About Us

Meet the staff of Rodale's Organic Life.

We are an online and print handbook for living naturally in the modern world, a vivid chronicle of friendly, authoritative information about global cooking, gardening, design, wellness, and travel. Every article, every essay, every stunning pictorial, every reader forum, every social-media conversation taking place within our universe honors the belief that we all have the potential to learn more about ourselves and about fresh ways to engage ­ spiritually, physically, intellectually, emotionally ­ with our environment and our communities. Tell us what you think by joining our Reader Panel.

Melanie HanscheMelanie Hansche, Editor in Chief, is a professional glutton who has moonlighted as a cheese judge, tasted 124 cookies in one sitting, and stood in line for two hours for Hong Kong's best dumplings. She has specialized in food media for most of her 16 years in publishing, working variously as a magazine editor, cookbook editor, food writer, and restaurant critic. Before joining Organic Life, she served as Food Director at Rodale, where she re-imagined several of the company's key food platforms and initiatives, as well as editing CEO Maria Rodale's first cookbook, Scratch. A native Aussie, she was previously the managing editor of donna hay magazine, one of Australia's most successful and recognized multi-platform food brands. "#myorganiclife invariably starts in my kitchen where I can feed, nourish and entertain the ones I love with food that's as good for them as it is the planet."

Dave HowardDavid Howard, Executive Editor, previously held the same position at Bicycling and, most recently, Popular Mechanics. He is the author of Lost Rights, a 2010 nonfiction book about a stolen multimillion-dollar artifact, as well as the forthcoming book Chasing Phil, about a groundbreaking 1977 FBI undercover investigation. Otherwise he likes to hike, kayak, cycle, and skip rocks in creeks with his 11-year-old son.

Polly ChevalierPolly Chevalier, Managing Editor, has overseen the production of numerous national magazines with titles covering shelter, parenting, and health. In addition to Rodale, she has worked with US News & World Report, Bertelsmann, and Disney. Outside the office Polly has dug her toes into the sands of every ocean, and loves getting face-to-face with marine life in her scuba gear.

Karen ShimizuKaren Shimizu, Deputy Editor, is a former senior editor at Saveur magazine, where she also served as the travel editor and research chief. Her stories about heirloom garlic, organic farming communities for the disabled, and ancient winemaking traditions have taken her everywhere from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom to the Republic of Georgia. In her down time she enjoys exploring the hiking trails of Eastern Pennsylvania.

Gina TomaineGina Tomaine, Associate Deputy Editor, is a former research editor and writer for Boston, Boston Home, and Boston Weddings, and has contributed home, health, lifestyle, and travel stories to media outlets such as The Philadelphia Inquirer, Complex, and The Boston Globe. She previously taught writing and literature at Saint Joseph's University, and earned her MFA from Emerson College. "I live #myorganiclife by practicing yoga and meditation, running outdoors, and traveling mindfully—I've snorkeled a glacial rift in Iceland, indulged in some local crispy fish at a farm-to-table restaurant in Budapest, and camped on safari in the Masai Mara."

Zoe ShaefferZoe Schaeffer, Associate Editor, is the former assistant digital editor for Saveur magazine. She is a writer, photographer, and sustainable farming advocate with a background in digital media and social media management. Zoe is also a dedicated yogi, animal lover, home cook, and aspiring green thumb who believes living lightly and living fully go hand-in-hand.

Jackie NeyJackie Ney, Photography Director, has more than 17 years of experience in the health, wellness, food, and sustainable lifestyle fields working on magazines including Prevention, Health, Parenting, Yoga Journal, and Backpacker, where she helped earn the title a National Magazine Award. Jackie grew up farming and beekeeping, and has worked on organic farms in both hemispheres. "#myorganiclife is all about yoga—I recently completed my yoga teacher training under Annie Carpenter."

Kayleen Kauffman-HolcombeKayleen Kauffman-Holcombe, Designer, has extensive experience in both print and digital design. She's worked for a variety clients in advertising, marketing, and publishing, including Prevention magazine. You can usually find her running around Philadelphia with her camera, admiring strangers' pugs, or in the kitchen eating organic peanut butter straight from the jar. "The activity that defines #myorganiclife? I'm an early morning running enthusiast who believes there's no better reward for exercising than watching a beautiful sunrise."

David OblasDavid Oblas, Web Producer, has been working in the online industry for ten years, and at Rodale for the past six years. David has tended organic gardens for most of his life, makes delicious meals for his family using the Malaysian “agak-agak” cooking technique, and crafts his own soaps and cleaning products. David’s long-term goal is to own a large homestead and become self-sufficient, possibly in Canada. "#myorganiclife is chemical-free growing, eating, and living."

Rebecca StrausRebecca Straus, Assistant Digital Editor, interned at Rodale's Organic Life before joining the staff permanently. She graduated from Temple University, where she was a member of the student-run community garden, and is now happy to be using her English degree for gainful employment with a brand she admires. She also spent a year studying abroad in the UK, which ignited her love of travel and passion for milky breakfast tea. "#myorganiclife includes camping on weekends, participating in the Rodale employee garden club, daydreaming of my future cabin in Montana, and enjoying a weekly ice cream cone, minimum."

Toby MaynardToby Maynard, Video Producer, has more than 7 years of experience in digital media, most recently at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. When he's not busy making movies that encourage healthy living, you can find him outdoors – hiking and fishing local trails and lakes, encouraging his tomatoes to climb to new heights, and working up the nerve to climb the ladder to reach those second floor renovations on his 200-year-old farmhouse. "#myorganiclife = Living close to nature and embracing all that it has to offer."

Betsy AndrewsBetsy Andrews, Editor at Large, is the former executive editor of Saveur magazine and digital editor for This Old House, as well as an award-winning poet and author of The Bottom, winner of the 42 Miles Press Poetry Prize, and New Jersey, which was awarded the Brittingham Prize in Poetry. If you’re looking for her, you can find her walking the wilds of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park with her dog, Lewis Lambchop, or paddling somewhere in her Old Town canoe, always with birdwatching binoculars at hand.

Susan SpungenSusan Spungen, Contributing Food Editor, was the founding food editor at Martha Stewart Living and helped launch the first Martha Stewart all-food title Everyday Food. She coauthored the award-winning bestseller Martha Stewart’s Hors D’Oeuvres Handbook, and her cookbook RECIPES: A Collection for the Modern Cook won an IACP Award in 2006 for Best General Cookbook. She has contributed both her food styling and recipe creation skills to a variety of magazines including Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, and More Magazine. When not working, Susan enjoys spending time at her home on the east end of Long Island, buying, picking, and cooking fresh produce from the many local farm stands, as well as Quail Hill Farm, where she is a member