Laura Killingbeck, the Rancho Mastatal's Director of Food Systems and Fermentation, is wildly passionate about food, nutrition, and whole systems health. After studying existential philosophy and sociology at university, she spent a number of years travelling around the world and working with various farms and non-profit organizations, most with a focus on food security. Laura began fermenting at the Ranch in 2010. The following year she took her live cultures on the road and travelled across Latin America trading kombucha, kefir, and soda cultures. (Apparently having a kombucha SCOBY in your water bottle is an excellent conversation starter on long bus rides.) Since then she has worked as a full time Fermentation Specialist for Round the Bend Farm, as a Local Food Liason for an organic vegetable business, and managed a local foods restaurant and store. She currently manages the farm to table Food Smithing and Fermentation Programs at the Ranch, assisting in the production of thousands of gallons of fermented vegetables, sodas, herbal wines, and vinegars. Over the last four years she has taught workshops and classes in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and the United States. She recently completed a fermentation residency with fermentation author Sandor Katz. She is also a current Wilderness First Responder.