Staff Profile: Cheyne Mayer

Cheyne (pronounced Shane) means “oak-hearted” in French and also has Scottish and Gaelic roots. Given his love of nature and oaks specifically, Cheyne feels like this name is extremely appropriate.

Cheyne grew up in Olympia, Washington, living there until he attended Warren Wilson College near Asheville, North Carolina. Warren Wilson is known for a curriculum that combines academics, work, and service. Every student is required to have a course of study, an on-campus job, and engage in community service. There is a 275-acre working farm, market garden, and over 600 acres of managed forest that includes 25 miles of hiking trails. Cheyne says it is in the heart of Appalachia.

He graduated from Warren Wilson this past May with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Forestry (and an unofficial concentration in sustainable agriculture). He worked for three years in Warren Wilson’s vegetable farm, also interning at a community garden that provided food to a non-profit called Bounty and Soul. Bounty and Soul strives to create healthy communities through nutrition literacy, health and wellness education, and fresh food. He also volunteered with Food Not Bombs, an all-volunteer collective that battles food insecurity in the face of seeming abundance—a large amount of food is surplus from grocery stores.

Cheyne grew up with his dad working at the co-op in Olympia, Washington. He volunteered there during middle school and high school. He really appreciates quality food, wants it to be accessible and affordable to all, and eats primarily a whole foods diet. He enjoys cooking and tries to cook local, in-season foods—especially veggies. He likes to cook lentil soups, steamed or roasted veggies, hummus, and is trying his hand at homemade kombucha.

Cheyne and his girlfriend moved to the Palouse so she could attend Washington State University. After a summer working as a landscaper, Cheyne was hired as a baker at the Moscow Food Co-op. He has been baking for three months. He likes that the bread is made from scratch and enjoys working with the dough, shaping it. One of the challenges is the schedule. He bakes from 4:30 am-12:30 am. “It’s hard to commit to evening activities because I need to be thinking about going to bed at 7:30 pm. That means I need to be thinking about dinner around 3:30 or 4 pm.” He laughs that he isn’t always as disciplined as he should be about his bedtime, but that it all works out. Besides enjoying the work he does, he appreciates the friendliness and patience of his co-workers.

Although he’s traveled “less than [he] would like,” Cheyne has had some fun adventures. In 2015, he spent the summer WWOOF-ing in Spain. WWOOF stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms and is a “worldwide movement linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experience based on trust and non-monetary exchange, thereby helping to build a sustainable, global community” (wwoof.net). A highlight of that trip was working on a farm in La Garrotxa, in the southeast corner of the Pyrenees. The farm was on a mountain with an amazing view. There was no noise and the air was pristine; the farm itself was self-sustaining, growing fruit, grains, corn, and tomatoes. In 2016, Cheyne took a road trip through the Badlands and Yellowstone. No word yet on where 2017 will lead…. Stay tuned.

In his spare time, he runs, hikes, and journals. Cheyne works to gain clarity on how best to prioritize competing demands. It’s a challenge. He realizes that he is not fully at peace with himself unless he’s engaged in some type of service.

Favorite Book: The Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin (fiction), A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn (non-fiction)

Favorite Movie: Boyhood

Favorite Games: Magic: The Gathering, Dutch Blitz, Blokus

Three Things Cheyne Would Bring If Stranded on an Island: 1. Hatchet 2. Cooking Pot 3. Flint

Superpower: Ability to fl