Peter Gould has written a real contender, and perhaps even a better book. It turns out I met Peter one night about 47 years ago when my girlfriend, Nichole Wills, my daughter, Ariel, her son Jeremiah and my dog, Josephine, pulled down their long snowy road and were taken in. We were traveling from commune to commune from the Delaware Water Gap of Pennsylvania throughout New England, establishing a counter-cultural trade route; assessing surpluses and needs, publishing them, and sending the book back around. 47 years later Peter sent me the book for a blurb for the new edition and I fell into it as if it was a vat of honey. He really nailed the amount of labor, reclaiming of abandoned and abused shelters and machinery, and the diplomacy of making friends with the older farming generation which was on its way out. My family, the Diggers, did the same at every place we lived — Olema, Forest Knolls, Trinidad, Salmon Creek, Black-Bear Farm. His story could have been — and in many degrees is — our story. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Peter Gould must be my brother-by-another-mother. I urge you to read his book. It’s glorious! Peter’s tone-perfect narratives capture the back-to-the-land movement—the danger, the disappointments, the values, the joys of living a life of meaning in harmony with one’s deepest intentions, and the thrill of expanding the heart’s perimeter to include everyone you meet. He really nails the amount of labor, in salvaging thrown-away machines and lumber, forging bonds, in learning skills that would have passed away with the previous generation. Horse-Drawn Yogurt is a great read by a fine writer and an even better reminder of a time and season when many young people were fearlessly committed to living lives of meaning and ecstasy. You can’t beat that combo.”

Peter Coyote, actor, author, Zen Buddhist priest

Farm Girl by Megan Baxter is a memoir of urgent grace that crosses boundaries of genre and time. In her second year of college, Megan finds herself bonded to a lover spiraling into addiction and two thousand miles away from her heart’s home—a stretch of forty certified-organic acres along the banks of the Connecticut River separating Vermont and New Hampshire. In the crucible of a rainy Portland winter, Megan is forced to decide whether to embrace her future as a farm girl or to continue growing into the woman everyone hopes she’ll become. Farm Girl is about two love affairs that force a decision: the love between two people and the love between Megan and the landscape. With innovative prose and lush description, Farm Girl raises the earth up as a character and asks questions about the work we choose to sustain us—how careful attention and devotion to the earth transcends human tragedy.

“A startlingly lovely memoir . . .” —Jodi Picoult

“This is a book about groundedness, I think — about the soil into which one can sink one’s feet when the going is impossible. It’s a remarkable account.” —Bill McKibben

“. . . Crews has written [Bluebird], a book of love poems: to the Earth, to rural living, to his community, to his husband, and to each one of us.” –Shari Altman, Literary North

James Crews’ work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Sun Magazine, Ploughshares, and The New Republic, as well as on Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry newspaper column. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. in Writing & Literature from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is the author of four collections of award-winning poetry, including The Book of What Stays (Prairie Schooner Prize and Foreword Book of the Year Citation, 2011), Telling My Father(Cowles Prize, 2017), Bluebird, and Every Waking Moment. He is also the editor of several anthologies of poetry: Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection; and How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope. He leads Mindfulness & Writing retreats online and throughout the country, and works as a creative coach with groups and individuals. He lives on an organic farm with his husband, Brad Peacock, in Shaftsbury, Vermont.

Lucas Farrell’s award-winning debut poetry collection entitled the blue-collar sun is the winner of the 2020 Sundog Poetry Book Award in Partnership with Green Writers Press and will be coming to bookstores and online in time for Earth Day, 2021.

“I love these poems. They’re both warmly familiar and also weird AF. They made my heart leap for the ordinary, fascinating world.”

Anais Mitchell


A wonderful review of the blue-collar sun by SevenDayspoetry critic Benjamin Aleshire

“That the recipient of Vermont’s newest poetry award is a farmer, equally comfortable shoveling manure and penning urgent existential verse, is an auspicious sign for literature in this corner of the world.”

About the Poet
Lucas Farrell lives in Townshend, Vermont, where he and his wife own and operate Big Picture Farm, a small hillside goat dairy and award-winning farmstead confectionery. His first book of poems, The Many Woods of Grief (University of Massachusetts Press), was awarded the Juniper Prize for Poetry. He has two daughters.


Enjoy the summer reads & shop at those farmer’s markets!
If you feel like supporting one of our favorite, local farms . . .

The SUSU commUNITY Farm is an Afro-Indigenous stewarded farm and land-based healing center in Southern Vermont that elevates Vermont’s land and foodways.

“There is no liberation without community.”

—Audre Lorde

Pride Month: Celebrate Our LGBTQ+ Authors!

More LOVE, less hate.

This is the theme we all can embrace. Since 1970, when the first Pride Parade was held in NYC to mark the first anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, Pride has become a chorus of voices across all media, from books to films, and around the globe. There is more work to be done in the fight for dignity, freedom to live, and love without persecution.

Green Writers Press celebrates our LGBTQ+ authors—and not just during Pride Month—all the time! With Pride Month in swing, we wanted to take this opportunity to feature some of our books with Queer/Trans/LGBTQ themes for you.

GWP author, Sarina Prabasi wrote The Coffeehouse Resistance: Brewing Hope in Desperate Times as a call to community action during the Trump Years. As an immigrant from Nepal, she wanted to take action. She and her husband Elias Gurmu founded Buunni Coffee together in 2012, bringing Ethiopian hospitality and warmth to the United States via fabled, full-flavored coffee beans, and now they have a number of cafes in northern Manhattan.

Reclaiming the tradition of coffee houses throughout history, their coffeehouses become a hub for local organizing and action. Moving from despair to hope, this story is ultimately about building community, claiming home, and fighting for our dreams.

Photo by Carly Jara Photography

Elias is a serial entrepreneur. In Addis, he ran a traditional restaurant with long lines outside at lunchtime. Often called “Mr. Buunni” in their upper Manhattan neighborhood, Elias is frequently seen striding across Uptown to fix, deliver, and problem-solve.

Sarina Prabasi is the author of The Coffeehouse Resistance (GWP 2019) and was formerly the CEO of WaterAid America. Sarina serves on the Board of Directors of the Specialty Coffee Association and has been featured in Food & Wine (“Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink”), New York Business Journal (“Woman of Influence”), Fortune Magazine and elsewhere.


Clay might be best described as an unconventional coming-of-age story, based on character but with a narrative that opens out toward the larger society and with elements of comedy and satire. The story takes place in a semi-rural corner of New York City in the 1970s and centers on a six-month period in the life of a boy confronting changes in his family, his community, and himself at a time of social confusion and turmoil—including conflicts of identity. The main story centers on cultural and environmental threats to a historic African-American community situated next to a toxic landfill.

“[An] ambitious first novel. . . . Meola creates rich characters and a lived-in portrait of a corner of Staten Island. . . . Over the course of a summer, a 12-year-old boy becomes aware of the injustices in his own community. Set on Staten Island in the 1970s, [Clay] is narrated by a middle school student named Luke. He’s part of a Portuguese American family whose members are outliers in their neighborhood—which gives Luke a vantage point to observe both the local White establishment and a nearby Black community that is often the target of racist vitriol.” Kirkus Reviews

Frank Meola has published work in a variety of forms and places, including New England Review and the New York Times. His Times travel essay on Rachel Carson in Maine was published in the book Footsteps. He has written frequently on Emerson and Thoreau. His newest essay, in Michigan Quarterly Review, centers on the ambiguities of Hispanic identity in America, based partly on his own experience. Three of Meola’s stories have been finalists in fiction competitions. He has an MFA from Columbia University and teaches writing and humanities at NYU. Frank lives in Brooklyn, NY with his husband and their two cats.

In Parenting 4 Social Justice: Tips, Tools and Inspiration for Conversation & Action with Kids, authored by Angela Berkfield and 5 co-authors, social justice issues are presented through the lens of the authors’ personal experiences both growing up and as parents. The honest stories and ideas prepare caregivers to initiate age-appropriate and engaging conversations with kids about social justice. Dialogues between parents and children are illustrated with eye-catching comic strips by illustrator Brittney Washington. There are many ideas for taking action with kids: from making protest signs and attending a local march, to trying healing meditations and consciously connecting with people to make change. Stories from diverse parents across the US are woven into the chapters on race, class, gender, disability, and collective liberation.

Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection   This anthology features poems by Mark Doty, Ross Gay, Donald Hall, Marie Howe, Naomi Shihab Nye, and many others. These poets, from all walks of life, and from all over America, prove to us the possibility of creating in our lives what Dr. Martin Luther King called the “beloved community,” a place where we see each other as the neighbors we already are. Healing the Divide urges us, at this fraught political time, to move past the negativity that often fills the airwaves, and to embrace the ordinary moments of kindness and connection that fill our days.

“My favorite book of the year so far. You can feel the loving intention of Vermonter James Crews behind every selection in this exquisite anthology—the hope for a better society and world for people to grow up and actually live in. . . .” —Naomi Shihab Nye, Poetry Foundation’s Young People’s Poet Laureate

“. . . Crews has written [Bluebird], a book of love poems: to the Earth, to rural living, to his community, to his husband, and to each one of us.” –Shari Altman, Literary North

James Crews’ work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Sun Magazine, Ploughshares, and The New Republic, as well as on Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry newspaper column. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. in Writing & Literature from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is the author of four collections of award-winning poetry, including The Book of What Stays (Prairie Schooner Prize and Foreword Book of the Year Citation, 2011), Telling My Father(Cowles Prize, 2017), Bluebird, and Every Waking Moment. He is also the editor of several anthologies of poetry: Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection; and How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope. He leads Mindfulness & Writing retreats online and throughout the country, and works as a creative coach with groups and individuals. He lives with his husband, Brad Peacock, in Shaftsbury, Vermont.

The Girl in the Yellow Pantsuit: Essays on Politics, History and Culture collects the best-loved of Becca Balint’s weekly columns on politics, history, and culture. Becca’s curiosity, humor, and deep affection for her subjects provide readers with new ways of examining trenchant problems. Her clear-eyed perspectives on subjects as wide-ranging as American politics, global affairs, education policy, and parenthood challenge us to think more deeply about our own place in the world and the impact we want to leave.


Becca Balint is a stateswoman, current candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, and President Pro Tempore of the Vermont Senate. After two decades of teaching history and civics to middle-schoolers and community college students, Becca won her debut race for state senate in 2014. She has been elected four times despite primary challenges in every race. In 2018, she was elected by the Senate Democratic caucus to serve as majority leader and in 2020 she was unanimously elected by the entire Senate to serve as President Pro Tempore. Becca is an avid outdoorswoman and motorcyclist. She lives in Brattleboro Vermont, with her wife, two wise-cracking kids, and an incorrigible Labradoodle. 

Aesop Lake    Seventeen-year-old Leda Keogh witnesses a hate crime against a gay couple from her school and must make some tough choices. Two voices weave a coming-of-age story that confronts diversity and bullying in rural America.

This novel uses three of the fables to provide structure to a story about ethics and moral dilemma, in a political climate that is fraught with injustice and assault on the LGBTQ community and women’s rights.

Sarah Ward writes young adult fiction, poetry, and journal articles in the field of child welfare. Over a twenty-five-year career as a social worker, Sarah has worked with young adults and families with harrowing backgrounds. Her inspiration for writing Aesop Lake came from a local news story about a young man who was bullied for being gay. When her youngest child came out at the age of fourteen and experienced being bullied by peers in rural Vermont, Sarah knew that she had to tell this story. Her depth of professional training and experience with youth who have committed crimes and with victims struggling to recover, as well as her personal family experience, makes her the ideal author to tell this story.

Frost Heaves by T Stores

In this collection, an eclectic mix of characters interact, negotiate community, and encounter the natural world—bears, otters, moose, insects—in confrontations with the reality of their own individual strengths and weaknesses, the welling up of hard truths in the seasons of each life.

“T Stores writes with compassion and insight, finding the inescapable truths hiding in plain sight, layered over an ordinary life . . . a beautiful writer and I look forward to seeing her work for years to come.” —Tayari Jones, Kore Press, publishing women since 1993

Author photo by Anita Gratzer

T Stores is the author of three novels (Getting to the Point, SideTracks, and Backslide) and a collection of short fiction, Frost Heaves, forthcoming from Green Writers’ Press. Her work has appeared in Sinister Wisdom, Harrington Literary Quarterly, Rock & Sling, Cicada, Out Magazine, Blithe House, Oregon Literary Review, Bloom Magazine, Rock & Sling, Earth’s Daughters, Blueline, SawPalm, Kudzu, Fourth Genre and Minerva Rising, among others. Honors include grants from the Vermont Arts Council and Barbara Deming Fund, residencies at Bread Loaf, Squaw Valley, and Shiro Oni, and a Pushcart Prize nomination. A graduate of the M.F.A. program at Emerson College, she is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean at the University of Hartford.


Transition and change are 21st-century lived experiences. We want to know “what’s next” in our relationships, environment, societies, politics, and everything else that touches our lives. What’s Next? Short Fiction in Time of Change is an anthology of short fiction that creatively explores these questions.


Claire Boyles, Joseph Bruchac, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Toiya Kristen Finley, Tom Gammarino, Amina Gautier, Anthony Lee Head, Charles Johnson, Pauline Kaldas, Vijay Lakshmi, Clarence Major, Donna Miscolta, Pamela Painter, Jane Pek, Brenda Peynado, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Shannon Sanders, George Saunders, Joanna Scott, Anna Sequoia, Asako Serizawa, Tiphanie Yanique, and Ye Chun.

Sharyn Skeeter (editor) was fiction, poetry, book review editor at Essence magazine and editor-in-chief at Black Elegance magazine. She taught journalism, writing, and literature at colleges and universities. Her poetry and articles have been published in magazines, journals, and anthologies.

Dancing with Langston (GWP), her debut novel received the 2019 Gold Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year Award (multicultural adult fiction). She has given readings and participated in literary events in the United States, India, and Singapore. She’s on the boards of ACT Theatre and Hugo House in Seattle.

Thanks to everyone who has read through this rather lengthy blog post!!! Happy Pride Month to all!

End-of-Year Giving

Green Writers Press’ mission is to spread a message of hope and renewal through the words and images we publish. Throughout we will adhere to our commitment to preserving and protecting the natural resources of the earth. To that end, a percentage of our proceeds will be donated to environmental- and social justice-activist groups. Green Writers Press gratefully acknowledges support from individual donors, friends, and readers to help support the environment and our publishing initiative.

