Thursday, March 22, 2012

Locavore Lit Fest to Extol Pleasures and Benefits of Wild, Fermented and Foraged Foods

CHESTERTOWN, MD—The second annual Locavore Lit Fest will bring national and regional writers to Chestertown from March 30 through April 1 for a series of talks about seafood, foraging, fermentation and the wonders of “wild” foods.

“We are committed to a free and open exchange of ideas that invite us to challenge our perception of the world," says event organizer Tara Holste, manager of programs and local food initiatives for the Center for Environment and Society at Washington College. “This year's speakers are sure to ignite some lively thought and discussion about food, health and the planet.”

The weekend kicks off Friday at 6 p.m. on the Washington College campus with a talk and demonstration by Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods. Since the publication of his book in 2003, Katz has taught hundreds of workshops across North America and beyond, teaching simple methods for making kimchi, kefir, and other fermented delicacies. His new book, The Art of Fermentation, with foreword by Michael Pollan, is due out this summer.

Katz’s talk will be held in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall, on the Washington College campus (300 Washington Avenue) and will be followed by a mini farmer’s market featuring fresh local produce.

On Saturday, Chestertown bookstores will host the first two of three writers offering other perspectives on wild foods. Mick Blackistone, editor of the Maryland Watermen’s Gazette, will lecture at 10:30 a.m. at The Bookplate, 112 S. Cross Street. Blackistone has written eight books for children and adults that focus on the Chesapeake Bay, watermen and the environment.

Up the block at the Compleat Bookseller, located at the intersection of High and Cross Streets, novelist Jean Hegland will speak on edible landscapes at 11:30 a.m. Hegland's first novel, Into the Forest, has been translated into twelve languages and is taught in a number of community- and campus-wide reading programs. The novel has been optioned for film development by a creative team that includes the actress Ellen Page. Hegland lives in the woods of Northern California, where she enjoys nibbling the landscape as she works on her latest book.

The day finishes back on the Washington College campus at 2 p.m. in Hodson Hall, lower level, with a skill-share and a talk by Peter Bauer (a.k.a. Urban Scout), author of Rewild Or Die. Scout is a multi-disciplinary artist and educator who created an international forum and wiki ( and blogs about rewilding at Scout will present some radical ideas about civilization and humans’ role in the natural world.

After the talk, at 3 p.m., a “skill-share” session will allow festival attendees to meet up with others interested in skills such as basketry, stone points and jewelry, leatherwork, fire-by-friction, animal tracking, nature awareness and story-telling. Bring a project to work on and share, or come and watch others demonstrate their skills.

On Sunday afternoon, April 1, join Dr. Bill Schindler as he forages for wild edible plants at Adkins Arboretum (12610 Eveland Road in Ridgely, MD). Participants will go into the field to learn how to identify, harvest, and prepare many of spring’s wild edibles. Schindler is a professor of anthropology and archaeology at Washington College. He will offer two foraging workshops, at 1 and 3 p.m. The cost is $15 for members of Adkins Arboretum and $20 for non-members. To register, click here or visit and go to “Programs & Events.”

The Center for Environment & Society at Washington College sponsors the Locavore Lit Fest in partnership with Chestertown Natural Foods, the Rose O’Neill Literary House, Colchester Farm CSA, the Chestertown Spy, and the Kent County Arts Council. With the exception of the foraging walk at Adkins Arboretum ($20), all events are free and open to the public. For more information, call 410-810-7162, email, or visit

Friday, March 30
6 to 8 p.m.
Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation
Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall, Washington College
Demo and lecture, followed by Q&A and mini farmer’s market

Saturday, March 31
10:30 a.m. Mick Blackistone, editor of the Maryland Watermen's Gazette
The Bookplate, 112 S. Cross Street

11:30 a.m. Jean Hegland, author of Into the Forest
Compleat Bookseller, corner of Cross and High Streets

2 p.m. Urban Scout, author of Rewild or Die
Followed by rewilding skill share
Hodson Hall, Washington College
Sunday, April 1
1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Foraging walks with Dr. Bill Schindler
Adkins Arboretum
To register: click here or visit and go to “Programs & Events.”

Photos: Top to bottom: Peter Bauer a.k.a. Urban Scout; fermentation advocate Sandor Katz; novelist Jean Hegland.