Staff & Board

Staff

Lee-Ann Hill

Executive Director  (lee-ann@rockymountainseeds.org)

Lee-Ann has a background in landscape and river conservation, and holds a MA in Cultural Ecology from Prescott College where she studied traditional land management with a focus on sustainable food systems. After volunteering and learning on farms in Northern New Mexico and Costa Rica, she moved to southwest Colorado and created Laughing Wolf Farm to further explore seed adaptation and other food system passions.  Lee-Ann is a graduate of RMSA’s Seed School Teacher Training and Grain School programs.  Prior to becoming Executive Director, Lee-Ann was Special Projects Coordinator.  She produced the Mountain West Seed Summits and helped to build the Seed Stewards and Heritage Grain Trials programs for RMSA.

Jackee Alston

Development Director   (jackee@rockymountainseeds.org)

Jackee Alston uses her degrees in range ecology and wildlife conservation to spout off names of plants and animals at random. It annoys some people. She is a Master Gardener, a botany instructor, co-editor of the Gardening, Etc. column in the local paper, and the founder of the Grow Flagstaff! Seed Library in Northern Arizona. When not hiking, growing food, or mothering her three children, she writes books for teens and tweens. Occasionally she gets to watch movies and likes to pick them apart afterwards. Most people find that annoying too.

Renée Fourie

Outreach Coordinator  (renee@rockymountainseeds.org)

Renée holds degrees in anthropology, geology, and adult education and has always believed in the healing power of food. Once connecting with RMSA, her passion for food sustainability and independence awakened. When not tending to her small but growing garden she is most likely opting outside and hiking somewhere in Arizona

Bill McDorman

Teacher / IT  (bill@rockymountainseeds.org)

Bill McDorman is a seed saver, writer, and educator based in Cornville, Arizona. He is co-founder of The Down Home Project, Garden City Seeds, Seeds Trust, High Altitude Gardens, the Sawtooth Botanical Gardens, Seed School and the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance. He is author of the book Basic Seed Saving. Bill is the former executive director of Native Seeds/SEARCH and Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance.  He now oversees the Patent Free Seed campaign, membership database, website updates and teaches Seed School whenever he is called.

Joseluis Ortiz

Organizational Health and Justice Coordinator  (dreamnewmexico@gmail.com)

      Hi, My name is Joseluis Ortiz. I am an indigenous Genizaro, land based, native New Mexican from the Genizaro land grant (La Merced de Santo Tomas el Apostol de Rio de Las Trampas) village of Rodarte and currently live in my maternal village of San Antonio Del Rio Embudo or modern day “Dixon” in the high desert of Northern New Mexico. With roots in traditional agriculture that was passed on inter-generationally through my family I maintain a traditional land and acequia based way of life on land my family has stewarded since time immemorial. I was born and raised in, and grew up farming the High Llanos of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains and the low valleys of El Rio Embudo. My family and I grow corn, beans, squash, chile, legumes, fruit trees, wheat, sheep, horses and pasture and practice a traditional Regenerative and Biodynamic Agriculture that has been sustained and maintained through generations of lived and practiced relationship with the land, water and the natural environment where we have thrived in community.

       I come from; people struggling with chronic poverty as a result of historical land and culture loss, oppression, lack of quality education, disability and lack of meaningful opportunities in our home communities; people whose rich, deep, and rooted culture and history lives on through our cultural and land based practice and is deeply rooted in the health and wellness of our water shed, our acequias, our seeds, and our relationship with the land.  Acequia culture is a regenerative life way rooted in the distribution of water to irrigable lands and has sustained us for centuries in an arid region that would not under natural circumstances sustain life. Both my maternal and paternal granfathers served over 50 years combined as acequia mayordomos and water rights advocates. Acequias are considered one of human kinds great accomplishments and is a wonder of the world, I’m proud to know my ancestors played a direct role in accomplishing such a wonder..

