THE RTB TEAM

Desa Van Laarhoven
Co-Visionary & Executive Director

pic-desaDesa joined the RTB Team full time on Jan 1st 2015. She most recently served as the Executive Director for the Marion Institute for 8 years. Desa has her B.A. in Biology with a minor in Environmental Science from Stonehill College. Before her work at the Marion Institute, Desa spent time volunteering for both the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC*) where she was awarded the total commitment award from the southeast campus and the California Conservation Corps (where she lived in the woods for a few months bathing in a stream— seriously;). She firmly believes in the work she does, this passion was recognized in 2009 when she was awarded the Massachusetts SouthCoast Woman of the Year alongside the late Senator Edward Kennedy. In addition, Desa spends a few weeks every year in Costa Rica at Rancho Mastatal, a sustainable education center, working to empower the community to live in a more restorative manner.

desa@roundthebendfarm.org

Geoff Kinder
Co-Visionary, Farm Manager & Livestock Agripreneur

Geoff shares his passion for the tenants of sustainability by maintaining the land at RTB in exchange for raising his animals on the property. His skill, dedication and energy infuse the farm with an inspired commitment to the land and the animals that inhabit it.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Geoff entered AmeriCorps NCCC where he felt an awakening to the interconnectedness of life. Having already developed his skill as a stoneworker, Geoff became interested in farming and its ability to reconnect communities, and became a volunteer farm hand at RTB in 2008. Under the mentorship of former RTB farmer, Antone Vieira, Geoff quickly learned the necessary skills required to become the land’s Farm Manager. He built the vegetable production business on RTB which he eventually turned over to current vegetable farmer, Ashley Brister, in 2014 so he could focus his attention on the livestock business. Educating visitors and serving as a model for organic resilient farming, Geoff’s cows, pigs, sheep and chickens are strategically used to maintain and improve the land by clearing brush, eating grubs and providing manure – thus increasing the overall health of both the animals and the land! Geoff maintains the property’s grounds and infrastructure and will steward farm systems development into the future. Practicing the techniques of low-impact farming, sustainable living, and whole-systems thinking, Geoff’s leadership and intuitive connection to land and his animals inspires all who come to the farm.

geoffkinder@hotmail.com

Shaun Van Laarhoven
Assistant Farm Manager & Executive Chef

Shaun’s list of duties is always growing at the farm! Shaun’s roots in the farming community go back to his earliest days, participating in the 4H Club showing his prize-winning sheep at various local fairs. After graduating Apponequet High School, Shaun began studying Coaching and Athletic Training at Bridgewater State College but found a calling in the field of social services. Shaun moved to Boston where he worked for nearly twenty years in the non-profit human service field focusing on people with various disabilities. Shaun specialized in working with homeless and formerly homeless individuals living with HIV/ AIDS. Understanding the restorative powers of a facility like RTB, Shaun started volunteering in 2009. His renaissance skills quickly made him an invaluable member of the RTB team.  A superb chef – constantly creating new and unique recipes to incorporate the farm surplus – Shaun crafts delicious and nutritious farm-based meals for the team at the farm.  In addition to his work in the kitchen, Shaun has become Milkshake’s (the dairy cow) favorite and most trustworthy milker and helps Geoff with a myriad of tasks – serving as the sustenance that truly fills in the cracks at RTB!

shaunvanlaarhoven@gmail.com

Heather Zine
Executive Assistant

Heather feels privileged to be a part of the RTB team. For the past eleven years, Heather has been a full-time mom and, with her husband, has immersed herself and her children in a lifestyle that fosters awareness and social and ecological responsibility. In the seemingly rare moments in between feeding the kids (and goats, chickens, dogs and cat that live on their little homestead), Heather is likely be found out for a run, or on a yoga mat, where she finds rejuvenation.
In her life before kids and animals, Heather graduated from Simmons College with a B.S. in Health Studies. She worked for several years for the WIC program, counseling new mothers on the importance of proper nutrition and the benefits of breastfeeding, and later became a certified lactation counselor. Heather eventually found her way to the Buzzards Bay Coalition (first as a volunteer, and later as an employee), an organization that speaks to her concerns about the health of the environment. It was there that she cut her teeth in the non-profit administrative world. And while the birth of her children brought her away from this professional niche for some time, Heather is glad to have once again found a home in an organization that she believes in, one that speaks to so many of her principles and interests.

