Justin Townsend: Founder/Editor-in-Chief

Justin Townsend (Choctaw) has been a culinarian and raconteur in the wild food world for over a decade. His passion for hunting, fishing, foraging, and the outdoors stems from his upbringing in Southeastern Oklahoma and his cultural heritage as a tribal member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Some of his first memories are bass fishing trips with his grandfather and cooking deer meat at home with his grandmother. Justin loves spending time with his family, teaching them to hunt and fish, rewatching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown for the umpteenth time, and traveling around North America meeting new people, hunting, fishing, exploring, and tasting new food. 

In 2005, Justin started college at the University of New Orleans in New Orleans, LA, where he earned a BA degree in Anthropology and a BA in Geography, focusing on Food and Culture. In 2008, he started his first restaurant job after wandering the streets of New Orleans in search of a cooking job. Luckily for him, he wandered into the restaurant of James Beard award-winning Chef Frank Brigtsen at Brigtsen’s, where he laid a strong foundation for his culinary career, taking him from the Gulf Coast to the West Coast and then on to the Florida Keys. Justin’s last restaurant job was from 2018-2020 as the Executive Chef of Mellow Cafe & Gastropub in Key West Florida. Mellow Cafe was an upscale coastal inspired gastropub focused on fresh, sustainable ingredients. 

In 2011, Justin created the outdoor media company Harvesting Nature. His focus was to create an online community focused on inspiring people to get outdoors to harvest their own food from the wild. Over the years, Harvesting Nature has blossomed into a leading brand in the wild food space, serving thousands of people and providing content through their website, social media, print media, podcasts, in person wild food camps and television. 

In addition to content for Harvesting Nature, Justin self published his first cookbook, “Eat Wild Game” in 2017 and has written hundreds of articles and recipes for online and print publications like MeatEater, Outdoor News, Harvesting Nature Magazine, Spearing Magazine, Backcountry Journal, Guidefitter, On The Fly Magazine, San Diego Magazine, Keys Weekly, and many more. 

Justin is recognized as an expert in the field of butchering and cooking wild fish and game. He has hosted the Wild Fish and Game Podcast since 2019 creating over 180 episodes. He has appeared as a guest on many podcasts including the Outdoor Minimalist Podcast, The Big Game Hunting Podcast, Western Hunting Hub Podcast, Huntavore Podcast, Noob Spearo Podcast, and many more. 

Outdoor conservation and community service rank high on priorities for Justin. He is an active member of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers in multiple states and served on their national advisory board for the Armed Forces Initiative from 2021-2022. BHA’s AFI, “focuses on introducing the military community to public lands and waters by providing outdoor adjunct therapy to enhance their mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being while providing them a new mission as conservationists.” Justin is also an active duty member of the United States Coast Guard.

Find Your Wilderness!

You can connect with Justin via email: jtownsend@harvestingnature.com

Justin hosts the Wild Fish and Game Podcast

Listen Now: Apple Podcasts, Amazon, Spotify

Check out Justin’s cookbook

Eat More Wild Game: Recipes for the Adventurous

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