This year, 2021, even with a tough financial situation for our small press, we are donating to the following organizations:

$250 — The Root Social Justice Center
“In memory of Angela Berkfield”

$250 — Brattleboro Literary Festival
“In honor of the 20th Year”

$250 — Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center
“In memory of Deb Smith”

$500 — 350 Vermont
“In honor of Abby Mnookin & All”

$500 — Vermont Land Trust

$250 — SUSU commUNITY FARM
In kind donation of books & online donation.

$50 — Living Proof Mentoring
Providing representation, advocacy, and affinity spaces for Black youth in rural communities.

$25 each — Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood Federation, Nature Conservancy, ACLU, and The Southern Poverty Law Foundation.




Summer 2021 ~ What’s New

We have some exciting new titles releasing this summer!  Plus, we have a new literary magazine, Whole Terrain, Antioch University New England’s nationally acclaimed journal of reflective environmental practice, is dedicated to the experience of those who have chosen the environment as the basis of their work. Whole Terrain cultivates reflective thought and mindful awareness in an effort to create a balance between humanity and the Earth. Former Whole Terrain contributors include Kathleen Dean Moore, John Elder, Terry Tempest Williams, and Gary Nabhan, to name just a few. Recent cover artists include Jason deCaires Taylor, Betty LaDuke, and J. Henry Fair. The result is a high-quality journal of professional reflection that brings a constellation of perspectives to bear on some of the most important issues facing the planet today.

We had a great group of interns this summer and our fellowship recipients are still with us until September. Our interns are always amazing and we are grateful for their passion and support. Read more about this group on our Interns page here. Jackson was a design intern and he created ads, website banners, and learned how to page and style interior designs.

Alicia Tebeau-Sherry joined us after graduating from UVM and she has been a great addition to our team as well!

Here is a shot from our ad in Blue Mountain Review showing some of our new books.

In other news, Madeleine Kunin’s debut poetry collection, Red Kite, Blue Sky, is a finalist in the annual New England Book Awards! The New England Book Awards are announced at the annual Fall Conference. Winners will receive a $250 donation to the literary charity of their choice.




Spring Books Launching & News

We are very happy to be moving along in the world of publishing as an indie press and trying our best to keep our voice alive and well during the pandemic. Many of our authors decided to delay their book launches during the onset of COVID-19 a year ago. We have a slew of books coming out this spring—and what a great list!  Click the link below to find out more!

Continue reading

International Women’s Day

At GWP, we celebrate International Women’s Day by sharing with you some photos of women authors, who are strong, resilient, and who are advocating their dreams, their freedom, and their place in the world. For so much that women have already achieved in terms of gender equality, there is so much more still to do.

Top, left to right: Cassie Fancher, Sharyn Skeeter, Sarina Prabasi and daughters from a few years ago), Irene Skyriver, Madeleine Kunin

Middle row, left to right: Shabnam Samuel, Dana Simson, Christine Marie Eberle, Leslie Rivver, Keema  Waterfield, Megan Baxter

Dr. M  Jackson in Nat. Geo photo, middle right

Botton row, left to right: T Stores, Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, Jaime Scanlon and Ellen Tumavicus, Ha Kiet Chau, and (top) Shifra Malk with (bottom) Charity Gingerich

We have some exciting books by women coming out this spring and early summer!




and more! 

Check our our affiliate page to see more upcoming titles. . . 
Thanks for the support and  our amazing women writers!

Finding Environmental Unity in Simple Ways

Finding Environmental Unity in Simple Ways through Come Together: Handbook to Retool for the Future

Written By: Sydney Vincent   |  An Interview with GWP author Dana Simson

This word has become a daily occurrence in many young people’s lives, including my own. Between keeping an active and healthy lifestyle and understanding that our own Earth is under attack, threatening our future, it can be hard to ignore this word. We are constantly bombarded by products and technology that ensure a longer life or encourage a new way to live. In a sense, sustainability has become a weaponized word in our society, a constant, looming idea many young people shy away from. We’ve seen it tear our nation apart. However, in her newest book Come Together: Handbook to Retool for the Future, Dana Simson does not shy away from this word. Instead, she looks at it with a new refreshing and positive lens. She offers easy and environmentally sustainable ways to live, eat, clean, and create with common items in your home. She encourages each reader to take this handbook seriously as it is not just another gimmick to spend more money on supposedly “organic” products, but promotes a change in lifestyle for the betterment of our earth. With her handbook, Simson redefines what it means to be sustainable and how, as members of humankind, each of us can understand that we are the problem, but we are also the solution.

I got the opportunity to sit down (socially distanced, of course) with Dana Simson and talk about the beautiful change this book could create, even asking for some tips of my own about how to navigate the secret to simple living as a college student.



Author Dana Simson and her upcoming book.








Sydney: Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to speak with me, Dana. I have read through this book and could not believe the amount of simple yet effective methods and recipes for products that I would normally purchase off of a shelf without a bat of my eye. How did you come across these tips and tricks? Were they self-taught or have you learned them from others over the years?

Dana: As an artist, I am trained to observe things on a variety of levels. This makes the world incredibly interesting and full of possibilities. When I walk into a building or pick up a product, the first thing I see is its design. Is it beautiful? Does it work well? How might it be improved? Invention is part of creativity. I have always loved the game of seeing alternatives and finding better ways to do things.

This guidebook contains beautiful illustrations that differentiate it from other handbooks I have read. What was your thought process in including these drawings and talk about your own style of art and why that helps you write about the earth.

My goal with the book is that the content gets out to as many folks as possible to start a bottom up movement that hopefully will grow to speed awareness and action, to stop the harmful practices currently hurting our planet and living things. I began my art career doing a comic strip for the Baltimore Sun and a few other newspapers, the illustrations lightened the message and also helped to deliver it. A bit of humor always helps. I want to encourage and create an atmosphere of joyful doing.

As I read this guidebook, I felt that I was being spoken to, my college self being able to resonate and become inspired through a lot of your tips and tricks. Why have you decided to gear your work towards younger audiences and how do you think that will help our world change for the better? Why not target the older generation, the generation in power now?

I’m glad you felt engaged, and I do think the book may be especially potent as young people become the next wave of consumers and legislators. The book was written for all ages: older people that feel frustrated and want to change old habits, also families that can tackle the gaming aspect together (try to get groceries with no plastic, or think how to reuse packaging materials in other ways), or anyone really. We all can enjoy rethinking and retooling.

We all can save money and our environment.


Sample illustration from the book

When did you first become inspired by sustainability and discover your voice in advocating for a cleaner earth? What advice would you give to those struggling to speak up about climate change?

Funny, as a kid, when other kids were playing cops and robbers or the like, I wanted to play environmental activist. In the seventies, when I was growing up, there was a famous commercial that showed an Indigenous man paddling his canoe through garbage and litter. At the end he turns to the camera and a tear rolls down his cheek. People have lived in harmony with ecosystems- it can be done. The pandemic shows us we can get by with less driving, flying, we can find the joy of baking bread and eating from a garden we planted together. The commercial with the Indigenous man was actually sponsored by the plastics industry to promote recycling as a movement had started against plastic use. The problem with recycling is that it is more a concept than a working solution; it was better to limit/stop use of plastic and find alternatives.

The beauty in adapting the practices suggested in the book is that you are speaking most eloquently and clearly with the actions you live by. In my rural community on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I am one of the few people that takes market bags into the grocery store. I also reuse the netbags onions or limes come in for loose produce rather than taking the filmy plastic single use bags provided. People note this and we start a dialogue. People want to do the right thing. Seeing others doing it is what inspires change.

Now that President Biden and Madam Vice President Harris are in office, what are your hopes for America’s role in climate change and our activism with it?

I believe President Biden and VP Harris, along with other mindful politicians, understand the gravity of the foolish setbacks and careless legislation of the Trump years. There are many hard working environmental groups, scientists, and educators working for swift, wise legislation and we may see some important steps forward here. But the point of Come Together is not to wait for others to tell us what we should do. Democracy takes time, years, and can experience counterproductive derailment, like the four wasted years of inaction and slipping backward as we have just experienced. We are the change.

Hypothetically, if the entire world were to read your book and take action, what do you envision would happen in five years? Ten years? Even fifty years?

This answer might surprise you. First off, we would be happier and healthier. I believe a feeling of being held-hostage by things we think are out of our control would be replaced by empowerment and clear direction. When people turn from toxic, over-processed, heavily packaged food or product, the companies producing such items will have to change to keep their market. If everyone today stopped buying/using plastic, the gushing faucet of manufacturing would turn off (plastic is fossil fuel’s Plan B). If people say we want to buy in bulk – we’d bring our own jars and bags – grocery stores would respond with this option. As consumers, we vote with our dollars. This is a numbers game; the more people that think about our future, the shorter the time frame to a smarter, safer one.

I can’t let you go without asking about some tips for young people like myself. Got any tricks for a college student wanting to make a change in their lives and environmentally?

So many of the things we buy over and over again in plastic can be made easily in a few moments. A few key items that are very inexpensive can take the place of a clutter of cleaning products (and their bulky containers): vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, Castile soap, etc.

When you buy hand soap sold in small plastic push bottles – and we need to wash our hands a lot these days – you are paying a lot for water and a teaspoon of Castile soap flakes with a drop or two of glycerin and 6 drops of Teatree essential oil. Why not reuse the containers and fill a bunch of them? They make great gifts for friends and for spreading a wise idea; even put the easy recipe on the bottle.

You can make your own cleaning and personal care products like conditioner, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Many of these are actually better for you than the commercial products, which can contain toxic ingredients that build up in your system and harm the water supply once it goes down the drain.

When I was just starting out with little money in my pocket, I used to make my own bread, yogurt, and other items that cost little in time and money to make. Making is grounding and strengthens your resolve that whatever it is you can do it. This mindset has served me well and led me to amazing experiences I might not have tackled, like using my skill set to write this book and do something positive for the future we all share.


Packaging doesn’t have to be waste!


Who needs a store when you can DIY?

Being environmentally conscious and still having fun don’t have to be mutually exclusive. But don’t take it from me, take it from Dana, who lives this life of simple sustainability everyday and has passed on her own tips to us in her book Come Together: Handbook to Retool for the Future. As a college student struggling to balance my own life, diet, the political climate, and my responsibility to Mother Earth, it can be difficult to find clarity in how to take care of myself and others. Fortunately, Dana was able to provide some guidance. With this knowledge, I now feel confident in my actions and hope to provide unity in this world through all facets of my life, no longer seeing sustainability as a weapon, but a tool for change.

Come Together: Handbook to Retool for the Future releases on February 23, 2021 through Green Writers Press in Brattleboro, Vermont. Please visit our website for more details on the book and how to order.



Start with EASY BREAD RECIPE from Dana Simson:

You can put this together in the morning and let it rise all day—bake it as you make dinner and have fresh bread! Great for breakfast in the morning with almond butter and honey, or peanut butter and banana.


  • 3.5 cups of flour or bread flour (I sometimes do 2 cup flour, 1 cup whole wheat, .5 cup (half) of flax meal)

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1tsp yeast

  • .5 tsp salt

  • 1.5 cup warm water


  1. Mix it up in the bowl with a spoon till it forms a ball— flour your hands and knead the dough a minute or two

  2. Put a little cornmeal or flour in bottom of bowl so it doesn’t stick

  3. Cover with a damp clean dish towel and have your day (you can also cook bread in a few hours if you want)

  4. Around dinnertime….preheat the oven to 425 and put an empty metal bowl on the bottom rack.

  5. Tip the bread out onto a greased cookie sheet or pizza pan

  6. Push it into shape—lightly score top

  7. Put in oven

  8. Take a half glass of water and pour into the heated bowl below the bread pan for steam (this will make a nice crunchy crust, European style)

  9. Keep an eye on it—maybe 25 minutes— and test by pushing a silverware knife in- comes out clean

  10. All done. Super yummy and hot with butter—bon appetit!

2021 Winter Interns — The Best!

GWP Winter 2021 FWT Interns
This  year, 2021 is off to a great start with this stellar group of Bennington College Field Work Term interns and three other amazing interns. Dede is always impressed with working with these smart, motivated young people, who take their internships seriously and really help run the press!  

Daisy Billington is a first year student at Bennington College. She is interested in studying creative writing, the arts and education. In her free time, Daisy loves spending time outdoors, meeting new people, drawing, playing guitar and writing short stories. Lately, Daisy has enjoyed reading classic plays and poetry.

Iulia Butner is a Bennington College sophomore. “Being an English student, literature is a deep fascination of mine, and my ever-present love of reading and writing from a young age has lent to me an intrinsically keen eye for the fine details of spelling, grammar,  punctuation, and structure.”

Kat L’Esperance-Stokes is a current sophomore at Bennington College studying Literature and Anthropology. She has publications with Gathering Storms, Wingless Dreamer, and Newfound Magazine. You can find her on instagram and twitter @katlstokes

Bernie Frishberg is a freshman at Bennington, hailing from Brooklyn, NY. Her favorite books include One More Thing by BJ Novak and Room by Emma Donoghue; her favorite colors include #8500b5, #c787ff, and #ff69dd. In her free time, Bernie occasionally does things, such as sewing things onto her pants and writing weird prose.

Jasmine Groom is a second year at Bennington College, studying the cultural adaptation of mythology. She has a long-held interest in art, 19th century fiction and creative writing. From the suburbs of Chicago, in her spare time she likes to bake, take long walks and listen to music.

Emily Gutierrez is a first year student at Bennington, originally from Miami, Fl. She is a student of Philosophy with a love for writing. In her time left over, she loves music, meditation, and cooking.

Connie McClugage is a first year at Bennington College studying  creative writing and linguistics. Hailing from Tampa, Florida, she’s still getting used to the cold weather but you can find her writing poetry, watching a Star Wars movie, or learning a new language.

Sofia Titina Salusso is always looking for a good book to read. She is a sophomore at Bennington College where she dedicates her time to writing, literature, theater, media studies, playing the violin, conversations with friends that make her think or laugh, running on back roads, mending all the little tears that clothes grow with wear, and watching the seasons go by, only to find herself constantly astounded at time’s passing. She loves to be in the mountains and hopes to find, in her future, a balance between breadth of nature and the comfort of other curious souls.

Cassandra Taylor is a senior at Bennington college, studying literature and writing with a specific interest in using the medium of storytelling to help forge and strengthen communities. Raised by a family of avid storytellers herself, she loves to gather around family and friends to share tales old and new. In her spare time, Cassandra spends her time cozied up with her cats enjoying a nice cup of tea and working on her latest knitting project.

Dylan Walawender
is a freshman at Bennington College, studying literature/writing with supporting areas of media studies and psychology. He has an interest in Modernist literature and journalism, with a special affinity for contemporary essays, personal narratives, and poetry. Hailing from Cayuga, New York, in his free time Dylan enjoys hiking, writing, reading, and collecting plants.

