Amy Cotler brings 3 decades as a culinary professional (AKA food fanatic) and farm to table advocate to her books and other offerings. (Resume below)
A longtime advocate of seasonal cooking and local eating, she is the founding director of Berkshire Grown, which became an early model for local farm and food advocacy. She consults, teaches, writes and lectures nationally on food and farm to table issues. She also coordinates farm and harvest oriented events.
Ms. Cotler worked as the web food forum host for The New York Times and her food articles have been published in periodicals, including Fine Cooking, Kitchen Garden, Cook’s and Orion. She has written 5 cookbooks, including Fresh from the Farm: The Massachusetts Farm to School Cookbook, a training tool for schools, which was distributed to every school Massachusetts and is now available free on-line.
Her last book, published in November 2009, brings together her culinary and local food advocacy experience. The Locavore Way, Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Foods is a people’s solution to The Omnivore’s Dilemma, a hands-on guide to seeking out and savoring local foods.
A veteran chef and cooking teacher, Ms. Cotler has taught home cooks and professionals at Institute for Culinary Education and Culinary Institute of America, where she also researched and wrote text for their professional cookbook. She has developed close to 1000 recipes, including many for the Joy of Cooking. Her media appearances include The Television Food Network and National Public Radio.
Project, Program & Event Coordinator
Local Food System Advocate, Educator, Food Writer
Local Food and Farm Advocate
Web Work, The Locavore Way, 2002-present
Host website and Facebook page focused on local food and sustainable agriculture. Shared over 100 seasonal, farm-fresh recipes, occasional blog posts and frequent local food news. Short podcast also runs periodically on Robin Hood Radio and North Country Radio. New York Times on the Web, food forum host for 7 years until series discontinued.
Farm to Table Speaker, 2000-present
Holyoke Community College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Teachers Training Program, New York University, Cornell University, Slow Food Boston and Western Massachusetts, Just Food, School Nutrition Association of Massachusetts, Williams College Environmental Program, The Real Food Challenge, Cleveland Botanical Garden, SOL of San Miguel, Mexico. Also many lectures at local venues.
The Locavore Way, Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Fresh Locally Grown Food (Storey Publications, November 2009), a comprehensive guide to seeking out and savoring local food with chapters on gardening and farm to table advocacy. Other books include: One Pot Vegetarian Dishes, Wrap it Up and The Secret Garden Cookbook.
Project Manager & Author, 2007-2009
Fresh from the Farm: The Massachusetts Farm to School Cookbook (MDAR 2007). Initiated, funded and coordinated this collaborative project and its cookbook. Engaged key agencies as well as food service directors, cooks, students and educators. MA Department of Education funded the cookbook’s printing and distribution to every MA school district. Book is available online. It includes 50 USDA recipes, purchasing and fresh vegetable preparation tips, and addendum for educators. Adapted for the State of Missouri and Oklahoma.
Farm to School Program Consultant, 2005-2010
Massachusetts Farm to School Project, Get Fresh, Get Local Project, training food service staff at schools to cook with farm fresh produce, as well as providing them with a context for doing so. Other clients include: Tufts University for The Balance Project at Falls River, MA; Early Childhood Centers, Springfield, MA; Project Sprout (school garden to cafeteria) in Great Barrington.
Grant Project Coordinator, Chefs Collaborative, 2005-2006
Coordinated the on-the-ground aspect of this grant for this national organization of chefs committed to sustainable agriculture. Initiated farm-to-restaurant networks in Ohio and Montana before turning them over to local leadership.
Local Food Initiative Consultant, 2000-2005
Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty, Regional Farm and Food Project, Duchess County State Extension Agency, Community Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture (CISA).
Executive Director, Berkshire Grown, 1998-2004
Founding Director of this local food and farm advocacy organization. As the 4-day a-week Director, I funded, initiated and coordinated programs, including a buy local campaign and business-to-business program. Wrote, tracked and reported on grants. Developed, published and distributed farm maps. Wrote all organizational literature. Launched website. Boosted farmers’ markets. Facilitated a wide variety of meetings. Trained and worked with part-time help and volunteers. Conducted study groups. Communicated with media and marketed programs. Represented face of organization to community and region. Provided information to and cooperated with other food system organizations nationwide.
Harvest Festival Producer, Berkshire Botanical Garden, 2011-2014
Produced all aspects of two-day community building and fundraising event. 10,000 attendees and 380 community volunteers. Empowered buy-in and full participation from a team of 10 staff members and 14 hired help. Introduced a farmers’ market, zero waste project and local food vendors. Collaborated on ad campaign and other outreach. This was a half time job.
Grant Events Coordination, Chefs Collaborative, 2005-2006
Farm tours, whole animal workshops for chefs, farm-to-restaurant networking meetings and events.
Berkshire Grown Event Management, 1998-2004
Annual fundraiser for 350 attendees, featuring farm-food and silent auction. Business-to-business networking events that often featured speakers. Annual countywide restaurant week. Guided farm tours. “Moveable feast” pot lucks suppers for community members. Worked with team to develop two New England farm-to-table initiative conferences.
Culinary Educator, Food Writer and Recipe Developer
Food Writer, 2000-present
Periodicals highlights include Berkshire Magazine, Urban Farm, Fine Cooking. Extensive teaching text for Culinary Institute of America’s Pro-Chef Series and Joy of Cooking.
Recipe Developer and Project Manager, 1999-present
Developed 900+ recipes for my website, books, articles, magazines. Project manager, working with subcontractors for Joy of Cooking outline and recipes.
Cooking Teacher, 1989-present
Private classes for clients in the region. Occasional classes at The Different Drummer Cooking School, Northampton, MA. English and culinary writing teacher for chefs at Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY. Numerous classes for home cooks and professionals, Institute for Culinary Education, New York, NY.
Victoria A. Simons Locovore Award; Glynnwood Harvest Award; Berkshire Eagle Newspaper: VIP 23.
New York University, BA in Art Communications
Radcliffe Food Seminars and Graduate Classes
American Women’s Economic Development, Business Development Course
The New York Restaurant School, Culinary Education