Ian’s career and his life’s work has been focused on the human connection to soil and food. He first worked as a social worker focused on developing and operationalizing outdoor experience based education programs and later sought more direct work with the connections to soil and food in real estate by founding a brokerage and consulting company to focus on prioritizing conservation, agriculture, and community within typical land development. Most recently, he served as Executive Director of the Russell Foundation, a private foundation focused on assisting landowners and farmers through customized approaches to farmland ownership, conservation, management, and stewardship. During his tenure, the Russell Foundation worked with 65 land conservation groups, 40 townships, and local, state, and federal partners to assist 60 farms, complete 28 lease and/or management agreements, and complete more than 100 farmland focused projects protecting over 12,000 acres and raising over $16,000,000, all aimed toward providing benefit to farmland, farmers, communities, and the local agrarian economy.
Ian has also participated in many farmland and food systems initiatives and has served as a consultant to a number of organizations, locally, regionally, and nationally. He has served on zoning, conservation, planning, and agricultural Boards and Commissions, County Conservation Districts, Regional Planning Commissions, and a University Extension Coverts Program. Ian speaks on farmland transfer, conservation, secure tenure, and fundraising models across the country. He was recognized as a “40 under 40” leader in New Hampshire and selected for the Leadership Institute at Food Solutions New England. Ian and his wife Liz protected their own small New Hampshire farm with a conservation easement, manage their forest as a Certified Tree Farm, lease their farmland to a Certified Natural vegetable grower, keep bees, manage habitat with an ecological focus, and spend as much time as possible with their two young boys, Dylan and Bridger.
Ian is deeply committed to bringing about innovation to evolve farmland conservation to holistically address equitable, secure, and affordable ownership and tenure arrangements, farm viability, conservation, and community resilience to ensure regenerative, diversified food production that benefits soil, human, and community health. Ian founded Farmland Consulting LLC to support communities through farmland preservation and is excited to lead Agrarian Trust as Organizational Director. Email Ian at ian [@] agrariantrust.org
Community, Farm & Operations Director
Eliza is an advocate for small farm communities and rural livelihoods. Her broad perspective—developed through work from West Virginia to the San Joaquin Valley of California—stems from her faith in food systems as a catalyst for justice, health, and a new economy. She works on a range of farmer-focused and food access projects with nonprofits and social enterprises in Appalachia and the mid-Atlantic.
Eliza also serves on the Administrative Council of Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education and serves on the boards of Sprouting Farms, West Virginia’s first farm incubator and InStill Mindfulness Southwest Virginia. She volunteers with Cooperation Central Appalachia and Roanoke Community Acupuncture. She and her partner own a diversified farm in the Sinking Creek Valley of Southwest Virginia, Singing Spring Farm, where they are also building a home. Eliza holds bachelor degrees from the University of Virginia and a J.D. from Vermont Law School. Email Eliza at eliza [@] agrariantrust.org
Database & Relationships Manager
Megan Browning is a farmer, communicator, and community organizer whose interests, knowledge and passion center the continued viability of small-scale farming, and the redistribution of land, wealth power to achieve a just and sustainable food system. Megan grew up in New York City, graduated from Colby College in Maine, and has spent the past eight years on farms around New England. She now lives and farms in Vermont and also coordinates the NOFA-VT’s annual Winter Conference. Megan is on the leadership team of the Vermont Young Famers Coalition and is excited about building community among farmers in Vermont and advocating for policy that helps young farmers stay in farming. Megan is currently working towards her Master’s Degree in Leadership for Sustainability at the University of Vermont. Among other things Megan enjoys cooking, eating, traveling, swimming, growing plants, and spreading love. Email Megan at megan [@] agrariantrust.org
FaithLands National Coordinator
Robin Emmons is an award-winning social entrepreneur and visionary who founded the nationally recognized non-profit organization, Sow Much Good, Inc., which helped spark the now thriving urban farming movement. She has been recognized by Athena International, CNN Heroes, 50 Most Influential Women, 25 Women in Wellness to Watch, and covered by multiple national and local media outlets. A highly sought-after keynote speaker, she has successfully delivered numerous talks to industry leaders such as Whole Foods, corporations such as Wells Fargo, and Ivy League schools such as Cornell University.
