About

Farm Discovery

Who we are

Farm Discovery at Live Earth is a nonprofit organization working in the Pajaro Valley community to empower youth and families to build and sustain healthy food, farming, social and natural systems.

Our home, Live Earth Farm, is a 150 acre patchwork of working organic farm, riparian corridor, oak and redwood forest in the Pajaro Valley of Santa Cruz County, California.

What we care about
We believe that we can transform personal and community health and improve our impact on earth by building and sustaining collaborative agricultural, ecological and social systems. We believe that communities equipped with knowledge and the skills of inquiry can transform food, farming and natural systems for the better.
What we do
* Farm Discovery offers educational programs that inspire youth and families to transform their relationship to food, farming and nature.
* We steward our working farm and its wild spaces as an environmentally and economically viable piece of the food system and a learning space.
* We collaborate with community partners to learn from each other and extend our collective impact in the community.

Staff

Jessica Ridgeway
Jessica RidgewayExecutive Director
In 2007 Jessica earned her M.S. in Environment and Natural Resources from the Rubenstein School at the University of Vermont. Her Master’s Thesis consisted of Participatory Action Research in an agricultural community in Northern Vermont. She developed, implemented and evaluated a Sustainability Curriculum and School Garden with the 6th graders of Jeffersonville Elementary School. Jessica helped Thomas and Constance Broz to found the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program in 2008.
Lucie Ashley
Lucie AshleyEducation Director
Lucie has over a decade of experience working with youth and families, many years of agricultural experience, as well as a background working with non-profits to meet their program and funding needs. Her career has been driven by her love of nature and teaching and a calling to serve the communities around her. Lucie holds a Masters of International Forestry with a focus on Agroforestry from the University of British Columbia.
Eva Marie Bonanno
Eva Marie BonannoAdministration and Event Coordination
Eva Marie Bonanno is a mother of two sons and teacher who has worked in Native Plant Restoration and Propagation, Life Lab Science and Elementary Montessori Education in the community for the last 20 years. Newly retired as an educator and as a second- term CNPS Board Member of the California Native Plant Society, Eva is excited to be refocusing on addressing food inequalities in the community and is honored to be managing the Produce Donation Program at Farm Discovery. Beyond her enthusiasm and dedication towards food sovereignty, Eva is a woman of mixed indigenous heritage who’s work hopes to assist in bridging cultural gaps within organizations she works with to facilitate and build community alliances and allyships that center around and highlight female BIPOC/ Indigenous voices in leadership and the shared vision of a more sustainable and reciprocal way of working with the Earth that benefits and considers all people; especially the generations to come.
Emma Gray Peterson
Emma Gray PetersonEducation Associate
Emma has several years of experience working in outdoor education and uplifting youth so they feel heard, inspired, and understood. Born and raised in the Central Valley of California, very close to the Sierra Nevadas, Emma is familiar with the agricultural lifestyle, as well as enjoying hiking, camping and teaching others wilderness safety. She has three degrees from Santa Barbara City College based in Arts & Humanities, Social & Behavioral Sciences, and Sociology. Emma’s career goal is focused on applying farm-to-fork core values in her work, which would then also educate others on the importance of a sustainable, organic food system, importance of native plants, health and wellness for all human beings and unity within the community. She hopes to one day have a farm of her own, raising sheep, and using her land for education and community purposes. In her free time, she shoots photography, enjoys the great outdoors, plays guitar and has been a radio DJ off and on now for a few years.

Board of Directors

Thomas Broz
Thomas Broz
Lisa Caras
Larry Graff
Larry Graff
Angelina McClellan
Angelina McClellanSecretary
Natasha Perry
Natasha Perry
Natasha was born and raised in Wyoming where she spent many summers working on her father’s ranch. This instilled in her a love for the outdoors, and also gave her a profound appreciation of the effort and skill needed to cultivate farmland. Being a LEF CSA member for years, Natasha was inspired to join the Farm Discovery Board to help members in her local community have the opportunity to be hands-on in a farm environment. Her professional career has been focused on technical program management.
Brooke Sampson
Brooke SampsonTreasurer
Terry Sebastian
Terry SebastianPresident
Dawne West
Dawne West
Joshua Rodriguez, MBA, RDN, CDCES, CHWC
Joshua Rodriguez, MBA, RDN, CDCES, CHWCBoard Member
Joshua Rodriguez is a registered dietitian and diabetes educator. He currently works as a clinician for Community Hospital of Monterey (CHOMP). He received his MBA from Dominican University (Chicago, IL) and his B.S. in nutritional science from San Jose State University (San Jose, CA). Joshua was raised in Watsonville, CA and has a strong passion for community nutrition and education.