Renée Johnson is our resident champion of rationality and balance. With one foot on the cutting edge and the other in deep-seated reality, Renée enjoys engaging the board and staff in the journey to a strong future. She brings 15 years of experience in development, marketing, IT, finance, and entrepreneurial roles to her position. Born in Massachusetts, she’s also lived in Indiana, England, Greece, and Washington. Renée resides in Brewer, ME, with her partner Chris and their three rescued dogs, Baxter, Sabine, and Finch.
Extra credit: Renée has a keen eye for spotting chaga mushrooms while hiking and foraging in the Maine woods.
As founder and president of Sustainable Harvest International, Florence is our resident champion of champions. After serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama, Florence founded Sustainable Harvest International in 1997. Her passion and acuity continually revitalize the staff, board, participants, and donors alike. In addition to zipping around the world spreading the good word about what we do and making connections, Florence and her husband are raising a very excellent son in an environmentally-sound house in Surry, Maine.
Extra credit: Florence once crewed on a sailboat delivery from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Portsmouth, England, working as the cook.
Read more about Florence here.
Elliott is our resident champion of program management, ensuring smooth operations and facilitating organizational learning. Based in our US office, Elliott travels throughout the year, serving as a bridge between the field and our headquarters. Prior to working with us, Elliott served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua, worked with Water for People, and earned degrees in Latin American Studies and Environmental Management. Elliott enjoys exploring the outdoors with his new daughter, traveling (especially road trips on unpaved dusty roads), and coffee.
Extra credit: Elliott moved to Maine from New Orleans, where after years of parades, festivals, and Mardi Gras, he and his wife have amassed a monster costume collection.
Ricardo is our resident champion of monitoring and evaluation. Born in Mexico, Ricardo studied at the University of Leuven in Brussels. Ricardo spends time in the field, exploring the achievements and challenges facing field staff and farmers with an emphasis on reaching sustainability. Ricardo began working with us in 2014 and is based in Mexico with his wife and children.
Extra credit: Ricardo coached the junior female and male in-line hockey teams of Guanajuato city (Mexico) for three years.
Kelsey is our resident champion of database management. Kelsey has extensive training in sophisticated donor management systems and consistently impresses us all with her agility and level of attention. Her eye for detail transcends databases and extends to her love of organic gardening and wheel-thrown pottery.
Extra credit: Kelsey once encountered a bear while hiking down Katahdin Mountain with her brother in the dark.
Michele is our resident storyteller and communications champion. A writer and teacher by training, Michele's street credibility comes from the two years she spent as an Agroforestry Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon. Michele lives in Frankfort, Maine and enjoys reading, writing, and going for constitutions.
Extra credit: Michele once traveled across the Pacific Ocean onboard a working containership.
Susannah Fisher is our champion of foundation and institution relationship-building, bringing 17 years of experience to the team. In addition to her impeccable grant writing and research skills, Susannah is a trained book and paper conservator. When not saving the world through grant writing, she enjoys her cats, dog, reading, hiking, and crafting anything and everything under the sun, particularly fiber-arts.
Extra credit: Susannah once worked on a project mending tears in drawings from the 18th century.
Robin McCarthy champions our ongoing communications projects. Born and raised in Maine, Robin has worked in environmental advocacy in Washington, DC, been a teacher and editor in Michigan, and cooked at sea on charter cruises from New England to the Arctic. In each of these positions, she has been fascinated by how communities are shaped by the environments they depend on. Robin loves reading, writing, and most forms of gallivanting outdoors.
Extra Credit: Robin once lived aboard a very small sailboat with her partner over the course of a few Maine winters.
Our Country Directors
Born in Comayagua, Honduras, Claudia has a deep knowledge of rural land issues, community development, sustainable agriculture, and the complexities of globalization and its impact on rural small-scale farmers. Prior to her work with Sustainable Harvest International Honduras, Claudia traveled throughout Latin America and the world as the Central American coordinator for Alliance for Food Sovereignty and Agrarian Reform (SARA). Having collaborated with small-scale farmers throughout the developing world, from the highlands of Guatemala to the deserts of Morocco, Claudia understands the universal nature of small-scale farmers’ struggles and the critical role they play in both the value chain and the ecosystem. Claudia enjoys reaching out to the rural farmers of Honduras and empowering them to make a social and ecological difference.
Rodrigo Rodriguez first discovered the beauty of agriculture at the Institute for Agricultural Studies of Havana (ISCAH) in Cuba. After completing his studies, Rodrigo returned to Panama, where he dedicated his life to community development and agriculture, and his family. Seeing the success of the families he works with motivates Rodrigo to forge ahead in bringing national recognition to the program for its innovation and dedication to Panama’s people and environment in rural areas. In the rare moments when he is not working, Rodrigo enjoys reading, watching sports, and documentaries.
Leonardo Pech became the first agronomist from his village in the Orange Walk district of Belize in 1995 when he graduated from Costa Rica’s EARTH University. He has over 20 years of agriculture experience providing technical expertise and guidance to small-scale farmers. He has developed environmentally-friendly crop management programs and implemented fertilizer and integrated pest management programs for a wide range of crops. Leonardo loves that the Sustainable Harvest International model empowers low-income farming families to improve their livelihoods while helping the environment. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Maria, son, Dwayne, and daughters, Jaileen and Shanelle. He’s also been known to listen to a little Spanish music!