Winter Interns outside of Bennington’s Field Work Term:

Sydney Vincent is currently a sophomore at Susquehanna University, studying Publishing/Editing and Creative Writing with a minor in International Studies. In her free time, she enjoys spending her days outside hiking, kayaking, and rock climbing in the Pocono Mountains, which she calls home. She hopes to open her own independent bookstore or press one day, hike the El Camino in its entirety before she turns thirty, and move to Colorado with her crazy cat, Shelby.

Post-Graduate Fellowships:

Aubergine Evans (O for short) is a recent alum of the late Marlboro College & an emerging poet out of Brattleboro, VT. They grew up in Louisiana, where they cultivated their passion for writing, asking questions, and spicy food. But this is where they choose to root themself—in the Vermont soil where poetry grows thick as moss & tall as mountains. They are interested in the plurality & movement in language & form; this interest has led them to the edges of genre, to hybrid forms & hybrid ways of imagining language. They completed a writing residency at the Vermont Studio Center for Vermont Artists’ Week & have volunteered for & attended various writing programs through Stockton University. Though writing is their primary craft, they also delight in various 2D  & 3D visual arts, learning new skills, gardening, & flow arts.

Rosie Rudavsky is an artist and writer living in New York City. She is a recent graduate from Oberlin College, where she studied History and Religion and first developed an interest in writing creative non-fiction. These days, Rosie works at a cheese shop, tutors and reports for a local newspaper. Rosie loves to read short stories, dance, cook and visit museums.


GWP signs Petition for COP26 Calling on Governments to Commit to Urgent Action on Climate

Calling on Governments to Commit to Urgent Action on Climate and Environmental Literacy at the Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, UKCombined with Civic Education, Climate Literacy will create jobs, build a green consumer market, and allow citizens to engage with their governments in a meaningful way to solve climate change

Dear Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa and Signatories to the Paris Agreement Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:
We, the undersigned, call on governments to commit to taking bold action on climate and environmental literacy. The decades-long failure to provide quality and meaningful climate and environmental education and civic skills to primary and secondary students worldwide has undermined the effort to solve the climate crises and other critical environmental issues while hampering efforts to build a global green economy and to create the jobs of the future.

It has also impeded efforts to teach citizens the civic skills that they need to fully participate in their national, state, and local government decision-making process, undermining the rights of citizens to take action to protect themselves, their children, and the health of the planet.
Next year, governments will meet at the Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, UK to raise ambition under the UN’s Paris Climate Change Agreement. That stepped-up action must include climate and environmental literacy.

It is time for governments to show leadership by agreeing to ambitious plans that will equip primary and secondary students everywhere with the knowledge and the skills they need in a rapidly changing world.
• In doing so, a new generation will be able to make the best and most environmentally informed choices on the way they live, work and participate in government while providing a climate literate workforce needed to build the new, stronger and sustainable economy vital in the 21st century.
• In doing so, leaders can help ensure that the first generation of truly climate literate and civically active citizens will be able to hold governments, states, regions, cities, and businesses accountable for their actions.
We, the undersigned, urge governments at COP 26 to deliver an outcome that gives climate literacy the same importance as any other key subject by strengthening the aims, ambitions, and aspirations of Action for Climate Empowerment, Article 12 of the Paris Agreement.


• We, the undersigned, request governments to make climate education compulsory, assessed and linked to civic engagement. By civic engagement we mean students will be taught the necessary skills to take an active role in shaping the future of their communities and our planet.
• While every country must be free to choose their roadmap for implementing climate literacy, we believe that climate and environmental literacy requires that these subjects be fully integrated and embedded across all grade levels and disciplines.
• We also urge governments to find ways and means to advance climate literacy at home, and support poorer countries’ efforts to meet their climate education goals.

Green Writers Press, signed on January 5, 2021

The Review Of a Write My Essays Service – EssayNow

Writing is definitely a task that many people do not enjoy. The main thing about writing is that it follows all people, no matter whether they are studying or not. And when the time comes to writing, people face a lot of issues that make it impossible to rest a bit. So, it is a perfect time to look for some solutions.

In this article, we are going to review EssayNow. Our main goal is to see what this essay writing service can offer to people and what are the main benefits of using this platform. And what is also important is whether it is necessary to be a student to use it.

What Writing Solutions Are Included?

It is not a secret that is focused mainly on writing for students. Even its name is a great proof of our words. However, we were surprised when we saw that this platform is also great for people who are involved in business. So what options are present here?

Regular writing for students

Writing for students at school is a separate category. The main advantage of the Undergraduate level is that anyone can order it, and the papers will be completed fast and in the highest quality. For our review, we decided to focus on the essay.

The process of ordering the essay is pretty simple and can be completed by following easy steps:

  • Complete an order. There, you should include your subject, topic, the number of pages, and the deadline. The topic is an optional field. If you do not have one, you should only mention your subject.
  • Think about the deadline properly. In certain cases, papers can be completed in 3 hours, but you can choose a longer period if you are not in a hurry. But remember that the shorter the deadline is, the higher the price will be.
  • Receive a paper, write your own paper on its basis, and send it to your tutor. We checked the service and made sure that the papers did not require editing at all.

This is a great task that has nothing difficult in it. And you can also see how a great paper should be written.

Writing for university students

Of course, you will find only small differences in school and university writing solutions. But papers for the Bachelor level are more difficult and require a higher level of research. Here are the most common task that we definitely recommend you try.

  • Reviews. Reviews require additional research and time, so you can order it without any issues.
  • Research papers. They are complicated, but with writers’ knowledge and sources, they will be fully unique and qualitative.
  • Articles. Different articles can be completed in a couple of hours if they do not require some extra research.

Papers for university require a lot of effort, and, including the fact that many students do combine studying and part-time jobs, it will be great to just order them. At least a lot of positive reviews from students proved that website helped them combine studying and working.

Business writing

We did not expect that the website would also have resources for helping people who work in different companies. But here, you can order different services that would be great for your work tasks.

  • Presentations. Presentations are great when you would like to visualize your ideas or report something.
  • Speech. If you want to express something or receive some sort of reward, a speech will be a great way to show your gratitude or enhance your position.

What is also important is that you can place an individual order. It will be helpful if you want something fully unique.

Other Advantages Of This Platform

The website also has numerous advantages that will come in handy.

  • A price calculator, where you can easily see how much to pay for the services and what are the conditions of cooperation with this platform.
  • Support center, where you can find answers to the most common questions and other important things before you start working.
  • Great guarantees. The website shows you writers who will work on your paper, including their specialization and experience. Also, you get a money-back guarantee.

The platform has a lot of other things to offer, but you should check them manually to see why this essay writing platform is great.

Why EssayNow Is a Brilliant Writing Solution?

EssayNow is a writing website that is focused on assisting all users who have issues with writing. The combination of pretty low prices, a convenient interface, and qualitative papers make this platform a brilliant solution for your writing.

So, if you have issues with your writing or do not have enough time to complete papers, you should pay attention to this website.

Award News

The Quebec Writers’ Federation Awards are a series of Canadian literary awards, presented annually by the Quebec Writers’ Federation to the best works of literature in English by writers from Quebec. The A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry is one of seven categories in the annual awards.

CONGRATS to GWP poet, Sarah Wolfson!


The poems in A Common Name for Everything build idiosyncratic worlds around the themes of nature, home, parenting, and naming—worlds that are at once poignant and absurd: a professional namer of lakes explains his standards; the rural gods are given names; a study of sheep results in loneliness. Steeped in sound play and borrowing academic language to create a specimen lens, these poems bask in the local as they seek to name even the commonest earthly things.

Advance Praise for A Common Name for Everything

In her stunning first book of poems, Sarah Wolfson drives a team of spirited horses into rural landscapes, many of which she interiorizes figuratively in ways that are wonderfully strange. In one keenly intelligent, musical poem after another, Wolfson instills her lyrical narratives about motherhood, environmental crisis, the inherent elegy of words, natural history, and poetry itself with chthonic imagery, risible asides, empirical logic, and academic nomenclature. For her, poetry itself is ‘the common name of everything,’ and from her ‘place’ she serves her reader ‘soup and small/ theories of holiness’ in evocatively specific, sublime ways. By writing from the ground and body up, Wolfson surprises herself first and then her reader with language that soars with verbal music . . . A Common Name for Everything marks the debut of an enormously talented, wise, and timely new voice. ”
Chard deNiord, Poet Laureate of Vermont

“In A Common Name for Everything Sarah Wolfson demonstrates, again and again, an entirely uncommon talent for precise and defamiliarizing observation. At times declarative and deceptively plain, and at others more fractured and gestural, the poems in this formidable first collection are informed by a lyric sensibility that is authentic, playful, and unflinchingly direct.”
Phillip Crymble, Poetry Editor at The Fiddlehead; author of Not Even Laughter 

“I can’t remember when I last read a book of poems that provided such varied pleasures . . . But the gorgeous surfaces of Sarah Wolfson’s work—the poet’s intelligence and curiosity and wit—are not ends in themselves, but a way to get at what seems essential in the self and the world. So we learn the poet is skeptical of god ‘though not of souls,’ become acquainted with a daughter’s ‘need to wonder,’ and waken with the poet to marvel at August ‘with its great star events.’ In short, A Common Name for Everything is anything but common. I’m already eager to hear more from this poet, to be swept away again.”
Clare Rossini, author of Lingo and Winter Morning with Crow

More Praise

“. . . Humane and full of wonder even as it resists all that is inflated by romanticism, A Common Name for Everything’s insistence on Earth’s ordinary orderings doesn’t efface the deep reverence the speaker has for the same. If there’s a divine in Wolfson’s world, it’s this world itself and all that’s passing through it. In her poems’ radical adjustment of scale back to something earthly and earthy, there’s more than enough.” —Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers, review excerpt from Orion


About the Author
Sarah Wolfson’s poems have appeared in Canadian and American journals including The Fiddlehead, AGNI, Michigan Quarterly Review, PRISM international, and TriQuarterly—and they have twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan. Originally from Vermont, she now lives in Montreal, where she teaches at McGill University.


Sundog Poetry Center and Green Writers Press Announce New Book Award

Mary Ruefle

Good news can be hard to come by these days, but if you’re an emerging poet — or eager to emerge — here’s a welcome opportunity: The Johnson-based Sundog Poetry Center has just announced a brand-new First or Second Book Award for poetry. And there’s a reason for that slightly awkward-sounding name.

“Sometimes a first book is heavily collaborative,” explains Neil Shepard, a veteran poet, the founder of Green Mountains Review and a Sundog board member. “The second is usually post-MFA — really the first book. That’s still relatively an emerging poet.”

In other words, writers who vie for this award might already have an extant book or chapbook, or they might just have a bursting-with-promise manuscript. Either way, the winning entry will be designed, printed and distributed by Sundog collaborator Green Writers Press in Brattleboro.

Tamra Higgins and Mary Jane Dickerson founded Sundog in 2014 with the mission to “promote poetry for the enrichment of our cultural lives,” according to its website. The nonprofit has fulfilled that promise with publications, workshops, retreats, readings and other events. For the most part, Shepard points out, these ventures have featured established poets. For example, when Sundog began collaborating with Green Writers Press, his own book Vermont Exit Ramps II was the first to be published.

But, after Sundog and the press released the 2019 volume Vermont Poets and Their Craft, edited by Shepard and Higgins, “we decided to do something for emerging poets,” Shepard says.

The competition is open only to Vermonters, defined as residents of the state a minimum of six months of the year. The submission deadline is October 31 and must include proof of residency and a $20 application fee. Manuscripts should be 48 to 64 pages long.

Shepard notes that he and other board members — Dickerson, former Vermont poet laureate Chard DeNiord, Rebecca Starks and Bill Drislane — and managing director Sarah Audsley will “each choose two or three manuscripts by the end of November and send them to our final judge, Mary Ruefle.” Vermont’s current poet laureate, Ruefle will make her decision by December 31. The winner will receive $500 and 50 copies of the published book.

Eyes on the prize, poets.

The final judge is Vermont Poet Laureate, and award-winning poet, Mary Ruefle. 

This contest is open to all Vermont-based poets. Submissions of manuscripts of a first or second book, by a Vermont poet, will open on September 1st and close on October 31st, 2020. A cash prize of $500 will be awarded along with 50 copies. Sundog Poetry will provide assistance with promotion through a featured book launch and readings scheduled throughout the state. Manuscripts should be between 48 and 64 pages. All submissions must be authored by a poet who resides in Vermont; proof of residency will be requested along with a $20 application fee online via Submittable.

Submissions open September 1, 2020 and close at midnight on October 31, 2020

In related news, Sundog/Green Writers Press-affiliated poet Stephen Cramer has launched the recently published Turn It Up! Music in Poetry From Jazz to Hip-Hop.


Earth Day 2020!

Earth Day 2020 is Wednesday, April 22! This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this day. Think about how to serve the planet this week—cleaning up some litter on your walk or around your house, planting a tree, or simply enjoying companionship with nature.

Every year the Earth Day Network, as organizers of the original Earth Day, selects an environmental priority to engage the global public.

The enormous challenges – but also the vast opportunities – of acting on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary year. At the end of 2020, nations will be expected to increase their national commitments to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, so the time is now for citizens to call for greater global ambition to tackle our climate crisis.

Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable. Unless every country in the world steps up – and steps up with urgency and ambition – we are consigning current and future generations to a dangerous future.

Earth Day 2020 will be far more than a day. It must be an historic moment when citizens of the world rise up in a united call for the creativity, innovation, ambition, and bravery that we need to meet our climate crisis and seize the enormous opportunities of a zero-carbon future.

Green Writers Press is celebrating Earth Day 2020 by releasing a brand new e-book called COME TOGETHER by Dana Simson (link to buy). This is an engaging handbook to launch a movement of individuals to tackle global warming by simply retooling our daily actions. Easy proactive steps develop a long term perspective based in civility, integrity and an invigorating love for our earth. Save money, lose clutter, live well, feel happy and healthier as you pull for the planet. Make smart changes through a bottoms up strategy for now where each of us is empowered to make a difference in little ways that trend to big solutions.The Movement of One is both the individual and all of us connected in this common goal. Pass this book on. We are the change.

This is the book we should all be reading right now to empower each of us in the movement for bottom-up change.
—Pamela South, facilitator of Green Engineers, middle school media specialist

Come Together goes beyond tackling climate change with a call to build respectful community to honor all living things and earth. It is truly a handbook for all of our futures.
—Heidi Thompson, Sacred Soul Gathering of Women founder

Great guide for those who are choosing to be mindful of choices affecting the environment!

Excellent information to help decrease your enviromental impact!

COVID-19 and National Poetry Month

In celebration of National Poetry Month, we are featuring a poem a day from the timely (and even more significant during this pandemic) anthology we published last year entitled Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness & Connection, edited by poet and educator James Crews. 

