Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rebel with a Shovel

by Zinta Aistars
Published in Rapid Growth Media
June 13, 2013

Lisa Rose Starner (Photo by Adam Bird,

For author, herbalist, and foodie Lisa Rose Starner, change begins with a shovel. As she prepares to debut her new book, Grand Rapids Food: A Culinary Revolution, the owner of Urban Ranch and Burdock & Rose talks about how important local food really is. 

Lisa Rose Starner has clean hands when she reaches for her much-loved cup of coffee at MadCap Coffee, downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. That doesn't happen so often. The coffee, often. The clean hands, not so often.

"People who think they have no power to make a change?" she asks. With grit: "Just pick up a shovel!"

Starner is the author of Grand Rapids Food: A Culinary Revolution, published by History Press and on shelves in June. The book release party will be skillfully catered and steaming with freshly brewed coffee on June 25, 7 - 9 p.m., at MadCap Coffee, 98 Monroe Center SW, Grand Rapids, where the author will be present to sell and sign copies.

Starner is the owner of Urban Ranch, her place of residence, but also her place of business, which she calls Burdock & Rose. She grows herbs and runs a CSA (community supported agriculture) for medicinal and edible herbs. "It's an urban, midcentury-modern homestead on nearly one acre," Starner says. "I grow more than 70 plants that can be used for food and for remedies. I take special orders along with the CSA, [and] offer classes on homesteading, herbs, foraging, and organic living."

Starner is serious about instigating a revolution with a shovel. "Grand Rapids is flush with resources, and we need to learn how to be better stewards of those resources. Gardening is empowering people. The book is a call to action to the people of Grand Rapids to do more, to sit down at the table to talk about the economic impact on our community when we connect to place, when we grow our own food."

Starner was born in Flint, but grew up just north of Grand Rapids, in Spring Lake, where she says her mother always made sure the family gathered around the dinner table. "Mom's food was functional, but she also did a lot of canning and preserving. Now that I have two kids, I realize how much hard work that is. Today, though, we live in a world of luxury with the global food system. We can get anything at any time. No need to be seasonal. But now we need to take a closer look at that system."

Unlike most who are deep into the local and organic food movement, Starner admits that ...


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