Over the course of this intensive, several month program, fellows developed deep ties to one another and gained vital collaboration and initiative‐building skills while cultivating inner clarity about what it means to do good work.
Teams within the cohort learned by doing – inquiring into key questions and piloting projects related to the possibilities of a more equitable and regenerative economy.
Fellows returned to their places enriched by the opportunity to reflect on aligning their work and values and with embodied knowledge about how to collaborate to make change.
The relationships forged within the fellowship are now sustained through ongoing Good Work Network events and collaborations that link each cohort with the growing group of innovators and community leaders committed to a thriving future for the Hudson Valley.
Once upon a time, there was a little boy from West Virginia who loved free jazz. Every day, his classmates bullied him for caring about music and art. One day, he escaped his small town to search out where he belonged. Because of that, he played with many band and ensembles and traveled across America and Europe playing music, searching. Because of that, he got worn out, as successful band after successful band collapsed under the weight of emotional/business unsustainability (and NYC rent). Until finally, he found new inspiration and his purpose in teaching at Youthere, a company he co-founded to develop practices that mix the best, most connection-forming, insights from music, theater, and bodywork.
I’m a chef and restaurateur operating a farm to table establishment in a landmarked property in the village of New Paltz. Before moving here 16 years ago I was an enthusiastic supporter of farmers markets in NYC. Thrilled to be moving to the area that grew the produce I loved so much, I was disappointed that local Hudson Valley restaurants at that time were not sourcing from their local farmers. I opened my restaurant with the idea of creating an unpretentious neighborhood gathering place that served delicious locally sourced meals, inspired by the best home cooking from all over the world. The relationships we have forged in this community with farmers, cheese makers and artisans are rewarding on many levels, linking pleasure and food with awareness and social responsibility.
Akemi Hiatt is Creative Director and Co-owner at Hidden Gears, a web development and digital marketing agency headquartered in Catskill, NY. She has a strong background in the non-profit and creative business sector with a proven track record of running marketing campaigns tailored to her clients’ needs. She formerly directed marketing at Omi International Arts Center and Basilica Hudson, and was previously Program Associate at the Center for Photography at Woodstock. Her passion for strategic storytelling is the hallmark of a resourceful and creative approach to promotion that includes photography, copywriting, email marketing, SEO, content strategy, and social media. Her artwork has been exhibited at venues such as Light Work and the Cleveland Museum of Art and commercial clients include the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Tuthilltown Spirits, and HGTV.com.
Austin DuBois is a 7th generation resident of Orange County. He lives in the City of Newburgh with his fiancee, Lauren, and they are eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child in November. Austin devotes much of his spare time to helping and enjoying Newburgh’s vibrant community. He is a partner with the law firm of Blustein, Shapiro, Rich & Barone, LLP, specializing in business planning and general business representation, wills & trusts, and elder law.
Ava Bynum is a passionate systems thinker and non profit executive, with experience in start-ups, development, nonprofit management, education, food systems, and community organizing. She is the Executive Director of Hudson Valley Seed, a non profit that integrates healthy eating and experiential learning into public school systems. Hudson Valley Seed currently educates over 2,000 students in on-site school gardens across Dutchess, Orange and Putnam Counties. Prior to founding Hudson Valley Seed Ava was a farmer and teacher, and in these roles deepened her commitment to making good food and inspiring education accessible to all children. In addition to running Hudson Valley Seed, Ava facilitates racial justice and equity trainings for individuals and organizations. She brings humor, innovation, and integrity to all of her endeavors.
Bob Dandrew is the Director of the Local Economies Project of the New World Foundation. Local Economies Project (LEP) was founded in 2010 with a mission to strengthen regional agriculture and build a more resilient food system in the Hudson Valley. LEP supports regional agriculture through grantmaking and research in collaboration with a broad network of partner organizations. In addition, LEP is managing the development of the Hudson Valley Farm Hub, a major center for resilient agriculture on 1,255 acres of prime farmland in Hurley, New York.
