Slow Food Upstate

Supporting Good, Clean and Fair Food

SC Native Plant Society speaker Janisse Ray

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Tuesday February 19, 2013 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
J. Verne Smith Resource Center Auditorium, Greenville Tec Main Campus,  (map)

Upstate Chapter Meeting, February 19, 2013 7:00 pm until 9 pm

J. Verne Smith Resource Center Auditorium, Greenville Tec Main Campus Address:

620 South Pleasantburg Drive, Greenville, SC, 29607, United States

Special Presentation: How Clearcut Does It Have to Be?


Special Location: J Verne Smith Technical Resource Center Auditorium on the Main Campus of Greenville Tec, 620 South Pleasantburg Drive


When Columbus landed in the New World, 93 million acres of longleaf pine forests covered the southeastern hip of what would become the United States. By 1995, ecologist Reed Noss, in a survey of endangered ecosystems, found that the pine flatwoods were 99 percent gone. This talk explores with story, poetry, and passion this amazing ecosystem, what happened to it, and why bringing it back is vital.


Janisse Ray, our special guest speaker for this event, is a writer, naturalist, and activist. Janisse is author of five books of literary nonfiction and a collection of nature poetry. Her most recent book, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food is a look at seed sovereignty and the gardens where vintage varieties of fruits and vegetables are being curated. Ray calls these gardeners “quiet revolutionaries.” The book will be out in August 2012.

Ray is on the faculty of Chatham University’s low-residency MFA program. She holds an MFA from the University of Montana and in 2007 was awarded an honorary doctorate from Unity College in Maine.


Her first book, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, a memoir about growing up on a junkyard in the ruined longleaf pine ecosystem of the Southeast, was published by Milkweed Editions in 1999. Besides a plea to protect and restore the glorious pine flatwoods, the book is a hard look at family, mental illness, poverty, and fundamentalist religion. Essayist Wendell Berry called the book “well done and deeply moving.” Anne Raver of The New York Times said of Janisse, “The forests of the South find their Rachel Carson.”


Janisse’s second book, Wild Card Quilt: Taking a Chance on Home (about rural community) was published by Milkweed Editions in early 2003. The third, Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land (the story of a 750,000-acre wildland between south Georgia and north Florida) was published by Chelsea Green in 2005. Her first book of poetry, A House of Branches, came out in 2010 from Wind Publication. Drifting Into Darien: A Personal and Natural History of the Altamaha River – a lovesong and a call to action — was released by UGA Press in 2011.


Janisse has won a Southern Booksellers Award for Poetry 2011, Southeastern Booksellers Award for Nonfiction 1999, an American Book Award 2000, the Southern Environmental Law Center 2000 Award for Outstanding Writing, and a Southern Book Critics Circle Award 2000. Ecology of a Cracker Childhood was a New York Times Notable Book and was chosen as the Book All Georgians Should Read.


The author has been visiting professor at Coastal Carolina University, scholar-in-residence at Florida Gulf Coast University, and writer-in-residence at Keene State College and Green Mountain College. She was the John & Renee Grisham writer-in-residence 2003-04 at the University of Mississippi.


Janisse attempts to live a simple, sustainable life on Red Earth Farm in southern Georgia with her husband, Raven Waters. Janisse is an organic gardener, tender of farm animals, slow-food cook, and seed-saver. She lectures widely on nature, community, agriculture, wildness, sustainability, and the politics of wholeness.



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