MaryJane Butters was instrumental in creating the present-day organic movement in America. She was chair of one of the first state-sanctioned organic advisory boards and is proud to say her first organic inspection certificate listed her as “grower #8.” Born to a large, self-sufficient family in Utah, she was raised on homegrown food and knew from the tender age of five that she would grow up to be an organic farmer. But her real passion is that of teacher. Featured in The New Yorker in 2004, a lengthy article stated, “MaryJane Butters, a natural teacher, has a gift for simplification, and makes it seem that everything she does is easy and attainable.” Those who’ve attended her non-profit Pay Dirt Farm School, now in its 14th year, all agree.
Her one-week intensive food rehab program has created legions of converts, all of them happy to report that MaryJane’s simple approach to “change your food, change your life” has done just that. Always the pioneer, MaryJane spent summers watching for fires from a mountaintop lookout; was one of the first female wilderness rangers in the U.S.; attended a trade school and worked for years as a carpenter; founded a well-known environmental organization still thriving today (www.pcei.org); and created a line of organic backpacking foods, MaryJane’s Outpost, sold in thousands of stores nationwide and in Canada (www.maryjanesoutpost.org).
Her organic enterprise, which was immortalized in National Geographic magazine in 1995, has been featured in major magazines and newspapers across the country. She also runs a wall-tent B&B that was featured in The New York Times, Sunset, and Travel & Leisure magazines, and on both the Today Show and The Early Show. Her own “everyday organic lifestyle” magazine, MaryJanesFarm, is available nationwide. In addition to authoring three books, MaryJane also writes a weekly newspaper column, “MaryJane’s Everyday Organic,” for United Feature Syndicate.
From a facility on her farm, MaryJane mixes and ships 60 different organic prepared foods for home use (www.maryjanesfarm.org). She grows fruits, vegetables, and eggs for an 18-family CSA. She even grows a biodiesel crop to fuel her pink vintage Mercedes Benz. She owns two retail stores. In addition, she designs and sells her own line of bed linens to nearly 700 department stores. Her designer fabric is marketed in several different countries, and she is the creator of Project F.A.R.M. (First-class American Rural Made), an organization employing rural women who sew totes, quilts, dolls, and more. MaryJane is also the owner of the historic Barron Flour Mill in Oakesdale, Washington.