Board

Officers

Angus Wright, Ph.D.

Chairman of the Board
Sacramento, California

Angus is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies at California State University, Sacramento. He is author of To Inherit the Earth: The Brazilian Landless Movement in the Creation of a New Brazil (2003) and The Death of Ramon Gonzalez; The Modern Agricultural Dilemma (1990). He has served as Chair of Environmental Studies CSUS, president of the board of Food First! and Pesticide Action Network and member of independent citizen review panel of Inter-American Development Bank.

Wes Jackson, Ph.D.

President of The Land Institute
Salina, Kansas

Wes resigned a professorship with tenure to found The Land Institute in 1976. Pew Scholar, MacArthur Fellow, and Right Livelihood Award. Books include Man and the Environment, New Roots for Agriculture, Meeting the Expectations of the Land (edited with Wendell Berry and Bruce Colman), Altars of Unhewn Stone, Becoming Native to This Place, Nature As Measure, and Consulting the Genius of the Place. Life magazine named Jackson one of 18 individuals it predicts will be among the 100 "important Americans of the 20th century." He was named one of Smithsonian magazine's "35 who made a difference" in November 2005.

Jan Flora, Ph.D.

Secretary of The Land Institute
Ames, Iowa

Jan is Professor Emeritus at Iowa State University and Research Professor of Sociology at Kansas State University. At ISU he taught in the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture. His research examines relationships between community capitals and economic, community, and sustainable development. He has researched community effects of global warming and the contributions of Latinos to Midwestern rural communities. He is a volunteer community leader in AMOS, A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy. Earlier in his career he was program officer for Ford Foundation for agriculture and rural development in South America. He grew up on a farm near Quinter, Kansas.

John M. Simpson

Treasurer of The Land Institute,
Founding Member of the Board of Directors
Kansas City, Missouri

John, a Kansas City attorney, was one of the founders of The Land Institute. He is a former Kansas state senator and candidate for U.S. Senate. 

Board Members

Christina Brown

Louisville, Kentucky

Christina (Christy) Brown is originally from Frederick, Maryland, and has lived in Louisville, Kentucky, since 1968 when she married Owsley Brown II. Christy is a proud mother of three and grandmother of nine. She co-founded the Center for Interfaith Relations in 1985 and went on to launch the first US Festival of Faiths in Louisville, which is now in its twentieth  year.  Christy is an International Trustee of Religions For Peace, the world's largest International Interfaith organization. She believes passionately in the potential of faith communities to effect positive change by working together, at the same time celebrating their commonalities and differences. She is also currently serving on the board of the Sustainable Food Trust in England, The Center for Interfaith Relations and The Louisville Orchestra Board . Christy is one of the co-founders of Kentucky's Berry Center, created to perpetuate the legacy of Wendell Berry and his family.  To bring about the kinds of changes that will help people live healthier lives, she founded and is currently serving as the board chair for a new organization, The Institute of Healthy Air, Water and Soil. The Institute is creating new models that empower "citizen scientists" to reveal the connections between environmental health and human health, starting with air quality and asthma, in our urban laboratory of Louisville.

Brian Donahue

Professor, Brandeis University
Weston, Massachusetts

Brian teaches courses on environmental issues, environmental history, and sustainable farming and forestry at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. Before that, he was The Land Institute's education director. His primary interest is the history and prospect of human engagement with the land. He co-founded and directed for 12 years, a nonprofit community farm in Weston, MA, called Lands' Sake. He describes that in "Reclaiming the Commons: Community Farms and Forests in a New England Town." He also wrote "The Great Meadow: Farmers and the Land in Colonial Concord" and co-edited "American Georgics: Writings on Farming, Culture, and the Land." He is the recipient of numerous literary awards. Brian joined our board in 2012.

Vivian Donnelley

Trustee and Senior Admissions Associate,
The Dalton School, New York City
New York, New York

Vivian chaired and co-wrote the 2007 Dalton Ten-Year Strategic Plan. Served on the board, as member and chair, of Green Chimneys Children's Services, a pioneer in the field of animal-assisted therapy, serving at-risk youth on its farm campus in Brewster, NY. Recently joined the board of The Center for Humans and Nature, founded in 2002 by her late husband, Strachan Donnelley, to explore and promote moral and civic responsibilities to human communities and to natural ecosystems and landscapes. Board member of The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Chicago, and Trustee of The American Museum of Natural History, New York City.

Sam Evans

Senior Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship
McCormick Theological Seminary
Chicago, Illinois

Sam is currently the Senior Director of Donor Relations and Stewardship at McCormick Theological Seminary. He was born and raised in Kansas and a partner & CEO of Evans Grain Company in Salina, Kansas from 1966 -1991. Although Sam and his wife, Terry Evans, live in Chicago, his heart is in Kansas. He's been elected and appointed to numerous board committees including the Farmers and Merchants Bank Board of Directors on which he served for 19 years. Sam is currently serving on the Board for Alloy Engineering Company. He was also a member of the Y-USA executive team with oversight of 150 employees and a $22M budget and was the overseer of the Jerusalem YMCA, partnering with YMCAs in 120 countries.