Today, on the first day of National Poetry Month, we will honor the work of James Crews, and here is a quote about how Healing the Divide came to be: 
Assembling this anthology of poems about kindness and connection was a work almost entirely of intuition. I somehow just knew that I wanted to arrange the poems alphabetically, and quite early on, I had a sense that I wanted to begin the book with Ellery Akers’s ‘The Word That Is a Prayer,’ about the use of the word Please, and that I wanted to end the anthology with Miller Williams’s shorter piece, ‘Compassion,’ which seemed to encompass exactly what Healing the Divide was trying to say—that it’s best to be kind and compassionate to others, since we have no idea what unseen battles they might still be fighting deep inside. Even though the poems were arranged alphabetically, however, I do feel there’s a rhythm to the book, and each poem feeds fairly logically into the next. As with my own creative work, I’m always trying to achieve a kind of narrative and flow, and how I go about this is not entirely explainable, but readers do seem to pick up on it.
— from an interview with James by Nicholas James
that appeared in our literary magazine The Hopper
Our literary magazine, The Hopper, is featuring poetry during the month of April. 
Thanks for helping to put this out there during these challenging times. 
Best to all and stay safe,
April 3, 2020:
Today’s poem from the James Crews anthology Healing the Divide is Ellery Akers’s “The Word That Is a Prayer.” The sequence of poems in the book is done alphabetically, and Akers has the lead in so many ways . . .
Stay tuned each day as we feature a poem from the anthology on our socials:


GWP encourages our writers, artists, freelance staff, readers, and interns to send us their writing so we can put it out on our blog and publish it there for all the world to see (and our legions of followers!) Here is a powerful poem by GWP author, Irene Skyriver:

Irene Skyriver and her daughter Summer Moon at the kayactivism in Seattle.


(I named this poem after one of the few modern movements that made sense to me)

What will we do for the love of our Mother Earth?
I say it is not the time for silent retreats and meditations
Did, or do the victims of:
Climate change
Wounded Knee
The Klu Klux Klan
Did they have time to meditate on ensuing chaos or demise?
Did they have time to understand
Just before they were swinging from the limb of a tree?
Or just before their children were gunned-down or forced to cross barren deserts
Did they have time to contemplate
those “leaders”, or soldiers, or white supremacists
as perhaps being their miss-guided but lovable brothers?
Our Earth Mother is Black, she is Wounded Knee, she is a child gunned down in Viet Nam
She is a rape victim
Now is not the time to tread gently or to tippy toe
Now is not the time to try to understand the Hitler’s or the orange ones of our species
We need to be as unapologetic and powerful as the Earth herself
We need to be as relentless as the grind of a glacier
We need to be an earthquake to tumble the fortresses of greed
We need hurricane force winds of change
We need to be flooded with purpose
We need to be like the blaze of an incoming comet to turn this tide of suicide
We will recharge in the serenity of the Sun’s dip and rise
We will carry on with the knowing that others are dying for rhinos, elephants, butterflies, trees…
And by knowing there is too little time for meditation and silent retreats  


Irene Skyriver, Pacific NW Coast author/grandmother/farmer/activist
Because of the good life I live on my farm in the San Juan Islands, I must convince myself as much as anyone, to leave the comforts of our homes, families and life as we know it, to RIZE UP and fight for the Earth and Sky. Even our children know, we humans have our heads in the sand, as we blithely carry on in our consumptive, unsustainable lifestyles, leaving them to the wreckage of our defeatist inaction.
Although I am not a hardcore activist, I’ve taken action at important events and I’m readying myself for deeper involvement in our local environmental issues (which are profound) as we prepare to fight huge increases of Canadian tar-sand tanker shipments through our already decimated Salish Seas. With our local Orca whale population on the brink of extinction and salmon runs failing catastrophically, I see my life as a grandmother, best spent fighting, and dying if needed, for the dream that perhaps a sea swelling of hearts and minds will awaken and turn the tide. We need to step out of our comfort zones and fight for the environmental health of every biome of this planet and sky. •

You can order Irene’s book at your favorite, local independent bookstore, or here at Indieboud!


GWP’s Poem-a-Day from Greg Delanty

For our series “A Poem a Day,” we are honored to publish a sequence of poems from the editor of our climate change anthology, So Little Time: Words and Images for a World in Climate Crisis, Greg Delanty. About his upcoming poetry collection No More Time (due from LSU Press next August/September) where this sequence is taken from:

 No More Time as a whole, is showing, at the start of the 21st century, how we are all connected in so many ways.  The sequence ‘The Field Guide to People’ is arranged alphabetically and is a kind of integrated earthly heaven (thriving flora and fauna), purgatory (declining flora and fauna) and hell (extinct flora and fauna). The decline of the creatures and plants of the latter two is due in every case mainly to humans. The form of the poems in this sequence is the terza rimasonnet, both poems of the underworld and love poems to the natural world, connecting the past with the present in form and content. Since one of the greatest poems to portray humans in the Christian world is Dante’s underworld, Delanty has created a representative underworld for plants and creatures, rectifying the general centuries-old western attitude that humans are not apart, but part of the environment.


As a chimp, usually the adult male,

approaches and the roar of the

water booms louder, you see him,

without fail,


speed up. His demeanor starts to

alter, hair bristling. Arriving at the


he stands, sways from one foot to the other,


bows, genuflects. Answering some call,

he dips his hand as if in holy water, splashes

himself along the tassel border of the silk



climbs the bell ropes of draping vines,

lashes his body to several, takes flight

over the deafening water as it crashes.


He swings like a thurible above that veil of

white; the spray is the incense of the

monkey’s water rite.



Sometimes you see something so

dreadful that the mind  snaps a shot

or shoots a video of the scenario,


lasers it into your retina on  the spot, 

impaled in you for as long as you live:

 a teacher thrashing a pupil — a crying tot —

or the elephant Dan and I saw given a

sedative so she could rest, sleep, that time

in Dublin Zoo. The aged female was

trapped in a repetitive


back and forth on her haunches,

unable to stop herself, a tormented

beast of Orcus.

Her attendant explained, feeding her bamboo,


“Twas her one way to move, trapped in the van of a circus

so long. Rescuing her was our onus and bittersweet bonus.”


Falls-of-the-Ohio Scurfpea

I feel like a student in my Environment

101, crushed by daily news: creatures

going or gone, the changing climate, the

planet under the gun.


In teacher mode I tell them: “For yourselves you

press on, your own wellbeing. You’re entitled to be


Action makes life fun. Good news: the Café Marron


and sage grouse are saved”. I say nothing of the scurfpea,

Orbexilum stipulatum? Its modest flower

blending with white-bearded cascades. A



or more and not a single sighting along the

river at Rock Island. It relied too much on

the bison. You know how one thing depends

on another,


with the jowled ones diminished, so went this

‘un; finally condemned with the building of US

Dam 21.



In January 2000, the Pyrenean ibex (Spanish common name ‘bucardo’)
became extinct. Scientists cloned DNA from a last female.

In the end, no cliff or impossible

crag could save them from

plantation or gun. Their heads hang

on walls. Hunters brag.


Many were taken down for sheer fun.

The king pucks — their antler plumes

rising magisterially — plugged one by none.


Gone the clash of horn scimitars,

grooms battling to mate, the

bucardo of lore.

White-coated gods in lab rooms


summoned one back from the dark shore

of the underworld. They should have

known from the ancient myths what was

in store.


She returned after seven minutes, lone

clone, relieved to be back among the herds

of her own.


  Jellyfish Tree






Imagine a place, a zone, an

underworld which includes more

than our own kind:

the green and moving ones: ferns with curled


violin necks, gloaming players who

grind their wings together. And listen,

the music, the strain of this bird

lingers in the wind.


What flute-like notes, what warbling, what

a lick of trills and whistles. Can you hear

its song?

Heard melodies are sometimes sweeter. A trick


of the breeze, zephyr? Things went

wrong with land clearing. Hurricane

season intensified, uprooted trees, and

before long


mosquitoes multiplied in rain-storm

stagnation. The song: a figment of my

birdbrained imagination.


Northern Gastric Frog

This creature’s extinction is attributable to the human introduction
of pathogenic fungi into their native

This one was a bit of an artist,

especially the female, so oddly


At home in backwater rocky


cascades and riffles. Hard to

find, to spot even when


Its stone-hued skin and sepia behind


blending in. After the female

laid eggs, in vitro fertilized by her

groom, she swallowed them whole,


turned her stomach into a burgeoning

womb. Six weeks later she gave birth


and out of her own mouth. No more room


for lungs, she breathed through her own skin, 

spewed up her mites, each wearing a clown-

sad grin.


Oryza sativa

Something to behold, how this crop

succeeds in such diverse moraine. Best

of all, see row after row descend

gradually from the gods


down mountainsides to the valleys

below, tiers of a great amphitheater,

their heads craning to watch the show:


the traffic, rickshaws, the general

theater of our priceless world. On the

slow train to Kandy I was a passing



watched locals kneeling to the god of

rain, lay offerings to the assisting

oxen and ant, petition the god of rice

for healthy grain.


I wanted to join them, genuflect, pray, chant

praise to the plant that’s half the world’s




This chimeric beast, part zebra, part donkey,

—its name the phantom sound

of its supposed call—enjoyed the society


of ostrich and gnu, foraged remote grassland.

So comically mythical: the striped head

a kind of convict’s shirt, each band


fading until mid-body it bled

into a rufus rear, and on to a white tail.

(the last sad male to be found was bred


with a flummoxed horse, producing a female

striped in reverse, from waist to rear).

It’s as if a circus clown ran out of a final pail


of white paint. The only photo’d quagga, a mare, 

stares back from behind bars with an accusing glare.


Rafflesia arnoldii

The corpse flower, a flower straight out of hell

on earth, not one to give your wife or mother

come Valentine’s Day, or wear on your lapel.


Though the sight of this particular

flower’s measled, fleshy-skinned,

monstrous petal wouldn’t help you

any, what overpowers


is the stench of rotting flesh and organs:

Chanel de Cadaver, Bouquet Putrid,

Carrion Mystique,

Essence de Carcass, Versense Pew, Allure Impossible,


luring every bug in the vicinity to the

reek, unable to resist entering the

rank volcano

of this hotty, and presto, another sprouts in a week.


Meanwhile, the forests of Sumatra and

Borneo are being cleared. Ergo the corpse

flower also.


Saint Helena’s Olive

Far-fetched that plants feel pain,

but there’s evidence, the experts

say they can learn, process and



that they’ve intelligence in some

way. This one’s had it: St.

Helena’s Olive.

As soon as people settled to stay,


spread, this plant gave up the will to  survive.

Natural. But natural also that planters cut

all before them, needing somewhere to live,


to settle themselves. Too late 

by the time anybody got it together, 

grappled to keep the native alive, bust a



The seeds of this tree refused to flower,

their act of civil disobedience, flower



Tarantula Hawk Wasp

Give us a break, man, you with your

inventory of whales crooning to one


the society of bees, the scratched history


of bears, elephants mourning a dead

mother, the varying duet of the


the Saint Helena olives’ flower power.


You elect them denizens of a kind of

Paradiso. But consider the likes of a

particular wasp,

the Tarantula Hawk, straight out of the Inferno.


This one would make Hannibal Lecter gasp.

The wasp’s sting turns the tarantula into a

zombie, drugs and drags the spider off in its

relentless grasp,


lays an egg in the spider’s belly; the larva

methodically eats the host alive; more nature’s

norm than oddity.



You never saw anything like this

bird, black from coif to claw, with

looks to kill

(though ungainly in flight). But, what’s absurd


isn’t so much the unusual

hairstyle, which is less like a

man’s umbrella than an Elvis

quiff, driving many a girl


out of her tree, screeching for her fella,

nor is it his Elvis song, the testosterone

bass crooning longingly for his Priscilla.


But the instrument, and not just that, but the

place it arises from, his throat, a back-to-f

ront tail,

that opens into a feather duster when he plays


his well-endowed come-on, larger in the male,

a kind of didgeridoo, moaning, enticing the female.


The Voilá Grouse

“I’m pleased that we collectively continue to make great progress
on addressing threats to this bird, conserving
the sagebrush habitat
and providing a path forward for sustainable economic development.”
—US Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, Sep 21st, 2016

You should see their fancy

costumes: white ruffs, spectacular

fanned tails. And o-la-la, watch the

gallant grooms


strut their stuff, the puffed-up lek males

performing their version of a pole dance,

tucking in their bills, vying for the



eyeing up their prospects, their chance

of a future. The future has some hope

now, thanks to Secretary Jewell taking

a stance.


The grouse is saved, the end of a protracted

row. The whole sage-swaying sea is singing

Hallelujah, along with the elk, pronghorn,

mule deer, sparrow.


Good news for all sheltered under this

umbrella, been blown inside out. Folks

spoke up and voilà!



The old gods are defunct, but not the old

necessity to give thanks. This god spread

from the Levant forgotten religions ago,

bestowing prosperity.


He is goodness incarnate, the Midas

plant without the Midas curse, t

urning a field

into plains of swaying gold. He is our constant


from dawn to dawn, strength

concealed within burnished stalks

of energy, grounded goodness

variously revealed.


This great shape-changer: the deity

of cereal, pasta, bread, the English

taco has more lives than Buddha. We


become him, where he grows we

grow, rising each morning,

leavened dough.



Surely there are others in your life who

make you feel worthwhile, are a safe

haven. I am lucky enough to have a

staple few.


And now this other, a befriending

dolphin I swam out deep again to

meet. I can’t tell

even myself what I felt when I first saw the fin


slice through the surface, the swell,

then to see this undine, stock-still at my feet.

We looked each other in the eyes for well


over ten seconds (nay, millennia). Such a

sweet, kind gaze. I wonder what he made

of me

in only my pelt and goggles. What a treat


to be allowed kiss his grinning forehead before he

undulated back across Dingle Bay, the channel’s




is the divining stick, wishbone, question 

why one y rather than another why:

the yak, the y tree, the yellow-eyed penguin


or the myriad y insects who crawl

and fly we know nothing of, nor will

ever know? The links break from

alpha, beyond why.


You mention the Yaque chub, a

minnow, or Yaque catfish sporting

Chinese whiskers, both Yaques

depending on the slow flow


of Yaque River. According to Surem elders

–the last to speak Yaque, Yoeme Niki,


(And where do languages go when they die, others


on the brink?)– the Surem’s goddess, Yumululi,

speaks for The Great Tree, divines our future


Zanzibar Leopard

The descriptions of the leopard and its habits are characterized by the widespread notion that wavyale (witches) sent them to harm villagers and were thus killed on sight. After the Zanzibar Revolution of 1964 there was a leopard-cleansing campaign which sealed the leopard’s extinction. 

