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 grow and deliver nutritious, organic food with students for community members most in need – seniors, veterans, foster youth, farmworkers and more
* We collaborate with community partners to learn from each other and extend our collective impact in the community.

Staff

Emily Hackett
Emily HackettAmericorps Service Member
Emily’s interest in sustainable food systems began when she started her first garden at age nine with her grandmother, quickly learning the value of food independence. She grew up in Santa Cruz County in the San Lorenzo Valley and is excited to serve the youth of the community she grew up in.
Ulises Castillo
Ulises CastilloFarm Manager
Growing up as a Watsonville native, Ulises spent most of his young age learning about agriculture. Growing up, his family would take him to work with them in the raspberry fields. Bringing empty containers and taking full ones in order for his aunts to continue harvesting, making it his first job at age 5! He was part of the first two classes to inaugurate the Pajaro Valley High School campus. His agriculture career continues as a student at Cabillor College working for Farm Discovery.
Juana Lona
Juana LonaEducation Intern
In 2020 Juana Lona graduated from Aptos High School. With her career path undecided, she began working during summers at Life Earth Farm where she began to like being outdoors and helping people. She had a lot of fun experiencing the way the lower farm operated. Now she is very excited to learn more about the upper farm and how they operate. Juana is also very excited to learn more about helping kids and educating them on how organic farming works.
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.
Stephanie Spross
Stephanie SprossAssistant Education Director
Stephanie brings a decade of experience working in public schools and nonprofits as an educator and leader. She is excited to continue the work of inspiring the next generation to know their food. Stephanie believes that knowledge and access to fresh food can change the lives of students and their families. When not working Stephanie can be found gardening, propagating plants, reading cookbooks, and making jam.
Breigha Sawyer
Breigha SawyerDevelopment Officer
Breigha is an experienced fundraiser in the nonprofit sector with an emphasis on securing funding for complex humanitarian projects, both domestically and internationally. With a degree in Intercultural Studies from Biola University, she’s passionate about environmental advocacy, community development, and storytelling for social change. Her enthusiasm for the outdoors ranges from growing vegetables in her backyard to foraging for mushrooms, weekend rock climbing trips and backpacking adventures in the mountains.

Board of Directors

Terry Sebastian
Terry SebastianPresident
Lisa CarasSecretary
Steve Van ZandtTreasurer
Thomas Broz