Dawn Breeze is an internationally represented artist living in Germantown, New York. Breeze’s work examines worthiness, interdependence, transformation and flux. She explores guiding questions in non-linear ways, moving freely between artistic disciplines, teaching, writing, visual and conceptual art, social practice and parenting. Breeze leads workshops titled, Creativity + Courage™. The workshops use art as a tool to help attendees discover and develop their individual creative voices. Breeze facilitates these public workshops throughout New England, and tailors private versions for institutions like Highwatch Recovery Center. She also runs the progressive arts program at The Liberi School in Hudson, NY. Breeze’s artistic achievements have been notably lauded, including: The NYSCA Individual Artist Award, Mass. Arts and Cultural Grant recipient, NYFA’s Mark Fellowship, The Linda Arnoud Artist Grant, Goddard Spirit Scholarship, and others.
Decora is a hip hop artist, DJ, emcee, producer, and performance poet based in New York’s Hudson Valley. Best known for his unique brand of composition, which unites a folk music ethos with hip hop and social change through community action – using rhythm and words to be both formally innovative and consciously progressive. His 2015 album, “Bread and Oats” led to a successful year – performing across the U.S. and Canada, headlining a festival in the Pacific Northwest, interviewing for MTV and NPR, and receiving rave reviews by media publications like Chronogram, Upstater and AfroPunk. Riding on the wave from last year, 2016 is set to be even more successful. His 2016 tour is already underway and his new EP entitled, “Beyond Belief” will be released later this year.
Conservation and sustainable development have both been Erik’s passions since volunteering under the redwoods of the John Muir National Monument with the Student Conservation Association as a young high school student. Erik’s managed teams, offices and organizations in environmental advocacy, sustainable development and a variety of arts groups, not to mention stints in Alaska and sailing through the Sargasso Sea. Working with National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club and NRDC, Erik has continuously worked to protect our environment. Erik spends most weekends hiking with his two pups throughout the region. He graduated from Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts with a BA in Science, Technology and Society.
Eugenia Manwelyan is an artist, ecologist, and educator. She is the co-founder of Arts and Ecology, Director of Eco Practicum, and a founding faculty member of School of Apocalypse. Eugenia holds a BA in International Development from McGill and her MS in Urban Planning from Columbia University. She was Managing Director of the Food + Enterprise Summit, and has been involved in environmental planning projects in India, Vietnam and Jordan, and a peace building arts project in Israel and Palestine. She taught Food Planning Practicum courses at Columbia and Social Choreography workshops at arts institutions in Brooklyn and Greece. With a passion for democratic education and civic engagement, Eugenia is committed to taking part in the effort to reorient humanity toward sane and respectful coexistence with one another and the environment.
Gregg is a certified Somatics Coach with a background in small business operations, website design and development, and community organizing. Gregg grew up farming on his family’s dairy ten miles from Watershed. He got his start organizing with the Kensington Welfare Rights Union and most recently managed the office of Occupy Wall Street. Gregg was a founding member of Pine Plains United, an organization focused on saving the majority of his rural town from prospecting developers. He is CFO of Hammertown, his family’s local small business and a member of the Town of Northeast’s Rescue Squad. He holds a B.S. from Stanford University in Environmental Science and Technology.
Born 1989, raised in NYC, I currently live in rural Callicoon, NY, operating ENGN, an educational organization for social, civic and creative investigation. I serve with the Hortonville Volunteer Fire Company and serve on the Town of Delaware Planning Board and the Human Rights Commission of Sullivan County. I have a BFA in Interdisciplinary Sculpture from MICA, working as a filmmaker and am vice president for Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development.
Jason Schuler is the Founder and President of More Good, a handcrafted food manufacturing company focused on the production of syrups and mixers made with all real, organic ingredients. With 20+ years of experience in the service and hospitality industry, Schuler set his sights on making the world a better place through a socially conscious enterprise. His vision of global impact through local success fuels More Good and its mission to proudly fund water wells in Uganda, Ghana, and Haiti with their partner non-profit, Generosity.org.
Joe Concra is a painter who lives and works in Kingston New York. He received his MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and uses traditional techniques to create his paintings. He has shown his work in Seattle, Miami and New York among other cities. His work is held in private collections in the U.S. and Europe. Additionally he is committed to his work with O+ a non-profit that connects artists and musicians to wellness services and in turn builds stronger communities across the U.S.
John Sirabella is the Marketing and Communications Director for the Garrison Institute. Before working at the Institute, John was Communications Director for a program of Public Health Solutions (PHS), focusing on media relations, advocacy, and tobacco control policy in New York City. Before PHS, he was the Director of Marketing and Program Management of BusinessTalk, Inc., a communications skills training firm. For more than fifteen years, he marketed, promoted and distributed films for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), the world’s leading Academy Award®-winning public producer of social issue documentaries and animation. John has taught film history and criticism at The New School. He holds a masters degree in English from New York University and another masters degree in Media Studies from The New School.