heather@roundthebendfarm.org

Nathan Sander
Permaculture Apprentice

Nate is the newest member to join the RTB team and is focusing on developing a perennial food landscape at the farm.  Guided by the principles of permaculture, this exciting project will create and implement integral systems of sustainable agriculture and add to the abundance of diversity, beauty, and productivity at the farm.  Nate was most recently working for Seattle Public Schools, where he coordinated efforts between the school district and community based organizations in support of students. His commitment to education, community development, and social justice make him a good fit to expand upon the mission of RTB in this new role.

permaculture@roundthebendfarm.org

Tyler See
Resident Builder

p1080068While Tyler’s relationship with RTB extends nearly a decade, he settled back at the farm as resident builder in October 2015. He first developed his passion and skills in building and woodworking in rural Costa Rica, where he worked off and on for ten years, ultimately spearheading the design and construction of a community library. Back in his native New England, Tyler is excited to continue his craft in a familiar landscape full of highly motivated, hard-working creatures. You may find him commuting to the woodshop on his bike, running his chainsaw mill or simply smiling.

Benoit Azagoh-Kouadio
Resident Foodie & Gleaner

p1140566Benoit is happy to rejoin the RTB team after his stint of being the Resident Foodie over the 2012 season. He graduated from Boston College in 2010 with a B.A. in psychology focusing on neuroscience, psychopharmacology and holistic clinical practice. A passion for the culinary arts, ecological interdependence and a drive to live in the most direct and sustainable way turned his attention deeply to agriculture and why he joined the RTB. Since that time he has traveled near and afar exploring roles, skills and issues in reclaiming and restoring agricultural life — spending time living in the Mediterranean as well as developing livestock and cheesemaking skills in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.  He joins RTB again in a capacity to meet the community’s expanding culinary needs and work towards preserving the bounty of harvest which comes from the land. In addition to his work in the kitchen Benoit occupies a mutual aid communal workshare through neighboring biodynamic production farm Brix Bounty. In exchange for his fieldwork at Brix the RTB community gleans surplus vegetables for preservation, cutting gaps of lost value through crop spoilage and ensuring bountiful nutrition throughout the winter. Benoit also volunteers time at nearby allied farm Eva’s Garden and is delighted to help bridge relationships across the larger South Coast agricultural community.

Hannah Wylie
Apprentice

p1100310-1 Hannah joined the RTB team as an apprentice in May 2016. In hopes of gaining a varied experience at RTB, Hannah is spending one day each on; livestock and rotational grazing, the art of permaculture, growing annual crops and exploring in the kitchen including processing and cooking . In 2010 Hannah graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in filmmaking from Montclair State University. She left the city life in New Jersey where she was working as a producer in a marketing P/R company to find a more fulfilling and rewarding career in farming. She brought her knowledge of marketing to the farm and has been heading up our social media and website. She is very excited to be part of our community and is looking forward to finding her passion in farming.

Agripreneurs

Ashley Brister
Produce Farmer Agripreneur

Ashley grew up on the South Shore of Boston in Cohasset, MA.  She attended the College of Wooster in Ohio and graduated in 2001 with a BA in English and minor in Women Studies.  Ashley brings 10+ years of experience working on diversified farming operations, most recently at a neighboring farm, Eva’s Garden, where she managed the production of specialty greens and herbs for sales to some of Boston’s finest restaurants. Other highlights from Ashley’s farming career include receiving a certificate in ecological horticulture from the Center of Agroecology at UCSC, Santa Cruz and helping to start an 80 member CSA vegetable farm, Rushton Farm, for the Willistown Conservation Trust in Newtown Square, PA.  During the four years at Rushton Farm, she developed curriculum for a service-learning program for underserved youth living in Chester, PA.  Ashley brings her passion for social justice issues related to food and agriculture, as well as feeding the South Coast community with nutrient dense fruits and vegetables, to RTB.  By mindfully growing, maintaining and harvesting the fruits and vegetables, she helps to improve the soil and sustain the equilibrium of the ecosystem at RTB.  Ashley enjoys teaching her varied skills to budding farmers & RTB visitors.

