Courtney Balestier is a food and culture writer whose work has appeared in Lucky Peach, the New York Times, Saveur, Gastronomica, and has been anthologized in Cornbread Nation 7: The Best of Southern Food Writing. She is from West Virginia and currently lives and works in Detroit.
Bill Best, who founded the Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center, saves seeds—not in the way that people save stamps or coins, but in the way that people save endangered species, or possessions from a fire. He grows and stores about 700 varieties of beans on his farm in Berea, Kentucky, where he lives with Irmgard, his wife of fifty-one years, in a midcentury ranch house she designed, with stone chimneys he built. Some of his seeds are more than 150 years old—one goes back to the American Revolution.