Kill Evil incatinate. Kill kill kill

the Zanzibar Leopard, this island devil,

this vampire vermin, obeying witch-will,


dispatched by the wavyale  to bedevil

villages. You know the old strategy:

demonize and the demonizer will revel


in playing God, the paw of the Almighty.

This leopard survived since the ice age,

slowly shrunk itself into dwarf-cat royalty,


even changed its spots, but couldn’t manage

to outwit human categorizing. Yes, it is daft,

but this cat’s hardly likely to be found in cage


or ruling the night-forest now. When statecraft

bands with religion there’s no better witchcraft.



There’s something off about talk of the land

as a person. It’s more a moody personality

that you insecurely sense, project,



via the osmosis of yourself, your


to shape change, the abracadabra

matching outside to within. Take Zayante,


home of the slender gilia, Bonny Doon mazanita, 

coast-horned lizard, band-winged grasshopper,

Ben Lomond spine flower, June beetle, ponderosa,


everlasting, kangaroo rat, all going without a


Folks’ needs, comforts, fears up the ante.

The development night by day grows grimmer.


Which ciao —hi or bye– will it be on Planet


Enough Gregorian cant. We are done. Adelante.


Happy Mother’s Day from GWP Moms . . .

Happy Mother’s Day from all of the women and mothers at Green Writers Press, Green Place Books, Green Sprouts, and our literary magazine, The Hopper! Here are some books, for moms of all ages, that will make perfect gifts for the mother in your life . . . Enjoy!


A perfect Mother’s Day gift . . . 
A Mom’s Guide to Creating a Magical Life
Written for the overwhelmed Mom who’s looking for more joy, playfulness, and serenity in her life, A Mom’s Guide to Creating a Magical Life is like a GPS for your soul. This book is full of simple, easy-to-use tools to help you feel more grounded within yourself, and more patient and present with your family and everyone else you meet throughout your days. It’s also an invitation to come back home to yourself and remember all the things you used to love before becoming so busy taking care of everyone else. Beyond a manicure, pedicure, or even a massage, A Mom’s Guide to Creating a Magical Life encourages self-care for the soul, teaching and empowering Moms to learn and know that we really do have the ability to create the life of our dreams.

GWP author Kasey Mathews and her two children . . . about 18 years ago! Watch the trailer and learn about Andi’s birth.

There were uncertain, gloomy days when I thought they might be right—that maybe we were cursed. Inevitably, though, I’d step back and look with clearer eyes, allowing myself to see all the incredible gifts that had emerged as a result of what we’d been through. I came to see, know, and understand that in the midst of times of ease or diffi culty, there is so much opportunity to allow in the magic that is available to us all.

KASEY MATHEWS lives in Wilton, New Hampshire, with husband, two children and their rescue dog, Ed. She is a coach, speaker, workshop leader and author of A Mom’s Guide to Creating a Magical Life: 8 Steps to Feel Happier, Inspired and More Relaxed and Preemie: Lessons in Love, Life and Motherhood, which won the New Hampshire Writer’s Project Reader’s Choice award and was a featured book on the Random House book site Bibliophile.

Visit the author’s website to order:
Watch the author’s beautiful book trailer here . . . (her first book was agented by Dede!):


The Coffeehouse Resistance: Brewing Hope in Desperate Times
by Sarina Prabasi
Reviewed by Rachael Peretic

‘What a difference we can make, understanding our neighborhoods as we do, and having a real relationship with people in our communities. What could we accomplish if we could make the coffeehouse politically relevant again? Not partisan, but politically engaged and active.’ – Sarina Prabasi,  The Coffeehouse Resistance

No stranger to immigration, Sarina Prabasi was born in the Netherlands, raised in Nepal, and educated in Massachusetts before settling for years in Ethiopia, where she fell in love with the culture of coffee, the community surrounding it, and a man who would later become her husband and business partner. When political unrest brought her back to America with her husband and young daughter, the relief was short-lived. In the wake of the 2016 presidential elections, they and much of the nation were left shocked, bereft, and seemingly powerless in a situation that few had prepared for. Suddenly, the future of the nation and of her family was undefined.

Through small acts, her mindset shifted from that post-electoral fog to that of an active citizen. She started using her voice, her vote, and even her dining room table, where she and her children wrote to their local representatives, to better embody her ideals. After getting her feet wet by phone banking for Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s campaign, she was struck by her ability to promote change both at the government level and right within her own community. It wasn’t long before this passion flowed over into Buunni, the coffeehouse founded by Prabasi and her husband, Elias. With the government officials, she wrote postcards, made phone calls, and attended rallies. With her customer, she shared a love of coffee, a safe space for their voices to be heard, and connections with friends and strangers alike. Eventually, she found a balance, dismantling the isolating issues she saw—racism, gun violence, and corporate greed—from both ends of the spectrum.

Sarina and her two girls (a few years ago).

In an effort to bring the coffeehouse back to its original status of communal hub and a place of enlightenment, free thinking, and debate, Prabasi has written a book detailing her experiences as a New York immigrant-turned-U.S. citizen, a small business owner, a mother, and a political activist pining for representation in Trump’s America.

The Coffeehouse Resistance is a forward-thinking memoir, told in an empathetic voice, that shines light not only on the harsh realities of recent years but, more importantly, onto the bright future which is made possible when one acts in accordance with their ethics toward a true democracy. Despite such divisive times as these, the book’s power to resonate is palpable; its ability to motivate as pervasive as the morning’s first cup of coffee. This book is for everyone, but especially for those who have felt themselves unrepresented, unaccepted, or even unwelcome in the place that they themselves call home, this is a must read.

Visit the author’s website here:
Watch the book trailer here and help us spread the word! #thecoffeehouseresistance


Breakfast Memories: A Dementia Love Story (Coming Fall 2019!)
by Kate Hanley

For anyone caring for someone with dementia, this book is a bridge of hope. Kate Hanley takes us on a journey where we witness her caring for her aging parents, while trying to balance the demands of her own busy work and family life. At times, full of frustration and despair, Kate wanted to give up, but knew that was never a choice. As her story progressed, along with her mother’s dementia, Kate discovered a cache of daily love devotionals her dad had penned to her mother every morning on a paper napkin.

Kate Hanley and her mom.

The discovery of these love sonnets was the key to unlocking the window into her mother’s soul, and gave Kate glimpses back into the world of who her mother once was. A beautiful story full of love, laughter, and possibility, Kate inspires others walking this path to know and believe that even in the darkest times of despair, there is reason to hope and remember that love is never forgotten.

Kate Hanley’s discovery of her parent’s unique love language set her on a path she never anticipated—writing a book. Yet these beautiful “paper napkin sonnets,” and the story that surrounds them, were too precious and inspiring not to share, as they offer hope for anyone in the throes of caring for someone with dementia. Kate lives in Old Forge, New York, with her husband and two dogs. Her two grown sons come home as often as possible to enjoy the peace and beauty of the Adirondack Mountains.

