ECOLOGY ACTION STAFF
John Jeavons, Executive Director: John
has been Director of Ecology Action’s Mini-Farming program
since 1972. He is the author of How to Grow More Vegetables, Fruits,
Nuts, Berries, Grains and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible
on Less Land Than You Can Imagine, the textbook of the GROW BIOINTENSIVE
Sustainable Mini-Farming system, as well as being author, co-author
and/or editor of over 30 other Ecology Action publications.His major responsibilities include directing field and library research and education in GROW BIOINTENSIVE food-raising. He advises GROW BIOINTENSIVE projects in Mexico, Kenya, Ecuador, Russia, and Afghanistan as well as all corners of the U.S. Jeavons holds a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University. Before coming to Ecology Action in 1971, he worked as a systems analyst in business, government and university settings. He has received the Boise Peace Quilt, Santa Fe Living Treasure, Giraffe, and Steward of Sustainable Agriculture awards for his public service.
Steve Moore, Associate Executive Director: Steve is an Intermediate-Level certified GROW BIOINTENSIVE® teacher, design certified in Permaculture, a teaching and research faculty member at the Environmental Studies Department, and Director of AgroEcology at Elon University in North Carolina. At the university, he has established and operates the first Certified GB Mini-Ag Center/ Soil Test Station to enhance our knowledge of soil sustainability. He also created a Bachelor's Degree program in Sustainable Food Systems with GROW BIOINTENSIVE techniques at its core and successfully worked to establish a cooperative agreement between the Peace Corps and Elon University. He has done extensive consulting and provides presentations and workshops worldwide.
Jake Blehm, Assistant Director for International Outreach and Human Relations: Jake has worked in sustainable and organic agriculture for over 25 years, working in more than 30 countries and visiting an additional 20 for agricultural service-learning and education. He began his career as a biological control producer and consultant and later moved into leadership and organizational development work with agriculturalists. He was the Director of Programs for the California Ag Leadership Foundation and, before joining Ecology Action in 2010, was the Director of Operations at the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Blehm received his B.S. in Agricultural Business/Economics at Colorado State University and his M.B.A. in Organizational Development from California Lutheran University.
Mary Zellachild, Communications Director: Mary has worked for Ecology Action since 1989, and currently writes grant proposals and reports, evaluates materials, provides editorial support for the newsletter, communicates with colleagues worldwide, and writes a wide variety of documents and other materials. She is active with both the localization and transition movements in Willits, working to help catalyze a sustainable and resilient community.
Leslie Roberts, Newsletter Editor and Website Assistant: Leslie comes to Ecology Action with a background in education. "I've had a strong desire to work toward making a difference in the way food is grown, moving toward environmentally sound practices and methods that replenish as they produce. I'm excited to be part of an organization sharing mini-farming and sustainability through education in GROW BIOINTENSIVE concepts. It's an update to the old adage, 'You can give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Or you can teach a man to fish and he'll be able to feed himself for a lifetime.' Ecology Action is 'teaching people to fish' as they educate farmers, gardeners, policy makers and teachers in a new approach to growing food and soil sustainably."
Jason McNabb, Office Manager: Jason worked for six years as an engineering consultant to low-energy buildings before realizing that true human sustainability begins with the sustained ability of the soil to provide the energy and nutritional basis for human culture. He practiced the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method for two years before deciding to become more involved with disseminating this knowledge to as many people as possible.
Laurie Birch, Administrative Assistant and Data Manager: A native of Florida, Laurie spent the last decade professionally immersed in the field of horticulture, botany and plant conservation working to restore and protect a number of endangered plant species native and endemic to Florida. Organic gardening has been a personal interest since college and more recently she discovered the importance of gardening with heirloom varieties, with a particular interest in growing heirloom tomatoes.
Lori Luedemann, Bookkeeper: Lori comes to Ecology Action with 12 years of experience in banking. She spent 7 years as a teller, and 5 years in the Proof department, processing all bank transactions and making corrections as needed. She has always liked working with numbers and went to college when her children were older, receiving an Associates of Science degree in both Business Administration and Business Accounting. Lori has been a bookkeeper in the auto repair, concrete construction, and now organic farming industries.
Jes Pearce, The Jeavons Center Mini-Farm Manager: Jes is originally from Maryland but has had the privilege to call many places home since she left the east coast in 2009. She was first introduced to GROW BIOINTENSIVE® while farming in Hawaii and fell in love. So much so that she is now a three-year apprentice with Ecology Action on Pine Mountain!
Rachel Laase, The Jeavons Center Assistant Mini-Farm Manager: Rachel's interest in gardening began at a young age, spending weekends in the backyard with her father, but it wasn't until a few years ago that she really started pursuing it as a career. After studying fiber arts in college, she wanted to figure out a way to incorporate farming in her craft so she knew how/where her materials were being grown and processed. Her time with Ecology Action will be focused on sustainable ways to grow a complete diet as well as natural fibers and plant dyes.
