Wise Traditions 2012 Conference Highlights

by Ann Marie Michaels on November 15, 2012

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Join me at the Take Back Your Health Conference April 18-20, 2015 in Los Angeles. Dr. Cate Shanahan, Mark McAfee and many more speakers. I hope to see you there! Click here to order tickets

Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Raw Dairy, Heather Dessinger of Mommypotamus and son Micah, Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade, Blaine McAfee of Organic Pastures Raw Dairy, and Kelly the Kitchen Kop

Wine smuggling, goat bone necklaces, raw milk outlaws, sexy butchers, bone broth makers and kombucha brewers, Prop 37 heroes, and COUGARS!

OK, yeah, so I overdid it a bit this year at the Wise Traditions conference. Let’s just say I burned the candle at both ends for a few too many nights in a row.

And by burning the candle I mean I was “running with the party crowd” (as your mom used to say when you were in high school).

Ah, but I couldn’t help myself. So many amazing people changing the food supply and improving people’s health and saving the environment — how could you not stay up late?

24 Hour Party People

That’s Jenny of Nourished Kitchen and her husband Kevin, pouring local Colorado Gewurztraminer they smuggled into the awards banquet dinner.

Yeah, OK, there was some wine smuggling going on. The Santa Clara Hyatt didn’t make it easy on us — the bar stopped serving at 11 pm. I mean, really, 11 pm? As my 5-year-old says, “You gotta be kidding me!” Note to self: Need to write that thumb’s down review on Trip Advisor.

This is my LA friend, Monica Ford of Real Food Devotee. She was the one who started all the trouble. ;-)

I know next time not to try to keep up with Monica, who drinks her Maker’s Mark “neat”. I do, too, but dang, y’all, that girl made me look like a lightweight.

Oh, and yeah, the bartender at the Hyatt called us “cougars”.

Ouch! I know! And no, I am NOT kidding you.

Here’s Kelly the Kitchen Kop trying hard not to fall asleep at the awards banquet dinner.

She really did have her eyes closed — I just didn’t quite catch it. But you can’t blame her, poor thing, because they don’t serve coffee at this conference. My camera worked better than caffeine — she sat right up after I snapped this.

And here’s a few more party people, Becca Griffith and Will Winter dressed up like bacon with the crew from Chaffin Family Orchards:

Will was asking everyone, “Do I look fat in this?”

Prop 37 Heroes in the House

Proposition 37 Heroes at the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund Dinner

Lisa Stokke, co-founder of Food Democracy Now, Steve Rye, CEO of Mercola.com, Ronnie Cummins, National Director of the Organic Consumers Association & Pamm Larry, Instigator of the campaign to label GMOs in California

There was no rest for the wicked, because it’s not every day you get to go do shots with Ronnie Cummins, National Director of the Organic Consumer’s Association, and Steve Rye, CEO of Mercola.com. Even if you have to take a cab to Milpitas to find a Dave & Buster’s. (Yes, we really did that.)

Seriously though, Steve and Ronnie did so much for Prop 37 — it was such an honor to meet them. How could I turn down a pilgrimage to Dave & Buster’s?

And I got to give Pamm Larry, another one of my heroes, a hug at the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund Dinner. In case you don’t know, she’s the woman who kicked off the whole initiative to label GMOs in California.

And I got to hang with one of my favorite friends, Jeffrey Smith, anti-GMO activist and author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette:

Meat & Bones

I was also thrilled to meat (oops I keep doing that — I mean MEET) butcher extraordinaire Brandon Sheard of Farmstead Meatsmith.

Brandon Sheard of Farmstead Meatsmith

I heard someone (I won’t say who) say he had a man crush on Brandon — and it’s easy to see why. He makes butchering sexy!

And what is it with his name, Sheard? Sheared!

And then I met Tamara Wilder — another name that fits. She’s so awesome — kinda like the female version of Daniel Vitalis. Wow, another one — VITALIS: to make vital, living, or alive.

