A Growing Culture






A Growing Culture Founders




Loren Cardeli
Executive Director
loren (at) agrowingculture (dot) org

Originally from Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, Loren attended highschool at the Putney School where he was introduced to agriculture. He went on to get a B.A. from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC, where he studied Sustainable Agriculture and worked on the mixed-crop and livestock Farm. There, his work and research focused on small-scale pig production and a 65 head grass-fed beef operation. In 2006 Loren spent a semester at the University of Hawaii in Hilo where he studied Tropical Agriculture. After college Loren helped successfully run an organic brewery in Asheville.

In 2010 Loren and Asher founded AGC, and the organization was granted 501(c)3 status shortly after. The following year, Loren embarked on a journey to frame a new narrative of the role of agrarians around the globe. He searched for the innovations that allowed societies to feed themselves for countless generations—absent of harmful chemicals.  Loren visited farmers of the Himalayas, the Mekong delta, Bedouins who farmed the desert oasis, indigenous tribes who herd the great rift of Africa. He helped set up and run organic farms and projects in Kenya, and Vietnam, and consulted with NGOs in Egypt and Uganda.

Loren is a leader in a small but growing movement of farmer-centric organizations. He believes the key to sustainability lies in returning small-scale farmers back to the forefront of agriculture. Along with his colleagues in the movement, he promotes farmer-led research, extension, and outreach, helping to create sustainable, self-driving futures.




Freya Yost
Director of Information Services
freyaagc [at] gmail [dot] com

Originally from Vermont, Freya has spent much of the last decade living in Italy where she currently resides. Prior to this position, she has worked at the United Nations, New York Public Library, and at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. She completed her undergraduate degree at the American University of Rome and holds an M.S. in Information and Library Science from Pratt Institute. Her research interests include information policy, open data, and privacy. Freya is also involved in the arts, and completed a 1-year fellowship at the Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Freya was immediately drawn to agriculture when she learned its dimensions included climate change, gender equality, food insecurity, immigration, and economy among others. Dedicated to open access initiatives, she leads AGC’s library and information services in a direction that brings research back to farmers.



Rob Bunch
Web/Media Development
rob (at) dapmedia (dot) com

Rob grew up in eastern North Carolina where farming and agriculture are a prevalent part of the community and landscape. He has fond memories of visiting his grandfather’s farm as a child… riding on tractors… and getting chased by roosters and hogs. He is proud to have supported the development of A Growing Culture from the beginning. With a background in film, web, and graphic design, Rob also develops mobile apps for a company in Asheville, NC.

Will Rutherford
Outreach Coordinator

Originally from the Blue Ridge Mountains of south western Virginia, Will Rutherford has been working with AGC since 2011.  Will received a B.A. in Outdoor Leadership and Experiential Education and worked as a Field Instructor for the North Carolina Outward Bound School and the Boulder Outdoor Survival School. Will has a diverse background including mechanics, commercial fishing in Alaska and experience working in Montessori schools. In 2012 he completed Natural Building Certification at Yestermorrow Build/Design School in Vermont. Will’s diverse background, time outdoors, and travelling have given him a strong commitment to environmental stewardship.

In 2006 Will moved to Kauai’s North shore and was introduced to Permaculture for the first time. Will was quickly immersed in the sustainable agriculture practices of Hawaii, and sought out similar experiences travelling in Asia. Will spent over a year traveling and working the field with the AGC team (they worked in nine different countries in Asia). Will looks forward to continuing his work with AGC: connecting farmers to each other and their environment through information exchange.

A Growing Culture Writers


Steven Leong
Steven Leong
Contributing Author

Steven Leong lives in Malaysia where he has been a pioneer in the organic farming scene for over thirty years. Steven traveled to Japan to study the Shimamoto method of farming before returning to Southeast Asia to promote organic farming.The Shimamoto method is rooted in restoring the top soil by using fermented phosphate, organic fertilizer, foliage, brown sugar and wood vinegar.Mr. Leong has been an advisor to many farmers in Malaysia, most notably the cooperative of Cameron Organic Produce in the Cameron Highands.He now runs an organic composting business called Shimamoto Bio-Tech, where he not only manufactures several types of organic compost but also conducts research as well. Currently he is working on setting up his dream farm, which will be isolated in the jungle of Malaysia where people can come to live and learn organic farming techniques.