Robin spent the last decade focusing on empowering marginalized communities to leverage their political and social power to improve their neighborhoods and their lives through the non-profit she founded, while simultaneously delivering her message of the power of leading through service, to a broad range of stakeholders. As an accredited and certified Transformation Life Coach, Robin works with individuals and businesses to assist them in gaining greater clarity, focus and purpose in their lives and businesses. Robin is a native Bostonian who resides in Charlotte, NC with her husband Willie. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina with a degree in Political Science and Government Relations. Email Robin at robin [@] agrariantrust.org
Database & Relationships Manager
Daniel Forkner is a native of Atlanta, Georgia where he spent his first few professional years in the commercial real estate investments industry. Feeling out of place in an industry prioritizing profit and extraction, he took a sabbatical to travel and interact with diverse perspectives around the many systemic issues our world faces. Through these interactions, most notably permaculture farmers and conservation advocates, he came to see that climate change, colonization, racial injustice, and many other destructive ends are ultimately rooted in our land. Financial commodification of land, degrading agricultural practices, and the displacement of communities and people from the earth that sustains us are practices that must be reversed and dismantled, and for this reason Daniel is excited to adapt his real estate and media experience to Agrarian Trust’s mission of preserving valuable agricultural land in the hands of local communities and responsible farmers.
Daniel currently lives in North Central Massachusetts where he also serves a local nonprofit devoted to improving regional food justice by organizing community-driven programs to adapt and implement food systems around residents’ needs. He also co-produces a podcast that engages an international audience around global systemic issues and paths towards solutions. Email Daniel at daniel [@] agrariantrust.org
Agrarian Fund Director
With 30 years of experience in all aspects of land conservation and farmland preservation in rural and urbanizing regions, David Harper has raised more than $7 million in grants for conservation planning, easement acquisition, sustainable agriculture and local food system development, and ecological restoration projects in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern US. He has worked with landowners and land trusts to preserve more than 7,000 acres of farmland, natural areas and historic sites. He designed and taught a course on land conservation and management and is a frequent public speaker on conservation topics. David served for 8 years as a municipal planning commission member in a fast-growing agricultural community near Philadelphia. He is co-chair of the Rural Resource Coalition of South Carolina, promoting rural economies favoring healthy land and communities, and Treasurer of the International Center for Indigo Culture, educating about revival of indigo as a natural dye. David previously served as Executive Director of the Pee Dee Land Trust in South Carolina and Unique Places to Save in North Carolina. He currently runs a land conservation consulting practice, Land In Common. He and his wife Caroline grow indigo in the SC Lowcountry and produce indigo dye and textiles for her business (www.chidesignindigo.com). Email David at david [@] agrariantrust.org.
JILLIAN HISHAW, Esq.
Jillian is an agricultural attorney, Founder & CEO of F.A.R.M.S., and author of “Don’t Bet the Farm on Medicaid.” Hishaw is well-versed in the areas of civil rights and agricultural policy. She was recognized as a “Food Changemaker” by Clif Bar Co. and has been featured in O (Oprah) Magazine, The Atlantic, Vice News, and more. Hishaw has nearly 15 years of professional experience and has raised funds for various food bank and law programs.
F.A.R.M.S. provides technical and legal services to small-scale farmers while reducing hunger in the farmers’ community. Over the past five years F.A.R.M.S. has been in operation, the organization has purchased and donated nearly 300,000 lbs. of fresh produce and provides estate planning, foreclosure and civil right legal assistance to farmers throughout the country.
