Paul Lee is a philosopher, philanthropist, homeless advocate. He studied philosophy at St. Olaf College and received his divinity degree and PhD from Harvard. He taught at Harvard, MIT, and UC Santa Cruz, where he founded the first organic garden on a university with Alan Chadwick in 1967. In 1976 alongside Paige Smith, he began the California Conservation Corps under Jerry Brown's administration. Paul organized and proposed the Greenbelt Initiative to save the Pogonip in 1978. In 1985 he founded the organization that became Santa Cruz's Homeless Services Center and the Homeless Garden Project. He is also an author; his books include: There is a Garden in the Mind, The Quality of Mercy, Florence the Goose, and a play, A Lullaby for Wittgenstein.
Lynne Basehore Cooper,
Lynne is the Founding Director of the Homeless Garden Project. Her motivating vision was to provide homeless citizens sanctuary, healing and jobs by growing a productive and beautiful garden within the community. Lynne pioneered the social service enterprise model that continues to thrive at the Project today. Lynne’s experience includes Management, Communications, Interpersonal Relations, Administration & Holistic Health. Lynne has a degree in Art from UCSC. From Lynne’s original Mission Statement for the Homeless Garden Project, “The garden is a context where an exchange can happen: homeless folks “producing” healthy organic food for sale and contributing to the community, and the community supporting, volunteering and keeping viable the opportunities for others.”
Darrie has worked with Homeless Garden Project since 1991 and has led the Project since 2008. Under Darrie’s leadership, the Project has developed the transitional employment program and its goals, grown revenue four-fold, and has successfully completed a 3.5 million capital campaign. Darrie has primary responsibility for vision and planning, fundraising, program direction, financial management, public relations and staff support of the Project's Board of Directors.
(831) 426-3609, ext 12
Director of Development
Paul has been a nonprofit fundraiser since 2003, working for a variety of organizations dedicated to the social good, including the Prospect Park Alliance in Brooklyn, NY and the Rockwood Leadership Institute in Berkeley, CA. Living in the Santa Cruz Mountains since 2010, Paul is a proud dad and husband, a deeply committed social justice advocate, an ardent environmentalist, as well as an avid fan of live music.
(831) 426-3609, ext 13
Director of Operations
Brian Sweeney has managed sustainable agricultural and food related projects with more than 10 years of experience working within the private sector, NGO’s, and non-profit organizations. Brian's experience includes design and development of commercial organic vegetable, fruit, and livestock operations. He has consistently worked to understand and empower those with the greatest need. His education includes studies in environmental protection and justice, with a focus on climate solutions. His academic and professional work have been carried out in many regions of the United States, Latin America, and Africa.
Value Added Enterprise Manager
Robyn's passion for connecting people to place came alive during her studies of Anthropology and Sustainability at the University of Florida. Inspired by diverse human culture and the transformative power of plants, Robyn spent many years studying herbal medicine, and formulating and crafting earth based products sourced from organic, permaculture, or regenerative systems. Additionally, with educational marketing and garden-centered retail experience, Robyn is thrilled to contribute to the growing success of HGP. Robyn fills her cup by spending time in the sea, browsing eclectic recipe books and blogs, and making mead.
Training & Education Supervisor
Francesca’s passion in life is to support all living things. She has done multiple service programs. She has been to disaster areas in FEMA Corps and has experienced the dirt between her fingers, hoping for new life and for growth during her time at the American Conservation Experience. She has led a three week adventure trip for young women, has supported special needs children in school and in their homes, and she has encouraged students to advocate for themselves as the Student Government Advisor at San Jose Job Corps. She is thrilled to be in a position that marries her love of the outdoors, her love of working with her hands, and her love of working with people. When she isn’t working on the farm or in the workshop, you can find her on her yoga mat, in her kitchen baking or cooking, or on a trail in the redwoods or by the sea.
Evan Jones, Programs Manager
Evan's passion for social work is deeply rooted in outreach and community engagement to help foster creative growth and social change. He completed his MSW at the University of Tennessee. Evan has previously focused on refugee resettlement and trauma-informed care while in Nashville and organized youth outreach programs in Chicago. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana and Uganda, he focused on community health initiatives and youth development. Evan is dedicated to a strengths-based perspective and fostering resilience in others.
Danny Weir's farming career began in college as he obtained a BA in Environmental Studies with a minor in Urban Agriculture from the University of San Francisco. Danny had the opportunity to work with and establish several community gardens placed in low income neighborhoods of San Francisco with the goal of teaching people to grow their own healthy food who otherwise could not afford to buy it.
Danny has had the opportunity to manage and develop several larger scale organic certified operations ranging from vineyards and stone fruit orchards to vegetables and obtained an organic certification for a processing facility. Danny is very excited to be working with the Homeless Garden Project and using his skills and expertise to make a difference in so many people's lives.
Donald J. Lessard,
Weekend Farm Steward
Born in 1950 in Bloomfield, Connecticut on the highest milk producing Holstein farm in the US. Gardened professionally and worked at a riding stable for 10 years. Became a Connecticut Master Gardener in 1975. Processed and marketed milk and ice cream for 30 years at Maple Hill Farms. Retired and moved to Santa Cruz and began working with The Homeless Garden Project.
