June 1, 2024

The Wild Within

Georgia Pellegrini Explores Manual Literacy in the Modern World

Georgia Pellegrini's vision and purpose in the world is to inspire people to reconnect with our human instincts. She sees herself as a teacher on a mission: to awake the wild within all of us.

Throughout her work as a chef and writer, workshop leader and parent, gardener and television series creator, Georgia's interests have always revolved around plants, food and our connection to our bodies. She attributes this to growing up on the same land that her grandfather bought and built a home on. During her childhood, her family kept chickens and honeybees. She recalls, "I used to hang from vines and make wreaths…interacting with nature is where my heart sings." Georgia continues to carry these intergenerational traditions forth in her family, especially with her daughter. Brimming with love, she shares stories of harvesting cucumbers in a community garden plot and savors the joys of teaching her daughter everything about growing food, from gardening to pickling to cooking.

Cooking comes naturally – Georgia started off her career as a chef, cooking in restaurants in New York and France. Then she got into writing, publishing three books in four years. "It was one of those things that I had in me that just came out of me," she says of the stories she scribed about people who devote their lives to preserving our connections with land, nature and food. Her third book focused on teaching people how to get back to the land – "how do you do that, no matter where you live? how do you use your hands?" Those questions continue to motivate her today.

The threads across Georgia's career weave together to create the tapestry that is her latest project, a PBS series called "Modern Pioneering." The show grew from an idea Georgia began cultivating years ago, based on a phrase she learned from her father when she was a child: manual literacy. "My dad used to say that we rest with our hands through the active use of our hands." Georgia now believes the antidote to modern life – which she describes as bogged down and driven by technology – lies in our potential to rehumanize ourselves through hands-on, empowering activities that ultimately reconnect us with nature.

"I believe that we are meant to be more in tune with nature, that we are meant to interact with it rather than keep it at arm's length…when we learn those skills, using our hands in any way – whether it is weeding, digging, molding clay, making beeswax candles – I think we feel the most fulfilled as humans."

Georgia Pellegrini

Beeswax candles hold a special place in Georgia's heart. Sparked by childhood memories of making candles around a big vat of beeswax with her classmates at a Waldorf school, she chose to include the craft in her PBS series. As Georgia puts it, "After learning about Jen and Greentree Home Candle, I wanted to tell the story of someone who was making beeswax candles and following their passion, and making these works of art." This past November, Georgia visited Greentree Home Candle with her film crew to peek behind the scenes, and highlight the ingenuity, creativity and grit that drive artisanal candle-making. Georgia was lucky enough to go home with a box full of candles. A true beeswax candle lover, she says she burns them not only on special occasions, but also in her everyday life – while writing and working – because beeswax cleans the air. "It sets the tone for your environment and the day," she muses. Georgia's favorite Greentree Home designs include the Twig Tapers and Houses, and she particularly adores the earthy tones in our palette, such as antique, sage and natural.

Watch "From Earth to Art" to see Greentree Home Candle in action: and explore the entire "Modern Pioneering" series. 

Learn more about Georgia's life and work here


BUSY BEE TIP: Making your own dirt is an accessible way of staying connected with natural life cycles – and a fun activity to do with children, family members and friends. As Georgia says, "I live in an urban environment…and we have a barrel compost bin on the side of our house…we enjoy rotating it and putting our food back into that barrel." Find out if there is an opportunity to compost near you, whether in a nearby yard or community garden – or start your own!

BEE SUSTAINABLE: Wasting less may be Georgia's favorite way to get creative with sustainability. She sees potential in every part of the foods that she brings into her kitchen, whether using the leftover rind from a chunk of cheese to flavor soup, or making a pesto with the tops of carrots. "I love pickling everything! Watermelon rinds, you don't have to throw them out – they're really fun and crunchy!" Even coffee grinds, she adds, make a great body scrub. What are some of your favorite ways to upcycle and preserve food?