California Agrarian Commons Advancement
Kendra has worked in urban agriculture and farm education, vegetable/CSA and flower production, restoration landscaping and design, and for more than a decade as a consultant on farm conservation, access, and affordability. As leader of California FarmLink’s Central Valley programs for five years, she helped farmers with land access, farm succession, and business needs. She has worked with numerous land trusts on easement tools for small farm preservation, access and affordability, and coordinated the “One Farm at a Time,” campaign to permanently protect an important small farm for a future of food production and access by farmers. Kendra holds a Master of Science in Community Development from UC Davis and currently consults for California FarmLink and Agrarian Trust. She’s happily married to a salmon ecologist (think ‘fins, feathers, farms, and floodplains’) and raising three kids back home in western Sonoma County (northern SF Bay Area). Email Kendra at kendra [@] agrariantrust.org
FaithLands Toolkit Project Editor
Briana is a writer, editor, teacher, and urban gardener who supports the preservation of wild places, open spaces, and acres for sustainable agriculture. As lead editor for the Greenhorns New Farmer’s Almanac, Briana has connected with farmers, ecologists, ranchers, and seed savers across the US (and world), and she looks forward to supporting new (and not so new) agrarians through the development of the FaithLands Toolkit for Agrarian Trust. Briana is also a regular contributor to edible New Mexico and The Magazine by Southwest Contemporary. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and has taught writing and humanities courses at diverse institutions, including the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison, Cornish College of the Arts, and, most recently, Central New Mexico Community College. Previously, Briana worked in refugee and immigrant education. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Email Briana at briana [@] agrariantrust.org
Operations & Donor Relations Manager
Wendy is an advocate, supporter and administrator who uses her business and technical skills to help fulfill Agrarian Trust’s mission. She has a deep commitment to proper land use, equity and justice that benefits the earth and the inhabitants on it. She believes Agrarian Trust holds several keys to bringing the land back into balance with the Trust’s unique land model. Wendy has worked in the areas of agriculture and health & human services, including working with underserved populations such as New Americans and First Americans. She holds her degree in Business Administration. Email Wendy at wendy [@] agrariantrust.org
Communications & Social Media Manager
Kristina Villa is a farmer, communicator, and community coordinator who believes that our connection to the soil is directly related to the health of our bodies, economy, and society. With over a decade of social media experience and over seven years of vegetable farming and cattle management experience, Kristina enjoys using her skill sets to share photos, stories, and information which help to inspire change in human habits and mindsets, causing the food system, climate, and overall well-being of the world to improve. Email Kristina at kristina [@] agrariantrust.org
SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIES LAW CENTER (SELC)
SELC cultivates a new legal landscape that supports community resilience and grassroots economic empowerment. SELC provides essential legal tools — education, research, advice, and advocacy — so communities everywhere can develop their own sustainable sources of food, housing, energy, jobs, and other vital aspects of a thriving community.
Greenhorns works to create a welcoming and hospitable culture for new entrants in sustainable agriculture. They have made films, radio, guidebooks, parties+trainings, almanacs, anthologies, song collections, exhibits, mixers, art-stunts and trans-media collaboratives that defy classification. The Greenhorns is a community-powered studio dedicated to grassroots media, cultural programming and land repair for the benefit of the human and non-human worlds. The Greenhorns’ programs and projects address the practical and social concerns of those in their first years farming, emphasizing restorative land-practices, skill-building, networking and dialogue.
F.A.R.M.S. provides technical and legal services to small-scale farmers while reducing hunger in the farmers’ community. Over the past five years F.A.R.M.S. has been in operation, the organization has purchased and donated nearly 300,000 lbs. of fresh produce and provides estate planning, foreclosure and civil right legal assistance to farmers throughout the country.
Futurefarmers is an international collective of artists, architects and farmers who create formats for exchange and production. They are drawn together around a common interest in the shaping the social and political organization of space. They use performance, the built environment, sculpture and journalism as modes for audiences to gain insight into and take part in this negotiation.
The US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) works to end poverty, rebuild local food economies, and assert democratic control over the food system. We believe all people have the right to healthy, culturally appropriate food, produced in an ecologically sound manner. As a US-based alliance of food justice, anti-hunger, labor, environmental, faith-based, and food producer groups, we uphold the right to food as a basic human right and work to connect our local and national struggles to the international movement for food sovereignty.
VANESSA GARCIA POLANCO
Vanessa García Polanco has served at the local, state and regional level to promote democratic empowerment, racial equity and visibility of immigrants in food systems as a network member of Food Solutions New England and the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. Vanessa is an alumna of the Food Solutions New England Network Leadership Institute and the University of Rhode Island and she is currently a graduate student in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University. Vanessa is a New American. As a woman of color and immigrant from the Cibao Valley in the Dominican Republic, she brings her identity and experiences to inform her research and advocacy activities.
Rachel Payne is a volunteer with FaithLands. She grew up in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where she got to pay regular visits to beautiful Caretaker Farm. She’s working on her master’s in divinity at the Boston University School of Theology. Her aim is to use her degree to help people heal their relationship with the land and with each other. Prior to starting school, she wrote grants and other content for the corporate watchdog group Corporate Accountability. She also coordinated a network of rebel academics challenging institutions that perpetuate poverty. As a college student, Rachel was an organizer in the youth climate movement and led freshman trips to Connecticut organic farms. Email Rachel at rachel [@] agrariantrust.org.
