I’ve spoken at gardening, homesteading, and agricultural conferences across the Southeast on a range of topics including Seed Saving / Grower, Seed Starting, Edible Oil Pressing, Stem to Stem Gardening and Eating, Climate Change and Agriculture and many crop specific talks including: Garlic, Okra, Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Tropical Perennials and more!

Speaking events for my book, The Whole Okra, have taken me to the Atlanta Book Festival, Delta State University, the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello, Mother Earth News Fairs all across the South, and to many other places in person and online.

My speaking fee for local (within an hour or two of Asheville NC) presentations or keynotes is $1000 plus mileage. For presentations that require overnight accommodation, or a multi-day commitment, my fee us $1500 plus travel. I will present zoom/online presentations for $750 for live-stream only, or $1500 if the presentation is recorded and made publicly available after the event. I consider all these fees to be fair and reflective of my time invested in learning and my skills and experience as a presenter, however I also believe in sharing that knowledge widely and am open to discussing them, especially for community-based, education-driven organizations.

Podcasts/ Interview Appearances

Chris Smith on Okra with The Urban Farm Podcast

His first introduction to okra did not go over well, but years later Chris Smith was given okra seeds as a gift and he felt responsible to do his best with them.  This prompted him to research, learn, and experiment with many varieties and recipes. He learned a lot and he shares part of his journey becoming fascinated with this often discounted vegetable. Check out the recipe for pickled okra he shared with us as well.

Gardenerd Podcast: Chris Smith with The Whole Okra

Chris Smith is obsessed with okra, and in our latest podcast we explore his new book on the endless possibilities of this oft-scorned fruit. The Whole Okra: A Seed To Stem Celebration, recounts Smith’s endeavor to trial 72 varieties of okra in North Carolina. It is a “lighthearted but information-rich collection of okra history, lore, recipes, craft projects, growing advice, and more”.


Okra: beautiful, resilient, and surprising, with Chris Smith on Away to Garden

IF YOU HAD TOLD ME I’d be reading an entire book about okra, and often laughing out loud delightedly in the process, I’d have said, “No way.” But here I’ve been lately, my nose in Chris Smith’s “The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration,” gaining an entirely new perspective on this much-maligned but resilient vegetable that Smith predicts will be important for future food security in a changing climate.


Food Sleuth with Melinda Hemmelgarn

Did you know that okra doesn’t have to be slimy? Join Food Sleuth Radio host and registered dietitian, Melinda Hemmelgarn, for her interview with Chris Smith, founder and Executive Director of the Utopian Seed Project and author of The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration. The grand champion of okra, Smith describes his okra seed trial research, celebrates okra’s many uses, teaches us how to remove the “slime,” and explains why okra might play a key role in food security during climate change.  Smith also emphasizes the need to preserve regional, diverse and heritage seeds.

Tractor Time Episode 44: In Defense of Okra (with Chris Smith)

The guest for this episode is Chris Smith, author of the James Beard Award-winning book, The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration. Chris lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where he is the founder and executive director of The Utopia Seed Project.

Eat Your Words, Episode 388: The Whole Okra

Cathy chats with Chris Smith, author of The Whole Okra, which won the 2020 James Beard Award in the Reference, History, and Scholarship category. This is NC-based garden writer Chris Smith’s first book and shares a rich collection of okra history, lore, recipes from celebrated chefs, growing advice, and much more.

Living Well with Chris Smith on AshevilleFM

Enjoy this one-hour Living Well where Chris, of course, shares about the many wonders of okra.


The State of Things with Frank Statsio

Host Frank Stasio speaks with writer and seed saver Chris Smith about his new book, ‘The Whole Okra: A Seed To Stem Celebration.’