Pete Ferrell

Owner/operator
Ferrell Ranch
Beaumont, Kansas

Ferrell Ranch was established by Pete's great-grandfather in 1888.  Pete worked as a full-time ranch hand 1974 to 1980, when he became general manager. He was the lead landholder securing the development of the Elk River Wind Farm completed in 2005.  Pete substitute teaches the Ranching for Profit School as well as facilitates the Executive Link program offered by Ranch Management Consultants of Fairfield, CA.

Eric Gimon

Physicist focused on energy issues
Berkeley, California

Eric's a well-regarded policy professional and a technical adviser of the Vote Solar Initiative. He sits on the board of the Pacific Institute and joined the TLI board in May 2012.

Michelle Mack

Professor of Ecosystem Ecology
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, Arizona

A major component of Michelle's research program evaluates how climate change influences fire disturbances in boreal forests and how shifts in the fire regime impact carbon and nitrogen cycling.Formerly an intern at The Land Institute, she joined our board in May 2012.

Ken Levy-Church

New York, New York

After receiving his bachelor's in philosophy from Dartmouth, Ken grounded himself in New Mexico building passive solar adobe homes. He returned to graduate education at the University of Michigan, where he received an interdisciplinary master's degree in Russian and East European Studies and then a Ph.D. in Central Eurasian History. His dissertation examined the evolution of an agrarian revolutionary tradition in western Georgia. Over the course of his graduate studies he studied Russian, Turkish, Persian and Georgian and spent extended periods in Russia, Turkey and Georgia. While teaching Central Eurasian History at St. Lawrence University, he developed numerous courses pertaining to the region, including the History of the Russian and Ottoman Empires as well as a class on 9/11 entitled "Why to 'They' Hate 'Us'?" He then left academia to pursue philanthropic work as a board member of the JEHT Foundation, which focused primarily on criminal justice in the U.S. and became the largest criminal justice foundation in the U.S. at the time. He also founded the Fair Food Foundation (now Fair Food Network) whose mission is the development of healthy food systems in inner city America. At present he is focused on the science and business of climate change as well as promoting the work of The Land Institute.

Pat McLarney

Retired Managing Partner Shook,
Hardy & Bacon
Kansas City, Missouri

Just retiring but still working, Pat supervised litigation and tried cases for over 40 years, and was Managing Partner of Shook, Hardy & Bacon in Kansas City from 1985-2002. During that time, the firm grew from 65 to more than 500 lawyers in nine offices, two of them overseas. Pat's civic engagement includes Legal Aid, Civic Council of Kansas City, and the boards of three colleges. He is raising $1 million a year for non-profits. His professional awards are numerous and significant. He was named Citizen of the Year by the mayor of Kansas City in 2002 and is the incoming chair of the University of Missouri-KC Board of Trustees.

Leigh Merinoff

Haworth, New Jersey

Leigh holds an MFA from Hunter College and a BFA from University of Michigan. She has been a sculptor and art instructor, a career she gave up to focus on global food sustainability, alternative energy and farming. She's been an ambassador for Heifer International, is an active public speaker, and started two action groups, Moving Toward Sustainability; things we can do now, and AgroLiving. Leigh also runs Meadows Bee farm and operates Leigh's Bees, a small line of healing salves, herbal teas and tinctures. She joined our TLI board in May of June 2012

Conn Nugent

Washington, D.C.

Formerly Executive Director, Citizens Union of the City of New York; Managing Partner of Liberty Tree Alliance; Director of the Environmental Programs, Nathan Cummings Foundation; and Executive Director, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

Donald E. Worster, Ph.D.

Hall Distinguished Professor of American History
Department of History, University of Kansas
Member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences
Lawrence, Kansas

Professor Worster won the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year for A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir, and also the Bancroft Prize for Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s, and authored Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological IdeasRivers of Empire,Under Western SkiesThe Wealth of Nature and A River Running West.

Emeritus board members

Terry Evans

Land Institute Arts Associate
Chicago, Illinois

One-person shows at the Art Institute of Chicago, The National Museum of Natural History and The Field Museum among others. Guggenheim Fellowship Recipient. Her photographs are part of the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, the Chicago Art Institute, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and many others. Her recent retrospective exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City includes the catalogue book, Heartland. Her other books include Prairie Stories, Revealing Chicago: An Aerial Portrait, and Disarming the Prairie. Recent exhibitions include, Fractured:North Dakota's Oil Boom at The Field Museum and Meet Me at the Trinity at the Amon -Carter Museum of Art.

Victoria Ranney

Grayslake, Illinois

She is president of Prairie Holdings Corporation, the developer of the Prairie Crossing conservation community. Associate editor of the Frederick Law Olmsted Papers.

Lloyd G. Schermer

Aspen, Colorado

He is the former CEO of Lee Enterprises, Davenport Iowa. He is a former Publisher of the Kewanee Star Courier, Kewanee, Illinois, and the Missoulian, Missoula Montanta. The Kewanee Star Courier was responsible for passage (1958) of the first strip mining legislation in Illinois. The Missoulian was responsible for the passage of the first air and water pollution legislation (1969) in Montana. As a result, the sterile Clark Fork River of the Columbia River became a blue ribbon trout stream. The Missoulian was responsible for establishing the Great Bear Wilderness (300,000 acres) and the Scapegoat Wilderness (120,000) being added to the existing 1 million acre Bob Marshal Wilderness. In a second career his antique wood type sculptures have been added to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and four other museums. Boards include honorary or life memberships in the Smithsonian National Board, the Aspen Institute, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and the World Wildlife Fund.