More About the Author
Lisa Rayner is a Flagstaff, Ariz. based writer who has written four highly regarded how-to books. Her first book was "Growing Food in the Southwest Mountains," now available in a greatly expanded Fourth Edition. She subsequently wrote "The Sunny Side of Cooking," "Wild Bread" and "The Natural Canning Resource Book." All of Rayner's reviewed books have at least four stars on Amazon and are considered to be among the best in their respective categories.
Lisa Rayner has a 1991 Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Interpretation from Northern Arizona University. She is a graduate of the 1993 Black Mesa Permaculture Project's Design Certification Course and 1994 Coconino County Master Gardener Program. In 2008 Rayner won the Martin-Springer Institute Moral Courage Award and the Friends of Flagstaff's Future Livable Community Award. Rayner was also a Garden's for Humanity 2009 Visionary Awardee. Rayner is known as a progressive human rights and Transition Town activist who walks and rides her bicycle everywhere in town.
She writes books with permaculture and Transition themes related to food and fiber. She was formerly the coordinator for the Juniper Street Community Garden where she also gardened for eight years until 2012. She also gardens at her home, both in small plots around her house, on balconies, and indoors.
The daughter of a chemist and a biologist, Lisa Rayner has long had an
interest in the natural world. As a young girl she was an avid collector of sea shells, rocks, bird feathers and more. The evidence can be found in every room of her house. She spent much of her time exploring the forest around her Delaware home. Her mother introduced her to weaving on a floor loom at a young age. Rayner is a self-directed person who enjoys her solitude and a few good friends. One exasperated teacher wrote in her second grade report card, "Lisa tends to play with little books, paper, yarn, etc. and rushes through assignments."
When she is not writing or gardening, she can be found grinding flour, baking, cooking, canning, spinning yarn, knitting, and designing, weaving and sewing her own clothing. She is also a political activist who has spoken at many city council meetings and written many letters to the editor of the local newspaper. She has volunteered much of her time for non-profit organizations that exemplify her values.
Rayner hated cooking growing up. Then, in 1985 she became vegetarian, and soon after, vegan. She spent the next year-and-a-half teaching herself to cook and in the process discovered she enjoyed it. Rayner's reasons for being vegan include animal welfare and factory farms, world hunger and environmental sustainability. In 1993 she was teaching a vegetarian cooking class when she realized that she wanted to learn about which foods grew in her cool, dry mountain home. She began to learn all she could about growing and cooking bioregionally-appropriate foods.
In 1996 Rayner obtained a word processor while dumpster-diving and wrote the first edition of "Growing Food in the Southwest Mountains: A Permaculture Approach to Gardening Above 6,500 Feet in Arizona, New Mexico, Southern Colorado and Southern Utah." A greatly-expanded Fourth Edition of the book was published in 2013.
Also in 1996, Rayner got to know her future husband Dan Frazier at monthly vegetarian EarthSave potlucks. From 2000 to 2002, Lisa and Dan published a monthly progressive newspaper that advocated for the protection of northern Arizona's environmental riches, the preservation of Flagstaff's small-town charm, and social justice issues. During this time, Rayner also ran a community currency program called Flagstaff Neighborly Notes.
During this time, Rayner's interest in geology revived with the gathering momentum of the peak oil movement, which later morphed into the Transition Movement. Her lifelong interests in do-it-yourself urban homesteading tie in perfectly with the need to economically relocalize and downsize this century.
Rayner has been a solar cook since 1995. She started her solar cooking adventures with a used cardboard CooKitTM panel cooker from Solar Cookers International bought for $10 and later purchased the Sun OvenTM she currently cooks with on her south-facing townhome balcony. She published her second book, "The Sunny Side of Cooking: Solar cooking and other ecologically friendly cooking methods for the 21st century" in 2007.
Rayner has baked her own bread with a sourdough culture since 1995. In 2009, she published "Wild Bread - Hand-baked sourdough artisan bread in your own kitchen."
A canner since 2003, Rayner was unsatisfied with most canning books because they did not explain the principles behind safe canning methods. She also wanted to can with only natural, sustainably-produced ingredients. She ended up writing the book for which she had been searching, "The Natural Canning Resource Book: A guide to home canning with locally-grown, sustainably-produced and fair trade foods." Rayner and her husband published that book in 2010.
In 2011, Rayner added spinning and knitting to her do-it-yourself repertoire. Her interest in spinning started when she was 12, when she bought a Navajo spindle while on vacation with her family in Arizona. However Rayner did not learn how to use it until many years later. In her 40s, Rayner met fellow spinners at gatherings of the Flagstaff Fiber and Textile Arts Gathering where she learned more about spinning and knitting.
Rayner enjoys spinning white and naturally-colored cotton on an Indian/Pakistani charkha spindle wheel and spins humanely-sourced wool, alpaca and llama fibers on a Schacht Ladybug flyer and bobbin spinning wheel. Sock knitting has become somewhat of an obsession. She is also learning to dye plant and animal fibers with natural, non-toxic dyes like indigo. A book on textiles for Transition is already in the works. It's working title is "The Post Petroleum Sock."