Katie Shelly is a designer and illustrator focused on material with civic, social and educational value. She’s had the privilege to work with orgs like Left Forum, Just Food, Third Root Community Health Center, the Cooper Hewitt Museum, distinguished scientists at Oxford and Northwestern Universities, and many more. She has illustrated award-winning books such as the genre-bending cookbook Picture Cook (Ulysses Press, 2013) and Nature’s Remedies (Chronicle, 2016). She has a BA in American Studies from Wesleyan University (CT) and an MA in Experience Design from Hyper Island (UK). She lives and works in Barcelona. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @interkatie and on Facebook at Katie Shelly Illustration. Her portfolio is available at: https://katieshelly.art/
Shakara Tyler is a returning generation farmer, educator and activist-scholar who engages in Black agrarianism, agroecology, food sovereignty and climate justice as commitments of abolition and decolonization. She obtained her PhD at Michigan State University in Community Sustainability (CSUS) and works with Black farming communities in Michigan and the Mid-Atlantic. She also serves as Board President at the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN) and a board member of the Detroit People’s Food Co-op (DPFC).
Darby Weaver is a grower, a seeker, and a student of the Earth. After growing up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Darby attended Sterling College in Northern Vermont where she received a degree in Sustainable Agriculture. She has since spent the last decade growing Biodynamic produce in the Southeast and teaching holistic and ecological methods to learners of all ages and backgrounds through articles, agriculture intensives, workshops, and lectures.
Darby’s passion for this work is derived from an endless curiosity for the complex and dynamic relationships that build our natural world. She finds her greatest meaning from sharing with others the tools necessary to engage with these living systems to create nourishing food for the body and mind. Her most recent project finds her in a tiny house on 20 acres in Northern Vermont where she is developing an Agroecology system with her husband, Elliot Smith.
SEVERINE VON TSCHARNER FLEMING
Severine is a farmer, activist, and organizer based in Downeast Maine. She runs Smithereen Farm, a MOFGA certified organic wild blueberry, seaweed, and orchard operation which hosts summer camps, camping, and educational workshops.
She is a founder and board member of Agrarian Trust and current director of the Greenhorns, a 10 year old grassroots organization whose mission is to recruit, promote, and support the incoming generation of famers in America. Greenhorns produce media and publications for and about the young farmers movement from documentary films to almanacs, anthologies, mix-tapes, posters, guidebooks, and digital maps. They are best known for The New Farmer’s Almanac, now in its fourth edition, their documentary film, “The Greenhorns,” and the raucous young farmer mixers they’ve thrown in 37 states and 14 grange halls. Severine is co-founder and board secretary of Farm Hack, an online, open-source platform for appropriate and affordable farm tools and technologies, as well as a founder of the National Young Farmers Coalition, which now boasts 23 state and regional coalitions. She serves on the board of the Schumacher Center for New Economics, Eat Local Eastport Cooperative, and on the advisory board of Savanna Institute.
Severine attended Pomona College and the University of California at Berkeley, where she graduated with a B.S. in Conservation/Agroecology. Email Severine at Severine [@] agrariantrust.org.
Zoey Fink is a native New Mexican with a passion for local food systems and the communities that support them. She is Coordinator for the Refugee Agriculture Partnership Program in Albuquerque, NM: Tres Hermanas Farm. Previously, Zoey was Interim Director for Agrarian Trust and managed the Albuquerque Downtown Growers’ Market and Rail Yard Market. She currently sits on the Agrarian Trust Board, the Rio Grande Agricultural Land Trust Board, and remains an active member of the Albuquerque Growers’ Market Alliance. In her free time you’ll find her running along acequia banks, climbing mountains, strumming the mandolin, and sharing meals with friends and family. She can be reached at events [@] agrariantrust.org.
Alex Jensen is a research associate and project coordinator at Local Futures/ISEC (International Society for Ecology and Culture). He has co-ordinated Local Futures’ Ladakh Project intermittently since 2004. He is also an associate of the Sambhaavnaa Institute of Public Policy and Politics in Himachal Pradesh, India, and is a member of the core group of Vikalp Sangam/Alternatives India. He holds an MA in Globalization and International Development from University of East Anglia, UK. His research interests include political ecology and environmental ethics. He has worked with cultural affirmation and agro-biodiversity projects in campesino communities in a number of countries, and is active in socio-environmental movements including degrowth, environmental health/anti-toxics, and zero waste.
