Abrah Jordan Dresdale, M.A.L.D. is a landscape designer, food systems planner, and educator. During the past several years, Abrah has taught outdoor education at Vermont Wilderness School and Wild Earth Programs. Her love of naturalist teachings inspired her to study botany and medicinal plants at the Wildflower School of Botanical Medicinein Austin, TX and complete her permaculture design certification through the Austin Permaculture Guild.
In 2010, Abrah completed her Master of Arts in Sustainable Landscape Design and Planning at the Conway School, Conway, MA, where she co-authored Feed Northampton, a food security plan for the city of Northampton. She is founder of Feeding Landscapes, a design business which specializes in edible landscapes and provides consulting for local food systems planning. She is coordinator of the new Farm and Food Systems degree option at Greenfield Community College, and teaches permaculture design courses at UMASS-Amherst, Wesleyan University, Greenfield Community College, and for Permaculture f.e.a.s.t. in Northampton, MA. Abrah uses mentoring and ecological design as tools to facilitate positive change in partnership with people and communities.
Charlie Laurel arrived at GCC in 2008 after 12 years living on the edge of the Painted Desert in Arizona where he was building houses out of used tires, straw bales, mud, aluminum cans, etc. He also worked with communities on the Dine’ Nation (Navajo) lands making links between forest restoration and building semi-traditional “Hogan” dwellings and ceremonial structures. Charlie earned his Masters of Sustainable Communities degree at Northern Arizona University, writing a thesis that combined his interests of Zen Buddhism and Environmentalism. Teaching a few courses at Coconino Community College in Flagstaff, Arizona sparked Charlie’s desire to focus on teaching when he moved to New England. In addition to teaching Environmental Studies at GCC, he also teaches Passive Solar Design; Building with Earth, Straw, Wood, and Stone; Organic Gardening; and a variety of special one-credit courses. Charlie teaches permaculture through the Vermont Wilderness School, enjoys gardening, and is working on a Masters in Community Mental Health at Southern New Hampshire University.
Daniel Botkin, instructor of Four Season Farming, is a farmer, educator, athlete, activist, and avid teacher who recognizes the timeliness of “backyard agriculture” and permaculture-style food gardens in today’s shifting food equation. With the help of seasonal volunteers “WWOOFers,” Daniel and his family operate a small CSA, share gourmet veggies, herbs, and flowers, save seeds, and host community events at Laughing Dog Farm in Gill. Although he enjoys growing for market, Daniel sees his true mission as teaching and inspiring the next generation in crafty, small-scale, low-budget, and diversified food production. He mentors on-farm interns and teaches classes on hoophouses, winter gardening, goat husbandry, heirloom seed saving, food storage, processing and fine cooking.
Clifford Hatch, instructor of Beekeeping, comes from a tradition of New England family farming that reaches back to the early seventeenth century. Clifford grew up on his family’s farm in Granby, MA. After college, he obtained culinary training and embarked on a career as Chef de Cuisine, first at the Deerfield Inn and later at the Rhode Island Country Club. He and Patricia Crosby began their first farm in Seekonk, Massachusetts before moving to Gill in 1988 and starting a pick-your-own farm and raw milk dairy operation at Upinngil Farm. He is active in local and regional farming organizations and serves on the boards of the Greenfield Farmers Cooperative Exchange, the Northeast Organic Farmers Association/Massachusetts, the Franklin County Technical School, and the Greenfield YMCA.
Kathy Harrison, instructor of Food Preservation & Storage, has been preserving food for over 30 years. She has taught classes and workshops for a number of groups and organizations including Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), The Mother Earth News Sustainable Living Fair, Berkshire Botanical Gardens and at numerous other venues. Kathy holds a Servsafe Certification and she is the author of Just In Case: How To Be Self Sufficient When The Unexpected Happens. She writes a blog, www.justincasebook.wordpress.com and also has a website, preservingabundance.com.