I am passionate about creating a sustainable, cooperative culture. To me this means working for social and ecological justice, restoring damaged ecosystems, and creating modes of production and living that meet human needs while increasing ecosystem health and social well-being.
My professional experience is mostly in the fields of education and the environment. In graduate school I studied the history of science, medicine and technology, with a focus on environmental history and the history of sustainable technologies. I wrote my dissertation on the history of technologies used to transform human excrement into fertilizer in the U.S. in the 19th century. Through this study I gained a solid understanding of U.S. agricultural and public health history.
I love applying the lens of history to my work in sustainability, because I believe that we need to understand the historical roots of our current problems in order to solve them. I’ve worked as a sustainability educator in both academic and community-based settings. I’ve taught college courses in environmental science, environmental studies and sustainable development. In my local community I coordinated an environmental job training program with an innovative curriculum in environmental technology for unemployed city residents and I currently teach permaculture workshops. I am also involved with two land trusts that promote sustainability.
Since 1993, I have been a member of School of Living, a community land trust that holds land in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia and organizes educational events on topics related to sustainable living. I currently serve as their Executive Director.
The other land trust is the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy (GVC), which conserves land in my local watershed and conducts restoration and education programs. As Development Director of the GVC I write grants and support the implementation of projects. My work with these two organizations has given me experience with nonprofit organizational development, strategic planning, and fundraising, which are essential for creating organizations that can implement and sustain community-based sustainability initiatives.
Also since 1993 I have lived at Heathcote Community, a small intentional community in Maryland, where we practice permaculture (ecological design) and cooperative processes such as consensus decision making. I work in the gardens and am currently helping to develop a sustainable farming business on the land. For me, living in community is a way of creating social change. It has given me the opportunity to participate in social systems that are egalitarian and collaborative, gain practical skills in sustainability, and be supported in personal healing and transformation. Anti-oppression work has always been important to me and I strive to integrate it into everything I do. One of my main motivations for joining an intentional community as a young adult was the desire to create a way of life that is both ecologically sustainable and free from oppression. At Heathcote Community we work towards dismantling oppression as a long-term goal by educating ourselves about issues of social and economic justice, implementing egalitarian systems and structures within our community, and including social justice as part of our permaculture education curriculum. I’m currently focusing on anti-racism training for whites.