Jamie Pottern is the New England Program Manager with American Farmland Trust, facilitating projects and programs that address farmland loss and support farmers and conservation organizations across New England. Jamie served as Land, Community & Education Director at Agrarian Trust, during 2018 and 2019. Jamie coordinated the national FaithLands initiative, including the Eastern North Carolina FaithLands Inventory Project and also brought her wealth of knowledge of farm conservation and land access strategies to the developing local Agrarian Commons model. Jamie previously managed the Farm Conservation Program at Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, facilitating the protection of working farms and forests across north central and western Massachusetts, focusing on innovative mechanisms that address farmland affordability, housing, and farmland transfer to the next generation. Jamie is deeply committed to the mission and values that Agrarian Trust embodies, especially commitments to racial and economic justice around land and agroecological and regenerative land management practices. Jamie holds a Masters in Sustainable Landscape Planning & Design from the Conway School of Landscape Design, a B.A. from Brandeis University in Environmental Studies and International & Global Studies, and a certificate from The Farm School’s Learn to Farm Program.
Ted Bellinger has a background in finance, strategy and operations with a passion for sustainable food systems and social entrepreneurship. He currently works as a food business consultant with New Venture Advisors and runs his own consulting business. He was drawn to work in sustainable food and agriculture systems in order to have a positive impact on human and environmental health.
Ted began his career as an investment banker and private equity investor in New York City. In 2013, he moved to Colorado and joined Craftsy, a Denver-based online education and e-Commerce startup. He has also spent time traveling and living in Southeast Asia where he worked at Kopernik, an international development NGO in Indonesia that distributes clean technologies to remote communities across Southeast Asia. Ted also served as Director of Finance at Pasture One, a distributor of domestic, grass-fed beef that supported ranchers who techniques that promote grass-lands regeneration and carbon-sequestration. Ted has a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from NYU’s Stern School of Business.
Keefe Keeley comes from the Kickapoo Valley of Wisconsin. He holds a degree in Biology from Swarthmore College, an MS in Agroecology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and is a University Fellow and PhD candidate at the UW in the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Currently, as co-Executive Director of the Savanna Institute, he leads participatory research, education, and outreach to advance farming systems that mimic native oak savannas of the upper Midwest. Recently, Keefe co-edited The Driftless Reader, a bioregional anthology. He has worked in various capacities on diversified organic and incubator farms, and has worked with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection in local food system development. He has also worked, studied, and served with farmers in a dozen countries worldwide, including as a Watson Fellow.
Sallie knows about software and ranchland. An engineer by training, she spent twenty-five years growing a software company with her husband which they sold in 2000. Then they did the craziest thing they’d ever done: they purchased a 7600 acre ranch south of San Jose, Ca. Sallie’s adventures include raising grass-fed beef, running a packing plant, and making loans to support sustainable agriculture. Sallie is Board Chair of Holistic Management International, an organization dedicated to helping farmers, ranchers and land managers use and conserve their land effectively. In addition to their philanthropic plans to give all of their money away during their lifetime, Sallie and her husband are in active inquiry about what it means to shift their investment portfolio to align with their mission.
Thomas Rippel is a biodynamic farmer with a background in finance, community supported farming and IT. He is passionate about creating a kind of agriculture that works in harmony with the soil, plants, animals, and society. Thomas is a lecturer at the biodynamic farming education in Switzerland, co-founder of OpenCrowdInvest, a crowd-investing tool specifically designed for community-funded and commons projects and the head of project development at Kulturland-Genossenschaft, a Germany-based cooperative which provides farms the legal and technical (IT) framework to enable community-funded purchases of agricultural land, which is permanently taken off the market.
Co-author Benevolent Investing Guide
Ali Budner is the editor for Agrarian Trust’s Benevolent Investors Guide. She is an independent radio journalist who also has a background in farming and gardening. As a journalist, she’s worked in collaboration with The Kitchen Sisters, Latino USA, The Fukushima Reporting Project, and local San Francisco Bay Area stations, KPFA and KALW. Most recently, she was a 2015 reporting fellow with Michael Pollan’s Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship at UC Berkeley. Ali has also worked as an intern at Full Belly Farm in the Capay Valley, taught gardening to elementary school students, and studied herbal medicine.
Lisa is an organization development consultant, social entrepreneur, and farmer committed to building a vibrant agricultural future. She is co-owner of First Light Farm, a thriving 20-acre organic vegetable and flower farm in both Petaluma and coastal Valley Ford, Ca. and is co-founder of Lopez Community Farm and Chica Bloom Farm. For the last decade, Lisa has transformed collective visions into community realities, launching food systems initiatives and innovative sustainability start-ups in the West. Lisa consults across sectors with companies, government, and non-profits on managing change, leadership development, organizational learning, engagement, and strategy.
