In her food and farming career, Liz began cultivating land as a guerilla gardener. That hobby quickly grew into a deeper interest and she subsequently worked to establish and manage a farm. Liz has co-taught college courses on biodiversity and agriculture, botanical imperialism, and the food of Chicago. She has also created a photo ethnography project where she interviewed and photographed farmers around the country called The Farm(er) Project.
Liz has coordinated the content and logistics for the oldest and largest ecological agriculture event in the West: the Annual EcoFarm Conference. She has also worked on many other programs throughout the year for the Ecological Farming Association, including the Water Stewardship Project, EcoFarm University, the Central Coast Farmer Educator Network, and more. She has contributed locally, nationally, and globally to the good food movement.
Liz serves on the Board of Slow Food Santa Cruz, where she is the Chairperson. She also serves on the California Ark of Taste committee, where she is a part of a team to review proposals for heirloom and heritage food biodiversity preservation in California. She was selected in 2014 as a United States Delegate for the biennial Slow Food International gathering: Terra Madre and the Salone Del Gusto, and she attended the gathering last fall.
Liz was so inspired by Terra Madre that it became the final spark for a brewing food endeavor: The Curated Feast, where Liz tells the deeper stories behind the foods that we eat. Liz has just launched this project and completed her first curated feast dinner in Santa Cruz, CA. She is excited to see what the project will become!
Even after 3 years on the West Coast, Elizabeth (Liz) Birnbaum still calls Chicago her sweet home. She holds a dual degree in Art History and Psychology from Lake Forest College (graduating cum laude in 2008). She also worked to establish the Environmental Studies program there from 2009-2012. Liz grew up in a household where art and music were deeply valued. Her parents are both artist/musicians who instilled in her a profound interest in homespun science and the slippery-ness of human language. She has been encouraged to explore the world since before she can remember, so that is what she continues to do.
Liz has exhibited her artwork in shows at artobject gallery in San Jose (CA), Santa Cruz Thread (CA), Lake Forest College (IL), at the Part Time Gallery in Chicago, at A Tavola Restaurant in Chicago (IL), at the Pajaro Valley Arts Council in Watsonville (CA), and online at the National Organic Coalition’s new website (http://www.nationalorganiccoalition.org/).