Alison Grantham is in my kitchen today, sharing her insights from testing organic and chemical agriculture, and her surprising chocolate-and-vegetable guilty pleasure.
Alison currently directs all aspects of the Rodale Institute's soil-focused organic agriculture research program. Previously, Alison completed a thesis in soil ecology in which she developed a calorespirometric method to quantify changes in soil microbial metabolic efficiency, and their climate-change implications, at University of New Hampshire and the Harvard Forest. Alison holds a BA in Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies from Mount Holyoke College.
Why is living organic important to you?
With my training in biology and a lifelong love of gardening and being outside, organic living is the foundation of my approach to life. I find great joy in creating edible, welcoming garden spaces, and toxins have no place in them!
What was your favorite food growing up?
Avocados. I grew up in Los Angeles in a house surrounded by fruit trees, including a Fuerte avocado (smooth, green skin and sweet, creamy flavor). Each fall we would fill paper grocery sacks with avocados that I would eat the way other people eat oranges.
What's your go-to comfort food now?
Zucchini brownies from the Simply in Season cookbook (Herald Press, 2005). They're light and spongy and so delicious!
What's the one thing in your kitchen you just couldn't live without?
My X-trema cookware pots--my mom sent them to me for Christmas, and now I use them for everything; sautéing, baking, and boiling!
What magazine, website, book, album, or product are you most obsessed with right now?
Everything I can find about organic peach management and pruning. I planted two peach trees in my backyard last fall and just enjoyed my first peaches yesterday--yum!
What's the most important news story today that you think we all need to pay more attention to?
This article about the effects of early education. Making sure our future is educated is essential to building a better tomorrow.
Where do you get your news?
I try to look at The New York Times every day and skim Science once a week. I also browse the Soil Science Society of America Journal to stay up on emerging research. Organic Gardening is my favorite general read.
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.
Follow Maria Rodale on Twitter: www.twitter.com/farmkitchenblog