Visit the author’s website and to preorder this special book:

~~~ Other Mother’s Day books, newly released just in time for Mother’s Day! ~~~

How to Survive a Brazilian Betrayal: A Mother-Daughter Memoir
By Ehris Urban and Velya Janez-Urban

A kooky, gregarious mother and perceptive, poised daughter introduce readers to their offbeat Connecticut family, who follow their hearts to rural Brazil. Broke and broken, they’re forced to return to the United States, and navigate their rebirth in a foreclosed 1770 New England farmhouse. Hilariously honest and heart-wrenching.

“Beautifully written and full of love, honesty, and humor. Almost all daughters adore their mothers and make fun of them at the same time! There is no more powerful (or fraught) relationship in the world than this one. I love this relationship. Brava, you two!” ~Christiane Northrup, M.D., New York Times bestselling author, Women’s Bodies,Women’s Wisdom and Goddesses Never Age

Ehris Urban is an herbalist, holistic nutritionist, and flower essence practitioner. Velya Jancz-Urban is a zany teacher, history nut, and expert on “herstory unsanitized.” As Grounded Goodwife (,this funny and frank mother/daughter duo believe in taking inner responsibility for one’s wellness, and share their “recipe” for wholeness through holistic workshops and “gal power” presentations.

Visit the authors’ website here:


Today My Name is Billie, a novel
By Neile Parisi

Coming out just in time for Mother’s Day, this page-turning novel is about a dedicated teacher who loses her job due to a student covering up getting into a fight by saying she punched him (he got his friends who where there to lie on his behalf)…. Every Year thousands of educators are accused of physical abuse. Some are guilty and are prosecuted, but hundreds who are innocent are forced to surrender their licenses. This is what happened to Billie. Deceit and betrayal threatened her survival, extinguished  her life’s dream, and  erased her sense of self worth. She wondered if she could ever trust again. Rejected by family and friends, she was forced to reinvent every aspect of her entire life. When a catastrophic fire crippled her community, and individuals grappled with personal tragedy, she gained a deeper understanding of the gift of forgiveness and the power of hope. Her brave struggles saved not only her life but also the lives of others. At times brutally painful, at other times hugely positive, Today My Name Is Billie  reveals how a single lie can spread like fire and destroy all that it touches.

Neile Parisi taught for 18 glorious years in public schools. She experienced both joy and tragedy in her classroom, but continually loved her students. Today My Name Is Billie is based upon an incident in her life as an eighth grade teacher, where she lost her job and her career. Following this, she became a Registered Sanitarian. Having a Masters Degree in Health Education, she was able to use her teaching skills to help educate workers in the restaurant world, teaching proper food-handling skills; provide knowledge about radon, asbestos, and lead poisoning to home owners; investigate food poisoning; test beach water and pools for bacteria levels; inspect restaurants, day cares, schools, and hospitals; and at times even trap rats and other rodents. Currently she is a Realtor, who by the way won Second Place in The Woman’s Arm Wrestling competition in Las Vegas, and promises she won’t let anyone “twist your arm.” She is also a stand-up comic on the weekends, drawing from her varied background of jobs. This is her first novel.

Order at the author’s “adopted local bookstore” RJ JULIA!


Paddling With Spirits: A Solo Kayak Journey
by Irene Skyriver

Inspired partly by her own spirit of adventure, and partly by the stories of her native coastal ancestors, Irene Skyriver celebrated her fortieth year of life with a solo kayak voyage, paddling from Alaska to her home in Washington State’s San Juan Islands. Paddling with Spirits: A Solo Kayak Journey interweaves the true account of her journey with generational stories handed down and vividly reimagined. Beginning with her great-grandmother’s seduction of an Indian fighter turned trader, and following her ancestors on both sides through oil booms, orphanages, wartime romances, dance halls and cattle ranches, Paddling with Spirits dips like a paddle itself between the stories of those who inspired her, and Irene’s own journey down a lonely coast. As she encounters harsh weather, wolves, bears, whales, and the wild beauty of the coastal waters, she reflects upon her own life and the lives of the many people she meets along the way before her final, triumphant return home. Paddling with Spirits is a wild, brave, and thrillingly original adventure.

“In this book the long, restless boundary between ocean and land becomes a road of discovery for an intrepid paddler traversing the liminal space between present and past, between the visible world and the unseen resonance of her ancestry. With “every stroke of the paddle away from shore,” Skyriver plunges deeper into telling the legacy of her familial links to this coast. Her account alternates between stages in her pilgrimage through the water, and fictionalized stories from her kin. In prose that sparkles with bold strokes, this story is told as the journey is taken: with every splash of Skyriver’s muscular observation, story, and thought, the reader glides forward over glittering waters.” —Kim Stafford, author of Having Everything Right: Essays of Place

A Washington native, Irene Skyriver was born in Port Townsend and raised in the country. She moved with her children and horses to Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands, thirty-eight years ago. On the island she lived off-the-grid and as a single parent, spending most of her early years growing a garden and letting the outdoors and beaches be her family’s sanctuary, inspiration and teacher. Skyriver organized parades for Earth Days, International Women’s Days, and was one of the early founders and shapers of the Summer and Winter Solstice celebrations, as well as Passage Rites ceremonies for the youth. A poet, dancer, and a singer of traditional “Earth Circle Songs,” writing came later for her, mostly because one has to sit down to do it! Irene received a full fellowship to Fishtrap Writers Conference based on a submission from Paddling With Spirits. This was followed by a grant to finish the work. In between involvement in community, her market garden, and milking goats, she plans to sit down and accomplish these new writing endeavors and is at work on a novel.

Visit the author’s website:
Watch the wonderful book trailer (starring her daughter, Summer!):


Clothesline Religion, poems 
by Megan Buchanan

Clothesline Religion chronicles twenty years worth of adventures in the life of an artist as young single mother.

Megan Buchanan, a poet and professional dancer, gave birth to a daughter at 22, lived abroad in Ireland and France, and came back home again to Southern California and the mountains of the Southwest. This debut poetry collection spans wild open roads, backyard vegetable gardens, Irish pubs, country dance halls, Vermont screen-porches, midnight river valleys, artist studios, and the world of waking dreams. Buchanan’s poems offer fierce evidence of what she calls “ordinary magic” ―and what others might call mindfulness―discovering gratitude, the path of recovery, and a mother’s deep joy.

Megan Buchanan is a teaching artist, performer, and dancemaker. A graduate of Occidental College, Megan studied urban and environmental policy before earning her graduate degree in English at Northern Arizona University. Born in California in 1973, she has lived for long stretches in Ireland, the mountains of the southwest, and New England. Her work has been supported the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Vermont Arts Council, and the Vermont Studio Center. Her poems have been published in The Sun Magazine, A Woman’s Thing, make/shift, Dream Closet: Meditations on Childhood Space (Secretary Press), Eating Her Wedding Dress: An Anthology of Poems About Clothing (Ragged Sky Press), and other journals. She lives in southern Vermont with her two children.

Visit the author’s website at

And a BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OUR OTHER AUTHOR/MOMS!!! Last, but not least, an homage to our Mother Earth . . . here is a photo of GWP poet, Megan Buchanan, in a dance performance (I call this “Blessing the Earth/Water is Life”).

Thanks for supporting our small and growing press! 

The Pond: Meet our Artist/Poet Collaborators!

A wonderful review by Sophfronia Scott in Goodreads:

The Pond
by Richard Jarrette with Susan Solomon (Illustrations)


Sophfronia Scott‘s review

Apr 23, 2019


In my review of Jarrette’s 2015 poetry collection, A Hundred Million Years of Nectar Dances, I noted: “Jarrette brings to bear an observant eye, an open heart and a spirituality that seems to meld both eastern and western philosophies. I savored his lines, marveled over his sense of imagery and felt very much how I would be happy to take this walk with him again.”

The Pond gives me the opportunity to do just that. Joining Jarrette on this lovely amble is the Minneapolis artist Susan Solomon. Her exquisite and striking portraits of nature display an intriguing play of light and dark, of sun and moon, of air and water. I wouldn’t say the paintings illustrate the book. Rather, they act as Solomon’s side of the conversation as she and Jarrette take in the grace and mystical beauty all around us.

One of my favorite paintings features a full moon reflected in water. Jarrette’s light and playful lines:

“The moon is on the moon
unaware of its light.”

Another favorite has Jarrette musing on a cow swishing away flies with her tail. Again, delightful, and reminiscent of Hafiz.

“I almost remember my tail.
I miss it–
I might hang from a limb
while reading a book;
drape it over my shoulders
in a dignified manner
like Hanuman;
manage the wine glass
and buffet plates with ease.”

This jewel of a book is a keeper, one you’ll want to peruse again and again.

To order the book . . . click here,
or contact your local, independent bookstore!

GWP a Finalist in AWP’s 2019 Small Press Publisher Award!

AWP’s Small Press Publisher Award is an annual prize for nonprofit presses and literary journals that recognizes the important role such organizations play in publishing creative works and introducing new authors to the reading public. The award acknowledges the hard work, creativity, and innovation of these presses and journals, and honors their contributions to the literary landscape through their publication of consistently excellent work.

The award includes a $2,000 honorarium and a complimentary exhibit booth, including two complimentary conference registrations, at the AWP Conference & Bookfair in the year following the recipient’s recognition. In even years, the award is given to a journal, and, in odd years, to a press.

Finalists for the 2019 AWP Small Press Publisher Award

Winner to be announced at the #AWP19 Conference & Bookfair at the awards celebration followed by the Braver Together gala


Green Writers Press, an independent, Vermont-based publishing company is dedicated to spreading environmental awareness and social justice by publishing authors who promulgate messages of hope and renewal through place-based writing and environmental activism. In five years, Green Writers Press has expanded, publishing such authors as Julia Alvarez, John Elder, Dr. M Jackson, Madeleine Kunin, and Clarence Major. Our mission is to spread a message of hope and renewal through the words and images we publish. To that end, a percentage of our proceeds will be donated to environmental activist groups and social justice organizations. The Hopper is our literary magazine.

Split Lip Press brings a punk rock sensibility to small press publishing, producing high quality, beautifully designed books of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. We print on demand, have a short draft-to-release window, and have worked almost entirely on authors’ first books. We run a guest-judged chapbook contest and put out four full-length books in varying genres yearly. We also collaborate with our authors as much as possible in terms of design and promotion. We think of our press as a literary family, with care and support of emerging writers being our top priority.

Zephyr Press, founded in 1980, is recognized as a leading translation press of international poetry and prose. From our landmark bilingual edition of The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova in 1990, to our unique contemporary Chinese line, featuring work from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, we strive to bring exceptional international writers to English-speaking readers, and to foster a deeper understanding of other cultures and languages. Our catalog includes books from more than a dozen languages (and counting). Zephyr Press is run by Jim Kates, Christopher Mattison, and Leora Zeitlin.

Erika Meitner, Virginia Tech
Paolo Javier, Poets House
J.D. Wilson, Northwestern University Press


Needless to say all of us here at gwp are thrilled and honored to be in such good company with these other awesome presses . . . heading to #AWP19 on March 27th! Stop by our Table #9022 for celebration & free coffee from Sarina Prabasi’s Bunnii Coffee Co!

Here is a flyer about the event, who is signing books, and our off-site partai . . .


Creative Writing from Our Winter Interns

GWP Winter-Spring Interns, left to right top: Rachel Rosa Canales, Tyler Esparza, Sabrina Lessley. Bottom row, left to right: Rachel Nolan, Rachael Peretic, David Hakas

We ran a wonderful Field Work Term for Bennington College and hosted three fabulous interns: David Hakas, Sabrina Lesley, and Tyler Esparza. We also hosted Rosa Canales, an intern from Dennison University who is heading to Germany to study abroad next semester. Our University of Arizona intern, Rachael Peretic is staying on through the spring and we are hoping she will run our “New York Office” when she and her husband move down there!

Rosa and Tyler submitted some of their own environmental writing and we are delighted to publish their work here on our blog which will also be featured in our upcoming newsletter. It is so great that these young people are using their voices and we are grateful for their hard work and dedication!

Rosa Canalas’s Poem:

The Last Love Poem

It is 2050, and I sit at your bedside, your weak hands grasping for my arm, pulling me down into an abyss where birds huddle together, their feet shackled and their feathers stripped bare, and I listen closer than I ever have before to the sweetness you trickle into my ear, the gurgles of drying streams and the million reasons why I should have loved you when I didn’t. 

I raise my mouth to capture this honey and I greedily lick my lips around the edges, still craving artificial sugar, corn syrup, plastic, my mouth always wandering in a search for sweetness, wanting to kiss the plumped silence of those with money stuffed in their ears, whose lips they had carved to fit only their own.

But now my lips are still, they yearn for your cool breath to calm the inferno I have stoked from coal and desire and your discarded offerings, my hands coming to rest atop your fingers laced across your chest, across a cavern covered by disintegrating moss and lichen, a shelter for the hibernating black bear and her cubs, silently asleep, their snouts and paws stained bloody from berries.

And it is too late for me to wash out these stains, so I hold your hand as you gasp, your lungs punctured with every crumbled piece of bony color in their dark blue waters, and now I am selfish again because I once more want to follow my father into the sturdy green stillness, a palette accented by the yellow of watchful eyes from higher than I could ever climb on shaking limbs. 

I want to hear your heartbeat in my ears instead of only my own and chase this steady compass through your jungled veins and arteries, an immortal heart we thought could withstand the neglect of wishful prayers shot into the heavens rather than gratitude distilled into our roots, could withstand our destruction and our insatiable avarice, but now we have found that we are not so different after all, neither of us is immortal and neither of us can withstand a life without love. 



Tyler Esparza’s short story:

In a Burning Room

“Oh, come on Sara,” I said, “Really, what’s the point in fighting it? It’s over now.”

She paced back and forth around the room as the flames licked up the walls, the smoke slowly constricting my throat like a rope around my neck, filling the holes we cut into the walls in our feeble attempts to escape.

“No, no there has to be something, we can’t give up. There must be something we can do. Maybe we can try the walls agai-” She stopped and clutched at her chest as a violent fit of coughing racked her body.

“You definitely can’t do anything in that state,” I said, slowly getting up and putting my hand on her back, “I told you already, it’s too late. Maybe when the heat started we should have run. When we saw the first flame make its way under the door we should have stamped it out. We  didn’t try hard enough then, and now even our hardest won’t be enough.”

Her eyes were filled with tears, whether from the fire or from despair, I wasn’t sure. She had never cared for this room before, why should she care now that the end was in sight?

I was the one who kept this room neat, cleaned up the messes of her drunken wine spills and cleared out the trash she left wherever she wanted. Yet suddenly, in the face of impending doom, our roles were reversed. I knew there was nothing left to do, but she wouldn’t give up.

Between coughs, she sputtered words of hate that couldn’t hurt me any more. She was blaming me for not helping, for not warning her sooner. What good would it do to argue now? Remind her of all the times I’d warned her that some day she’d lose this room if she didn’t stop treating it like her personal trash can. I guess she didn’t think she’d be trapped here while it burned. Over time her breathing grew more and more labored as I brought her over to the bed and laid her down for the last time. She hit my arms feebly as I stood up. She begged me not to give up. I just sat on the floor, leaned my back against the bed, and tried to remember what this room was like when there was still life here. When we could have saved it.



Our Basin of Relations: The Art and Science of Living with Water

Vermonter Mike Sipe began photographing the pristine waters of the Lake Champlain region about fifteen years ago. His initial vision was a coffee-table book, sharing the beauty with the world with one hundred, sharing-quality images. He captured thousands of images, with thirty-five images to be included in OUR BASIN OF RELATIONS, The Art and Science of Living with Water, coming in early fall from GWP.

About five years ago a weightier purpose for the book, hit Mike like a brick—WATER QUALITY—the lake water quality is deteriorating with dangerously high levels of phosphorous, toxic enough to close swim areas, threaten drinking water, and maybe even harmful to breathe! Blue Green algae is not that good to look at, either. This algae bloom problem is not unique to Lake Champlain.

A few years ago, Mike got involved with the Vermont Clean Water Network, realizing that most of us aren’t aware of the issue, and he was eager to learn how to help preserve the Lake Champlain’s watershed ecosystem.

I believe we want to help protect what we love…. and we love…. and value, water. Knowledge and inspiration empowers us, producing resolve. —Mike Sipe

Editor Trevien Stanger on the shoreline of Lake Champlain.

A couple of years ago, after Mike joined the Vermont Clean Water Network, he became aware of an article in the Burlington Free Press, called Thinking like a Watershed. The article was written by environmental teacher, writer and poet, Trevien Stanger. According to Mike, he loved the article and knew he had to marry his photos with Trevien’s word wizardry—and do his part for clean water—albeit small. When Mike and Trevien came to GWP publisher Dede Cummings, she immediately jumped at the chance to publish the book but explained to the intrepid team of environmentalists that there was no budget for such an expensive book. After much discussion, the publisher came on board and will also donate the design and layout fee of $2,000 to the project. The book will be available in the late summer of 2019 if the fundraising goal of $10,000 is met.

Trevien Stanger is the curator of nearly fifteen articles by water quality advocates in OUR BASIN OF RELATIONS, The Art and Science of Living with Water. Trevien wrote the introduction to the book and it is reproduced on Mike’s website,, under the tab OUR BASIN OF RELATIONS.

Please help clean water
We invite you to read Trevien’s introduction, be inspired, consider some level of sponsorship to help publish OUR BASIN OF RELATIONS and have proceeds from the sale of the book go to clean water projects. Book sponsorship details are at the end of this article and there will be a list of sponsors in the book (and logos of organizations). GWP is a LC3 which means we can partner with nonprofits with no tax. Individuals wishing to send a tax-free donation, can contact us and we have an umbrella nonprofit/fiscal agent for this project.


If you wish to help us fundraise for printing this gorgeous book, we will mail you a 16-page BLAD (Basic Layout And Design) of OUR BASIN OF RELATIONS to help you decide about sponsorship of the book. you can also view the BLAD by clicking this link: Our Basin BLAD inside Dec21 lo res and downloading/viewing the PDF on your computer.

Thank you,

Dede, Mike & Trevien

Holiday Sales for the Spiritually Inclined

It’s that time of year . . . the first days of Hanukkah are here and the Christmas and Kwanzaa holidays are coming right up . . .

As a spiritually inclined publisher, we just love our books that have a spiritual and healing focus, from caregiving our elders to daily meditations in our busy lives. What better time to celebrate the holidays and we want to offer a few special sales for our readers!

Here is a special holiday list from Green Writers Press, Green Place Books, and Green Sprouts:



A bit about the book:

Take a wide-eyed look at your life—the commonplace, joyful, and even heartbreaking events—and discover the presence of God, hidden in plain sight. This is the invitation of Christine Eberle’s Finding God in Ordinary Time. Each daily reflection contains a true story and a nugget of spiritual insight, accompanied by thought-provoking questions and a memorable Scripture quote. Together they guide readers across four terrains where the divine presence may be hidden in plain sight. Warm, accessible, and surprisingly funny, Christine offers spiritual nourishment to people skeptical or weary of religion, while still giving the faithful something to chew on.

“From a woman experienced in Jesuit spirituality, in work, in relationships, and in life, comes this sensitive book about finding God in the real world.” —James Martin, SJ, author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life

“This is the perfect book for any adult in search of an adult relationship with an adult God. Filled with deep insight and humor, it will gently enliven the hearts of those who are spiritual but not religious as well as those who are religious but not spiritual. No matter the stage in your prayer journey, this lovely book will speak to you.” —Bro. Mickey McGrath, OSFS, artist, author and storyteller





A bit about the book:

This is not a book on meditation or Buddhism, though it has certainly been influenced by both. It is a book of encouragements for all those who are interested in using the unit of a single day to develop good qualities in their minds and hearts. It is a book about teaching yourself “from the middle”—the middle of frustration or joy or boredom or wherever else you find yourself. It is a book with a single thesis: that there is always something you can do, moment by moment, to rediscover the brightness of your own life.


Two gift ideas from all of us at GWP/GPB!


Our Small Press Poetry Future

(This is an excerpt, modified for this post, from GWP poetry editors, Dede Cummings and James Crews’ interview with Dante Di Stefano over at Best American Poetry)

Green Writers Press is proud to offer some stunning poetry books in our catalog. We are looking for new and emerging poets that write about the earth and our place in nature and the built environment, poets who give voice to those who are marginalized in our society, and established poets who want to publish with us and enjoy the benefits of working collaboratively. 

Green Writers signed the new poetry collection by Robert Pack, entitled All One Breath, and we are thrilled to work with such a notable American poet as Pack. We also recently published Dirt and Honey, by Rachel Vasquez Gilliland, an emerging Mexican-American poet and feminist. Another upcoming book is titled Time Inside, by Vermont poet Gary Margolis, about his work with maximum security prison inmates. Last, but not least, GWP just published A Bouquet of Daisies, by seventeen-year-old poet, Megan Alice, with proceeds benefitting the Planned Parenthood Federation. 

We strive for a diverse chorus of poetic voices and our literary magazine, The Hopper, is doing just that. Founded in 2015 by Dede Cummings and Sierra Dickey, the Hopper also awards a poetry prize, now in its third year. Winners include John Saad in 2016, Ralph Black in 2017, and our 2018 winner, Charity Gingerich. Our poetry editors are James Crews, Anna Mullen, Ellie Rogers, Emma Irving, Dede Cummings, and Caroline Shea.

We have a bias for poetry that is accessible to as large an audience as possible, and because we are an independent press run almost entirely by women, we also believe that more female and transgender voices are needed in American poetry to give voice to those who have been kept quiet for too long. But as an environmentally-minded publisher, we hold close to Robert Bly’s idea of “shared consciousness” with the natural world — an outlook long held by Native Americans before us. This idea puts forth that elements of the natural world are just as intelligent and conscious as humans (if not more so), and perhaps the current environmental crisis would not be so dire if more people saw the world in this way. We need more American poetry that acknowledges our essential interconnectedness as a planet and as a human species. To paraphrase the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, we’d like to see more poetry that awakens us from the illusion of our separateness.