Colby Halligan, The Jeavons Center Farmer: A native of Vermont, Colby's family grew up next to Scout Proft, one of Vermont's finest organic farmers (Someday Farm) and gardened two acres for their vegetables. Alongside Scout and her mother, who was a professional chef, she learned the significance of farm to table, community development, and nutrition. After high school, she attended Elon University and received a dual degree in B.S. Environmental Science and B.A. in Public Health concentrating in socio-cultural health and illness. During this time she spent two years living in five diverse countries studying food systems, public health, maternal nutrition, and sustainable agriculture. She is incredibly passionate about maternal health and hopes to learn how diet designs can supply all the nutrients needed during pregnancy and lactation in an arid region.
Rachel Britten, Golden Rule Field Coordinator: Rachel is Field Coordinator at the Golden Rule GROW BIOINTENSIVE mini-farm. Her interest and exposure to agriculture span from the mono-culture fields of her Iowa home to small diverse organic farms in Northwest Washington. Rachel received her B.S. with an emphasis in Agroecology from The Evergreen State College. Rachel was drawn to Ecology Action because she truly believes that the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method is approaching the solution to a truly sustainable agriculture in an innovative and revolutionary way. Her passions include plant genetics and breeding, biological nitrogen fixation, the history of humans' relationship to food and agriculture, and a lifestyle that values and promotes the simple pleasures of good people and good food. She is thrilled and proud to be a part of an organization that actively and intelligently practices and seeks true sustainability.
Justin Bartolini Golden Rule Assistant Field Coordinator – Apprentice: Justin was raised in the forests and mountains of the Pacific Northwest by parents who double-dug their own garden beds, and a school system that encouraged an early connection with the environment by stressing agriculture, horticulture and forestry. He attended Alderleaf Wilderness College where he studied ethnobotany and nature-based teaching and leadership. He also earned his Permaculture Design Certification. It was this period of study that brought him full circle back to the double-dug beds of his parents and the concept of true agricultural sustainability. A bibliography citation lead him to the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method and the work of Ecology Action, where he looks forward to applying his passions for teaching and stewardship of the environment that nurtures us while working towards the sustainability of the soil that feeds us.
Matt Drewno, Green Belt Mini-Farm Manager: Matt is certified in permaculture, restoration of oak-savanna ecologies and biointensive food production. After a Bachelors of Architecture from Iowa State University, he founded RhythmicWater Ecological Design, a permaculture design business in the mid-western states. He has been working with Ecology Action since 2010 training individuals and communities in the principles of biologically intensive food production. His experience includes organic farm-scale food production, design and implementation of food forests, residential-scale food production and community gardens. In 2014, he started the RhythmicWater SeedBank in the town of Mendocino, CA. He serves on the board of Ecology Action and manages the Green Belt Mini-Farm, a research, education and demonstration mini-farm in Mendocino, California. 847-404-2586, email@example.com
Joe Huber, Green Belt Mini-Farm Three-Year Apprentice: Joe is from Viroqua, Wisconsin. He discovered Ecology Action while at the MOSES conference in La Crosse, WI, in 2015, where John gave the keynote presentation. Joe had the same questions John had, one of them being–what is the smallest land that someone could grow food on? He was encouraged to read How to Grow More Vegetables and was immediately interested in an EA internship. "I see the two most important aspects of a balanced life as the well-being of Nature and of our individual selves. When you look at the world you see the overuse of prescription drugs, diseases like malnutrition, starvation, and heart disease, and the contribution of the food industry to climate change. You see the common denominator among them all is food and that the food system needs to change. It needs to be a lot more sustainable. I believe GB is the key to solving many of these issues."
Emily Danko, Common Ground Garden (CGG) Program Manager/Educator: Emily recently returned to her hometown of Woodside after receiving her undergraduate degree in sustainable development from Washington University in St. Louis. While living in St. Louis, Emily spent a summer interning for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, which jump-started her passion for environmental sustainability and combating climate change. Despite this great experience, Missouri winters weren't her favorite, so she decided to take a trip toward the tropics. In the spring of 2015, Emily traveled to Samoa, where she completed a month-long independent study project on traditional agricultural methods–along with learning to spearfish and dance the Samoan siva. After her return to St. Louis, Emily graduated a semester early and used that time to work at the Challenger Learning Center in Ferguson. At Challenger, she honed her skills as an informal science educator. Now, Emily is thrilled to combine her interests in education and the environment with the help of Common Ground Garden. She can't wait to learn more about sustainable agriculture and urban farming, and then share that knowledge with the community!
Paul Higgins, Common Ground Garden (CGG) Garden Manager: Paul is a Bay Area native, hailing from Richmond, and left astrophysics research to pursue his interests in gardening, the food system, sustainability… and he ended up farming! He joined EA in 2015 at Common Ground Garden in Palo Alto where he manages growing food and growing the soil. He also leads the adult volunteer program and assists Emily with school programs and adult classes. He loves growing his own food almost as much as he loves eating it-- as well as hiking, live music, trying new foods, and (believe it or not) flipping through seed catalogs!
Carol Cox, Garden Research Manager Emerita: After completing a three-year apprenticeship, Carol managed the Research Garden at The Jeavons Center Mini-Farm from 1992 until her retirement in 2009. She is co-author of the Ecology Action book, The Sustainable Vegetable Garden, and worked on several other Ecology Action booklets. As time and energy allow, she works on Ecology Action projects from her cottage in town and is putting the finishing touches on the translation of a French book from the 1850s about the techniques of the Parisian market gardeners that she began working on many years ago.