Sarah has a deep love of restorative agriculture built during her childhood on the Kansas prairie and work on several diversified, perennial farms in Minnesota, Kansas, and Vermont. She most recently worked with the Land Stewardship Project’s Farm Beginnings program, focusing on land access for new farmers and federal farm policy. These days Sarah is operating a small fruit tree nursery and establishing a diversified orchard with her partner John in western Wisconsin, as well as filling bulk bins at a food co-op and planting trees with a Minnesota permaculture design company.
Kathryn works with land trusts, local governments, nonprofits and farmers to conserve farmland, create state and local policies that support urban-edge farming, promote local agriculture and build a sustainable local food system in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 2003, Kathryn has worked with the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust to permanently protect Contra Costa farmland and promote local farming through regional marketing and agricultural enterprise zoning. Before joining BALT, Kathryn practiced public finance law for ten years. Kathryn currently serves on Bay Area Open Space Council Advisory Committee and the Harvest Time Board of Directors. She convenes the Bay Area Agricultural Conservationists and is a co-convener of the Contra Costa Food System Alliance. Kathryn was a 2008 Roots of Change fellow and a rural representative on the San Francisco Urban-Rural Roundtable.
Peter Barnes is an entrepreneur and writer who has co-founded and led several successful businesses and written numerous articles and books about capitalism, the commons and other topics. His latest book, With Liberty and Dividends for All: How to Save Our Middle Class When Jobs Don’t Pay Enough, proposes universal dividends from shared wealth as a practical solution to economic inequality. Barnes grew up in New York City and earned a B.A. in history from Harvard and an M.A. in government from Georgetown. He was a Washington correspondent for Newsweek and west coast correspondent for The New Republic. In 1976 he co-founded a worker-owned solar energy company in San Francisco, and in 1983 he co-founded Working Assets (now Credo). In 1995 he was named Socially Responsible Entrepreneur of the Year for Northern California. He has served on numerous boards of directors, including the National Cooperative Bank, the California Solar Industry Association, Businesses for Social Responsibility, the Rainbow Workers Cooperative, Redefining Progress, Greenpeace International and the Center for Economic and Policy Research. His books include Pawns: The Plight of the Citizen-Soldier, The People’s Land, Who Owns the Sky? and Capitalism 3.0. His articles have appeared in The Economist, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the American Prospect, the Utne Reader, Yes! and elsewhere. In 1997 he founded the Mesa Refuge, a writers’ retreat in northern California.
Ella farms and writes from the UK, though her love for the land in the US the was kindled in 2008 when she cycled the States coast to coast. After reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Warwick, Ella completed a two year apprenticeship on a horse-powered biodynamic farm, working with young adults in a programme of therapeutic education. She is now travelling the land and working with the Biodynamic Land Trust to facilitate entrant farmers and communities connecting to the land.
Caroline Woolard is an artist and organizer. Making sculptures, furniture, and events, Woolard co-creates spaces for critical exchange, forgotten histories, and plausible futures. Her practice is research-based and collaborative. In 2009, Woolard cofounded three organizations to support collaborative cultural production; three long-term infrastructure projects to support short-term artworks: a studio space, a barter network, and Trade School. From 2008-2013, Woolard was also supported by unemployment benefits, a Fellowship at Eyebeam, a residency at the MacDowell Colony, Watermill, iLAND, and funding from the Rockefeller Cultural Innovation Fund. Woolard has been an Artist in Residence at the Queens Museum, a lecturer at Cooper Union, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the New School, and a member of Trade School and the Pedagogy Group.
Woolard’s research includes: the rise of the BFA-MFA-PhD, the relationship between art and property in New York City, footnote systems for research-based art, socially engaged failure, and incommensurability. Forthcoming writing will focus on a project at MoMA that closed in June, as well as the implications of debt and duration for social practices. By 2018, Woolard hopes to establish a community land trust in New York City with community organizers, computer engineers, and artists who are dedicated to lifelong commoning.
