Instructors

Meet Our Educators

Maxine Barish-Wreden

M.D., AIHM

Dr. Maxine Barish-Wreden graduated from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in 1985 and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at UC Davis Medical Center in 1988. She has been practicing medicine in Sacramento since then and has been with Sutter Medical Group since 1992. She has a long-term passionate interest in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, particularly Mind-Body-Spirit Medicine, and in the capacity of the human body, psyche, and spirit to heal, given the appropriate environment. She believes that illness and physical symptoms are often our body’s way of getting our attention and showing us where we may be out of balance, whether it be in the area of nutrition, stress, fitness, non-restorative sleep, unresolved trauma, career, environmental exposures, nature and laughter deficits, social deficits, or spiritual concerns. She strives to explore all of these issues with her patients so that together they can come up with a plan to help restore wholeness in body, mind and spirit. She feels honored to be able to do this work.

Dr. Max is the Medical Director of the Sutter Health Institute for Health & Healing (IHH) in Sacramento, a part of the Sutter Health system-wide IHH. The IHH offers multiple healing modalities, including functional and integrative medicine, group medical appointments, nutritional consultations, acupuncture, aromatherapy, mind-body therapies, and a chronic pain support group.

Dr. Max is a 2012 graduate of the University of Arizona Fellowship in Integrative Medicine under the tutelage of Dr. Andrew Weil, and she was honored to have been selected as her class speaker at graduation. She has also completed the functional medicine training program with the Institute for Functional Medicine. She became board-certified with the inaugural National Boards in Integrative Medicine in 2014. In 2012, she retired from her primary care practice so that she could focus full-time on doing Integrative Medicine consults.

Greg Howes & Brian Fikes

Owners, Two Flew the Coop

Greg and Brian have over 20 years of experience keeping chickens in urban environments. They have helped countless people with the ins and outs of proper chicken care. They look forward to sharing the many benefits and joys that come from welcoming backyard chickens into your world. Two Flew the Coop offers one-of-a-kind artisan-themed coops, consultations, classes, books and supplies.

Jacobe Caditz

SMUD

Jacobe manages SMUD’s Energy Education and Technology Center, which provides free classes to help customers control their energy costs while making their homes and businesses more comfortable, connected, and sustainable. Jacobe’s background is in public engagement and sustainable communities. He combined his MBA studies at the University of the Pacific with two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay. He currently serves on the Board of Solar Cookers International which combines his love of sustainability with international development. Jacobe and his family are regular visitors to Soil Born. They moved to Rancho Cordova in part so they could walk to the farm to get their groceries!

Candis CantinRev. Candis Cantin

Integrative Herbalist, Counselor and Teacher

Rev. Candis Cantin has over 30 years of practical experience as an herbalist, herbal and nutritional counselor and teacher of holistic lifestyle principles. Her background includes extensive Western herbal studies, as well as studies in Ayurvedic and Chinese healing systems. Two of Candis’ main teachers are Dr. Michael Tierra with the East West Herbal program and Dr. Vasant Lad of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque. She is also a founding member of the American Herbalist Guild. For over 30 years, Candis has owned and directed the EverGreen School of Integrative Herbology and Ministry located in the Sierra Foothills where there are extensive organic botanical gardens to view. View her gardens and class schedule at evergreenherbgarden.org. Candis is the artist of the Herbal Tarot Deck, co-author of the Spirit of Herbs with Michael Tierra and the author of Pocket Guide to Ayurvedic Healing.

Cheri Davis

SMUD

Cheri develops SMUD programs that help customers save energy and the environment. She also volunteers for a number of organizations including Breathe California, the Transportation Management Association and Soil Born Farms. One of Cheri’s missions in life is to encourage others to compost, thus restoring valuable nutrients to the soil and avoiding the needless filling of landfills and the resulting greenhouse gases. She is also actively involved in the development of an eco-community and permaculture farm in Costa Rica

Terese & Dio Esperas

A Healthy Kitchen

Terese and Dio Esperas are the owners of A Healthy Kitchen Catering and Classes. Since 2000, they have provided vibrant, healthy and globally-inspired cuisines to their clients and students. They offer catering, group meal prep cooking workshops, teambuilding cooking classes, children’s cooking birthday parties and private chef services. www.ahealthykitchensac.com. Terese is also the Project Manage for Soil Born Farms.

