Feb 29-Mar 3, 2024
Seminar Stage Headliners
Bevin Cohen, Small House Farm
Bevin Cohen is an award winning author, herbalist, owner of Small House Farm and host of the popular Seeds & Weeds podcast. Bevin offers workshops and lectures across the country on the benefits of living closer to the land through seeds, herbs, and locally grown food. He is a food and garden writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications including Mother Earth News, Modern Farmer Magazine, and The Journal of Medicinal Plant Conservation. Bevin is the author or editor of more than ten books, including Saving Our Seeds and The Artisan Herbalist. Learn more about Bevin’s work at www.bevincohen.com.
Lisa Steinkopf, The Houseplant Guru
Lisa Eldred Steinkopf is passionate about houseplants. Known as The Houseplant Guru, Lisa is a freelance writer and has authored four houseplant books. Her newest book, Bloom, covers everything you need to know about flowering houseplants. She also currently writes articles for Michigan Gardener Magazine.
For more, check out her website thehouseplantguru.com or find her on Facebook at facebook.com/HouseplantGuru and Instagram at www.instagram.com/thehouseplantguru.
Brie Arthur, Best-selling Author & Horticulturist
Bestselling author and horticulturist, Brie Arthur has garnered acclaim for her enthusiastic presentations and practical, out of the box gardening advice. Originally from southeastern Michigan, Brie Arthur studied Landscape Design and Horticulture at Purdue University. With more than two decades of experience, she shares her expertise as an advocate for consumer horticulture and home gardening across America.
The author of The Foodscape Revolution and Gardening with Grains, Arthur has also contributed to the Emmy-winning PBS television program, Growing a Greener World. Brie is an ambassador for Soil3 organic compost, and shares expert advice through her YouTube channel, “Brie The Plant Lady”.
She currently represents the International Plant Propagators’ Society Southern Region on the International Board, where she connects with professional horticulturists from around the globe. The American Horticultural Society recognized Brie with the first Emerging Horticultural Professional Award for her efforts in connecting a new generation to the art of gardening.
Learn more at BrieGrows.com!
J Schwanke, J Schwanke’s Life In Bloom, uBloom
J Schwanke is the host of J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom, a half-hour lifestyle show featuring everything flowers and the positive impact they make on daily life, broadcast nationwide. J is a fourth-generation florist, award-winning author, and speaker – whose passion for flowers is infectious.
“Research has shown the presence of flowers has an immediate impact on people’s health and happiness,” says J Schwanke. “It’s been my life-long mission to show people how easy it is to improve their daily lives, by including flowers. Viewers have responded so positively to the beauty and relaxation flowers provide – even from just taking a break and watching the show. I’m excited to show many simple ways to interact with flowers, which can improve our environment, mood, and even physical well-being.”
In each episode of J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom – seen on public television (PBS) and Create TV stations – J shows viewers how to arrange flowers with simple techniques that guarantee success. He also welcomes friends and guests for segments with crafts, cooking, cocktails, and flowers for entertaining. Location segments include visits to flower farms. Flowers intersect topics as varied as soap making, pets, and bonsai are included, as well as easy-to-make recipes with flowers as ingredients, such as a lavender cheesecake and garden gimlet cocktail.
J Schwanke was actually born at a flower convention and grew up in his family’s greenhouses. His website, uBloom.com, offers flower fans everywhere the opportunity to learn and experience the fun of flowers and flower arranging, 24/7! J has given flower demonstrations in all 50 states, Canada and England. Highlights include the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, Art in Bloom, Bouquets to Art, San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, Flowers at Kensington Palace and hundreds of state, association, wholesale and public shows. J has also appeared several times on the PBS show “P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home.” J is the author of Fun with Flowers, which received a Silver, Living Now Book Award. His most recent book, Bloom 365 – The Essential Guide to Arranging Flowers Every Day, was awarded the Gold IPPY (Home and Garden category) by the Independent Publisher Book Awards. Bloom 365 features 365 tips, tricks, and techniques to make flower arranging easier.Don’t miss J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom airing on WGVU Saturdays at noon starting March 21st!
