Instructors

Meet Our Educators

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 28 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 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

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.

Michael Flynn

Common Vision

Michael has worked with Common Vision since 2002 and served as executive co-director since 2005. He has spent a decade collaborating with over 250 schools in California and dozens of NGOs focusing on improving community health, food access and school garden education. This work has fueled his passion for creating food-producing outdoor classrooms that engage kids in nature’s processes, teach them to grow food from the living soil with their own hands and provide the best of tree-ripened organic snacking.

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

School Gardens Manager, Soil Born Farms

Shannon leads our Growing Together School Garden program. She facilitates teacher training and support, coordinates 5 school garden programs in the South Sacramento area and leads our annual Garden in Every School Symposium. Previously, Shannon started and led a model school garden program at Theodore Judah Elementary for 10 years. She is now using this experience to equip others to create and sustain a successful school garden program while impacting the school communities in the areas of health, education and environmental stewardship.

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.

Harald Hoven

Raphael Garden, Rudolf Steiner College

Harald is director of Raphael Garden, master gardener, faculty member, and founder of BDANC (Biodynamic Association of Northern California). He 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 has been at RSC for 29 years and is well known as a regional and international speaker on biodynamic farming and gardening

Alyssa Kassner

Youth Education Coordinator, Soil Born Farms

Alyssa has always had a passion for the environment and became very invested in environmental and farm based education while getting her Master’s Degree 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. Alyssa has always had a deep connection to the natural world and it brings her great joy to share the wonders of gardening and nature with others. (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 two-year-old 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.

Meadow Linn

Chef and Health/Vitality Coach

Meadow Linn is a chef and health/vitality coach who has been passionate about good food since she was old enough to crawl into the cupboards. She is the founder of The Mystic Chef raining and the co-author of The Mystic Cookbook, which was listed by PBS Food as one of the Top 5 Cookbooks for the Holidays and inspired a keynote address live to 3,000 people and streamed worldwide. Meadow’s recipes and articles appear in numerous publications stateside and abroad. She also teaches photography and writing workshops with the goal of unleashing your creative genius. Visit MeadowLinn.com for more information.

Jenn MacLeodJenn MacLeod

Youth Education Assistant, 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 how important those traditions, and how we conduct them, are. 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.

Rachel MorrisonRachel Morrison

Founder and Owner, 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 2017 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.

Ann Sibbet

Licensed Somatic Practitioner, Integrative Therapy, Integrative Movement Educator

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/Nutrition/Events 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

Director, UC Davis Student Farm

As director of the 20-acre Student Farm, Mark guides the growth and development of a 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

M.S. in Therapeutic Herbalism, 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 taught 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.