Brian Fishback

BD Ranch & Apiary

Brian started keeping bees in 2008 at his ranch in Wilton CA. What started out as a hobby quickly turned into a passion. With the new adventure came challenges. After losing 40 percent of his bees to colony collapse disorder in his first season, he began researching, determined to raise bees successfully without using harsh chemicals. Brian worked as a volunteer at the Harry H. Laidlaw Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis for three years assisting in teaching, raising honey bees and learning about bee biology and genetics. Today, Brian’s fulltime business is beekeeping and educating the public about bees. He has just over 100 hives (40 at Soil Born Farms American River Ranch). His losses are in the 5% margin. All this without having to use harsh chemicals.

Kerin Gould

PhD

Kerin Gould has a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Health and a PhD. in Native American Studies. She has worked with food-related non-profits such as Alchemist CDC and Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) and taught a high school Farm to Fork program, but eventually focused on developing her own sustainable, non-toxic, wildlife-friendly farm and exploring a new way to connect vibrant fruit and veggies and those who strive to enhance their health with farm-fresh produce.

Amy Green

MFA and Community Educator

With a Master’s of Fine Art degree, a long history of teaching adults and children in a variety of settings, and more than 20 years of experience studying mindfulness meditation, Amy brings a unique perspective and creative support to educators. Her background includes teaching resiliency skills, Lazure-painting to create soothing environments, project management and marketing for health care, and writing. Amy is a mother of two sons who attend A.M. Winn K-8, a Waldorf-inspired public school in Sacramento. Her websites include www.amygreenart.com and www.lazurepaint.com

Shannon HardwickeShannon Hardwicke

Youth Education Manager, Soil Born Farms

Shannon manages our Youth Education Program, facilitating teacher training, curriculum development for school gardens and staff development. She has worked on school gardens for 10 years now using her experience in community development with a passion to develop, equip and sustain successful school garden programs. In addition, Shannon provides oversight to the Youth education programs including 10 school gardens, daily farm field trips, summer camps, teen empowerment, internships, youth cooking experiences and regional school garden program development.

Shawn Harrison

Founder & Co-Director, Soil Born Farms

Shawn is the founder and co-director of Soil Born Farms, a non-profit urban farming and education center located in Sacramento, CA. Through its urban farm, programs and partnerships, Soil Born Farms works to create a more sustainable and equitable food system for the Sacramento region. Shawn’s work in organic agriculture and local food systems development began in 1993 as an organic farming apprentice. In 1997, he completed the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture and holds an M.S. degree in International Agriculture Development from U.C. Davis. Shawn founded Soil Born Farms in 2000 and has been recognized for his leadership in the local food system with several awards including the 2009 recipient of Valley Vision’s Regional Environmental Legacy Award and the UC Davis Alumni Award of Distinction in 2011.

Cliff HawleyCliff Hawley

Bird Walk and Field Trip Leader

Cliff Hawley grew up on a small ranch in Lincoln, CA and discovered a love of birds at 14 when he found a male Vermilion Flycatcher in his yard. He has been birding for over 20 years. He’s a field trip leader for local Audubon groups and a board member with the Central Valley Bird Club. He lives and works in Sacramento with his wife and daughter.

Terese Hollander Esperas

Project Manager & Co-Owner of A Healthy Kitchen

Terese Hollander Esperas is the co-owner of A Healthy Kitchen Catering and Cooking Classes. Terese has been teaching culinary arts, with an emphasis on healthy cooking for twenty years, and has taught thousands of people how to cook everything from soups to sauces , but always with a fresh seasonal, local and organic approach. She worked for the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op for 17 years, most recently as their Education Manager. In 2000 she developed and opened the Co-op’s cooking school where she and her chef and husband Dionsisio maintained leadership as the school’s dynamic teaching duo for 17 years. Today A Healthy Kitchen stays busy with catering, meal prep and private cooking classes and corporate wellness cooking demonstrations. In 2018, she joined Soil Born Farms as a Project Manager and is a member of the non-profit’s executive leadership council.

Harald Hoven

Master Gardener and Founder of BDANC

Harald recently retired from Rudolf Steiner College as the director of Raphael Garden. He is a master gardener, faculty member, and founder of BDANC (Biodynamic Association of Northern California). Harald teaches the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening workshop series, leads evening study groups, and teaches gardening and phenomenology to students enrolled in programs at the college. Trained in Germany, he apprenticed on biodynamic farms and gardens in Europe and received his certification in horticulture. He was at RSC for over 30 years and is well known as a regional and international speaker on biodynamic farming and gardening.

AdrianaAdriana Jones

Adult Education Coordinator

Adriana has a long history of working with non-profits and natural foods cooperatives. She studied sociology and health science in college and has a particular interest in public health. Working with Soil Born Farms integrates all of her interests in health and social and environmental justice. Her passion is creating sustainable communities with an emphasis on local access to organically-grown food. She enjoys coordinating the adult education classes and feel deeply committed to Soil Born Farm’s mission.