What the future holds for Green Writers Press’ poetry program: our publisher is an award-winning poet in her own right, so we give a lot of attention to publishing and promoting our poetry catalog. To that end, you can expect to see several new collections which showcase diverse American voices, and which unflinchingly tackle the environmental crisis. Upcoming 2019 poetry collections in addition to the Hopper Prize winner, Charity Gingerich’s After June (spring 2019), we will also be publishing Ha Kiet Chau’s collection Eleven Miles to June (fall 2019) and Sarah Wolfson’s A Common Name for Everything (fall 2019).

You can also look for anthologies that are in and of themselves forms of resistance against the prevailing fear and outrage infecting our politics and our country as a whole. For instance, we’ll be publishing an anthology edited by our poetry editor, James Crews, called Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection, with a lovely preface by former Poet Laureate Ted Kooser.

Interview with GWP author Irene Skyriver

This interview was conducted by GWP associate editor, Evelyn Yielding, a student at Eastern Washington State University, formerly at Bennington College (where she was a GWP intern).

1.   Paddling with Spirits is your very first book. Was there a turning point in your life that made you want to write down this story?

A 2018 Nautilus Book Award Silver Winner.

Well, I’d never planned to write about my kayak journey, but then I decided it would be a nice thing for me to write down for my children’s sake. And doing so, I thought it would also be a good time to tell them as much as I knew about our family. Because my family and ancestors had so much to do with my journey in terms of how I was thinking of them as I paddled, the two stories went well together— that’s when I decided to do it. 

I started writing as my mother was dying, and that was also when I got my first computer. She was bedridden, but I was there in vigil and so I had the time to work on my ideas of my book then. This was a number of years after my actual journey.


2. When did you first start to write things down? 

Well, I kept a journal on my solo paddle but as for the book, 

I like to say, it has been a “dozen years of Januaries” because January is the only time of the year I’m not too busy with outdoor things.

3. What did you do to prepare for you kayaking journey? 

Well, because I live on an island, I’ve always thought it would be best to have a kayak, because, then I knew I could get away on an adventure at any time, without gasoline, without a car— just pull my boat into the water and have an adventure! So, a kayak was one of my earliest purchases, even though I was without a car at that time.

And then, as a result of having my kayak, I did get to explore the islands in our archipelago. Later, I got together with my husband, and we paddled up into the wild areas of Vancouver Island, on the west side, and that prepared me for the kinds of seas that I knew I would encounter in Alaska.

But, I couldn’t plan this solo journey until my children were grown up. I had been a single parent for almost twelve years, and I had a strong impulse to be sure, that if I died, they’d get along okay without me. So, that’s why I had to wait.

4. Do you still kayak today?


5. Do you plan on going on any more kayaking journeys? 

Yes, we are planning a big journey next summer. We have a family paddle that we’re going to do on the west side of Vancouver Island. My second grandson is doing a Rites of Passage out there. We’re going to isolate him somewhere for three days, then reconnect and celebrate his Coming of Age on a wild beach out there.

6. What are the challenges of living on Lopez Island? 

I guess the tourists and the loss of waterfront areas to roam and enjoy. Decades ago it was quieter. The land now, is all bought up and so there are now challenges being able to be in the wild places we use to visit, without someone owning and fencing-off the property. 

Washington State doesn’t even allow its citizens access to beaches, most other states like Oregon, California and Alaska allow the beaches for everyone as a public domain, but in Washington, the wealthy can and do own them. All the places we used to go on Lopez for picnics, or walks are all privately owned now. There’s very few places left. And so, in the summer months when there are lots of tourists, the parks are always jam-packed with people. We locals don’t go to the beaches in the summertime. This is another reason why the kayak is important because I can get away from the shore and head off somewhere else.

Irene Skyriver on the state of Washington ferry to Lopez Island, her home. Photo by GWP editor, Evelyn Yielding.

7. How did you research your ancestors’ stories? 

Well, first of all, I had a lot of stories handed down to me from my family. I also traveled to the locations where my ancestors had lived to get a feel and understanding of them in their environment and so I did fly to Alaska to visit relatives in Cordova and also to the historic Native village-site of Katalla. It is completely wild in that location now, not a trace of the former village. I also stayed for a summer with the Tlingit’s of Yakatat, Alaska, where I lived among elders and learned more about my Tlingit culture.

Also, there were the National Archives at Sand Point area of North Seattle, where I obtained a lot of the archival information about the Indian school where my dad’s dad was sent, as well as all of his siblings. There were also letters in those archives where my grandfather as a child corresponded between his father and the Indian school through the years.

8. What have you learned journeying from Alaska to Washington? Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?

  No, I felt like it was perfect. I wouldn’t have done anything differently— everything went amazingly well. I felt like I had been well-prepared. I mailed myself packages of food along the way. I didn’t even need some of those— the kayak can carry a lot, plus I took a fishing pole. I was able to catch a lot of fish for my meals!  

In those days, I had no cellphone, or any form of communication at all, with the exception, that I occasionally got on a fishing boat and used their marine radio to call home. But, I didn’t miss any of that either— I was totally happy. The whole reason of getting away is “getting away”! I didn’t want anything more than reaching out to my family occasionally to let them know that I was okay and checking to see if they were okay.

9. You’ve obviously discovered some amazing family history. Is there anything that surprised you that you feel comfortable sharing? 

 What I was delighted and surprised about was the information I gathered from the National Archives, which, through letters, transportation receipts and other items, really gave me the actual words of some of my ancestors’. To see their words and understand their situation—these children being in an Indian school in Oregon after their Native mother died— those were real tangible bits of information that helped me understand more deeply. Also, travelling to different locations (where my ancestors lived)—such as Alaska and Alberta. Alberta being the place my mother’s mother was taken to from Neah Bay WA., as a child and just to imagine growing up in the evergreens of this state and suddenly being taken to the grasslands of Alberta, where it was incredibly different, I could better understand the difficulty of that for her.

And, some little tidbits of information about my great grandfather who manned the trading post up in Alaska. I found his military records and so it showed his service under George Custer and Nelson Miles during the Indian Wars because there was his payroll, before my very eyes! Also, there were some old magazine articles of his oil discovery days in Alaska.

10. What were the Indian schools? 

When the white people took over North America, of course, there were all sorts of injustices done to the Native people. They wanted the Indian children to go Indian schools to learn English and taught trades. They were forbidden to speak their languages. 

And in my Grandfather’s case, they were sent there by their father, because he couldn’t take care of all the children on his own after their Native mother died. Because my grandfather had a white father and a native mother, he and his siblings could speak English, so it wasn’t quite as traumatic for them as for most of the native kids that were forced to attend. 

There was a lot of pressure to send Indian children to boarding schools. They wanted to break the Indian and turn them into people that wouldn’t resist the white culture.

11. In Paddling with Spirits, you remark on the kindness of fisherman and other strangers. Have these positive experiences changed the way you think about people?

As I said in the book, my solo journey re-affirmed my love of people. I always liked people— I grew up in the small town of Port Townsend, Washington. You waved and smiled at everyone who walked past. That’s how Lopez has been too. But as time has gone by, populations have grown like crazy in these places, and things are going all sour in the world. So, the opportunity to put myself in a vulnerable solo kayaking situation actually was a re-affirming of the goodness of people. People are generally kind and want to help. 

I just also want to say that in having published my book, I’m experiencing that same thing again. Lots of years have gone by since my journey, I’ve been very blessed by the kindness of strangers, just sharing with me, sweet compliments about my book. I’m really shy— I’ve never really written before. And so I was insecure about my offering as a writer. To have people positively embrace it, was like a second reawakening to my love of people again. You know, I live a kind of cloistered life. I have a big family and I’m pretty content with just growing my garden and having my family near. So, to be thrust out into the public again and just seeing how wonderful people are— I’ve always known that, but you can get kind of caught up on modern society’s troubles and anguish.

12. You’ve been a part of different kinds of protests, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Kayaktivist, irene Skyriver at the Bay of Seattle flotilla in 2015 protesting Shell.

Since I’ve been involved with writing Paddling with Spirits, I really haven’t had the time to sink into other kinds of issues, but my heart is in the place of wanting to protect the Earth— I don’t care as much about any other issue. The Earth is our Mother, and if She doesn’t survive, nothing will! So, I think that’s of primary importance.

So, I’ve been involved in some kayaking protests in Anacortes (oil refinery town and our ferry terminal town) as well as down in Seattle to oppose the Shell Oil exploration platform’s plan for drilling in the Arctic. Also, I have gone to Standing Rock, which was the ginormous Native gathering aimed at preventing construction of the oil pipeline coming through their land in North Dakota. That was a deeply emotional and beautiful experience and I was so grateful to be a part of it. 

I would go again to stand with Native communities, because their heart and mine, are the same with regards to saving our Earth. We really need to be focusing our attention on producing less oil and more sustainability. I’m committed to that fight but not able to be very politically active as I promote my book.

13. What advice would you have for someone who is researching their family history? 

Most importantly, talk to their parents before they die. I tell that to everybody— ask every question you think of, because once they’re gone you can’t ask those questions anymore. And so, talk to all your relatives. Everyone has a different take on things— the more information you get, the better off you’ll be before they pass away. 

I’ve noticed from my own experience, even in my own large family, we all had different experiences. It’s said, you can never step into the same river twice and the same is true for families. Each child is born into a different and changing circumstance. So, it’s also good to speak with your siblings, because they may have had experiences or information that you never even imagined. 

There are also resources accessible online. I think it’s also important to go to the places where your family originated, so you really know what you’re talking about from a visual and visceral standpoint.

14. I’ve noticed that throughout your book, songs are often sang in times of adversity. This may not be intentional, but why do you think people through Paddling with Spirits go back to music in difficult times? 

Songs have always carried cultures and helped people through troubling times, such as the Civil Rights movement, and the songs we share as a nation through the ages— such as Pete Singer’s “This Land is your Land,” or the Vietnam War era songs of resistance.

We are moving away from the unifying experience of being held in a society by the sharing of songs. We’re more fragmented now. We’re not held by the common theme of certain songs that unify us as a people. Tribes had that. Songs told the stories and struggles of their people, particularly their mythological and origin songs. This was handed down generation by generation. As long as I’ve lived on Lopez, we’ve done Rites of Passage for young teens, which is one of the times we share our Circle Songs. The children know these songs from their toddler days. We sing these circle songs for birthdays, weddings, deaths, whatever. There are circle songs for every occasion!

It helps to live in one place and share traditions. As a society, we’re going off in different directions and we don’t stay where we’re born. People are starting to search for that— they’re beginning to understand that they want a community where everyone has known each other since they were babies. Sharing in struggles and sadness in good times and bad times as a group: a tribe. Songs can be powerful and bonding, a shared inspiration. You know, that’s something people innately want.

15. In your 700 mile solo paddle from Alaska, what was your most challenging stretch of water? 

So, it would be where I decided, after finishing the narrow confines of the Granville Channel—and it opens up into an intersection of waterways called Right Sound, I could have continued down a nearly identical waterway called Princess Royal Channel. However, at that point I decided instead to paddle where it was wilder, and so I struck out for the outer exposed coast. It was about a three or four-day part of my journey—and those days were probably my most physically challenging. That’s when I also failed to find a passage, which meant I had to spend more days in these very wild conditions. There were other points that were wild and really called on me to be very attentive, but that was probably the most challenging. But, as far as wildlife, I did not fear the bears, wolves or whales I encountered along the way. They were not threatening.

GWP associate editor, Evelyn Yielding, on the ferry to tiny Lopez Island with the author.

16. One thing that I was incredibly impressed by was the amount of fish you caught in Alaska. It’s half-impossible to catch anything in Puget Sound.  There’s nothing there! 

See, it’s the same here now. These waters look beautiful, but they’re empty. It’s really sad. Everything’s been overfished and mismanaged. It’s like a marine desert out here. Everything is just gone— it’s why the whales are dying: they need salmon, and there’s no feeder-fish for the salmon. Up there in Alaska, it’s still relatively wild and there’s still more fish. I wasn’t fishing for salmon, per say— I was happy enough with bottom fish.

Evelyn: At my high school, we had a fishing class: twenty-two kids out for a month on the water, and they never caught a single fish! 

Irene: Yeah, I know that’s sad for me, too. I take my grandkids out and obviously, there’s fun in just the act of fishing, but it’s a lot better if you catch stuff.

My eighteen-year-old grandson caught those Atlantic salmon that got loose from the farmed salmon pens. He started seeing all these salmon at the water’s surface and he ran home and grabbed his fishing pole and caught a bunch but that was before any of us heard about the disaster of the farmed salmon pen collapse.

18. So, your kids have obviously inspired you to write down your journey? 

Well, yes, my initial desire was to write this for them, but as I got further into the writing, it was suggested that it “could be a book.”  People are always curious about the journey when they hear about it, so it was fun for me to put it down in writing, but it was something I didn’t even know I was going to do for a long time, I just never really thought of it.

19. How do you get up in the morning? 

Well, morning is not my easiest. Not that I dislike the mornings— I get up fairly early. I milk the goats in the morning and that’s how I basically wake myself up and every morning as I milk, I sing to my goats— circle songs and any other songs that cross my mind. But I’m not the sort of person that gets up bright and bushy tailed and ready to run around and meet people and do things. I like to have a quiet morning— but once that part of my day is done, I’m ready for anything!

20. So, you have goats. Do you have any other animals? 

Irene with some of her baby goats on Lopez Island, Washington.

Well, I’ve had horses most of my life, but I don’t right now. I’ve always had a dog ever since I was a little child, but my last dog died a couple years ago. We’re kind of on a really fixed income, so even just the idea of buying dog food for a new dog— and I really don’t believe in junk animal food— I believe in organic food for myself and family as well for our animals. I buy or grow organic feed for my goats, cats, pigs and chickens and we sell our organic eggs. That’s a part of our income.



21. What do you garden? 

I grow about eighty percent of the food we eat— we have a freezer, and we usually raise a pig, too. So, we have a freezer with pork, chicken and venison. And I buy fish from our local fishermen when he brings it ashore and I smoke a lot of that.

The author at her garden on Lopez Island.

So, we have fresh and smoked fish. Aside from that— I have a really big garden and I sell produce all summer to the local gas station store. I’ve been doing that for decades. I make my own wine and cider— I grow my own grapes, we have a big apple orchard and I make hard cider from my apples. We put-up a lot of pears and apples and squash and potatoes, garlic— you know, things that keep through the winter. In the garden itself, here in the PNW, things tend to survive through the winter, like I have a garden right now full of greens like parsley, kale and chard. Nice, edible greens! I grow gunnysacks full of onions that keep through the winter until the next crop through the winter. Our land was bought in the 1960’s when it was very cheap, so we are land-rich but low income.

Mostly, what we spend our money on luxury items like coffee, and because I don’t have to buy any dairy, I make my own kefir and we have fresh goat milk. I don’t make cheese, but my neighbor does. We buy nuts and coffee and sugar and flour, butter, toilet paper— I always try to imagine what would happen if we were ever to be completely cut off, financially or otherwise. I would feel fairly comfortable, although I would certainly miss some things but, I’d still be able to kayak!

Watch the gorgeous book trailer by clicking on the photo above.

Welcome GWP Summer 2018 Interns!

GWP is thrilled to welcome our 2018 summer interns hailing from as far away as Finland! These young women are excited to work hard all summer to edit, market and publicize our growing list of titles from GWP, Green Place Books, and Green Sprouts!

Emma Irving is a recent graduate of Widener University with a BA in English. Her time in college was spent leading staff meetings at The Blue Route undergraduate literary journal, engaging in research on textual scholarship around the country and the world in Grasmere, England, and sitting on the quad between the library and humanities building, reading in the sun. Now out of college, she plans to travel and immerse herself in editorial roles on art projects that will make the world a more empathetic place. 


Ferne Johansson recently graduated from Bennington College this past month with a focus on biological science and dance. She grew up in Marlboro, Vermont, and has spent her life consistently inspired and excited by the beauty and possibilities of the natural world. She feels strongly about writing and environmental/ecological studies which are passions of hers. She is so excited to be spending this summer working with GWP, while also working on an organic farm in Western Vermont.


Heather McCabe is a junior English major at Kenyon College in Gambier, OH. She’s interested in creative nonfiction, memoir, and rural narratives. She’s interested in pursuing book production, web design, or journalism. At Kenyon she works as a Writing Consultant, meeting with students to plan essays and creative pieces for course submission. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, painting, and baking. Heather grew up in South Burlington, VT.

Katri Nykänen is an English major minoring in marketing at the University of Turku in Southwest Finland. She is currently working toward her MA degree and hopes to graduate by the end of 2018. Katri has loved reading from an early age and these days she reads everything from non-fiction to classics and young adult dystopia. Katri has previously studied tourism and in her future career she hopes to combine her English and marketing skills with books and traveling. She considers working at Green Writers Press an amazing opportunity to develop her professional skills and explore the beautiful state of Vermont at the same time. When Katri is not studying or working, she is either at the gym or at home sorting out her doll collection, experimenting with new vegetarian recipes and learning new languages. 

Caroline Shea is a poet and recent graduate of the University of Vermont where she studied English Literature and Film. During her time there, she worked as a writing mentor and tutor specializing in classes exploring the intersections of gender, sexuality, and poetic voice. She is the former Co-Editor-in-Chief of Vantage Point Magazine and her work can be found in COG Magazine, Bad Pony Magazine, Souvenir Journal, and others. Caroline plans to pursue a career in publishing and editing while continuing to write and freelance.In addition to her love for writing, Caroline is also passionate about progressive politics and public access to education, literature, and art.  She currently lives, writes, and avoids hypothermia in Burlington, VT. This summer, in addition to working with Green Writers Press, she is excited to attend the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop.

Michaela Shea-Gander was born and raised in Brattleboro, Vermont. She is currently a rising senior at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where she studies Communication and Narrative Journalism. She spent the last semester in New Zealand studying environmental policy and indigenous perspectives while interning at an organization called Conscious Consumers. In her free time she loves activities such as hiking, skiing, reading and writing, and photography. She is looking forward to working with Green Writers Press and learning more about how the publishing world intersects with sustainability efforts.


Evelyn Yielding is a sophomore at Western Washington University who studies aquarium science. She grew up exploring bits and pieces of the Pacific Northwest and is particularly fond of Point Defiance Park and the Puget Sound. In her free time, she enjoys designing video games and caring for her betta fish. Her favorite books are The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson.

GWP Featured at AWP18 Reading!

Our Saturday (March 10th) morning AWP Reading at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel was so nice! Here are a few photos of some of our fabulous authors who read: poet Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, fiction author T Stores (who brought her whole family!), nature writer Jim Krosschell, poet and 2017 Hopper Literary Magazine Poetry Prize Winner, Ralph Black, and South Florida poet Ellene Glenn Moore.

The AWP Conference & Book Fair pix was a wonderful time for our GWP team. Here are some more photos to share from the three-day event. Our authors took advantage of the workshops and panels, too, and we look forward to presenting at AWP-19 in Portland, Oregon!

Top row, left to right: GWP poet Ralph Black chillin’ at our table, our backyard at GWP’s Airbnb in St. Pete, editor Jenna Gersie and publisher Dede Cummings relaxing on the deck of the Tampa Convention Center (after drinks & getting some sun while our friends deal with a Nor’easter), the new cover art for Issue #3 of our literary magazine The Hopper, GWP novelist Andrew Furman with some fans, Dede with our debut Green Place Books (our newest imprint!) Melanie P. Merriman and her fabulous book on caregiving.

Bottom row, left to right: Andrew Furman celebrates his galley giveaway for his environmental novel Goldens Are Here, Dede and poet Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, Ralph and debut novelist James Hornor, Dede and HarperCollins author Sophronia Scott celebrate the poetry of GWP poet (in absentia) Richard Jarrette, GWP novelist Christine Davis Merriman (her novel At the Far End of Nowhere will be out in the fall), and last, but not least, GWP’s short fiction author, T Stores, with galleys for her collection Frost Heaves.


The Foreign Language Market & Exciting News

Exciting News: Green Writers Press/Green Place Books, & Green Sprouts for Kids has just accepted an offer from a German foreign rights agent for our Adult and Children’s titles exclusively for the German language market. They will also handle other international licensing deals like our current Chinese deal for an exclusive on our children’s titles.

Here is their website and they have offices in Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Munich!
We will definitely save up for a table in Frankfurt at the International Book Fair in October this year!

Other publishers they represent include the following: Crossroads Press, Melville House, Two Dollar Radio, and more!