Jake is a New York City-based attorney and strategic consultant with experience in sustainable food & agriculture, environmental conservation, social enterprise and philanthropy. He is currently a Program Analyst with the Open Space Institute, a $200m regional land conservancy, and has previously worked on the Legal Team at the Acumen Fund, a $100m global social venture fund. He was also, once, a professional cook. Beinecke serves on the Board of Directors of the Prospect Hill Foundation, the Global Greengrants Fund, and Page73, and is a former Executive Director of the Law and Social Entrepreneurship Association. A lifelong New Yorker, Beinecke graduated from Trinity School, Columbia University and New York University’s School of Law. He has traveled extensively, but currently lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn with his girlfriend Julia, where he does his best to go after it, often on skis or a fish, wearing hiking boots or with a golf club in hand.
Joe is the founder of Vermont Bean Crafters, a four-year-old company that creates products that fill the niche of what people are actually eating, with foods that can be created from locally-grown ingredients, and prepared in a more inspiring manner than what is currently available in the food system at large. Bossen is enrolled in the Vermont Farm Viability Program, in which he is initiating a project to bring Vermont’s staple food economy to the next level with support from the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, the University of Vermont’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the state’s Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.
Elizabeth has been farming at Peacework Farm in Wayne County, New York, and has been producing organically grown vegetables for the fresh market for over 30 years. She is a founding member of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) in Massachusetts, has been on the Board of Directors of NOFA-NY since 1989, and represents NOFA in the national discussions of organic standards and on the Management Committee of the Agricultural Justice Project. She chairs the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board in Wayne County and helped organize the Domestic Fair Trade Association. Henderson has been honored by the organic industry with one of the first “Spirit of Organic” awards (2001), by Abundance Co-op with its Cooperating for Communities award (2007), and by NOFA-NY with a Lifetime Achievement Award (2009).
Her writings on organic agriculture appear in The Natural Farmer and the NOFA-NY Food, Farms and Folks. One of the authors of The Real Dirt: Farmers Tell about Organic and Low-Input Practices in the Northeast, she is also lead author of Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture (Chelsea Green, 1999, with a new edition in 2007) and wrote A Manual of Whole Farm Planning (2003) with Karl North. With her former farm partner she wrote A Food Book for a Sustainable Harvest for the members of the Genesee Valley Organic Community Supported Agriculture Project (GVOCSA). Peacework Organic Farm supplies vegetables to the 300-member GVOCSA, now in its twenty-fourth year.
Wendy is a Buddhist meditation teacher and organic gardening mentor who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been practicing Zen meditation for thirty-five years and has led meditation retreats nationwide since 1992 as an ordained lay dharma teacher in the traditions of Vietnamese teacher Thich Nhat Hanh and the San Francisco Zen Center. Wendy is one of the founders of the organic Farm and Garden Program at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Marin County, where she lived with her family from 1975 to 2000. She has been teaching gardening and environmental education to the public since the early 1980s. In 2000 Wendy and her husband, Peter Rudnick, received the annual Sustainable Agriculture Award from the National Ecological Farming Association. Since 1995 Wendy has written a quarterly column, “On Gardening,” for Tricycle Magazine, a Buddhist Review. She was honored in The Best Science and Nature Writing 2000, published by Houghton Mifflin. Wendy is a mentor and advisor to the Edible Schoolyard program of the Chez Panisse Foundation, a project that she has been involved in since its inception in 1995.
Wes is the founder and current president of The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. He resigned a tenured professorship to found The Land Institute in 1976 in order to focus on refashioning agriculture to mimic natural systems. Jackson is a Pew Scholar, MacArthur Fellow, and winner of the Right Livelihood Award. His books include Man and the Environment, New Roots for Agriculture, Meeting the Expectations of the Land (edited with Wendell Berry and Bruce Colman), Altars of Unhewn Stone,Becoming Native to This Place, Consulting the Genius of the Place, and Nature as Measure. Life magazine named Jackson one of 18 individuals it predicts will be among the 100 “most important Americans of the 20th century.” He was named one of Smithsonian magazine’s “35 who made a difference” in November 2005.
Lisi is a professor of economics at the State University of New York, Cortland. Her areas of specialization are labor economics, the political economy of women, environmental and resource economics, and ecological economics. For her doctoral dissertation, she undertook an institutional analysis of the shortage of professional nurses in U.S. hospitals. She has published in the Cambridge Journal of Economics, The Journal of Economic Issues, and Contemporary Sociology. Her present research concentrates on U.S. land policies with an emphasis on the influence of those policies on the settlement and land use of the western United States. Krall received her B.S. in anthropology from the University of Utah and her Ph.D. in economics, also from the University of Utah, in 1989. She is the author of Proving Up, a history of the domestication of land in the United States.