Business & Finance Manager
Mary Reyes is a local Santa Cruzan since 1964 and has over forty years of bookkeeping and account experience. Mary enjoys working for and with local business. She is very grateful for her family choosing Santa Cruz to retire from military life, and is very happy to be a part of The Homeless Garden Project team and family. She is looking forward to giving back to the community that is her home.
(831) 426-3609, ext 15
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Francis Krebs MSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, an Instructor at San Jose State University and is the Faculty Field Instructor for students from our University partners who are completing a field placement as part of their Masters in Social Work degree. Francis has worked in social services and mental health for over 35 years and recently retired from working for Santa Cruz County in Children’s Mental Health and Child Welfare. He maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Aptos.
Wendy Gabbe Day,
Wendy has enjoyed coordinating events the past 15 years. She coordinated VegFest in Santa Cruz and Portland, OR; she wrote a plant-based cookbook, she's a food blogger, and co-producer of the documentary Vegan: Everyday Stories. Wendy is the Board Treasurer of nonprofit Vegan Outreach and is on the Board at Monarch Community School. She played D1 college basketball at University of California, Irvine and loves to be outdoors and active with her husband, kids, and two rescue dogs.
Carrie and her husband, Ben, moved from Palo Alto to a farm in the mountains above Soquel in 2017. She is enjoying getting to know her new community and its friendly people and slower pace. She recently retired after 29 years as CFO of a law firm in Seattle, WA. She has served as Chair of the Advisory Board of the Rausser College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley. She is looking forward to introducing other refugees from the Silicon Valley to the great work of HGP!
Board Vice President
Ron is deeply devoted to supporting local efforts to build a strong, equitable community. He has served on the board of many local organizations including Second Harvest Food Bank, Santa Cruz Chamber, Tannery Arts Center, Life Lab, and continues his board work at FoodWhat, Workforce Investment Board and Housing Matters. In addition, he was the Publisher at Good Times for thirteen years. Ron doesn’t shy away from adventure, having spent nine and a half months hitch-hiking through fourteen countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and an additional two months travelling through parts of Africa.
Enda immigrated at the age of two from Ireland to California in 1957. After attending UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School, he has practiced law in California for 40 years. He worked as a public defender in Los Angeles and Santa Cruz County before entering private criminal defense practice 28 years ago. He has served on numerous local boards including Past Chair and current treasurer of Grey Bears.
Suzanne has been involved with the Homeless Garden project since 2016 when she started helping to organize the Sustain Supper series. She also has provided program management expertise for our transition from Natural Bridges to Pogonip Farm.
Suzanne worked for 35 years in senior management positions for several technology companies in the Silicon Valley. Suzanne has lived in Santa Cruz since 1976 and has been on the Board or Supervisory Committee of the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union since 1977. primarily in the field of Customer Service and Program Management.
Scott took over a failed food co-op in 1985, and developed it into a $100
million natural foods retail business with six company-owned locations and
two licensees. In 2013, Scott sold New Leaf, and is now retired. When Scott
founded his company, he wanted to create a business that would operate in a
way that would reflect his personal values, and thus made a commitment to
give 10% of its profits back to the community, provide good pay and benefits
to his employees, support local organic farmers and other local producers,
and sell products that would support the company's mission of nourishing
and sustaining its community. New Leaf piloted a number of unique
programs, including Envirotokens where New Leaf's customers who bring
their own bags are given tokens to support local non-profits like the
Homeless Garden Project.
Scott is also active in his local community, having served on boards of the local public radio station, the Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce, Jacob's Heart, Temple Beth El, and Think Local First Santa Cruz. Scott currently serves on the board of the Union of Reform Judaism.
Scott is blessed to be married with four adult children and six grandchildren, all locally born and bred and all still living here.
Outside of work and community service, Scott is most passionate about playing basketball and golf, watching major league sports (rabid Warrior's, 49ers, Giant's fan), listening to great music (rock, jazz, vocal are his faves), reading mysteries and thrillers, and seeing Broadway musicals.
Scott is greatly concerned about the world around him, about wanting to reduce income inequality, dealing with climate change and environmental issues, supporting the move to renewable energy sources, and mitigating the influence of money in politics, just to name a few.
Brendan has been involved with the Homeless Garden Project since 1995 when he volunteered at the Natural Bridges Farm as a UCSC intern. Brendan has leveraged his over 20 years of professional agricultural experience to mentor HGP staff and trainees. Brendan is a past president of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau and supported the development of the Pogonip Farm Plan. He has recently joined the Board of Directors to ensure that the HGP continues to have a positive impact in the community of Santa Cruz where he and his family live.
Mark Primack has lived in Santa Cruz since 1976. He is a practicing architect whose civic volunteerism is centered on encouraging and preserving community diversity and resilience.
Richard Bruce is impressed by the success the Homeless Garden Project has had in teaching its trainees to be self-sufficient. He is enthusiastic about helping with the move to the permanent farm where the Project can grow and help more unsheltered members of our community. After graduating from UCSB with a PhD in physics, he spent most of his 35 years as a technologist and research manager at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. Using his research work, he founded and led two technology start-ups. Retiring to Santa Cruz in 2010 has spent his time studying US history, reading literature, creating metal sculpture, and playing pickleball. He loves family gatherings with his wife, 3 children and grandchildren.