My work life has been guided by two focal points: my ethnographic training and my personal interests. Both are shaped by a lifetime of navigating family across three continents. I’m currently pursuing a horticulture certificate at the New York Botanical Gardens, with a focus on arboriculture (graduating, Spring 2019) while being an active Advisory Board member of the international lighting think-tank, PhoScope. From 2016-2018, I developed an occupational folklife collection at the Library of Congress' American Folklife Center titled, "Food Processing and Legacy Trades." I populated it with oral histories of American workers as they negotiate tradition and 21st century digital, mechanical and cultural innovations. My collection sits within the “Occupational Folklife Project,” the largest national portrait of the US workforce since the WPA. I founded LORE and The Wilderness of Wish in 2010 to pursue my interest in the artful presentation of contemporary ethnography and material culture. I've worked with mannequin builders, squid packers, cranberry bog harvesters, neon sign makers, tanners, seed savers, and bra fitters among dozens of others—a pursuit ignited by my formative experiences at the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. With Slow Food USA, I co-launch the Renewing America’s Food Traditions project, a venture of seven environmental and cultural agencies documenting and creating viable markets for North American agricultural biodiversity. For three years, I travelled North America documenting cultural stewards and developing local and regional markets for high-quality, endangered fruits, vegetables and heritage livestock breeds. I worked closely on supply chain development for both institutional food service and retail grocers. Housed at Slow Food's US office, I also directed domestic programs supporting artisan food producers in 30+ states. Early in my career, I was the staff anthropologist at City Lore in New York City where I collaboratively designed and produced school and community arts residencies that partnered performing and visual artists with tradition bearers to teach experientially.
I have degrees in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Virginia (MA) where I was a Commonwealth Fellow for Doctoral Studies and George Mason University (BA, Lambda Alpha), where I was part of the earliest cohort in what is now the School of Integrative Studies. I've received art training and soul-rounding from continuing ed coursework at RISD, Parsons and The Art Students League. From 2009-2012 I served on the Board of Directors for the Southern Foodways Alliance during which time the the organization produced The Global South and The Cultivated South symposia. I've also regularly served as a juror to the National Endowment of the Arts (Folk & Traditional Arts) and several state arts councils. From 2015-2017 I served on the inaugural Steering Committee of the American Institute for Architecture's Social Science Research & Architecture Committee, part of the Best Practices Division of the New York City chapter where we regularly produced radical, provocative and pragmatic programs for the industry. This November, 2018, marks my launch of a dinner series for urban arborists, plant pathologists, botanists, creative cooks, designers and writers called, Branch Union ((A Tree Dinner)).
I live in New York City with my husband and our son.