       For 10 years I lived in the Atlixco land grant community in the “South Valley” of Albuquerque working with the grassroots community based organization called Los Jardines Institute, building and developing land based socially sustainable systems, training farmers, facilitating anti-racism and decolonization training, developing leaders, learning,  and investing time in creating healthy realities where we Live, work, play, pray, and learn. I am skilled in Environmental and Economic Justice, Restorative Justice, and Land Based Justice and have worked as a program director at a non-profit organization working with youth to transform their lives through cultural practices that connects them to their core identity and culture. We farmed year-round and engaged in community service learning projects as a way of giving back to our community. My work in community is the result of an 8 year process of self-transformation and self-discovery in my journey to overcome the impacts of violence, trauma, and addiction which is what people of color in my community face as my community lies within the region known as the “heroin capital” of the world. A place where multigenerational impact of drugs, violence, trauma, and addiction is a daily lived reality for my people.

      I am a proud father and partner to an incredible daughter and powerful, beautiful and creative woman, an active community member and the Community Liaison for the Greenroots Institute at the Northern New Mexico College, the coordinator of the NM Land Based Justice Collective, a board member of the BioDynamic Association(BDA) and the Organizational Health and Justice coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance.

 

Frances Craik

AmeriCorps VISTA Member, Program Specialist  (frances@rockymountainseeds.org)

    Frances Craik is the Program Specialist and VISTA member at Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance. She’s an aspiring farmer and seed grower. While studying Sustainable Food Systems at ASU she was mentored by a woman small-scale farmer. These experiences have inspired her to commit her life’s work to developing and supporting vibrant, diverse, and equitable food and seed systems.

Julie St. John

Graphic Designer

Julie’s grassroots began in activism and have flowered into using her design and editing expertise to promote the visions of some of the finest environmental/conservation efforts in the West. She is passionate about protecting and restoring native landscapes and reinvigorating sustainable relationships between human and natural communities.

Board of Directors

Kelley Weston

Chairman

Kelley Weston is founder, partner and owner of Native Landscapes in Ketchum, Idaho established in 1988. Native Landscapes is a full service landscape contracting business specializing in the use of native plants. Weston has been a Landscape Architect since 2007. He was the founder of the Montana State Prison Vocational Horticulture Program and was a founding member of the Sawtooth Botanical Garden and Idaho’s Bounty. He has been a board member of the Western Watersheds Project since 1999. He is a sustainability educator, has a black belt in Aikido, and has been a Zen practitioner for over 20 years.

Casey O’Leary

Casey O’Leary is owner of Earthly Delights Farm, an urban CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and seed farm in Boise, Idaho. She is also a founder of the Snake River Seed Cooperative, a bioregional seed company and seed library serving the Inter-mountain West. She manages the SCRC producer’s cooperative, which includes 10 southern Idaho farmers who grow a variety of veggies, herbs, flowers, and native plants for retail sale. She holds a BAS in Horticulture and a BA in Spanish from Boise State University. Casey teaches Sustainable Urban Agriculture for the Horticulture department for the College of Western Idaho and serves on their Technical Advisory Committee.

Don Tipping

Don Tipping has been farming and offering hands on, practical workshops at Seven Seeds Farm since 1997.  Seven Seeds is a small, organic family farm in the Siskiyou Mountains of SW Oregon that produces fruits, vegetables, seeds, flowers and herbs, while raising sheep, poultry and people. The farm has been designed to function as a self-contained, life regenerating organism with waste products being recycled and feeding other elements of the system.  Lauded as one of the best examples of a small productive Biodynamic and Permaculture farms in the northwest by many, Seven Seeds helps to mentor new farmers through internships and workshops. In 2009 we began Siskiyou Seeds, a bioregional organic seed company that grows and stewards a collection of over 700 open pollinated flower, vegetable and herb seeds and is constantly breeding new varieties that we distribute nationally.  Siskiyou Seeds produces about 50% of the seed at our home farm and then sources the remainder from a network of organic seed growers throughout the PNW.

Don is active in the Seed Stewardship movement and educates regionally on seed saving through the Seed Academy, the Student Organic Seed Symposium, Seed Schools and numerous conferences.  He sits on the board of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance and contributes to the Open Source Seed Initiative. 

John “JC” Caccia

John Caccia has a passion for gardening and seed saving as well as music, writing, whitewater rafting, geothermal hot springs, and beekeeping. He has a masters degree in Athletic Administration from Idaho State University. John is a co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance and a longtime environmental activist and grassroots community organizer.