Desa Van Laarhoven
Co-Visionary & Executive Director

pic-desaDesa joined the RTB Team full-time on January 1, 2015. She most recently served as the executive director for the Marion Institute for 8 years. Desa attended Stonehill College and has her B.A. in Biology, with a minor in Environmental Science. After college and 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! Desa firmly believes in the work she does, and her passion was recognized in 2009 when she was awarded Massachusetts “SouthCoast Woman of the Year“, alongside the late Senator Edward Kennedy who was awarded “SouthCoast Man of the Year”. She is a 2010 graduate of the Leadership SouthCoast program, whose mission is to “engage, educate, and empower diverse individuals to become active community leaders”. Desa spends a few weeks every year in Costa Rica at Rancho Mastatal, a sustainability education center working to empower the community to live in a more restorative manner.

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 skills, 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, chickens and goats 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 the land and his animals inspires all who come to the farm.

Shaun Van Laarhoven
Kitchen Director & 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 4-H Club and showing his prizewinning sheep at various local fairs.  After graduating from 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 farm team.  A natural leader, he is a 2017 graduate of the Leadership SouthCoast program, whose mission is to “engage, educate, and empower diverse individuals to become active community leaders”.  In addition to his work in the kitchen, Shaun helps Geoff with a myriad of farm tasks– serving as the sustenance that truly fills in the cracks at RTB.

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.

Benoit Azagoh-Kouadio
Garden Manager

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 is why he joined the RTB team. Since that time, he has traveled near and far 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 to 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 work-share 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 southcoast agricultural community.

Nathan Sander
Education Manager

Nate came to RTB in the fall of 2014, after working in the Seattle Public School system for seven years where he taught in the classroom, implemented afterschool and summer programming, and worked in school-community partnerships at the district level. A graduate of Appalachian State University, Nate earned a BFA in painting and printmaking. He is a member of Leadership SouthCoast’s 2018 cohort.

Nate has worn several hats here at the farm.  As permaculture specialist, his early work focused on developing a perennial food landscape.  He has also supported the work of our agripreneurs- from planting veg gardens to building animal infrastructure to hay making- and has contributed in a large way to the construction of our education center as a carpenter.  Nate has developed skills and built strong relationships within the farm and its greater community.

Nate has now found himself in a new role as our Education Manager, where he is fulfilling a crucial element of RTB’s mission- to educate people of all ages. Nate will use his background in teaching and education policy to build equitable programming, and utilize the farm as a living laboratory- where the potential for hands-on learning and experiential discovery is limitless.

Tyler See
Resident Builder

p1080068While Tyler’s relationship with RTB extends over a decade, he settled back at the farm as resident builder in October 2015. A native New Englander, he learned to travel at an early age, spending his junior year of high school in France.  A graduate of Georgetown University in 2005, he promptly left the U.S. again for rural Costa Rica, where he first developed his passion and skills in building and woodworking, ultimately spearheading the design and construction of a community library.  After many travels across the Americas, Tyler spent three years at a Quaker semester school in California, where he taught Spanish, maintained facilities and further navigated the intricacies of communal living.  Back at RTB, he dove right in and became an integral part of creating the new Learning Center.  In addition to furthering his building prowess on the farm, in 2019 Tyler joined forces with teammate Hannah in managing the goat herd, and Goatbusters was born.  These days, you may find him commuting to the woodshop on his bike, running his chainsaw mill, hanging with the goats, or simply smiling.

Laura Killingbeck
Food Systems

Laura has degrees in Philosophy and Sociology from the University of Rhode Island. Her professional background is in the design and implementation of farm-to-table food systems, with a focus on food preservation through live-culture fermentation. She worked for eight years as co-director at the Rancho Mastatal Sustainability Education Center in Costa Rica, where she created food-based experiential education programs. She has facilitated educational workshops on food and fermentation in Massachusetts, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Laura started working seasonally with RTB in 2010. 

When Laura is not working in food and farming she is probably hiking or biking somewhere around the world. So far her cycling adventures have taken her over 12,000 miles across half a dozen countries. She is a passionate advocate for the healing force of human-powered motion in nature.

Laura also writes about adventure, gender, and ecology. She is a frequent contributor to Permaculture Design Magazine, Communities Magazine, and Adventure Cycling’s female-focused blog, Dynamo Jenny. You can follow her adventures on instagram @laurakillingbeck.

Her favorite ferment of the moment is RTB elderberry kombucha.

Hannah Wylie
Livestock Apprentice & Social Media Liaison

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 a part of our community and is looking forward to finding her passion in farming.

