Mario Yanez
Mario YanezProject Director

Mario Yanez is dedicated to envisioning and inspiring a transition toward life-sustaining, resilient human communities. He has an academic background in finance, information systems and ecology. He has several decades of experience applying systems thinking to developing and funding cutting-edge programming and creating provocative and relevant active-learning curriculum supportive of a much-needed cultural evolution. As a Permaculture practitioner, he is applying design at various scales, implementing regenerative productive landscapes, enterprises, and organizational and social systems. Mario is native to the Greater Everglades.

Thais Thiesen
Thais ThiesenProject Co-Director

Thais H. Thiesen is a professional designer and educator focused on grassroots initiatives to help innovators grow more sustainable, dynamic and diverse communities. She received her Permaculture Design Certificate in 1999 from Douglas Bullock. She studied Landscape Architecture holds a Masters in Agroecology. Thais designed and lived in intentional communities in Pennsylvania, Hawaii and North Carolina. Her specialties include edible landscaping, ecosocial design, project management and teaching.

Ava Klinger
Ava KlingerOperations Manager

Ava Klinger is passionate about making connections between people and projects dedicated to building a resilient future for our planet. In her role as registrar for Gaia University, Ava has spent close to decade getting to know individuals and their projects taking her to permaculture sites and ecovillages worldwide. This is how Ava first met Mario and joined the Inhabit Earth team.
She holds a BA in Humanities and Russian History from the University of Colorado at Boulder and completed her Permaculture Design Course in 2013. She currently lives in Saint Petersburg, Russia where she works remotely and is finishing up her Masters degree with Gaia University.

Victor Olefirenko
Victor OlefirenkoSystem Developer
Shruti Khandelwal
Shruti KhandelwalResearch Fellow

Shruti Khandelwal is an emerging licensed architect and an inter-disciplinary urban designer and researcher. She engages in dialogues for innovative ideas and problem-solving methodologies to arrive at comprehensive design solutions. She pursues her passion of research by engaging in neighborhood and community development projects by promoting ecologically designed built-environments facilitating food production systems. She has engaged in multidisciplinary research related to food, engineering, geography and regional studies, public health and nutrition. She consults as landscape architect, interior and graphic designer in the design field and data analysis and documentation and blogging in the research arena.

Eric Toensmeier
Eric ToensmeierPlant Lead

Eric Toensmeier is the award-winning author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables, and the co-author of Edible Forest Gardens as well as a contributor for Drawdown. He is an appointed lecturer at Yale University, and an international trainer, presenting in English and Spanish in the US, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean. Eric has studied permaculture and useful plants of the world for over two decades. He managed an urban farm project for five years, ran a seed company, and co-developed a farm business training curriculum that is now used in eight US states and three Canadian provinces. Eric’s most recent book is the Carbon Farming: a Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices which was backed by supporters through a Kickstarter campaign.

Erica Klopf
Erica KlopfPlant Specialist

Erica Klopf is dedicated to the development sustainable landscapes in South Florida.  Her academic background is in Environmental Studies and Art. Her studies of ecology, tropical fruits, and design culminated in the design of the Florida Gulf Coast University Food Forest.  She received her Permaculture Design Certificate through The Permaculture Project, her Advanced Permaculture Design Certification in Edible Forest Garden Design through Perennial Solutions, and is a trained Permaculture Teacher through the Urban Permaculture Guild of San Francisco in Experiential Permaculture Education.

Aaron Guman
Aaron GumanPlant Specialist

Aaron Guman received his permaculture design certificate at Naropa University in Boulder, CO, and has completed advanced design courses and his Teacher Training with Dave Jacke. Aaron fell in love with regenerative design the first time he saw an edible forest garden and has been studying and creating them ever since. He lectures and offers educational events in Vermont and around the northeast. Aaron and his partner are based in Central Vermont, where they are searching for a permanent land base on which to grow a food forest and family.

Emita GuardiaData Technician
Buse KanalIntern
Selin GuventurkIntern


Inhabit Earth

project direction, oversight and administration | platform, portal, toolkit design | development of pattern language operating system | creation of global plant wiki | convener of community practice

Apios Institute

development of North American perennial plant species index

Foodscape Designs

design of species index, foodscape templates, and algorithm for toolkit | development of technical content for toolkit | implementation of demonstration plantings in Miami and NYC

Davey Institute

integration of productive plant species into iTree

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