Justin Goldman graduated from Colgate University in 2003 with a degree in English (Creative Writing) and Economics. He returned to Long Island, his homeland, to help his godfather open a startup BBQ restaurant, Smokin’ Al’s. He and his wife, Andrea, moved upstate in 2011 to pursue a nicer lifestyle and their love of the outdoors. They settled in Hudson, where Justin took the helm of Park Falafel and Pizza, where he nearly doubled sales in three years. Justin left the restaurant in 2014 to pursue a career in banking with First Niagara. After a very successful year, Justin left to pursue the management training program at The Bank of Greene County. He and Andrea have a 2-year old daughter, Bessie, and live in Hudson, NY.
Born and raised in Vermont, Kale Kaposhilin moved to the Hudson Valley to attend Bard College in 1995. In 2002, he co-founded Evolving Media Network, a creative web studio and production company. In 2014, Kale co-founded Hudson Valley Tech Meetup to host monthly gatherings bringing together the growing Hudson Valley community of innovation. In 2015 he co-founded Catskills Conf, an annual weekend conference/retreat aimed at technologists from around the world who want to convene and collaborate in the Catskills for a weekend each year. Kale volunteers on the Board of Directors for, Re>Think Local, serves as Director of Technology for O+ Festival, as Technical Director for The Hoot, and Operations Manager for Stockade FC. Kale happily lives in Kingston with his wife Caitlin and their two daughters.
Kathleen Frith is the President of Glynwood and Founder of the Pleiades Network. For over a decade, Kathleen managed the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School where she developed the Center’s programs to educate communities about the correlation between human health and the global environment. Recognizing that women were often overlooked for leadership positions at environmental organizations, Kathleen founded Pleiades, a membership organization working to advance women’s leadership in the sustainability movement. In 2012, she became president and managing director of Glynwood, a nonprofit organization with the mission of ensuring that responsible farming thrives in the Hudson Valley. Glynwood advocates for local and regenerative agriculture, trains young farmers and other food professionals, and generally supports food systems that promote personal and planetary health.
Ken Greene is founder of the first seed library in the country, a project he germinated in a small town library. Twelve years later the Hudson Valley Seed Library has blossomed into a seed company and seed farm devoted to producing seed for home gardeners and farmers, fostering a regional seed-saving community, and celebrating seeds through art. Greene is on the board of directors for the Organic Seed Alliance, and part of the planning committee for the national Organic Seed Growers Conference and the upcoming Northeast Seed Growers Conference. He has given presentations for the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Culinary Institute of America, Seed Savers Exchange, National Heirloom Expo, Cornell University, Sante Fe Farmers Market Institute, and many other conferences and organizations.
Laurie Perrone has over 30 years designing, marketing and selling fashion and home decor products worldwide. She is a graduate of the Fashion Instituted of Technology in New York City where she began her career. Her experience includes working for premiere brands such as Liz Claiborne and Van Heusen as Design Director and Merchandise Manager, respectively. She is currently the Founder and Creative Director of her own sustainable fashion brand aptly named Farm2Fashion located in the Hudson Valley. Laurie’s philosophy for Farm2Fashion’s is simple – design luxury products in America with substance and sustainability, all the while creating a low carbon footprint. She encourages her customers to pass down her products from generation to generation. Laurie lives in Cornwall, N.Y. with her husband, daughter and 4 rescue cats.
Leigh’s work and play is to help people imagine past what they think is possible. She is a story weaver, a creator, a rather ridiculous middle-aged revolutionary, an artist and intellectual. She has a doctorate in cultural mythology and psychology, has performed and taught internationally, currently hosts two radio shows on myth and imagination, and her first book is coming this year. She works as a coach to help people bring their wild ideas to life and is co-founder of Spillian: A Place to Revel, a creative center in the Catskills. Leigh is a fomenter. She loves to stir things up, and to build connections between ideas, places, and communities. She wants to be at the heart of the energy that brings imagination out into the world.