Dan Kiprop Kibet
Dan Kiprop Kibet
Contributing Author
dan (at) agrowingculture (dot) org

Dan Kiprop Kibet was born in Salawa, Baringo County, Kenya where he grew up on a small-scale diversifed farming homestead. His love for agriculture began in primary school, as a member of 4K club and Scouting movement. He raised garden crops using locally available resources, and through this realized how sustainable farming can give us access to healthy food. After completing high school, Dan volunteered at the dairy program at Ukweli Training and development Center, in Eldoret. The Center, specializes on training in Organic farming methods. At the center Dan met his mentors Director Samuel Teimuge and Mrs. Phyllis Davies, who inspired Dan to embrace Organic farming, as a tool for fighting hunger today. The study sponsored his Certificate in Bio- Intensive Agriculture at the Manor House Agricultural Center, in Kitale. Through this training, Dan learned the theory and practical aspects of Bio-intensive agriculture, designed by John Jeavans. Equipped with techniques and skill, Dan returned to Ukweli Training Center, to work as lead Gardener/afforest, as well as a Trainer. Dan then consulted the Wakedu Community Project, a children’s orphanage to establish an Organic garden. He also travelled to Bunda, Mwanza, Tanzaniao to participate in building a demonstration garden, for Empowering Lives Internation, (Tz). Dan is currently working at Chemusian Farm Ltd. in their Department of Organic Fertilizer Production. He holds a Higher Diploma, in Counseling Psychology and certificate in Trainer of Trainees/Facilitation, (TOT/TOF) from Kenya Institute of Professional Counseling. He is looking forward to integrating the two fields to foster Sustainability for better lives for all. Dan’s passions are, Organic gardening, research in sustainable agriculture, meeting farmers, agribusiness, counseling and Psychology. He enjoys reading articles on agriculture and psychology, watching football, comedies and listening to music. He is grateful for the opportunity, to network, promote, and teach farmers innovative, sustainable agricultural practices through A Growing Culture in Africa.

Dan Hughes
Dan Hughes
Contributing Author
danhughes (at) agrowingculture (dot) org

Dan Hughes was raised in the farm country outside of Greensboro in the North Carolina Piedmont. The son of an avid gardener, he has always had an interest in growing food. His first real exposure to agriculture on a large scale was on the Farm at Warren Wilson College where he worked for two years while studying Political Science and History. It was there that he learned the value of a hard days work in the outdoors and the joys of seeing the fruits of your labor so readily presented. He has since worked on several different farms around the Asheville, NC area where he currently lives. Always an environmentalist at heart, it was through sustainable agriculture that he found a way to affect change for a better future with his own hands. Recognizing the growing need for ecologically minded folks on the policy and consulting end of farming, Dan hopes to study sustainable agricultural development in the coming year. He is fully committed to the mission of AGC and relishes the opportunity to put his knowledge on agriculture to good use with the organization.

Trang Writer
Nhu Trang Pham
Contributing Author

My nick name is “small tiger”. I was born in Viet Nam and like a tiger, I want to stand on a high mountain and look down the forest, feel nature, be nature. I studied Genetic- Plant Breeding in university. And in the whole student life, I did researches on Oryza sativa, Carica papaya, Artemisia annua L., Azolla microphyla. Through all my researches, I understand clearly the way we are destroying nature and lose genetic resource day by day. We are a part of nature so why we can do that? This question always on my mind. And organic agriculture is my choice. I’m trying to study organic agriculture and help farmers in my country.

Something about me: Like sport, love cooking and reading book. I be crazy sometime. And going around the world is my dream.