Chef Destinee Keener, Kuntry Cookin
Destinee Keener-Sargent is born and bred from the City of Muskegon. Destinee has a robust history of servant leadership within numerous nonprofit capacities that she has held throughout the City of Muskegon. After losing her job in 2015, with a leap of faith and encouragement from her community, Destinee and her spouse, Kemmie Sargent built their own business, “Kuntry Cookin’” which has become a reputable catering and food service business in the City of Muskegon. The duo love to travel so that they can incorporate their love of good, traditional food from around the world with flavors they’ve been raised to love and appreciate.
Kate Wert, Moxie Life Organizing
Kate Wert, LMSW is the co-owner of Moxie Life Organizing, LLC, a full service organizing and coaching company. Kate and her team members emphasize utilizing a person-centered approach with mindful integration of client’s unique professional and personal needs, life history, and style. Her organizers specialize in household decluttering and organizing, downsizing, relocation services, estate management, staging, spatial planning, closet design and more.
Kate considers herself a master organizer with an eye for design and a social worker at heart. The most rewarding part of Kate’s work is when Grand Rapids natives reach out to her at a point of overwhelm and together, they prove that no matter the project at hand – “it’s manageable.” Kate knows it’s an honor to be in other’s homes and relishes in the rich history and stories that unveil through her work. She gets excited when her clients cast a vision and she can walk beside them to make it a reality.
Leslie Hart-Davidson, HDD Studios
Leslie Hart-Davidson is a nationally recognized professional interior designer, author, and owner of HDD Studios in Michigan. Leslie holds a B.A. in interior design and has nearly two decades of industry experience, but credits her family for the desire to enter the world of design. The Hart family practiced real estate flipping while she was a child, so her calling for home improvement came early.
Leslie lives and breathes interior design not only in her successful design business, but also through her extensive writing career. She has written two home improvement books full of snark and great content: Remodeling Your House without Killing Your Spouse in 2014 and It’s Not Your Room, it’s You in 2016. Leslie’s most recent book is a combination kitchen design/memoir/cookbook titled Food is Love that will be showcased during the 2022 season’s seminars.
The design philosophy Leslie adopted when she started her business more than 20 years ago is straightforward: design is a democracy, not a dictatorship. This guiding principle helps audience members and clients better understand design language and the psychology behind how they live in their homes. Her innovative seminars include “Thing or Not a Thing: The Best and Worst of Today’s Design Trends,” and “Leveling Up from Live, Laugh, Love. When she’s not on stage or on camera, you can find Leslie posting witty lifestyle content to her Facebook page and whipping up delightful meals in her charming 140-year-old Michigan farmhouse.
Chef Jeff Brandon, Executive Chef – Smuggler’s at North Shore
ABOUT CHEF JEFF:
Jeff began his cooking journey in 1990 in Mt. Pleasant Michigan working for the LaBelle Restaurant group while attending CMU as a music major. Finding himself “skipping class” to pick up shifts at the restaurant Jeff decided to change his major and his life . He and his wife Amy moved to Grand Rapids where he attended and graduated GRCC (now the Secchia Institute ) and graduated in 1994 with an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts. He spent the next 13 years “Chef-ing” at various Catering and Restaurant operations in the Grand Rapids area , including the Scheldes Restaurant Group , Executive Chef for the Fredrick Meijer Gardens and Railside Country Club. As his family started to grow Jeff made the switch to the Food Distribution side of the business and took a job with Superior Foods in 2007 as their Corporate Chef. Now Jeff is the Executive Chef of Smuggler’s at North Shore on Hess Lake in Newaygo.
Jeff and Amy live in Allendale and have 3 sons and a daughter in law.
2023 RECIPE: “Food Truck Style Foods at Home”
….. Building layers of flavors and combining elements of sweet and spicy are all the rage on food truck menus across the country. Get your creative juices flowing and learn with Chef Jeff how to create those magical sweet and spicy flavor combos in your kitchen. Whether it’s a Turkey slider with Sweet Pineapple BBQ on a Spicy Cornbread Muffin … or … a Cherry Habanero Jelly Ice Cream Sandwich with Peanut Butter Ganache you’ll see how easy it is to build those fun portable “Food Truck Style foods” in your own kitchen and “spice up” your every day menus.