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Spirit of the Valley
The Magazine of Mountain Wellness










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Book Review:

Idaho Organic Pioneer Explains How


MaryJane’s Ideabook,
Cookbook, Lifebook: For the Farmgirl in All of Us
By MaryJane Butter
Clarkson Potter, 2005
416 pages, hardcover, $35


Reviewed By Bill London

The organic pioneer from Moscow, Idaho, MaryJane Butters, has written a book to share her skills, her experiences, and her dreams. MaryJane’s Ideabook Cookbook Lifebook For the Farmgirl in All of Us, focuses on the themes of a simplified and hopeful lifestyle, including keeping a home, raising a family, socializing with friends, and contributing to the community.

Throughout the book, she includes her experiences growing up in a self-sufficient Mormon family and then later breaking down gender barriers as a wilderness ranger and carpenter. In 1986, Butters purchased a small farm eight miles southeast of Moscow. Following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, she founded the environmental organization that became the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute and served as the group’s first president.

To develop markets for locally-produced organic beans, in 1990 she started selling falafel, the first of more than 60 prepared organic foods she now markets worldwide under her MaryJanesFarm brand, through retail sales, websites (, and her ad-free magazine.

The success of her magazine resulted in a Random House contract, signed in October of 2003 for $1.35 million, for her books.

The whole story sounds a little bogus, doesn’t it? Wilderness ranger, environmentalist, and falafel-maker: was that life-history created by some PR spin-meister?

To those who don’t know MaryJane, her lifestory really may sound just a little too good to be true. However, I have known MaryJane for twenty years. We’ve worked on environmental crusades together. My daughter babysat for her kids. I’ve watched her focus her incredible energy and talent on building her own business from nothing into something.

MaryJane is the real deal, an authentic voice for a softer, cleaner, brighter, organic lifestyle. She is a woman with a message for women who are searching for meaning and hope. She wants to lead by example and encourage others to find (as the book title suggests) their own farmgirl self.

Her book provides a roadmap. Specific how-to projects, recipes, and great personal stories are woven into each of the seven chapters. Each chapter focuses on one aspect of life, like community, cooking, sewing, or gardening. Inspiring and well-written stories fill the chapters with examples, historical lessons, and suggestions. MaryJane provides the information and inspiration for people (especially women) to find themselves and find hope. And she wrapped it all up with beautiful photographs, mostly taken at her farm near Moscow, Idaho.

MaryJane’s book has it all: handwork projects to complete, inspirational stories to motivate change, ideas and suggestions that actually work. Lots of them – 416 pages worth plus more than 600 illustrations and photographs. It is beautiful, and in a world that spirals into spiritless consumption, this book inspires.***





Upcoming Events in Moscow


October 22:
Trance Dance: A Journey to Your Soul

7:00-10:00 p.m. $12 fee
Registration required.
Contact: Katrina at 882-1198 or
More information at


October 29-30
Soul Care and the Chakras

Earth Wisdom Healing center
Explore your chakras and their abilities, practice ways to consciously work with your energy field, and strengthen your aura with psychic protection to enhance a clear mind, calm body, open heart. Prerequisite to Psychic Healing and Clairvoyant classes. Class size 8. $215.00.Preregister by Oct. 24
To register call 208-883-9933

November 3
Herbal Gift Making

Experience the joy of making herbal gifts for your friends and family. Learn to make a variety of herbal products including aromatherapy mists, bath blends, and body scrubs. Make an herbal dream pillow/sleep sachet to take home. Register early. Class size limit 10.
To register call: UI Community Enrichment 208-885-6486

November 5
Health Spa Retreat - WOMEN’S WELLNESS

Experience an aromatherapy facial steam, footbath, and instruction with Dr. Linda Kingsbury Certified Aromatherapist. April Rubino will provide guided meditation, yoga, and movement. To register call


November 10
Natural Approaches to S.A.D.

As sunlight decreases many people experience a decline in their levels of production and happiness. Explore aromatherapy, herbs and foods to balance brain chemicals and stabilize moods. Sample herbal teas and make an aromatherapy mist to support balance during season changes. Register early. Class size limit 10. To register call: UI Community Enrichment 208-885-6486

November 12-13

The healing elements of nature are within and around us. Learn to transmute physical pain, mental excess, and emotional blocks with the healing power of air-earth-water-fire. Experience a group Breathwork/Rebirthing. Linda is an experienced Rebirth with 19 years experience. This is part of the Rebirthing Certificate Training to begin January 2006. $350.00. Pre-register for this class by Nov. 1. To register call