~~~~~~~~~ Please note: Our Cuba Trip has been postponed to early November! ~~~~~~~~~

Congrats to our Vermont Book Award Nominees from Green Writers Press!

Continue reading

News from 3 Degrees Vermont

Dear GWP Community (and welcome new authors & readers!),

It has been quite a year for our Press. As we look toward a new year, I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the latest news from our growing press—Happy New Year to you all! Let’s hope we can persevere in the face of the Mad Tweeter. 

We have lots of exciting news . . .

M Jackson, Geographer and Glaciologist. Photo by Randall Scott.

We are extremely excited to announce that one of authors, M Jackson has been named a 2018 TED GLOBAL FELLOW!

Green Writers Press author to take the stage at TED2018, joining newest class of 20 young innovators from four continents.

NEW YORK, NY, JANUARY 9, 2018—Geographer and glaciologist Dr. M Jackson of Eugene, Oregon has been selected as a TED Fellow, joining a class of 20 change-makers from around the world who will deliver a talk on the TED stage this April in Vancouver. Members of the new Fellows class include a journalist who fights fake news in her native Ukraine; a Thai architect designing buildings and spaces with climate change in mind in order to protect vulnerable communities; and a pediatrician who helps families file their taxes in the doctor’s waiting room. A full list of the new TED Fellows and Senior Fellows is available at

Dr. M Jackson is a geographer, glaciologist, environmental educator, and an Explorer for the National Geographic Society who researches and writes about glaciers and climate change worldwide. M earned a doctorate from the Geography Department at the University of Oregon, where she examined how climate change transformed people and ice communities in Iceland. A veteran three time U.S. Fulbright Scholar in both Turkey and Iceland, M currently serves as a U.S. Fulbright Ambassador. M works as an Arctic Expert for the National Geographic Society, holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Montana, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia. She’s worked for over a decade in the Arctic chronicling climate change and communities, guiding backcountry trips and exploring glacial systems. Her 2015 book While Glaciers Slept: Being Human in a Time of Climate Change weaves together the parallel stories of what happens when the climates of a family and a planet change. Her 2018 book coming from Green Writers Press, The Secret Lives of Icelandic Glaciers, explores the stories of Icelandic people and glaciers through the lens of climatic changes. She is currently working on In Tangible Ice, a multi-year Arctic project examining the socio-physical dimensions of glacier retreat in near-glacier communities across all eight circumpolar nations.


In her own words ….

“Being named a 2018 TED Fellow feels extraordinary and validating. I grew up rural and poor, and told over and over I was neither smart nor strong enough. The idea of being a scientist was not even in my realm of possible. But my parents kept encouraging me. And when they died, I nearly gave in. Nevertheless, I drew on the strength they gave me, and I kept going further. And even today, when I am told over and over that my work is not “science” enough, or that my Ph.D. does not qualify me to be an expert on climate change (it’s real), or when being a female scientist is seen as sufficient grounds to harass & attack, I keep going, energized by validation from the TED Fellows Program and so many others. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Here’s to inspiring and encouraging the next generation of female scientists, and working each day to make our world better.”

We are thrilled to announce the first of our 2018 interns!

Evelyn Yielding is a rising first-year student at Bennington College who hopes to study marine biology and sociology. She grew up exploring bits and pieces of the Pacific Northwest and is particularly fond of Point Defiance Park and the Puget Sound. Her favorite books are Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris and The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. She wouldn’t mind becoming an aquarist.

Hannah Wood was raised in New Hampshire. She attends Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont as a graphic design student. Currently she is a senior looking to get into publication and book design after graduation. She works with her school’s Center for Publishing, designing two different semi-annual magazines, ‘Weathervane’ and ‘Willard and Maple’, and other miscellaneous works.  As part of her study abroad to Dublin, Ireland last year she completed an internship with a local design firm called Snap. During her four month stay she completed many projects including a photo book, a business folder, and a variety of business cards and letter heads.  In her free time, Hannah enjoys hiking, gardening, and playing board games.

More exciting news!

  • GWP is working on our first-ever print catalog (with the help of our two college interns, Hannah Wood/Champlain and Evelyn Yielding/Bennington) to send out with all our reps to leave behind with the bookseller.
  • GWP has hired Sarah Ellis part-time as a publicity associate and editorial assistant and we have two wonderful partnerships with Sundog Poetry and a Vermont writing retreat and book coaching company called When Words Count founded by marketing whiz Steve Eisner, where we also work with a freelance marketing consultant Ben Tanzer ( We are thrilled to have Steve’s guidance and Ben’s energy and expertise.
  • I am delighted to introduce the newest member of the Midpoint team, Annette Hughes. Annette has worked for over 30 years in trade publishing, primarily in sales, most recently as the Director of National Accounts at Scholastic. At Scholastic she managed many blockbuster successes, including Harry Potter, Minecraft, The Hunger Games, and Bob Books. Prior to that Annette spent 9 years at HarperCollins, and before that, Little, Brown and Company. Having worked with almost every account in the trade business, she understands how to maximize sales by working with publishers, sales reps and their accounts. Her experience building authors and shaping titles to best fit particular markets will be invaluable to aligning production with marketing and publicity plans; determining and presenting targeted title positioning; and utilizing business analysis to focus on best opportunities for both front and backlist growth. As the Director of National Accounts, Annette will be managing the Midpoint Sales Group working out of the New York office. Her account responsibilities will include Barnes & Noble and Baker & Taylor. Annette will also be working closely with me developing our titles to maximize sales results. As a passionate book champion and avid reader, Annette will be instrumental building new authors, nurturing continuing series and imprints, and championing our backlist—bringing each to the highest level of successful publishing.


We are growing—that’s for sure, but most of all we are a community and we support and appreciate all the talents of each and every one of you.

As we approach the anniversary of the passing of Howard Frank Mosher (he literally helped me launch the press & drove me to practically every bookstore in Vermont!), I know he would be so pleased at our growth and sense of community. 

Blessings and much gratitude, The GWP Team

Thinking ahead to the new year!

Greetings to our stalwart readers & authors, friends of our growing press! We can all agree that 2017 was a year of setbacks under the Misogynist-in-the-White-House — yet, we are hopeful and galvanized for 2018.

This recent article in the regional New Hampshire paper, The Keene Sentinel, written by GWP former Bennington College intern, Cheyenne Vaughn, is really hopeful! Happy Holidays to our friends!

Here is a sneak peek at an upcoming children’s pitcture book that is getting environmental-award accolades! Enjoy and thank you for your continued support and buying and reading our books!

by Katy Farber          illustrated by Meg Sodano
Every spring in the eastern region of the United States, warmer nights with steady rain bring the migration of thousands of spotted salamanders to ponds and pools, often across busy roads. These crossings are magical, and secretive—most people don’t even know they happen. Salamander Sky features a mother and daughter who go out on a rainy night to help the salamanders cross the road safely. This picture book introduces readers to the elusive spotted salamander and the perilous nighttime journey they take each spring. Amphibians worldwide desperately need protection. Salamander Sky is a valuable tool for getting children engaged in conservation.

“Salamander Sky has within its pages the power to ignite curiosity in the unexplored backyard while at the same time respecting and not disrupting nature’s hand in the survival of a species. And what could be better than that?”   —Matthew C. Winner, Co-Founder of All the Wonders

View the Advanced Reader’s Copy (pdf)

Age range: 4-8 years        Grade level: Preschool – 2
32 pages • 8  x 10 oblong, casebound • $17.95
ISBN: 978-0-9990766-4-4  |  Publication date: March 2, 2018 
Distributor: Midpoint Trade Books. Rights sold: None
Rights contact: Dede Cummings, Green Writers Press, • 802-380-1121

 Salamander Sky – Watch the book trailer
About the Author

Katy Farber is a writer, researcher and teacher coach from Vermont. She has loved and defended salamanders since standing in a Pennsylvania creek at the age of ten. Her other book for children is a middle grade novel called The Order of the Trees, which won Green Earth Honor book award in 2015. Visit her webpage at


out the Illustrator

Meg Sodano grew up in Connecticut, exploring the woodlands and seashore, and drawing her favorite animals. She studied natural science illustration at Rhode Island School of Design and Animal Science at the University of Vermont. While making the pictures for this book, she wandered rain-soaked nature preserves, sketched tree roots and vernal pools, and of course, looked for amphibians. Visit her webpage at

For Educators/Parents/Guardians/Librarians/Booksellers, Salamander Sky

  • targets many of the Next Generation Science Standards for elementary school students, including life cycles, wetland habitats, diversity, adaptations and human impact
  • communicates a strong conservation message
  • geared toward preschool through elementary school aged students
  • models first hand exploration and investigation in nature
  • addresses human impact on the environment and encourages active participation in solutions
  • provides a resource for science teachers, environmental educators and parents to introduce inquiry to students
  • inspires engagement and curiosity
  • focuses on a vulnerable and often unnoticed species of amphibians that inhabits much of the Eastern United States
  • embraces diversity and promotes women in science
  • Contact the distributor to order –  Midpoint Trade Books
    Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved.