Marika Bergsund, Executive Director
Marika has dedicated her career to connecting children and communities to food, farming and the environment. She is the founding director of GrowingGreat, a nonprofit school garden and nutrition education organization. She served as its Executive Director through 2006, and now serves on the Board of Directors. In the three years before joining Slide Ranch in 2012, she developed and served as the Director of GrowingGreat Marin City. Marika earned a BA in International Relations from Stanford University and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law.
Jeremy Aines, Garden Manager
Jeremy grew up in greater Boston and has been farming on the west coast since 2011. He has apprenticed at a production nursery and market farm in Humboldt County and most recently spent 2014 as a farm apprentice at Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm in Sonoma County. Jeremy came to Slide Ranch at the beginning of 2015 as a Teacher-in-Residence and was hired as the Garden Manager at the beginning of the summer. He is excited to share his passions for soil stewardship, compost construction, food freedom, communal collaboration and the dynamic web that connects them all. When not working in the garden or pasture he loves exploring wilderness, sharing music, and preparing and preserving food. He is grateful for the opportunity to join the team at Slide Ranch and is excited to share and learn with this community.
Dana Biederman, Program Coordinator
Dana grew up in the Truckee, Lake Tahoe area skiing, climbing, hiking and enjoying the mountains. Dana’s parents met when teaching at Slide Ranch in 1984 and working at Slide Ranch has been a dream of Dana's since she was a child. Dana was a Junior Counselor when she was 16, a Teacher-in-Residence and Ranch Intern in 2013. Dana is currently the Program Coordinator, providing mentorship, training and support for the Teacher-in-Residence program. Before working at Slide, Dana was a Teacher for Gateway Mountain Center, a Naturalist for Sierra Watershed Educational Partnerships, a teaching assistant for Compass Green Project, and a Rock Climbing Instructor for the Tahoe Truckee Recreation Department. She feels inspired by being in wilderness, growing and eating vegetables, and learning new things.
Elena Sanchez-Corea, Animal Care Manager
Elena grew up in Bolinas and remembers coming to Slide Ranch for field trips in elementary school, for summer camp, and as a counselor in training. She studied Global Studies at UC Santa Barbara, which ignited her interest in food production and systems. Elena has raised livestock on educational farms, including Heifer International in Massachusetts and Hidden Villa in Palo Alto, as well as several production ranches in the Bay Area. Elena is excited to join the Slide Ranch team and work with the animals and the land to support a sustainable future and provide an educational opportunity for visitors to experience humane pasture raised livestock operations. In her free time Elena likes to eat pie and go to the beach.
Emily Cohen, Program Director
Emily joined Slide Ranch in 2010 after several seasons of organic farming in Vermont and a decade of work with Bay Area educational organizations, including Making Waves Education Program in Richmond and the Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley. Emily was a co-founder of the Oakland nonprofit Rock Paper Scissors Collective, a core coordinator of Prisoners Literature Project in Berkeley, and has worked with a variety of local food businesses at Bay Area Farmer’s Markets. Emily grew up in Southern California and has a BA in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley.
Julie Hartman, Program Manager
Julie was born in New York City, graduated from Columbia University, and later completed a Master of Education degree from the University of Vermont. She has taught a full spectrum of preschool through high school students in both public and private schools. Before coming to Slide, Julie taught a multi-age, K-1st grade class, developing curriculum and guiding activities and field trips related to the year-long theme of water. As a yoga and Circus Yoga teacher she has led groups of all ages in course series, after school programs and camps. In addition to her work as a teacher, Julie has worked as a tree-planter, farmer, and baker. Julie joined the Program Team at Slide Ranch in 2011.
Colan Baldyga, Ranch Hand
Colan is excited to work and live at Slide Ranch and support the organization’s mission as a Ranch Hand. Colan has participated at Slide Ranch as a volunteer, and now he is grateful to wake up with the sun rising over the Pacific Ocean and help Slide Ranch with facilities/trail maintenance, garden work, animal care and site rentals. A Michigan native, Colan graduated from Denison University in Ohio and then did a year of Americorps service at Camphill Kimberton Hills in Pennsylvania. Afterwards he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and interned with several sustainable agriculture organizations. Colan feels inspired to learn more about sustainable agriculture and working hard, both of which he plans to do at Slide Ranch.
Kyle Hartman, Facilities
Since the days of Lego-mania, Kyle's hands have been busy creating. His desire to be as self-sufficient as possible has led him to develop a wide variety of skills, from hand thrown pottery to carpentry. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture and has spent a number of years working as a carpenter, building houses, cabinets, boats and furniture. Slide Ranch is the perfect place for him to add to his quiver of skills. In addition to his work on the ranch, Kyle has a Masters in Chinese Medicine and practices acupuncture in the area.
Jim Rogers, Director of Operations
Born and raised in Vermont, Jim has long held a deep commitment to environmental stewardship. It is this passion that led him to 3 years living and working in Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks where he garnered a greater understanding of the challenges facing the natural world. Jim graduated from Northern Michigan University with a degree in Business/Computer Information Systems and has chosen to work for public-benefit organizations (both nonprofit and for-profit), including as the Director of Retreat Operations at Spirit Rock Meditation Center; working as a database programmer at Desert Research Institute, a world-renowned environmental research organization; and as Business Process Analyst/Data Analyst for a pioneer in energy efficiency at Proctor Engineering. He is especially excited to learn more about farming and gardening while continuing to grow his mindfulness practice and guitar picking skills.
Adam Lee grew up in the Bay Area, and fondly remembers childhood staples of digging for fossils and cleaning the sheep barn at Elkus Youth Ranch. While studying Sociology at UC Santa Cruz, he enjoyed volunteering at the Homeless Garden Project. For the past 5 years he has worked at several farms in Oregon and Washington, deepening his connection with the earth and learning a range of farming skills. During his recent apprenticeship in Biodynamics at S&S Homestead on Lopez Island, WA, Adam discovered his passion for teaching, and is excited to help young people build connection between nature and their food.
Brian Robbins is from Pennsylvania by way of Claremont, CA and Seattle, WA. He graduated from Pitzer College with a degree in Sociology with a minor in Spanish. During his time at Pitzer, he became interested in local and sustainable food systems by working in the on-campus, locally sourced café, and working as the Compost Coordinator in the campus garden. He then completed a Farm Fellowship at Urban Adamah in Berkeley, CA. Soon after, he headed to the great Northwest where he was hired as the Volunteer Coordinator and Garden Educator at Green Plate Special- a non-profit enrichment program that provides seed-to-table educational experiences. He also became a certified Master Composter/Soil Builder through Seattle Tilth. After a year in Seattle, Brian worked on a goat farm in Pennsylvania and backpacked around Southeast Asia. He is elated to return to the Bay Area to serve and live at Slide Ranch.
Ellen Drews is a Midwesterner who took a turn in New England before joining the team at Slide Ranch. She discovered her love of ecology and farming at Carleton College in Minnesota, where she studied Entomology and managed the campus farm. She has since conducted field research in Midwestern prairies and the Amazon rainforest, has taught children about insects in the Berkshires and has managed community gardens in Lowell, Massachusetts. Ellen is thrilled to lead children through their connections and curiosities at beautiful Slide Ranch.
Katia Johnstone grew up in New York City and Los Angeles, and graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Peace and Conflict studies. She has spent many years working with young people: coordinating mentorship programs, youth markets and community gardens in New York, and as an AmeriCorps teaching fellow with Peace First. Katia also journeyed South America through the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) Program, where she worked and lived on multiple farms. She is excited to explore the ways young people’s curiosity for health, food and the environment are ignited through hands-on education at Slide Ranch.
Kelly Hardin grew up in Maryland but has gradually moved west! She graduated from Macalester College in Minnesota with a B.A. in International Studies, and minors in Environmental Studies and Religious Studies. In addition to studying globalization and development in Thailand for a semester, she worked with a grassroots development and education nonprofit in Guatemala called Rising Minds. These international experiences led her to a passion for sustainable food systems as a space for community change and healing. Kelly moved to New Mexico in 2014, where she interned at Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center, volunteered on various farms and community gardens, and completed an AmeriCorps year with the Santa Fe Farmers Market Institute. Her favorite parts of working at SFFMI were teaching classes on local food to elementary school students and organizing sustainable farming workshops for farmers, so she is absolutely thrilled to devote her time to teaching environmental stewardship here at Slide Ranch!
Celeste Haverkamp grew up in Oakland, and has a longtime love of West Marin. She even has scars on her knee from tromping on Mt. Tam when she was four! Celeste graduated from Bard College with a B.A. in Literature, her continued interest in education leading her to work in summer camps, tutor, and eventually teach in classrooms in Oakland, where she has been inspired most by seeing the results of cultivating hands-on learning opportunities for her students. Her love of growing food bloomed while in college, during which time she volunteered at The Farm School in Athol, MA. Celeste was most recently working at Ono Organic Farms growing exotic fruit on the island of Maui in Hawaii. She is completely excited to be in a position where these two passions for hands-on learning and growing food come together, and looks forward to having fun and getting her hands dirty with all the students that will come to Slide Ranch!
Aisha Farley hails from Ithaca, New York, upstate on the edge of Cayuga Lake. Growing up she spent lots of time outside in the forest and with her grandparents who were avid gardeners and homesteaders. Aisha graduated from Tufts University with a B.A in Political Science, minoring in Africa in the New World, and has a passion for social, environmental, and food justice. Before Slide Ranch, Aisha lived in Oakland and was active in education and in community activism. Earlier, she worked as a youth and community organizer in Los Angeles where with students and families she organized and maintained community gardens. Aisha loves to spend time outdoors: hiking, gardening, writing, drawing, meditating, reading a good book... She is excited to explore the many beautiful landscapes of West Marin and the Bay Area during her time at Slide Ranch.