I don’t have a cool last name — but maybe I will change my middle name to Cougar.

Here is Tamara Wilder (and is that her daughter? someone correct me if I got that wrong) of Paleotechnics. Hands down, they had the coolest booth at the conference.

I bought one of their awesome bone necklaces.

It’s made of toe bones from goats and deer. And, ironically, I was drinking bone broth when that picture was taken. I was joking that if I ever get hungry, I can just boil my necklace.

Bloggers & Film Directors

Of course I also enjoyed hanging out with many of our (new and old) Village Green Network bloggers.

Heather Dessinger of Mommypotamus, Gabriella Makstman of A Crafty Gourmet, Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade, and Kristen Canty, Director of the film, Farmageddon

That’s Kristin Canty, director of Farmageddon, along with bloggers Mommypotamus, A Crafty Gourmet, and Food Renegade at our Village Green Network blogger party on Friday night after dinner. We were sharing our goals, which we do every year. It’s always very inspiring and motivating.

If you’re a blogger and you’re not a member of our network, you should join!

I also got to meet Graham Meriwether, Director of American Meat.

I bought a copy of the film — you can expect a review soon.

It was my first time meeting the funny and adorable Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo.

She has a great post on the Wise Traditions conference here.

Farmers & Food Activists

My good friends Victoria Bloch (arrested last year for selling raw milk — doesn’t she look like a hardened criminal?!) and sustainable farmer featured in Farmageddon, Sharon Palmer of Healthy Family Farms.

My good friend, Max Kane, founder of the brand new website, FarmMatch.com, with Farmageddon director Kristin Canty.

I’m extremely impressed with FarmMatch.com! I think this is going to be an awesome tool — go check it out!

And the wonderful Gené Walls of the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund with her sweet son asleep in her lap at the fundraiser dinner. (That’s Max Kane’s smiling face to the left.)

Fabulous Exhibits

There were lots of great booths at the Wise Traditions conference — too many to cover in one blog post. Here are a just a few of my faves this year…

Yay for LunchBots! I’ve been a fan and customer of LunchBots stainless steel storage containers for years. They are the coolest.

No surprise — I looked up their CEO & founder (Jacqueline Linder, pictured above) on LinkedIn and in her former life, she was Senior Product Manager at Apple Computer. No wonder she designed such a cool product. (Did I mention that Apple was my first client right out of college?)

I met another Apple alum, Michelle Liu, was over at the VitaClay booth:

I used to cook in a teflon rice cooker. And then I found VitaClay rice cookers. I’ve been using mine for several months now and I love it! You gotta get one. I’m actually upgrading to the biggest fanciest one that will make yogurt.

I was also honored to meet founder, Steve Dickman from High Country Kombucha, one of my very favorite kombucha brands.

I think we should have our next conference in Colorado — I’m up for some snowboarding with the High Country Kombucha boyz! (No dice – it’s going to be in Atlanta. OK, someone needs to plan a conference in Colorado!)

And I got to visit with my good friends and Village Green Network sponsors, Hannah Crum and Alex LaGory of Kombucha Kamp:

And our dear friend and sponsor Sandeep Agarwal of Pure Indian Foods Grass-fed Ghee:

Another one of our favorite sponsors, Radiant Life Company, looking radiant and healthy!

Here are some of my old friends and our new sponsors, Corganic:

Look for a scoop on this blog coming soon from Corganic on their new raw cod liver oil (it’s super exciting).

And finally, Reb and Simon from RealBoneBroth.com and Wise Choice Market.

A couple of very handsome fellows who will ship real bone broth to your house for FREE. Yes, you heard that right!

And just wait ’till you try their grain-free chocolate chip cookie dough. It’s the bomb!

Okay, I could go on posting more pictures and I really wish I could because I have so many more things to share — but I have to stop here. If I didn’t get your photo in, my apologies. I simply must rest!

Yes, it’s true, I’m sick in bed from the exhaustion of staying out late being a cougar.