Lindsey Jakubowski is general manager and co-owner of Kriemhild Dairy Farms, LLC, located in Hamilton, NY. Lindsey works with grazing dairy farms, turning their delicious grass based milk into butter and crème fraiche. Their products are distributed throughout the Northeast. Lindsey stumbled into her role as owner, general manager. She started out as a passionate environmentalist, focusing on sustainability as she completed her degree at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. After graduating, she began work with Cornell Cooperative Extension, figuring ways to make local food more available to larger markets. Just as she started, so did the concept of Kriemhild Dairy Farms. Lindsey has been the driving force behind the company’s values and mission. She’s inspired everyday by the potential Kriemhild has to provide to its community.
Lucinda serves as the Executive Director of Re>Think Local, a non profit collaborative that educates and empowers locally owned independent businesses, organizations, and citizens who care equally about people, planet, and prosperity. Lucinda came to ReThink with a blend of corporate, entrepreneurial, and nonprofit experience and a strong background in fundraising, community building, marketing, and project management. In 2005, she created and managed 2 Alices Coffee Lounge. She was a founding member of the Cornwall Community Cooperative and helped manage the local farmers market and provide educational programming to promote a healthy, sustainable environment. Lucinda lives in Cornwall-on-Hudson with her husband, four children and an Irish Wolfhound named Lear. In her spare time she loves to cook, run, read and live in the richness of the Hudson Valley.
Mariel Fiori, MBA, is a journalist, translator, educator and entrepreneur. She co-founded and is Managing Editor of the Bard-sponsored La Voz, cultura y noticias hispanas del Valle de Hudson. The award- winning La Voz is the only Spanish language magazine serving the 120,000 Latinos living in the Mid-Hudson Valley. She co-hosts a weekly Spanish language news radio show for WGXC and WHDD. Fiori holds an MBA from NYU and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Latin American and Iberian Studies from Bard College. Before coming to the United States, she lived and worked in Spain, and previously in Buenos Aires, her hometown, where she earned a degree in journalism. Mariel has worked in Argentina, Spain and the US as a researcher, writer, translator, editor and radio and television producer.
Martin Ping is the Executive Director of Hawthorne Valley Association, a 501(c)3 corporation promoting social and cultural renewal through the integration of education, agriculture and the arts. Martin has been at Hawthorne Valley for more than 25 years. During that time he taught practical arts in the High School, was Director of Facilities and served as project manager on new construction projects. For the past 13 years as Executive Director, Martin has balanced his time developing the working relationships amongst the Association’s diverse enterprises and 190 co-workers with cultivating collaborative relationships between Hawthorne Valley and other organizations in the Hudson/Berkshire region as well as initiatives nationally and globally. Martin is co-founder and storyteller for The Magical Puppet Tree and serves on the boards of several not-for-profit organizations.
Raised in Montana surrounded by clear cut mountainsides, Megan Offner experienced the devastating effects of logging on the environment. As a set designer in NYC for 10 years, what she built lasted only days before being discarded. Connecting this wood waste to unnecessary deforestation inspired her to move upstate and co-found New York Heartwoods – a Kingston-based sustainable wood products company that mills urban and fallen trees, sells lumber and slabs, and fabricates custom furniture and retail displays. Megan studied at Lewis + Clark College (OR); has certificates in Permaculture from the Center of Bioregional Living, Sustainable Building + Design from Yestermorrow (VT), Reiki II, and ReUnion Process Kinesiology from the School of Humanity and Awareness; and has written articles for Dirt Magazine, The Diner Journal, and Mother Earth News.
Academy, Alliance, Development, General, Greenhouse, Network Circles
I am working on expanding my definition of self, in everything I do, and in all the ways I do it, so that when I act selfishly it will be for the betterment of the whole.
Micah grew up in Mt.Vernon, NY with a family of strong women who guided him and showed him how to work with purpose and love while serving community, as well as a father who taught him to always widen his perspective. But even with this strong foundation, he struggled with fear of the world, a lack of motivation, and what would have most likely been diagnosed as depression.
Through time, deep self-work, fatherhood, and connection, Micah learned to discard the self-defining term “shy”, understanding that he doesn’t need to define himself at all, but rather is free to feel and act as he chooses in the present. With this new awareness, Micah began forging a new path. It was still at the early stages of this process that Micah joined GWI as a Fellow and discovered ways to step more boldly into his own voice and work towards Just Transition.
