Ryland Engelhart is the Mission Fulfillment Officer and co-owner of Cafe Gratitude and Gracias Madre. He is a co-founder of Kiss The Ground, a non-profit that educates and advocates about the connection between soil, human, and planetary health. He is also a co-creator of the award-winning, transformational documentary film, “May I Be Frank.” He is an entrepreneur and activist, using his restaurants as a platform to inspire more "gratitude" into our culture. He speaks on sacred commerce, tools for building community, and regeneration.
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.
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.
Traci WallaceDigital Marketing
Traci is a world traveler, writer and communications strategist who is passionate about giving voice to the world's change makers through conscious digital marketing practices, inspiring connection and community activation towards positive change.
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.
Jessica is a Mother and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) who's interest in health began at a young age when she witnessed the ill effects poor eating habits had on those she loved most. She has spent much of her career in public health, helping to increase access to healthy foods in underserved communities and empowering families to take an active role in their health. After starting a home garden she began to learn first hand the profound connection that nutrition has to agriculture; an experience that completely transformed her mission as a nutrition educator. She now is an advocate for soil health because simply put healthy soil grows health food, and healthy food makes for healthy people.
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