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About us


New Additions to the Ecology Action Team
By Syndey Grange and Melvin R. Castrillo Cheng

Sydney GrangeSydney Grange

My love for the outdoors and exposure to gardening all began in the San Francisco Bay Area, in Northern California, where I grew up. As a kid, I helped my mom in her backyard vegetable garden, and in high school I started a small native plant and vegetable garden in some underutilized space on campus.

My passion for food justice, and my desire for all humans to have access to sustainable, healthy and equitably produced foods, led me to further explore gardening at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. During college I worked as a Teacher's Assistant in a Horticulture Program at a nearby women's prison and was part of an initiative that started a community garden in a vacant lot in downtown Asheville. In 2017, I graduated from Warren Wilson College with a BA in Conservation Biology and Environmental Policy and a minor in Global Studies.

After seeing some of the inefficiencies and cruelties of animal agriculture, and after working on a 10-acre organic vegetable farm in New Haven, CT, I became interested in veganic agriculture and in sustainably growing complete diets. In March 2019, I joined the Ecology Action team and began working at Victory Gardens for Peace in Mendocino, CA. It has been amazing to see the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method in action and to be a part of a movement that not only empowers people to feed themselves, but one that is also building soil, giving back to the land, and reducing the scale and size of our agricultural footprint.

I'm grateful to be a part of the international community of Biointensive gardeners and farmers, who are bringing so much care, awareness and intention to their work, and who are helping to build a more just and sustainable world one garden at a time!

Melvin R. Castrillo ChengMelvin R. Castrillo Cheng

I was born in Nicaragua, a country located in the center of the American continent, about the size of Massachusetts but with the highest number of certified GROW BIOINTENSIVE teachers in the world.

I came to the United States in the early 80s because of the civil war in Nicaragua, already knowing I wanted to pursue a degree in agriculture. My participation in the National Literacy Campaign during the early years of the Nicaraguan revolution taught me about the life in the countryside. While I taught campesinos how to read and write, I learned about their struggle with food-producing methods. Because of this, I romantically fell in love with agriculture—I wanted to study Agronomy in order to help our fellow farmers.

While I lived in San Francisco, I worked in the service industry, which in turn allowed me to learn about the food industry. I studied first at San Francisco State University and later transferred to Fresno State University where I obtained a bachelor's degree in Agriculture.

In 1995, I returned to Nicaragua, working different jobs which required me to travel to various regions in the country. I was already learning about the type of chemically dependent agriculture practiced there. I also visited organic farms because I wanted to experience firsthand the fragility in their food-producing methods.

About three years ago, I decided to move back to the United States to be closer to my aging parents. I applied to Ecology Action for the position of Assistant to the Mini-Farm Manager; because of Misha's illness, the Mini-Farm Manager position was available, so I decided to give it a try!

I am very happy to be part of the EA team. John Jeavons' passion to feed the world using a closed-loop methodology resonates with me. I am infinitely grateful to be part of the GROW BIOINTENSIVE community which is empowering farmers all over the world to feed the soil and people in a sustainable way.

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