About Lisa Rayner

Lisa Rayner lived in Flagstaff, Arizona for almost 30 years before moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2016. Lisa 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 Lisa won the Martin-Springer Institute Moral Courage Award and the Friends of Flagstaff's Future Livable Community Award. Lisa was also a Garden’s for Humanity 2009 Visionary Awardee.

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.

Lisa 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 attended 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.

Lisa 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. Lisa'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 Lisa 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. The fourth edition of the book was published in 2013.

Also in 1996, Lisa got to know her future husband Dan Frazier at monthly vegetarian EarthSave potlucks. From 2000 to 2002, Lisa and Dan published a small 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, Lisa also ran a community currency program called Flagstaff Neighborly Notes.

During this time, Lisa'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.

Lisa 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.

Lisa 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, Lisa 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. Lisa published that book in 2010.

In 2011, Lisa added spinning and knitting to her do-it-yourself repertoire. When she was 12, she bought a Navajo spindle in Tuba City, Arizona but did not have the opportunity to learn how to use it. Lisa met fellow spinners at gatherings of the Flagstaff Fiber And Textile Arts Gathering. Lisa 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. Lisa's instructional weaving booklets can be purchased from her Etsy store.

In 2013, Lisa started a blog. That blog evolved to become two blogs. One blog is about food, gardening and the topics of her books. Her newest blog is focused on weaving, spinning and other fiber arts. Both blogs are lavishly illustrated with photographs of her work and her cats. In 2016, she moved to Santa Fe, a progressive New Mexico town known for its vibrant local foods and fiber arts communities.

Photos          Videos          Lisa's Food and Garden Blog