Why subscribe?

Pinch of Dirt is a weekly newsletter about nature, outdoor adventure, and the environment.

It was named one of the “Best Outdoorsy Email Newsletters” by Outside Magazine in 2021:

As a freelance journalist, Jessica McKenzie often covers issues like food security and the environment. Her newsletter is a sort of off-hours platform for related interests: hiking, gardening, appreciating nature. In Pinch of Dirt, McKenzie mostly shares meandering thoughts from her travels and reporting notebook, but she’s also an avid reader and includes links that help readers think through the changing politics of being a recreationist. McKenzie considers topics such as how to grapple with climate change as an outdoors lover, or her discomfort with misanthropic coverage of overcrowding at parks. Her tips on urban hiking in New York City are handy, too.

Who should subscribe? Anyone, but especially outdoor enthusiasts interested in how climate crisis impacts them and the places they recreate, whether as trail runners or birdwatchers or mushroom gatherers or thru hikers. New York residents keen to learn more about hiking near New York City—and further afield—will also find plenty of tips and inspiration for their adventures.

Who writes Pinch of Dirt? I do! I am a climate and environmental journalist, an enthusiastic hiker and backpacker, and an urban/backyard gardener.

Why? I started this newsletter in 2017 (on TinyLetter! remember TinyLetter?) to share the best nature, travel, and adventure writing I found on the internet, and to try my hand at crafting some of my own.

Where did your logo come from? I snagged the illustration from the public domain. It originally appeared in a book titled The Gardener’s Assistant: A Practical and Scientific Exposition of the Art of Gardening in all its Branches.

How can I show my support? Subscribe! And share the posts you like most on social media and forward the newsletter to your friends.

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A little of the outdoors in your inbox. Outside Magazine has called it one of the “Best Outdoorsy Email Newsletters.”


Journalist, hiker, mostly veg. Published in The New York Times, National Geographic, Audubon Magazine, Backpacker, The Counter, and Grist, among others. @jessimckenzi on Twitter/Instagram; jessicastarmckenzie.com