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 more than 15 years of experience in building organizational capacity through strategic planning and implementing operational systems, with special focus on communications, employee engagement, finance, and technology to her position. Born in Massachusetts, she’s also lived in Indiana, England, Greece, North Carolina, and Washington state. At home in Maine, Renée enjoys the daily antics of her 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.
Florence Reed, Founder + Director of Strategic Growth
Florence is our resident champion of champions. After serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama, she founded Sustainable Harvest International in 1997. Florence is passionate about finding better ways to help the world’s farmers live better while regenerating the planet. This 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 lives with her family in an environmentally-friendly house on 30 acres of gardens and forest in Surry, Maine.
Extra credit: Florence once crewed on a sailboat delivery from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Portsmouth, England, working as the cook.
Brandon is our resident champion of ensuring our extraordinary supporters are appreciated, informed, and engaged. Brandon loves sharing the many ways an investment in Sustainable Harvest International transforms the lives of thousands of Central Americans, and simultaneously all residents of planet Earth—including you! Born and raised in Louisiana, Brandon spent his youth on the bayous, lakes, and rivers that ran through his hometown. He has since traversed the United States, with stints in California, Colorado, Mississippi, and North Carolina.
Extra Credit: Brandon once snowshoed a 14er (what Coloradans call a 14,000 ft. mountain) from the trailhead to the peak.
Elliott Powell, Director of International Programs
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 family, traveling (especially road trips on unpaved dusty roads), and riding his bike.
Extra credit: As a resident of New Orleans, Elliott has enjoyed many years of parades, festivals and Mardi Gras. Subsequently, along with his daughter and wife, he’s amassed a monster costume collection.
Ricardo Romero, Program Impact Manager
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 George, Donor Relations Associate
Kelsey is our resident champion of donor management. She works with donors and staff to ensure the system's running smoothly, from administering a sophisticated database system to forging relationships with loyal donors. 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 Mount Katahdin.
Tara Brugh, Communications Intern (University of Vermont)
Tara Brugh is our champion of communications. A senior at the University of Vermont, Tara is majoring in Public Communications and double minoring in Food Systems and Community and International Development. Born and raised in Indiana, Tara hopes to move back to the Midwest after college and establish her communications career in the nonprofit sector. When not studying or working, Tara enjoys cooking, gardening, and hanging out with her cat, Junie B Jones.
Extra Credit: Tara once took an open boat tour of the Norwegian fjords in the middle of a very cold winter.
Diomedes Arrocha, Field Trainer
Diomedes prides himself on creating a friendly and communicative environment of trust with the people he works with. He particularly enjoys exchanging knowledge with participant families and hopes that he can continue to make a positive impact by offering support and sharing his experiences.
Orbin Castro, Field Trainer
Orbin enjoys motivating participant families to live in harmony with the environment. As a previous program participant himself, Orbin enjoys sharing his knowledge and first-hand experience with the families he works with. He has a special knack for explaining complicated technical information in easily-digestible ways and prides himself on being punctual and committed to his daily tasks.
Damaris Delarosa, Field Trainer
Damaris acquired her love for farming by working alongside her father and siblings in their home garden in Gallon Jug, Belize. She enjoys forming relationships with participant families and seeing their happiness and gratitude when they complete projects together. Her dream is to own land where she can honor her father’s memory through farming and raise her daughter in a peaceful, natural environment.
Illeana Figueroa, Field Trainer
Illeana is a Forestry Engineer and mother to a beautiful, 13-month-old baby. She enjoys supporting, guiding, and teaching participant families what they need to know and is passionate about environmental preservation and harvesting in sustainable ways. She hopes to continue with her master’s degree, while supporting her family and being the best mother she can be.
Obed Gomez, Field Trainer
Consuelo Hernandez, Field Trainer
Consuelo joined Sustainable Harvest International as a field technician after she and her family successfully completed the program as participants. She enjoys helping families improve their quality of life, sharing her experience and knowledge, and seeing the results of the hard work participants put in. Consuelo is married and has five children, all of whom are in university.
Dayra Julio, Small Business Coordinator
Having grown up in a rural community where there was little outside assistance/resources and much need, Dayra understands the importance of supporting families that live in rural areas. She succeeds in creating a friendly, committed, and trusting environment with participant families while also maintaining good communication. Her favorite part of her job is interacting with families and helping to facilitate the two-way exchange of knowledge.
