Suzy Karasik, Tour Manager/Program Manager
Suzy’s been involved and supported BAGT since its inception. She brings to the organization decades of experience in a variety of fields, including Secondary School Teacher, Convention Services and Event Planning, Hi-tech Business Development, Somatic Education, Nutrition, Permaculture Design, international humanitarian work, and teaching about sustainability and preserving our precious Mother Earth. An avid activist and community organizer, Suzy also volunteers with the Pachamama Alliance as a Symposium Leader, Bay Area Integral, and Beyond the Culture of Separation, a program for white-identified people committed to changing the story of separation. Suzy is passionate about bringing BAGT’s eye opening tours into the corporate arena. She wholeheartedly believes that educating people about successful green business ventures in our own communities is a vital and powerful experience that needs to be known, shared and appreciated.
Aspen is a water ecologist, farmer, chef, entrepreneur, homesteader and health enthusiast who shares permaculture principles, explains watershed health, and facilitates an understanding of the full spectrum of agro ecology. Her food-as-medicine tour shows how what we eat can also help heal our bodies. Aspen’s farm-to-orchard tour gives people a chance to experience an apple cider pressing. She also:
- Co-created Conscious Dancer magazine and organizes Sebastopol Ecstatic Dance.
- Is exploring new paths to utilize waste to create fuel or other products in Sonoma county and beyond.
- Aspen holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Evergreen State College
Ambessa is an event producer, activist, educator social media and integrated marketing consultatant. He has over 10 years of experience in environmental justice, art, activism and nonprofit management. He also:
- Is a Green For All Fellow dedicated to transformational change around the world. of Destined Nation Media and co-founder of Grind for the Green and United Roots Art and Media Center;
- Served as the premier environmental educator for the Alliance for Climate Education from 2009-2011
- Is an accomplished hip-hop emcee and entertainer and a member of two bands: Earth Amplified and Ambessa Fiyapowa.
- Holds a bachelor’s in marketing and psychology from York College in Nebraska.
Constance Washburn, Marin and Sonoma County
Constance has more than 35 years of experience designing and directing educational outreach programs. For 18 years, she served as Education Director at the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) and Marin Organic which reached more than 5,000 people a year. These programs included farm tours, talks, art shows, volunteer and teacher trainings, as well as the Farm Field Studies program, which brought more than 2,000 students out to farms.Constance also:
- Co-founded, and is currently the chairperson of, the Marin Agriculture and Education Alliance, and is a member of the Northern California Slow Money Steering Committee.
- Is a facilitator of Joanna Macy’s “Work that Reconnects.”
- Was a member of the Marin Food Policy Council and the Marin Food Systems Project, as well as agricultural representative for the Marin Economic Commission.
Is a graduate of the Ecology of Leadership and Permaculture Design programs at the Regenerative Design Institute.
Prior to working in the technology sector and starting PopUpsters, Aaron began his career in marketing and communications working on various political campaigns, the state senate and the state treasurer’s office. He soon found a love for sustainability, specifically in the food industry, and began working on helping local farms with their sales, marketing and distribution models. Earlier this year, Aaron chosen as a fellow in the “Top 30 Under 30” Next Generation LGBT Leaders. His expertise in sustainability and innovation has been acknowledged by others leading him to be a Global Urban Innovator by the New Cities Foundation, a Westly Young Innovator, and the San Francisco Congressional Delegate at the Slow Food International Congress.
Jessie Flo has been working with organic food and farmers in the Bay Area since 2007. She is a farm-to-table chef, a large scale event manager, a storyteller and a surfer. Her work in organic farming spans from cooking small farm dinners, to creating entire residential food programs, to producing the 1,700 person conference EcoFarm in Pacific Grove. Jessie currently resides in San Francisco, where she freelances her skills as a chef, most often on Pie Ranch, and as an event manager, annually with Dreamforce.
• She holds a BA in Philosophy from University of Colorado in Boulder, CO.
• You can find a sampling of her culinary creations at Subtlepeach.com.
Tony is a passionate expert in the adoption of alternative energy technologies and sustainability. Using his 15+ years of experience as a sales/application engineer Tony has worked in renewable energy, alternative transportation, environmental equipment, green buildings and water conservation. Tony holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and a M.B.A. in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix. Tony is in the process of completing his certification as a LEED Green Associate.
Originally from Berkeley, Grey has worked full-time since 1995 for East Bay public schools and nonprofit organizations to develop projects that improve community health and sustainability. Grey works for Oakland Unified School District as its garden education specialist, teaches ecological field studies and urban agriculture for Peralta Community Colleges, and is a development consultant for Oakland-based nonprofit organizations.