Monica Mejia
Distribution Coordinator and Farmer of RTB’s Manifest Love Project

Monica joined the RTB Team in the spring of 2020 as Distribution Coordinator and Farmer of RTB’s Manifest Love Project – a collaboration between RTB and community organizations to grow and distribute nutritious food to local families in need. Previous to finding her passion in farming and residence at RTB, Monica helped companies develop Environmental Management Systems as an environmental consultant in Chicago. With the belief that water resources health laid at the foundation of human health and whole ecosystem health, she shifted her focus to water resources, later working as a hydrologist and regional water resources planner on Cape Cod. During her quest to understand the underlying issues of water quality and potential solutions for watershed restoration, she recognized the dire need for our communities to shift our relationships to land and food production, and simply, plant more trees. Feeling compelled to be a part of this shift, she feels aligned and at home in RTB’s mission. Her passion for stewarding the land has evolved from first tending a small community gardening plot, to working full-time with (sister farm) Brix Bounty Farm. Inspired by both science and indigenous wisdom, she is passionate about developing food and land management systems that mindfully support the health of all beings. Monica holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Nebraska and a master’s degree in Water Resources Engineering from Tufts University. 

While not farming, Monica can be found climbing tall mountains, galloping in the woods at sunset, or concocting kitchen goodies.

Beth Cronin
Sustainable Agriculture/ Youth Education Coordinator

Beth Cronin joined RTB for the 2020 season after graduating from Stonehill College in May with a B.S in Environmental Science and a minor in Spanish. As a garden apprentice, Beth grew admiration for the interconnectedness of all the systems at RTB and wanted to explore further and extend her time at the farm. Starting in August, Beth moved into a new role serving at RTB with TerraCorps, a subset of AmeriCorps. This new role is a fusion between youth education and sustainable agriculture. Raised in Holliston, Massachusetts, Beth has always felt at home around farms. She developed her passion for agriculture and growing starting at a young age when she was part of a local 4H organization. Beth was an active participant at Stonehill’s campus farm, where the focus of production was food security for surrounding communities. She spent time abroad in Monteverde, Costa Rica, which was pivotal for solidifying her love for sustainability, permaculture, and environmental education.

Laurel Branco
Sustainable Agriculture/ Youth Education Coordinator

Laurel was raised in Westport, Massachusetts and is a recent college graduate of Franklin Pierce University with a BS in Public Health; a minor in Environmental Studies; and a Certificate of Sustainability. Laurel came to the farm in September 2020 and before that spent her previous two summers working and living on a farm on Martha’s Vineyardgrowing vegetables, bunching flowers and selling produce at the farmer’s market. This work, along with her education, ignited a passion for living sustainably and connecting to the community through nutritious food. Laurel’s lifelong goal is to play a role in mitigating climate change and food insecurity through practicing sustainable farming and education. This vision prompted her to host the first farmer’s market/sustainability fair at her university, bringing together local farmers and college students, with the hope of spreading awareness that purchasing locally grown food can help slow climate change. Her favorite things are to hike, garden, swim in the ocean and cook up fresh local food! 


Josh Louro
Restorative Deconstruction & Farming Specialist

A member of the extended team since 2019, Josh began his journey deconstructing and reclaiming an old dairy barn and farmhouse on RTB East. For Josh, joining the RTB team aligned with his calling to work with natural systems and communities toward regenerating relationships with ourselves, each other, and the world around. A Dartmouth native, Josh’s experiences across the US and abroad shifted his consciousness toward the significance of community living, holistic health, and ecology. With an insatiable desire to learn and immerse himself into growth opportunities, he has experience as an emergency medical technician, a holistic health coach, permaculturist, and entrepreneur. Josh’s work towards the RTB mission continues to make use of his varied skills and diversify as the development of regenerating place continues. When he’s not spearfishing, honing wilderness skills, surfing, volunteering, building with driftwood, or adventuring with his son Bodhi, you’ll find Josh at RTB. There you’ll find him repurposing structures, growing nourishing veggies for “Project Manifest Love”, planting, designing, and developing a diversified orchard, rotating chickens around the pasture, planting berries at twilight, and inoculating logs for mushrooms! In Josh’s words, “life is to be enjoyed while the pursuit and actualization of regeneration continues!”


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 around!

Nilsa Garcia-Rey
Herbal Teas Agripreneur


Nilsa came to RTB in 2015 as a work-share 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.

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 on. 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 RTB 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 for individuals, families, and non-profits. Her training and experience as an oncology nurse, leadership in land conservation work, and service on non-profit boards has made Nancy more sensitive to the needs and perspectives of her clients. Nancy is active in her Westwood community, 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 of the 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.