Ashleybrister@gmail.co

Lucy Tabit
Beekeeper Agripreneur

Lucy maintains three bee hives at RTB and is the person behind Hana’s Honey. Her bees are artisanally cared for without the use of chemicals. Using no heating elements, the honey is cold extracted and raw. We believe it may be the best tasting local honey’s around

Nilsa Garcia-Rey
Herbal Teas Agripreneur

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Nilsa came to Round the Bend in 2015 as a workshare volunteer assisting Ashley Brister with produce farming. Nilsa completed the Sustainable Agriculture program at Bristol Community College and was looking for hands-on experience. A lifelong artist and gardener, she brings experience from a diversified career that includes perennial garden designer and gardener, art entrepreneur, gallery owner and arts administrator. For 9 years, she served as executive director of Gallery X, a non-profit arts cooperative in New Bedford, MA. Prior to that, she was the coordinator of an after-school city beautification program through the YMCA in Fall River responsible for painting murals and planting gardens with teens and preteens throughout the city. Currently, she serves on the board of Helfand Farm Community Gardens.  Nilsa joins the RTB team with plans to revive the farm’s herb and perennial garden using permaculture principles. She continues to make and show her art, and has recently been making hand built stoneware fermenting crocks.

Consultants

Laura Killingbeck
Food Systems Consultant

Laura has been working with Round the Bend Farm for the last five years as a Food Systems Consultant, Vegetable Liaison, and Fermentation Specialist. She is currently the Director of Food Systems and Fermentation at Rancho Mastatal Center for Sustainability Education in Costa Rica, where she manages the production of fermented foods for restaurant and community use, and teaches the food and fermentation component of the Ranch’s Apprenticeship Program. Laura has a hand in the production of thousands of gallons of fermented vegetables, soda, herbal beer, vinegar, and yogurt each year, and works to create replicable systems for utilizing whole foods from local foodsheds on both a community and home scale. Over the last five years Laura has taught classes on food and fermentation in the United States, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. In 2014 she completed an educational residency with fermentation author Sandor Katz. Her favorite ferment of the moment is Honey Rhubarb Soda.

theluckylaura@yahoo.com

Khepe-Ra Maat-Het-Heru
Social Entrepreneurs Consultant

khepe-raKhepe-Ra and The Spiritual Warrior Society represent an international group of speakers, singers, and performers who are dedicated to creating self initiation processes for leaders to rise to the highest and most spiritualized levels of leadership. Khepe-Ra is a skilled and passionate educator, artist, visionary and spiritual warrior.

As an African woman, growing up without a healing justice model, She began navigating her way into leadership in early childhood. Khepe-Ra soon discovered that the blatant crimes against herself and her people extended to all of the Earth and its inhabitants. In response, Khepe-Ra developed The Spiritual Warriorship practice and theory. Khepe-Ra and The Spiritual Warrior Society, continue to be part of the vanguard of restorative leadership practices that will bring healing power missions to all who dare.

Board Members and Supporters

Glenn Oliveira

Glenn Oliveira has been an event and community organizer for more than ten years. Using his marketing, programming and project leadership skills, Glenn maximizes efficiencies and impact for organizations looking to create deep change in the community. Glenn is the Education Director and Statewide Education Event Organizer for the Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter. He is a graduate of Leadership South Coast and recently married his better half, Lindsay, on the coastal farm he once lived and worked. Currently, Glenn and his wife live in Boston with their two dogs.

Ellen and Duncan McFarland

Ellen and Duncan McFarland have ardently supported the acquisition of Round the Bend Farm and our ongoing educational and farming activities. Ellen is a former teacher who cares passionately about education and opportunities for disadvantaged children, the environment, and the protection of animals and their habitat. Duncan serves on a variety of boards such as RARE, Inc., New Profit, Inc. and Panthera. The McFarland’s foundation, the Bromley Charitable Trust, has provided millions of dollars in grants to environmental and educational causes.  We are inspired by their belief in us and all they do to provide a better world both now and in the future.

Nancy Dempze

Nancy Dempze works at Hemenway & Barnes, LLP located in Boston, MA she serves as a professional trustee, executor, estate planner and development for individuals, families, and non-profits. Her training and experience as an oncology nurse, leadership in land conservation work, and service on nonprofit boards has made Nancy more sensitive to the needs and perspectives of her clients. Nancy is active in her community, Westwood, and in organizations across the state. She is a Trustee at The Boston Museum of Science, Old Sturbridge Village, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, and Past President and current Vice President, Westwood Land Trust. Nancy’s list of credentials and accomplishments are impressive; it is no wonder why she was named to Best Lawyers in America and as a New England Super Lawyer.