Grace is determined to cultivate healthy, just communities, food systems, and environments. For over a decade, she has engaged in the fields of nonprofit program management, environmental & arts education, and sustainable farming through the lens of bringing folks together and paying close attention to one’s part a complicated system of relationships. She received her BA in Studio Art and English while studying environmental science, art, and politics, followed later by an MS in sustainable food systems and creative writing. Her interest in values-based economies led to her first season of organic farming in 2007 and an immersion in the programming and operations of a community-based nonprofit committed to teaching traditional crafts in 2008. She’s been combining these passions ever since. Grace currently works to connect producers with innovate market channels and citizens with healthy food, using education and communication as tools of action with Renewing the Countryside. Grace is the Secretary of the 2016-2017 Board.
Theresa grew up on the periphery of agriculture, with maternal grandparents who farmed in Central Montana, and paternal grandparents, Italian immigrants, who grew extraordinary vegetable gardens. Her own agricultural experience is limited to the care of wooden horses and dragons (as the Executive Director of A Carousel for Missoula) and cultivating a vegetable garden that has greater success nurturing her soul than growing produce. Theresa is very active in her church, where she writes a monthly newsletter column and is the chair of a committee raising funds for a $3M renovation project. Theresa and her husband, Randy, a lawyer, live in Missoula. They have three adult children. Jason is completing undergraduate studies at the University of Montana and is applying to seminaries. Jess works with Theresa at the Carousel; she and her husband, Frank, have two incredible sons: Pierce, 4, and Everett, 2. Jamie and his partner, Gabe, live in Oregon, where Jamie is a project manager at a localization company. In honor of previous generations, in fear for future generations, and in respect for her own interest in treating the earth kindly, she looks forward to serving on the AERO board to learn and to pass that knowledge on to others.
Emily is the Outreach Coordinator for a nonprofit used bookstore in Missoula. A native Michigander, she has called Montana her home for over 15 years. She has a Master’s in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana with a focus in Sustainable Food and Farming. Emily considers herself an urban farmer, constantly asking her landlord if she can expand the gardening space, raise chickens, or build a small greenhouse. When she’s not gardening or walking her dog Shep, she’s out hitting the trails on her mountain bike.
Demetrius believes that health begins with what you put into your body, with food being the first and most important medicine. Armed with a B.S. in Biology from Butler University and two years of FoodCorps service, Demetrius seeks to build momentum in the shift towards locally resilient food systems in his position with NCAT’s Farm to Cafeteria Network by bringing people together around the importance and impact of really good food. Born in Kentucky, but a resident of Montana for over 5 years, Demetrius considers himself one of the truly Montucky Lucky and is thrilled to serve the cause of local resilience as an AERO board member.
Robin is the owner of the Good Seed Company, a small local heirloom seed company dedicated to helping re-establish the community practice of selecting, saving and sharing seeds for common use. A biochemist and attorney by training, she has spent over 30 years exploring human vitality, resiliency, and patterns in the natural world.
Mark grew up on a dryland grain farm in northcentral Montana, and a ranch between Great Falls and Helena. He moved to Houston to work for an energy company in 1980 after graduating with a degree in Earth Science from Montana State. In 1991 he and his family moved to New Orleans, where Mark was active in historic preservation, bicycle advocacy, education, the environmental non-profit The Green Project, and obtaining personal experience with renewable energy technologies such as small wind and PV. Katrina displaced Mark and his family back to Houston, where he was involved with local food, urban sustainability, and permaculture, and where he founded Transition Houston, the 40th official Transition Initiative in the US. Now that he is back in Montana he can help on the family ranch, while staying involved with Transition US and local sustainability initiatives. Mark looks forward working with AERO to support local regenerative agriculture, promote renewable energy, and help to build community resilience.
Amelia, a recent graduate from the University of Montana’s Environmental Studies program, is excited to join AERO and the Real World. Her passions for growing, cooking, and eating food are matched only by her love for sitting quietly observing Nature. Amelia is very interested in building compassionate (or at least productive) connections across political and social differences commonly found between farmers, ranchers, hunters, and environmentalists. She is inspired by AERO and Timeless Seeds founders for the way they educated and grew networks among conventional farmers, ranchers, scientists, and effectively changed agri[culture] in Montana. By supporting AERO’s progressive energy and agriculture projects, Amelia believes that her service to this organization can begin to address this interest. Amelia grew up in Southern Oregon and lives in Missoula.
Jeff is an entrepreneur and innovator with a background in education. He currently runs a startup company called Galactic Farms which focuses on indoor, year-round horticultural production. The SPACE 200 (Sustainable, Probiotic, Aquaponics, Cultivation, Environment), a small demonstration system, can be seen at the Corner Store in the Lommasson Center on the University of Montana campus. He’s now proud to be showing off the larger demonstration center and is now accepting visitors by appointment. His passion for local year-round production even in harsh climates made for a perfect paring for several small test systems he designed and built for use on the analog Mars simulation mission in Hawaii. His focus on food, energy saving growing techniques, and use of the latest technology makes him a great match for the AERO team.
Janet Hess-Herbert has lived in Montana since 1975 when she traveled west from Ohio to begin her graduate work at the University of Montana Environmental Studies Program. Her thesis work involved researching the aquatic community in the upper Blackfoot River that led to her 32-year career with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. She worked in Dillon and Kalispell as a fisheries biologist and retired from the department as the Information Management Bureau Chief in October 2011. Janet has lived in Helena since 1999 with her husband Jeff. Children include an organic farmer in western Montana, a kindergarten teacher in Creston, a firefighter in Austin Texas and a chef in Las Vegas, one granddaughter and another on the way! She has been a life-long gardener that now includes a 1,500 square foot plot in her backyard that she spends much of her summer and fall growing and preserving its bounty. She also loves most forms of outdoor recreation with backpacking, hiking and fly-fishing at the top of the list and indoor activities of sewing, knitting and jewelry making. Community service has always been an important part of her adult life that has spanned everything from president of her daughters’ elementary school PTA to co-chair of the Helena Growing Project, co-chair of the Helena Citizens Council and membership on numerous boards and organizations. Janet’s interest in AERO began in the summer of 2006 when daughter Kaly (now Harlequin Produce) interned with the Agricultural Program.