I’ve traveled through many socioeconomic strata and tasted want and plenty. I lived in many venues; worked as community organizer, teacher, nonprofit executive director, banker, lawyer and integral minister. The gift of these experiences is the diversity of perspectives I now hold simultaneously. Above all I love to walk in the woods and then create delicious from whatever fresh foods I find and share it with worthy companions. I have studied with spiritual teachers in various traditions and have benefited from profound experiences of something beyond the consensus trance. What this leaves me with is a sense that we must cultivate the wisdom of the heart if we are to find our deepest knowing and develop the capacities necessary to meet the great demands of our time.
Michelle Hughes is the Director of Investments and Partnerships of the National Young Farmers Coalition, and has been creating programs that increase knowledge, collaboration and equity across the food system for 15 years. Previously, Michelle led GrowNYC’s New Farmer Development Project for ten years, where she helped 19 immigrant families establish their own farms on a combined 400 acres. She teaches “Advanced Enterprise” for Farm School NYC, and has consulted for clients with projects creating positive outcomes for farmland affordability, veteran farmers, and community food access in the Hudson Valley. She has a BS in Conservation Ecology and Agroecology, and is a board member of NOFA-NY. In her home in Hudson, NY she bikes, runs, enjoys yoga and tries to get her hands dirty whenever possible.
I am a maker. I love to make. I spend my days creating recipes for mind-blowingly good hard cider, capping bottles of that cider, presenting to and working with our distributors, and mostly trying to find ways to justify arts and crafts as work. My greatest passion is travel – seeing and tasting the world. I fell in love with beverage for its ability to transport and transcend be an experience all its own.
Philippe is a serial entrepreneur based in Newburgh, NY. Born and raised in Chicago to French parents, he started his career in corporate america before slowing downsize to being his own boss. He was drawn to Newburgh by it’s potential, beauty and proximity to NYC. In the two years he’s lived here, he and his partners have a acquired a number of multi-family properties, opened a wine shop and transformed a struggling cafe into a popular restaurant/bar.
Shawn is a whole systems designer, inspired to harness the power of business to create resilient local economies as patterns to be documented, open sourced, scaled globally and adapted regionally. Shawn left an early path in nuclear physics research to found the Woodshanti Cooperative (1997-2011), a custom woodworking shop in San Francisco that set the standard for ethical craftsmanship in the green building movement. This etrepreneurial experience combined with community organizing and systems theory to craft the vision for LIFT Economy to model an economy that works for all life. Other experience includes founding the Urban Alliance for Sustainability (2000-2009), Permaculture Designer (2003-present), Ananda Dhiira Eco Retreat Center (1999-2012). Born and raised in Rochester, NY, he spent 18 years in San Francisco and moved back to NY in 2014.
Simon Abramson is the Associate Director of Wild Earth, a non-profit ensuring that every person has the opportunity to explore, learn and play in nature. Over the past ten years, Simon has led and overseen nature connection and coming-of-age programming for thousands of youth and adults. Simon has a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont where he focused on exploring the relationship between a healthy psyche and a vibrant natural world. Co-creator of permaculture co-housing in High Falls, co-founder of Kol Hai: Hudson Valley Jewish Renewal, and an alumni of Elat Chayyim’s Eco-Spiritual Jewish Intentional Community, Simon looks to tight knit communal connections for regenerative, life affirming solutions to today’s challenges. Father of three daughters under five, Simon is often underslept, overjoyed and covered in children.
After growing up in Southern California and then a decade long love affair with New York City, Hudson is the new place that has captured Stella’s heart and imagination. After a career in prop styling and design, she found like-minded creatives in the community and helped establish Hudson River Exchange in 2013. Her continued pursuit in creative projects and love for working collaboratively brings much of the inspiration for the programming line-up of events and marketplaces of Hudson River Exchange.
I came to the Hudson Valley in 2010 after studying film and photography at Hamilton College. As soon as I arrived, I was hooked. I had found a place full of amazing communities of individuals pursuing their passions, in the midst of this beautiful natural setting. I was drawn to Etsy for many of the same reasons: we’re a company supporting individual creativity and independence while generating and connecting communities of engaged and thoughtful people across the world. My goal at Etsy is to create an environment in which people are honest, thoughtful, and open to the perspectives of others. If we come to the table with self-awareness, an open heart, and willingness to learn from our peers, I believe the opportunities for true connection and collaboration will grow exponentially.