The winners of the Second Annual Last House Writing Contest, chosen from more than a dozen essays submitted in youth and adult categories, were announced in early September.

“Once again, we had so many excellent entries our judges had a very difficult job. Writers took to heart our theme this year, which was in the spirit of M.F.K. Fisher’s How to Cook a Wolf, to write about the power and magic of survival skills,” said Susie Allen, who manages the programming for Last House.

Nature, gardening, wild animals, and cooking during the pandemic were themes for many writers. Others explored the joy of sharing food and new cooking adventures with loved ones.

The panel of judges, coordinated by food and wine consultant Clark Wolf, included some of the most accomplished writers, chefs, naturalists, and mentors working today: Dr. Marion Nestle, Ruth Reichl, Tanya Holland, John Ash, Kennedy Golden, Kathleen Thompson Hill, Mayukh Sen, Traci Des Jardins, Celia Sack, and Alice Waters.

After tallying the results, the panel was delighted to learn that the Grand Prize and Youth winning entries were penned by a Sacramento mother and daughter, Emma Rosa and Leah Burch.

“This family has shown us how to be fed by nature, and by love. I suspect M.F.K. would have been delighted and moved,” said Wolf, a longtime contributor to Last House event programming and the host of Sonoma County’s At The Table with Clark Wolf on KSRO radio.

The winning essays:

Grand Prize: Fed by Nature by Emma Rose

Adults 18 and over:

Youth (13–17):

The grand prize winner received a $200 gift certificate to the Glen Ellen Star and all winners received books donated by Sonoma independent bookstore Readers Books. All participants received a commemorative certificate designed by Fisher’s grandson, Alex Wright.

Contest entries included a $35 fee for adults, no cost for children and youth. “We are grateful to the Sonoma Valley Chapter of North Bay Association of Realtors for their financial contribution, which enabled ACR to waive the entry fee for children and youth, removing any barrier to their participation in this writing contest,” said Allen.

Proceeds from entry submissions will benefit Audubon Canyon Ranch’s programs and the continuing restoration of Last House.

Learn more about Last House >

     

    

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Emma Rosa - First Place and Grand Prize

     

    

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Nick Heitkamp - First Place (tie)

     

    

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Janet Constantino - Second Place

     

    

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Linda Preminger - Third Place

     

    

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Leah Burch - First Place - Youth

     

    

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Zoe Rocco-Zilber - Second Place - Youth