Our Team


Ryland Engelhart

Ryland Engelhart

Co-Founder

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 Makepeace

Finian Makepeace

Co-Founder

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 Tucker

Lauren Frances Tucker

Executive 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.

Traci Wallace

Traci Wallace

Digital 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 Smith

Don Smith

Healthy 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 Uyeda

Michelle Uyeda

Graphic 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.

Guido Lois

Guido Lois

Editor

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.”

Jaime Flores

Jaime Flores

Web 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 Finkelstein

Matt Finkelstein

Garden Program

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 Flores

Natalie Flores

Garden Program

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 Handy

Jessica Handy

Education

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.

Jesse Smith

Jesse Smith

Farmland Program

Jesse is a farmer, designer and consultant focused on the intersection of regenerative supply and enterprise. His passion for agriculture and food systems is rooted in his love of California's diverse ecosystems, and influenced by his work and travels through Africa, Europe and the western United States. His family, friends and community are what inspire him to develop a network of farmers, restaurants and consumers to benefit our soil, water and air.

Gina Quattrochi

Gina Quattrochi

Operations Manager

Gina is a food, health, and agriculture enthusiast. She has been fortunate to work in these fields in many capacities, from managing farmers markets to coffee wholesale to local food policy. She has worked for the Santa Monica Farmers Markets, Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, Kismet restaurant, Cookbook market, and Stumptown Coffee, among others. She's happy and grateful to work in this community.

Michelle Margolin

Michelle Margolin

Speaker Training Course

Michelle is a conservation activist who is passionate about local farming as a solution to transforming our food systems and climate change. She has experience working throughout Oregon as an environmental outdoor teacher and coordinating farm programs. Her work in conservation extended to field management in Australia and continued on to biogas digester research and course work at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in Israel. With her B.S. in Environmental studies and Peace studies from the University of Oregon she aims to positively impact communities through regenerative farming, education and green infrastructure development.

Annie Martin

Annie Martin

Business Program

Annie is an activist, writer, marketing manager, and entrepreneur dedicated to environmental issues related to food, water, and agriculture. Her passions have led her around the world researching child malnutrition, the consequences of industrial farming, and successful soil remediation techniques. Today, Annie is working with consumers, suppliers, and purchasers to drive demand for regenerative products, transition farms to regenerative agriculture, and inspire brands to invest in regenerative supply lines.


TOGETHER WE CAN
REGENERATE THE PLANET.



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