Alyssa Kassner

Youth Education Assistant Manager, Soil Born Farms

Alyssa has always had a passion for the natural world and became very invested in environmental and farm based education. This led her to get her masters degree in Environmental Education at Antioch University in New Hampshire. She has farmed with at-risk teenagers in New York, worked as a Farm-Based Educator in Vermont and as a Field Guide for a therapeutic gardening program for teenagers on the Big Island of Hawaii. Alyssa loves that at Soil Born Farms she gets to work with the land as well as teach the students about the farm and environment in a fun and meaningful way. It brings her great joy to help connect people to themselves, each other and nature. (photo: Joan Cusick)

Katie Koch

Flower Mama

Katie is owner, farmer and florist of her business, Flower Mama. She grows over 50 varieties of flowers at The Collins Farm and arranges them for weekly bouquet subscriptions, daily deliveries, holidays, events and weddings. Katie is passionate about farming in an ecological way, so she does not till the soil and everything is grown organically. Katie farms most days with her young son and always has fresh flowers in her home. She believes that flowers are the easiest way to bring light, love, and joy to a home.

Chris Lewis

Elderberry Farms Native Plant Nursery

Chris is founder and co-director of Elderberry Farms Native Plant Nursery, a board member of Sacramento Valley Chapter of California Native Plant Society, a representative to the American River Parkway Coalition and a representative to the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS). She guest teaches at American River College and has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare. Her interest in starting a nursery that did not use herbicides or pesticides began when she couldn’t find anyone that grew the local native plants that she found while hiking.

Mark Lum

Growing, Eating, Using Native Plants

Mark is an ethnobotanist that bridges the gap between our society and native plant use. His ethnobotanical roots originally started while growing up in Hawaii and learning the connection humans have with living in the environment. His time serving in the U.S. Coast Guard brought him to California and, after leaving the service, he remained here in the Sacramento area. He then took on the task of working with multiple organizations to connect with the knowledge of plants and their uses in California. These organizations include the California Native Plant Society, Maidu Museum & Historic Site, and Effie Yeaw Nature Center. With respect to the traditions of the indigenous people, he has embarked on spreading the concepts and knowledge required to use, eat and grow native plants in a synergistic relationship with the surrounding environment.

Kellan MacKay

Farm Business Coordinator and Staff Herbalist, Soil Born Farms

Kellan came to California seeking a farm apprenticeship and apprenticed at Soil Born Farms in 2009. In her first season of full time farming, she learned to cook for a team and established a community committed to good food—both of which were equally instrumental in cementing her career path as farmer and Renaissance woman. She has studied herbalism for nine years under the tutelage of Candis Cantin, the California School of Herbal Studies, as well as at the Sonoma County Herb Exchange. Kellan managed a wholesale nursery in Sonoma, and then moved to a farm where she grew flowers and helped start the Sonoma Flower Mart. She is excited to be back at Soil Born Farms, sharing her love for connecting plants and people.

Jenn MacLeodJenn MacLeod

Youth Educator, Soil Born Farms

Jenn grew up in rural Arkansas where family gardens, hunting and preserving are common. However, it wasn’t until college that she realized the importance of those traditions and how we conduct them. While earning her B.S. in Sociology and Anthropology at Arkansas Tech University she gained an academic understanding of food culture and systems and their impact on the environment. She knew she wanted to be on the front lines of the modern conversation about our food so she moved to the California Central Valley in 2014. For 3 years she was involved in small-scale food businesses, farmers’ markets and production farms in a variety of occupations. Jenn then learned about Soil Born Farms, began volunteering in school gardens and joined the Youth Education team full-time in 2017. On a normal day she can be found huddled around a kale plant with a group of 3rd graders or observing critters in the compost with a Girl Scout Troop.

Pamela Marentis

The Succulent Marketplace

Pamela has been working in the world of horticulture and succulents for over 25 years. Growing up in Ohio on six acres of lush green forest, she learned her love of nature from her father who carved out rivers and ponds and also unearthed a natural spring on their property. She majored in horticulture at Ohio and Arizona State University and later moved to the Monterey Bay Area where she established her first successful retail and wholesale flower business. Pamela was awarded Best Floral Shop three years in a row. In 2010, she moved to Sacramento and started a retail European Garden Basket business catering to the floral industry. She lives with her husband and cats and is now the owner of The Succulent Marketplace. Pamela sells her succulents at weekend farmer’s markets and Soil Born Farms special events.