Daysbeth Lopez, Field Trainer
Daysbeth is married with two kids and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture Business Administration. Growing up with parents that were traditional farmers, Daysbeth aims to make an impact in agriculture without negatively affecting the environment. She dreams of owning a piece of land where she can produce all of her family’s food and continue learning about regenerative agriculture
Sharla McFadzean, Field Administrator
Growing up on a livestock farm, Sharla experienced the importance of helping farmers firsthand and was drawn to working as a field trainer for this reason. Now in her current role as an administrator, she demonstrates her knack for transparency and accountability and particularly enjoys doing QuickBooks. She hopes to see Sustainable Harvest International expand further into northern Belize and plant millions of more trees.
Maribel Ojo, Field Trainer
Maribel is motivated by seeing participant families make changes in their lives in order to preserve the environment. She aims to inspire families to eat healthier, be mindful of nutrition, and keep up with their home gardens. Maribel has three children and envisions a future where the planet is free of trash and water sources are preserved.
Abel Osorio, Field Trainer
Abel obtained his Agriculture Business degree in 2014 and has been working to preserve the environment ever since. He has a special interest in working with biological control agents and other environmentally-friendly methods of controlling pests and diseases. Trying new things and learning from participant families is what Abel enjoys most about his position as a field trainer.
Franklin Paz, Small Business, Logistics + Administrative Coordinator
Franklin has lived in Siguatepeque, Honduras for 25 years and often spent his childhood holidays visiting his grandparents at the Locomapa sector in Yoro. He is very committed to preserving natural resources in Honduras and to regenerating what has been destroyed. His favorite part of his job is collaborating with his colleagues and participant families to determine solutions that will work for them and their families.
Leonardo Pech, Belize Country Director
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!
Juan José Pérez, Field Trainer
Seeing how motivated participant families are to obtain healthy food and improve their nutrition inspires Juan. He likes being able to share his knowledge and see positive results with our methodology. Juan looks forward to continuing to partner with families and teach them how to produce food while using soil conservation techniques.
Jonatan Reyes, Field Trainer
Jonatan enjoys sharing his experiences and motivating families to help preserve natural resources. He is always committed to the tasks at hand and prides himself on always being punctual and prepared. Jonatan hopes to see the program in Honduras expand and thereby reduce the rate at which the environment is being destroyed.
Zoila Janet Reyes, Honduras Country Director
Zoila was born in Gracias City, Lempira Department and grew up in Santa Rosa de Copan. She holds a Bachelor of Agriculture Engineering, but most of her experience is related to community development. Now as a married mother of a 3-month-old baby, Zoila is working on finishing her master’s degree. She enjoys helping people and being the one who facilitates change.
Extra Credit: With the same passion that Zoila uses to help people, she also enjoys dancing.
Rodrigo Rodriguez, Panama Country Director
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 catching up on the news, reading, and watching sports and documentaries.
Extra credit: Rodrigo loves music. He learned to play the harmonica as a child and still occasionally plays.
Jaime Soto, Field Trainer
Prior to working as a field trainer with Sustainable Harvest International, Jaimie and his family were participants in our program. Inspired by this experience, Jaimie now enjoys being able to share his knowledge with families like his own. He strives to create change within participant communities by continuing to learn and teach new methods.
Jacobo Suazo Ortega, Field Coordinator
Jacobo has over 18 years of experience with Sustainable Harvest International and enjoys exchanging knowledge with participant families each day. He is particularly skilled at creating a positive work environment and sharing his knowledge with others. Jacobo hopes to reach as many rural families in remote areas as possible so that communities will be well-equipped with the knowledge of how to protect our planet
Ediberto Trujillo, Field Coordinator
Ediberto enjoys developing methods and alternatives that empower participant families to improve their quality of life. Knowing that his knowledge and expertise can help the communities succeed is a great source of motivation for him. He looks forward to continuing to work toward his goal of strengthening environmental awareness in order to benefit the planet.
Kayling Von Chung, Field Administrator
Kayling comes from a background of community service and enjoys helping families become autonomous through innovative projects. As an administrator, Kayling excels at organization and bookkeeping. She hopes that she can continue to see our methodology have a positive impact and create notable change.