A few years ago Trina Hunner attended a talk by the well-known author and illustrator Lynne Cherry, who told how she combined two passions in her life —art and nature—as a children’s book illustrator. And Trina thought, “Hey, me too!” Trina was an art teacher, and a studio art & environmental studies graduate and she loved nature.
“That very night I started thinking about what story I could share,” Trina says. She and her husband had moved into a cabin on the outskirts of Nevada City, California, which happened to be right next door to Mountain Bounty Farm, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm that was supported by people who purchased memberships in exchange for a regular supply of the farm’s produce. At first she noticed how exuberant the farmers were. Sometimes they came from the neighborhood; sometimes they came from far away, looking for an organic farming experience. She was inspired by their enthusiasm, and even spent a few days working in the field with them. She began to feel a connection to the land as never before.
“Being part of the farm, even only in a peripheral way, changed the way I thought about food,” Trina says. “I believe healthy food has transformative powers. Now I am passionate about eating local, organic food.”
One day a rather small, undernourished, homeless cat also discovered Mountain Bounty Farm. The farmers loved this friendly cat and named her Molly. Molly enthusiastically adopted the farmers and was a constant presence on the farm. She was a much-loved personality with the members when they came to pick up their box of produce. Molly was a hit at the harvest festival too. It was a great spring and summer for Molly, and a very nice fall too . . . but what would happen to Molly during the winter? The farmers asked their neighbor Trina whether she would take Molly in. Molly now had a winter home, too! And so it went for several years.
So when Trina wondered what story to share, it immediately came to her. Molly—the homeless can that was loved by everyone at Mountain Bounty Farm—was the perfect way to share a cat’s-eye view of life on an organic farm with children. Molly’s Organic Farm, co-authored with Carol Malnor and illustrated by Trina, is the happy result.