Video: Wise Traditions 2012 Conference Highlights

Oh, right you want to see the annual highlight video!

Here it is:

See all those pictures of our farm tour in the video? Stay tuned for a post coming soon about our “glamping” (glamorous camping) trip to sustainable grass-based Northern California farm, Chaffin Family Orchards.

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Deb November 15, 2012 at 6:45 PM

Oh man.. looks SO fun! I am sad I missed it.. we leave for San Francisco tomorrow.. just too many trips right now.. next year we are there!


cheeseslave November 15, 2012 at 6:46 PM


Have fun in SF — there’s a place up there you can still get the foie — on the Presidio.


Heather@Mommypotamus November 15, 2012 at 7:16 PM

Mmmm, cookie dough. That stuff was amazing! Hope you feel better soon!


Genevieve Mama Natural November 15, 2012 at 8:28 PM

BTW, could Mommypotamus be any more photogenic?


cheeseslave November 15, 2012 at 8:29 PM

I KNOW!!!! It is impossible to take a bad picture of her.


Jennifer @ 20 something allergies and counting...down November 15, 2012 at 9:16 PM

I vow to never get my picture taken with her for just that reason. :D


Kristen @ Food Renegade November 15, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Ha! I seem to get my picture taken with her and Emily Bartlett of Holistic Squid every year. :)


cheeseslave November 16, 2012 at 9:49 AM

That’s because you guys are so cute!


Genevieve Mama Natural November 15, 2012 at 7:29 PM

Looks like a blast!

Thanks for sharing all the pics as I feel like I got a sense of what it was all about… Plan on going next year.

BTW, your daughter and Jenny’s son would make a cute couple :)


cheeseslave November 15, 2012 at 7:38 PM

Oh yes, Kate absolutely adores Solas!!!! <3<3<3 She doesn’t like most boys but she loves him.

She didn’t want to go to the children’s program but when Solas said he was going, she wanted to go!


cheeseslave November 15, 2012 at 7:39 PM

And I can’t wait to meet you guys next year! We’ll also have the Village Green conference. I want to get Jamie Oliver as a speaker.


Jennifer @ 20 something allergies and counting...down November 15, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Genius!!! He would love us. tee hee


Genevieve Mama Natural November 15, 2012 at 8:17 PM

YAY for a VGN conference!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was thinking how much FUN it would be to get us all together! Jamie Oliver would be fab.


cheeseslave November 15, 2012 at 8:20 PM

@Genevieve He’s not cheap but I think he would be worth every penny.




Jennifer @ 20 something allergies and counting...down November 15, 2012 at 7:30 PM

LOVE!! Great job highlighting all the fun. I can’t wait to join the cool kids next year!

Now be a good patient and go drink your broth or I’m sending Doris after you.


cheeseslave November 15, 2012 at 7:37 PM


You are so cute! Doris made me a bowl of broth yesterday! She is wonderful.


cheeseslave November 15, 2012 at 7:39 PM

Can’t wait to meet you, too! xoxo


Jennifer @ 20 something allergies and counting...down November 15, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Yes, you done good with that one AM! You done real good. :D


cheeseslave November 15, 2012 at 8:24 PM

I do nothing – it’s all Doris behind the curtain! :-)


Lisa @ Real Food Kosher November 15, 2012 at 9:20 PM

The conference was so much fun – of course I bought way more than I was planning to – its worth going for the exhibit hall alone! But the best is having a reunion with my real foodie friends – it was so great to see you there!
And thanks for the fabulous bloggers session on Sunday – it’s inspiring me to get more blogging done ( if my family can cooperate).


cheeseslave November 15, 2012 at 9:26 PM

It was so wonderful to see you, Lisa! Let’s do a get-together soon! So glad we are back in LA — we can hang!


Jeanmarie November 15, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Great memories! It was my first conference, and I will definitely be back. It was great finally meeting you! You’re even prettier in person.


cheeseslave November 16, 2012 at 9:50 AM

It was wonderful to meet you, Jeanmarie!