Dana Marie

Owner of Thy Nature

Dana Marie is the owner of Thy Nature, a yoga instructor and musician with over 15 years of yoga experience. She leads yin yoga with live sound, hatha yoga, Qoya, song circles and retreats. Her true calling is creating healing sound vibrations which combines frequencies and sounds to make harmonious musical artistry and medicine. She offers opportunities and modalities to experience these powers through public and private sound baths with a combination of crystal bowls, toning, asana practice and meditation. Dana believes that leading these practices is service to her soul and all of humanity. Visit her website at www.Thynature.love

Rachel MorrisonRachel Morrison

Founder and Owner, The Beecharmers

Rachel is the founder and owner of The Beecharmers, an urban beekeeping company with a focus on community. Prior to her adventures in beekeeping, she was a science teacher in both Birmingham, Alabama and Sacramento, California as a Teach for America Corps Member. She is currently the Program Manager at Junior Achievement of Sacramento and the President of the Sacramento Area Beekeeper’s Association (SABA). She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her work experience includes community outreach, nonprofit management, teaching and program development. Rachel’s passions are beekeeping, education, economic empowerment, environment and community building. Visit Rachel’s website for more information about what she does in the community. http://www.hivetospoon.com/

Alex MortonAlex Morton

Alex was always interested in growing things and had dreamed of working with plants in a greenhouse for years. Her path as former Greenhouse Coordinator at Soil Born Farms was long and circuitous, it started with an MS in Environmental Planning from UC Berkeley and continued through a career in forestry and conservation planning. She had a desire to spend more time outdoors working directly with plants and just generally getting her hands dirty eventually led her to a certificate program in Horticulture and Nursery Management. Prior to Soil Born she volunteered with Elderberry Farms, the CA Native Plant Society nursery, learning how to propagate native plants. In addition, she is also a garden teacher at Alice Birney School. Alex liked working at Soil Born Farms because she got to learn more about farming and hopes to one day start her own nursery. She lives in Sacramento with her husband and two daughters.

Shiree Rezendes

Edible City Coordinator, Soil Born Farms

Shiree has always been a nature-lover growing up in a small town in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and attending college at U.C. Santa Cruz. She studied Horticulture, Organic Agriculture and Anthropology leading her to Ecological Farming, Permaculture and Education. Shiree is proud to be the Edible City Assistant with Soil Born Farms where she can pursue her passion for community outreach and empowering community members to be active in the stewardship of their local neighborhoods as well as the larger ecosystem they reside in. She works to connect community members, local food systems and the natural world.

Kaelin Sherrel

Residential Education Specialist, SMUD

Kaelin coordinates the residential energy education efforts for SMUD’s Energy Education & Technology Center. She uses her finance and economics degree from California State University, Sacramento to help customers control their energy costs while proving energy efficiency and sustainability can be exciting. Throughout her career at SMUD, she’s won multiple awards for her work on the Tiny House Competition. When she’s not planning or teaching customer workshops, she is teaching Pilates at a local yoga studio.

Ann Sibbet

Co-Owner, Integrative Therapy & Learning Center

Ann has 30 years of practice in therapeutic massage and bodywork, 10 years as an instructor with the Integrative Therapy School (anatomy and physiology, beginning and advanced massage instruction), 10 years of movement studies including Hanna Somatics, Pilates, PT therapeutic exercise, Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis licensed movement educator.

Michelle SikoraMichelle Sikora

Cooking and Nutrition Coordinator, Soil Born Farms

Michelle Sikora was born and raised in Sacramento. She graduated from CSUS in 2012 with a degree in Food and Nutrition and a minor in Child Development. While attending college she also earned a certificate from CSUS in Family Life Education. Michelle was introduced to Soil Born Farms when selected for an internship related to her field of study and fell in love with the goals of improving healthy food access to all and making a difference within her community. Through a separate internship with the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, she has seen firsthand how important organizations like Soil Born Farms can be. Michelle has always had a passion for cooking and nutrition and has found a place where she can focus her education and interests simultaneously.

Tyler StowersTyler Stowers

Farm Manager, Soil Born Farms

Tyler’s interest in agriculture started in the kitchens of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse restaurant where he worked while attending college. Awestruck and intrigued by the flavor and quality of the produce he was eating, he looked to the fields from whence they came to learn more. There he found eccentric plant whisperer Bob Cannard and his farmer training program, Green String Institute. In an attempt to learn how to grow incredible food like Bob’s, Tyler enrolled at Green String in the spring of 2011. There he had his ‘eureka’ moment discovering food’s connection to seemingly everything in the cosmos and his farm journey began. Since then, Tyler apprenticed and worked at farms in Northern California and Southern Oregon before returning home to the Sacramento area to pursue his own farm dreams. Tyler started working for Soil Born in the early spring of 2016.

