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Community Soil Foundation Staff

Ari Laub

Arielle Laub

Community Garden Manager and Educator 

Arielle has been studying and working in agriculture since 2018, when she completed the University of Vermont Farmer Training Program. After receiving her certificate in sustainable farming, she spent two years managing personal and school gardens, while teaching preschool and elementary garden and cooking classes.

 

After moving from Southern California to Sonoma County, Arielle spent a season as the greenhouse and CSA lead at Coyote Family Farm in Penngrove. She then ran the garden program for a TK-8th grade private school, before taking on her current role at Community Soil Foundation. Trained in production vegetable and flower farming, she is eagerly learning more about native plants and is excited to maintain and cultivate a garden that is a habitat for all creatures.

You can contact Arielle via email at arielle@communitysoil.com with any questions. 

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Gretchen Maurer

School Garden Educator

Gretchen grew up in Mendocino County, where she loved to tend her own garden and enter her vegetables in the Redwood Empire Fair. She has an MA in Education from UC Berkeley, a BA in English from Santa Clara University, and over 20 years of experience as a teacher and tutor in both indoor and outdoor settings. She’s also the author of several children’s books and articles, including one in Highlights for Children magazine about her family’s organic pistachio farm. Gretchen is excited to have the opportunity to teach 2nd-5th graders at the Larkfield Community Garden and to develop an outdoor learning environment that encourages exploration, cultivates inquiry, and celebrates a sense of awe.
 

You can reach Gretchen at gretchen@communitysoil.com.

Hayley

Hayley Dougan

Grants Manager

Hayley grew up in Sonoma County and spent much of her early life romping beneath oak trees and catching salamanders. At Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, she studied soils, geology, native plants, and natural resources to earn her Environment Earth Science degree.

 

After spending two years teaching students ecology and environmentalism at the Catalina Environmental Leadership Program on Catalina Island, she returned home to shift her focus to regenerative farming, health, and wellness.

 

She has been fortunate to spend the past few years apprenticing under an herbalist, learning no-till farming techniques while working at Singing Frogs Farm, making floral bouquets, and reconnecting with her home.

 

Hayley’s passions lie in not only growing healthy and sustainable food for those who need it, but also increasing access to nature connection in beautiful spaces. She is excited to dig her hands into the soil at the Larkfield Community Garden to help feed and educate our community in creative collaborative ways.

Paolo

Paolo Tantarelli

Community Farm Co-Founder and Advisor

Paolo has worked with some of the top gardeners and builders in California, growing food and practicing sustainable building at places like the Solar Living Institute, Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, and Golden Nectar Farms. His garden work and style reflect key principles of permaculture, the bio-intensive method, and biomimicry.

 

Paolo received his Bachelors Degree from Chico State University in Cultural Anthropology, with a Minor in Italian. He has traveled extensively through Central and South America, following a passion to study human behavior as well as healthy food systems throughout history.

Jeff Shields

Jeff Shields

Community Farm Co-Founder and Advisor

Jeff grew up in the Bay Area and has lived in Sonoma County since 2008. He first worked on community-driven garden projects in San Francisco with the Department of Public Works and their Community Garden Program.

 

After working in the public sector and interning for SF Environment, Sierra Club, and Emerald Earth Sanctuary, he began managing ornamental and edible gardens at private retreat centers such as Mayacamas Ranch and Mark West Lodge in Sonoma County. During this time, he also installed private gardens, integrating his experience and skills with sustainable water systems and native and site appropriate plant materials.

Community Soil Foundation Advisors

Bethany Facendini

Community Farm Advisor

​Bethany’s mission is to strive for social justice and environmental sustainability through education, community building, and leadership development. She has over 20 years of professional experience in equity and inclusion in program management, experiential education, youth development, grassroots organizing, and community engagement serving diverse populations in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.

 

Bethany currently serves as the Sonoma County Regional Parks Community Engagement Division Manager. She created and implemented award-winning youth employment and education programs in Santa Cruz, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties that now serve as regional and state models. She has a BA from U.C. Berkeley, an MA in Environmental and Social Justice from Sonoma State University, and an Urban Environmental Education certificate from Cornell University.

 

Bethany is a fellow of the Sonoma County Leadership Institute for Ecology and Economy, Local Leaders Academy, On the Verge Leadership Program, and Government Alliance on Race & Equity. She has been on the Executive Board of Sonoma County’s Latino Service Providers for the last three years.

Jason Riggs

Jason Riggs

Community Farm Advisor

Jason has been the Executive Director of Extended Child Care since 2015, and has over 20 years of experience in K-12 and nonprofit administration, child and youth development, service learning and community engagement. Prior to joining ECC, Jason was the Region 1 Lead for after school programs at the Mendocino County Office of Education supporting grantees and programs in Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties. His prior experience also includes administration of after school programs for the Oakland and San Francisco Unified School Districts.

 

Jason deeply believes that out-of-school time programs and experiences are a vital part of the education ecosystem, preparing children and youth for college, career, and community success. Jason is passionate about leadership, creativity and innovation, and is an effective collaborator. Jason has served as co-chair to the Child Care Planning Council of Sonoma County and is currently co-chair of the California Afterschool Network.

 

He has a proven track record for developing long lasting partnerships between government, school districts, community partners and families that create high quality cradle to career support systems that address the needs of the whole child and the whole community.

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