- Has helped develop 30 school/community gardens;
- Leads more than 2,000 bicycle- and transit-based outdoor education programs;
- Teaches ecological science and sustainable agriculture at more than 25 Oakland public schools
- Is co-developing several successful “green” enterprises (including Cycles of Change).
Leslie is the founder of Zero Waste Tours and has more than 18 years’ experience providing environmental consulting services for the private and public sectors. She also:
- Has worked in recycling program development and coordination, and performs waste audits;
- Has organized zero waste tours throughout northern California for business and government delegations;
- Has made presentations in Brazil, British Columbia, Beijing and throughout North America.
- Recently founded the Compost Coalition of Sonoma County (CCSC) in response to the closure of a composting facility that processed 100,000 tons of organic substances annually. The CCSC is made up of a diverse coalition of citizens and organizations that champion efforts to keep and process organic materials in Sonoma County.
Marley enjoys guiding others on local and global journeys that connect them to the environment and their food source. She is the co-founder of the Mindful Garden Collective, which began as a garden restoration project at Laney College in Oakland. The collective provides organic food to those in need and hosts gatherings that inspire community healing. She leads our urban garden/farm tours with a focus on food justice. Marley is excited to start leading visits to the Capay Valley where she works with some of the Bay Areas main sources for organic ethically raised crops and animals. She currently works with Pasture 42 at the the San Rafael farmers market.
- In 2014, she was selected as a Dalai Lama Fellow, a global secular program authorized by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama whose young members promote peace, justice and ecology.
- Marley has been accepted by UC Berkeley to study Community Healing through Environmental Regeneration under the College of Natural Resources.
Peter Ruddock, San Francisco, South Bay and San Mateo Coast
Peter is a food systems advocate, working for change through education, local economy and policy. His tours of the Central Valley, Brentwood, the South Bay and the San Mateo Coast, highlight people and programs who are at the forefront of these changes, showing the great work they are doing, and what they would like to do in the future, while not forgetting to celebrate and enjoy our food, from farm to table. He also:
- Coordinates the California Food Policy Council, a statewide effort to improve food policy
- Leads the South Bay group of Slow Money, which looks to rebuild the local economy by funding local farms and food businesses
- Leads the Ark of Taste – a catalog and promotion program for heirloom food – for Slow Food California
Leah has led programming for Bay Area Green Tours, featuring leaders across various sectors of sustainability, such as food justice, green building, renewable energy, waste and water. She also serves as a contractor for administrative assistance and event management, with clients such as Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Pure Water, and Global Inheritance and manages yoga and wellness programming for Wild-soul and Yogascapes.
- Served as an environmental educator at Anneliese’s Schools and visited classrooms around the East Bay.
- Ran a Rising Sun Energy Center’s youth empowerment and conservation program in Union City and crafted their city-wide marketing campaign
- She received a bachelor’s in Sustainable Development and Environmental Justice from the UC Berkeley.
Lowell Downey, Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino
Lowell Downey tells stories of world culture and the environment through his photographic and poetic lenses. A principal of Art & Clarity, an international green photography and video company, Lowell is an active member of the Napa Valley environmental and educational community and is documenting the changes of the Napa River. He serves on the board of the nonprofit ICARE (Institute for Conservation, Advocacy, Research and Education) whose mission is to restore and conserve the biological ecosystem of the Napa watershed where he has a close working relationship with local farmers and vintners in the Napa Valley.
- In 2001 he formed POISON (People Opposed to Insecticide Spraying on Neighborhoods)
- His assignments have taken him to the Czech Republic, India, Chile, Nicaragua, Dubai, Bolivia and lands in between.
- He has an M.F.A. in dramatic writing from New York University.
After having grown up in the suburbs of Los Angeles and Orange County, interspersed with healthy doses of nature through frequent trips all over the United States, I graduated with a B.A. in History from U.C. Santa Cruz. I merged my twin passions of education and the environment shortly after college through various jobs as a naturalist and program coordinator, including an adventurous two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica. I received a Teaching Credential and Masters in Education through a Peace Corps Fellowship at San Francisco State, and continued my work at several Bay Area environmental education organizations. My work as a community organizer has been inspired by 350.org, the Transition Town movement and permaculture principles. I founded the NorCal Community Resilience Network in 2015,
I currently live with my husband and daughter in Berkeley, CA. I love nature, bicycling, gardening, music, outdoor adventures, traveling and hanging out with my wonderful community of amazing family and friends.