Ryland Engelhart is a Co-Owner and Mission Fulfillment Officer of Cafe Gratitude, and the Co-Founder of Kiss The Ground, a non-profit that inspires and educates the public about the connection between soil, human and planetary health. Ryland was the co-creator of an award-winning, transformational documentary film, called “May I Be Frank.” He is is an activist, inspirational speaker and life coach, dedicated to culture, love, building community and demonstrating sustainability in business. He leads workshops and speaks on sacred commerce, building community and soil.
Finian is a recording artist, activist and self-taught soil advocate whose passion for changing the world brought him to study political science at UCLA. He strives to make the world a more peaceful and harmonious place for humans and all of nature. Finian resides in Venice, loves to make music, build gardens and bring people together for common causes.
Lauren Frances TuckerExecutive Director
Lauren is a community organizer with extensive experience in the nonprofit sector. She holds a B.A. in international studies and psychology from American University, is a Master Gardener, and studies permaculture design and regenerative agriculture. Her passion for community building has led her to projects in Washington D.C., New Orleans, West Africa and California.
Jonas is a social entrepreneur, farmer, and technologist, who specializes in building teams and organizations. He has run several companies within and outside of the United States in the fields of Technology & Business Consulting, Co-working, and Event Management. He sees himself as a global citizen with a responsibility toward stewardship of our precious resources. Jonas is passionate about finding ways that we can live fulfilling lives in line with nature, and sees the possibility of local businesses, and specifically small farms, as a way to create abundance while improving the natural environment.
Karen RodriguezOperations Manager
Karen is an operations manager with extensive experience in restaurants, offering over 16 years to the food service industry. She has worked under many incredible chefs and learned the ways of food in the culinary world. Karen loves to connect with nature through food, herbs and gardens. She is always excited to share a meal and feed loved ones and is working on a conscious baby food company to be released in the coming months.
Jennifer LoSocial Media Manager
Jennifer is a passionate activist and world traveler who uses social media to connect global communities. Her marketing experience in the entertainment industry has influenced her branding strategies to produce engaging media while building lasting relationships. She loves to spend time outdoors in the sun, host dinner parties, dance and work with rescued animals.
Blair provides the poetic touch for all of Kiss The Ground's language. Previously a manager for Cafe Gratitude, her passion for the natural world and desire to learn more about our connection to it is nourished through writing for the conscious organizations she collaborates with and her own personal poetry. She is an endless seeker, striving to discover what it truly means to be alive, each day.
Don SmithHealthy Soil Advocate
Don Smith is a speaker, teacher, and student of regenerative agriculture and regenerative lifestyles. His talks are engaging, inspiring, and filled with viable solutions to the world’s largest problems. In addition to speaking, Don helps Kiss the Ground with editing, technical details, and infographics promoting soil as a solution to climate change.
Michelle UyedaGraphic Designer
Nature and art have always been a meaningful part of Michelle’s life. Since she was a child, she wanted to make the world a more beautiful place by creating beautiful artwork. With Kiss the Ground, she gets to take that dream to a whole new level through her imagery and design.
Sarah is a student of life with a history of working creatively with many art forms. She is inspired by a deep love for humanity and the restoration of our one and only beautiful planet Earth. Her passionately crafted videos give the audience a deeper insight into the greater work of Kiss The Ground.
Guido Lois is an Argentinean artist, currently based in Los Angeles. With a degree in Communication, his work focuses on the semantic level of imagery, and follows one main premise by Meister Eckhart: “When the Soul wants to experience something, she throws out an image in front of her and then steps into it.”
Tammi RiedlFinancial Controller
Tammi is our Financial Controller responsible for oversight of all finance, accounting and reporting activities. While her background is in finance, technology and marketing, Tammi's training in biodynamic farming at Rudolph Steiner College inspired her to leave her "corporate" career mid-life to pursue her passion as a full-time steward of the land – operating her regenerative farm, growing organic produce for local markets, food hubs, restaurants, and donation in her community and teaching to raise awareness about regenerative agriculture.
Jaime FloresWeb Support
Jaime is a multimedia professional based out of the Ojai valley. He uses technology to promote a greater understanding of the human experience and our relationship with the planet.
Matt FinkelsteinGarden Manager
Matt is a regenerative urban farmer with 10 years of farming and permaculture experience. Growing up in San Rafael, CA, he has lived and farmed throughout the California coast and completed an Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at the UCSC Farm + Garden. Matt is excited to share these experiences with the local community in our demonstration garden in Venice Beach.
Natalie FloresGarden Volunteer Manager
Natalie Flores is a community activist who has worked in Central and South America learning about their cultures and farming techniques. She is a student at Santa Monica College, where she teaches other students about food justice. She's building an organization called Sunshine Partnerships with the help of her friends and community. Natalie hopes to bring peace to people’s hearts by getting them into the garden, through her passions for teaching, travel and nature.
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