Rebecca is the West Coast Director at the Center for Food Safety. Spector has been working in the environmental and agricultural sector for more than 20 years, with expertise in policy development, grassroots campaigns, fundraising, and organic farming. She joined Center for Food Safety in 2000, and as West Coast Director champions policy initiatives at the state and federal level and coordinates public outreach campaigns to promote healthy, safe and sustainable food systems. Her experience includes establishing regulations to limit the production of genetically engineered (GE) fish in California, and writing and sponsoring numerous legislative initiatives including state bills to require labeling of GE foods, labeling of GE fish, labeling of food from cloned animals, and farmer protections from GMO contamination. Previously, she served as director of development at Green Seal, the first U.S. product eco-labeling organization, and at Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet she spearheaded its organic cotton marketing campaign.
Spector is associate editor of Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture and Your Right to Know: Genetic Engineering and the Secret Changes in Your Food. She has authored numerous articles and essays including “Livestock Cloning and the Quest for Industrial Perfection” in CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories and “Fully Integrated Food Systems: Regaining Connections between Farmers and Consumers” in Fatal Harvest. For ten years, Spector was co-owner of the first certified organic farm in Half Moon Bay, California, and created its community supported agriculture (CSA) and farmers’ market programs that served hundreds of families in the Bay Area. She holds an M.S. in Environmental Policy from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment.
Dave Henson is a Sowing Circle Community member and Executive Director of OAEC. He also directs OAEC’s Ecological Agriculture Program and co-directs the Center’s Intentional Communities Program. With a background in environmental studies, sociology and law, Dave has worked for over 25 years with many environmental, agricultural and social justice organizations, and has lectured and led training programs around the U.S. and in over 20 countries. Dave is also a co-founder and steering committee member of the Wild Farm Alliance and Californians for GE-Free Agriculture, and serves as a facilitator, strategic planner, and organizational consultant to many other nonprofits.
Kyle shows commitment to contributing towards resilient localized foodsheds through his work and educational pursuits. He is currently completing a bachelor’s degree in sustainable agriculture through Goddard College with the focus of his senior thesis on land access for new farmers. His experience with food production ranges from starting a small CSA, working with orchard crops for market and biodynamic growing with Winter Green Farm. Kyle also sits on the board for the Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance in Eugene, Oregon where he lives. He is excited about food and the land which sustains us.
Liz Burrichter works at Main Street Farms in Cortland and Homer, NY as well as with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Cortland County as an Organic Dairy Educator. She graduated in 2012 with a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Cornell University, where she co-managed Dilmun Hill Student Farm and also minored in dance. She now enjoys living in a small town very close to where she can grow vegetables, hike with her dog, and participate in the diverse food and farms culture of the Finger Lakes region. She contributes to the Agrarian Trust blog by helping to write farmer profiles.
Tianna has many interests including farming, writing, organizing, art, radio, cello, the life aquatic and education. She is interested in public spaces and the space of possibility. She and Walter Riesen run Star Route Farm in the Northern Catskills of New York. Outside the farm, she’s most interested in projects that create points of access to increasingly privatized/corporatized resources. Some projects she has managed in the past include: Vermont Sail Freight, SWOON’s Swimming Cities of Serenissima, CADE’s New Farmer Education Project, Empty Vessel Project (action, art, and design in the Gowanus Canal), and various radio groups including Ladio and Wave Farm (defining the genre of transmission arts). She holds a Masters in Performance Studies from New York University. You can find her in the fields, on the water or in the desert.
Originally hailing from the Adirondacks in upstate New York, Erin now resides in Gunnison, Colorado where she is completing a Master in Environmental Management degree at Western State Colorado University. Erin returned to school after spending five years as an environmental educator throughout the United States, from Northern Vermont, to the misty Oregon Coast, to the sunny Rocky Mountains. In graduate school, Erin focused on the complexities of local food economies and non-profit management. As a concluding project in partnership with Guidestone Colorado, Erin organized the 2016 Colorado Land Link Forum, a 2-day event designed to spark conversation and connections around farmer land access and support in Southwest Colorado. When not working to support local food economies, Erin can most likely be found outside on a bike, on skis, on foot with a field guide, or with hands in the soil.
We’re looking for more writers! If you’d like to contribute please email office [@] agrariantrust.org with a writing sample and resume.