Mathew TrummMatthew Trumm

Founder and Owner, Treetop Permaculture

Matthew is a Designer, Educator, and Consultant of Permaculture Design Science. He earned his Permaculture Design Certificate in 2015. He is the owner and operator of Treetop Permaculture which educates the community through demonstration of regenerative agriculture practices.

Mark Van Horn

M.S. Degree in Plant Breeding and Pest Management

Mark recently retired from UC Davis. He was the director of the 20-acre Student Farm and taught courses in the Department of Plant Sciences. He guided the growth and development of the student farm program dedicated to experiential learning in agriculture, sustainability, the environment, food, nutrition, education and allied areas. His courses in the Department of Plant Sciences include sustainable agriculture, organic farming and food systems. He mentors dozens of students, including interns and graduate student researchers, each year. He has played key roles in the development of UC Davis’ major in sustainable agriculture and food systems. Van Horn has worked with numerous partners to help farmers increase the sustainability of their operations and to educate children and youth about agriculture, food, nutrition and sustainability. His publications focus on various aspects of sustainable and organic farming and sustainable agriculture education. In 2006, Van Horn and two colleagues hosted the first national conference on post-secondary sustainable agriculture education and he was a founding co-chair of the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association. Van Horn has several years of experience farming in California and the Midwest and MS degrees in plant breeding (University of Minnesota) and pest management (UC Davis).

Daylin WadeDaylin Wade

Clinical Herbalist and Community Educator

Daylin Wade is a gardener and herbalist from Sacramento, now living and working on a farm in Nevada City. She is passionate about growing quality food, plant medicine, and maximizing self-reliance. She has grown food gardens on the California coast, in Sacramento, and on a remote ranch in Patagonia, and is currently completing a master’s degree in therapeutic herbalism. She has been teaching gardening and herbal classes at Soil Born Farms since 2014. (photo: Joan Cusick)

Kate Waldo

Owner, Worm Fancy

Kate Waldo started Worm Fancy in November of 2009 with the objective of teaching children about waste reduction primarily by means of composting with worms. Through the past 8 years Worm Fancy has worked with clients including the City of Sacramento, Republic Services, the City of Elk Grove, Cal EPA, the Sacramento Zoo, Sacramento State University, Consumnes River College and hundreds of area residents. When Kate is not sharing her passion for composting and conservation, she works as an Environmental Engineer for a small Native American owned company.

Summer Ward

Yoga Instructor

A Yoga Alliance registered teacher, I began practicing yoga in 2002, started teaching in 2006, began a vigorous advanced study of yoga in 2009 and made it my full time purpose in 2014. My style of teaching is grounded, intuitive and inward-focused. My biggest motivator in life is connection and my dharma (purpose) is service. I am certain that we experience our own inherent habits, patterns and cycles of change that, although extremely personal, mimic nature on this planet and our existence as a whole. I believe the answers are already within us and it’s my delight to uncover truth.

Janet ZellerJanet Whalen Zeller

Founder & Co-Director, Soil Born Farms

Janet has been an activist and educator promoting local family farms, sustainable agriculture, organic food, healthy living and socially conscious business practices for over 30 years. Janet was the director of operations for the Good Earth, opening and managing restaurants in Northern California and Oregon. She was the marketing manager for the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op for 22 years. Janet earned a degree in Communications Studies at CSUS with a focus on interpersonal and intercultural communication. She is a trained mediator and facilitator. Janet is committed to connecting the people who grow food with the people who eat it and creating a local food system where everyone has access to fresh, healthy, organically grown food.

Tian Li. Wu

L.Ac MSTOM, Tian Chao Herbs & Acupuncture

When Tian Li. Wu was a little girl in China, her grandmother would send her to collect medicinal herbs for ill family members. Today, she is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. She has both a degree in Chinese Medicine from China and a Master’s degree in Chinese Medicine from the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Science in Oakland, CA. She was the first female student of famous Chinese herbalist, Liu Shao Lin., and has been licensed in the U.S since 1994. She owns Tian Chao Herbs & Acupuncture which has been voted “Best Acupuncture” in the Sacramento area for two years in a row. In addition to acupuncture and herbal medicine, Tian has a strong focus on promoting a healthy lifestyle and frequently hosts a variety of lectures and classes targeted towards self-care methods for patients to do at home.