Katie November 15, 2012 at 11:49 PM

Sounds like a blast, and I used to live there! I have a question…. “And just wait ’till you try their grain-free chocolate chip cookie dough. It’s the bomb!” Is this something we can order? Please provide link. THANKS!


cheeseslave November 16, 2012 at 9:50 AM

I don’t think it’s on their website yet — soon!


Meghan @ Whole Natural Life November 16, 2012 at 6:55 AM

Ooh, yes, let’s have a conference in Colorado!! :)


Kendahl @ Our Nourishing Roots November 16, 2012 at 6:56 AM

I think it’s only fair that Heather is the most photogenic, because it balances out the fact that I am the least photogenic person alive. I pretty much can only get a good pic if it’s candid or done by a professional and we pick from millions :D It’s actually quite entertaining to me to see how many goofy faces I can make without realizing it!

The WAPF conference was so fun! It was my first one, so it was great to meet so many real foodies and VGNers in real life. It’s a fun group, and I can’t wait until next year. I feel energized by being with so many like-minded people.


cheeseslave November 16, 2012 at 9:51 AM

Haha you made me laugh so hard about your squinty eyes! You are a crackup, Kendahl! xoxoxo


Teresa November 16, 2012 at 6:58 AM

What a great event! I’m going next year…for sure. Thanks for all the the links. It’s so empowering to find like minded thinkers in the virtual world AND world.


reb November 16, 2012 at 11:36 AM

I was actually holding my breath hoping that it might be in Denver next year. Who do I write to to make that happen one of these years? :)


cheeseslave November 16, 2012 at 1:33 PM

The Weston A Price Foundation


Monica November 16, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Real food love feat. Met so many amazing people and had so much fun! That was fun, AM!


norma tumberg November 16, 2012 at 6:45 PM

Interesting………. you go Cougar!!! LOL Beautiful pictures. I hope to get to all those links you posted next week.
Thank you. :-)


Bebe November 16, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Great highlight post, but really it would have been fine with me if you’d stopped after the sexy butcher. Damn. Go Cougars!


cheeseslave November 16, 2012 at 8:14 PM

I know – right? :-)


Christina B. November 16, 2012 at 11:00 PM

OMG, yes, the Meatsmith. . . I was sitting right behind him when he stood up to go to the podium. He was wearing Carhartt work pants (just like my hubby wears) and I had immediate bum recognition. There is something about a man’s tight bum in a pair of canvas Carhartts that gets my heart beating. So deliciously hot. . . Anyway, I was able to focus on the topic at hand within a few minutes. Of course, Brandon’s face “behind” his behind did not disappoint :). Can you tell I was missing my husband? Really, his presentation was fantastic. I am inspired to get my butcher to not freeze my pig share as usual so that I can dry cure the leg and belly. It was great meeting everyone I have felt that I have known for years. Thank you, Anne Marie, for your galvanizing presence and for your great presentation on social marketing. I am putting some of your advice into practice.


Bob Theroux November 17, 2012 at 4:33 AM

Maker’s Mark neat and cougars………I’m in.


Kelly the Kitchen Kop November 18, 2012 at 7:16 PM

This post (& comments!) made me laugh out loud, and I agree that an 11:00 pm final call is just DUMB, especially once I got my second wind, ya know!!

And I’ll have to go to Trip Advisor too and leave a review because I forgot to tell you that hotel staff walked into my room TWICE and with barely a knock each time, once I was in my pajamas & the other time I was in the bathroom!



Emily November 20, 2012 at 6:11 PM

I hope you will consider blogging about the information you learned, although the “running with the party crowd” looks like great fun!


cheeseslave November 21, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Hi, Emily

I’ll be happy to once I get a chance to listen to the mp3s I’ll be ordering.

I never get a chance to attend any of the lectures because I’m always too busy taking pictures for the slide show and networking.


colette November 23, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Great recap of the conference! Would LOVE a conference in CO too! If not, maybe OR or WA! :)


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