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CREATIVE SOLUTION FOR THRIVING ON PLANET EARTH

Located on a historic agricultural property that is today surrounded by urban sprawl, The Ecology Center is a 28-acre Regenerative Organic Certified™ farm and education center that serves as a hub for southern California’s ecological movement.

We are in business to shift culture. By curating ecological experiences for everyone, we provide creative yet achievable solutions for thriving on planet Earth.

We believe everyone should have access to the tools, knowledge, and skills that promote healthy communities in the 21st century. This continues to drive our environmental, experiential and instructional design across our facilities, activations and curricula. We are recognized as educators, connectors and community builders that are leading the charge around the conversation about better, healthy living. It is our contribution to an abundant future.

The 4 core pillars of our modern village

Our holistic approach integrates the incubation of the next generation of agricultural, culinary, and educational leaders with the creation of a vibrant community resource and gathering place to inspire all. We recognize and honor the interdependence among the functions of these four pillars within our village. The way Grow, Eat, Make and Peace touches all that happens here is part of the magic.

The 4 core pillars of our modern village

Our holistic approach integrates the incubation of the next generation of agricultural, culinary, and educational leaders with the creation of a vibrant community resource and gathering place to inspire all. We recognize and honor the interdependence among the functions of these four pillars within our village. The way Grow, Eat, Make and Peace touches all that happens here is part of the magic.

We’ve transformed a one-acre dirt lot into a thriving community ecosystem.

We’ve created an ecosystem to gather and build a community of creatives, self-starters, architects, makers, farmers, culinary leaders, visionaries, educators, and organizers. Together, we are building a more abundant future. One that the next generations will be proud to inherit.

IN OUR 13 YEAR HISTORY

We’ve made great progress toward a better understanding of our shared roles in the world around us.

We have imagined and successfully conveyed a vision for a culture that gives more than it takes—ideals that have been demonstrated daily through the Center’s onsite and outreach programs. Today, we are a destination where people from across the region come to plant seeds, tend the garden, create with their hands, and share a meal in celebration.

Three happy children show their dirty hands from planting in the fields.

250,000 Children Engaged

Children skip through the rainbow on the farm at The Ecology Center.

300,000 On-Site Visitors

Two people prepare food as a third shows them how to properly stir a pot.

150 Culinary Leaders Trained

150 Farmers Trained

2,500 Households Reached

A person holds a Harvest Box full of produce with many boxes stacked high behind them.

100,000 lb Food Donated

A REGENERATIVE ORGANIC CERTIFIED™ FARM

For more than 100 years, industrial agriculture has promised us more food at greater convenience and lower cost—but the true cost was the health of people, animals, and the planet we all call home. Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides that destroy the soil biome, pollute oceans, and leave toxic residue on our food are only the beginning. The practices of industrial agriculture lead to loss of genetic diversity in our crops and foodways, foster dangerous and inequitable conditions for workers, and contribute significantly to climate change.

We have seen a better way. Our farm’s Regenerative Organic
Certification™ represents the set of agricultural and business practices we follow based on traditional principles of collective land stewardship, using the mutually supportive relationships found in nature to nourish humans, plants, and soil. This rigorous model focuses on the long-term health of the land rather than short-term profits, giving us an opportunity to prove the power of giving more than we take to cultivate sustainable abundance for all.

LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The Ecology Center acknowledges that this 28-acre Regenerative Organic Certified™ farm rests on the traditional and unceded sacred lands of the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians known as the Acjachemen Nation.
We recognize that the Acjachemen Nation has thrived for over 12,000 years in what we know today as Orange County, California. This region has long been a center for the Acjachemen people to gather, trade and maintain kinship ties. Today, the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians/Acjachemen Nation continues to contribute to the life of this region by celebrating their heritage, practicing their traditions, and caring for their ancestral lands, ocean, and waterways.
Three Acjachemen lead a ceremony at The Ecology Center.

LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Three Acjachemen lead a ceremony at The Ecology Center.
The Ecology Center acknowledges that this 28-acre Regenerative Organic Certified™ farm rests on the traditional and unceded sacred lands of the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians known as the Acjachemen Nation.
We recognize that the Acjachemen Nation has thrived for over 12,000 years in what we know today as Orange County, California. This region has long been a center for the Acjachemen people to gather, trade and maintain kinship ties. Today, the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians/Acjachemen Nation continues to contribute to the life of this region by celebrating their heritage, practicing their traditions, and caring for their ancestral lands, ocean, and waterways.

Our model for abundance and excellence.

Get inspired by our latest accomplishments and see what is possible when our community collaborates for change in our 2022 Impact Report and Case for Support. 

LEADERSHIP

Founder

Evan Marks the founder of The Ecology Center stands in a field on the farm.

Evan Marks, Founder, Executive Director

From studying Agroecology to working in Indigenous and traditional agricultural systems around the world to founding The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano in 2008, Evan has dedicated his life to finding creative solutions for the most urgent problems facing our food system. 

leadership team

Jonathan Zaidman
Engagement

Gregory Foster
Education

Johnny Wilson
Farm

Jose Del Toro
People

Paul Corey
Finance & Operations

Colleen Culhane
Engagement & Development

Nereo Zago
Art & Design

Board of Directors

Dave Winslow
Caitlin Wege
Randy Hild
Marco Guido
Sara Lowell
Erin Browne
Adam Hiner
Katie Cooper

Evan Marks
Executive Director

Adelia Sandoval
Board Advisor

Honorary Board

Joe Baird
Karen Jaffe
Jimmy Peterson
Jennifer Segerstrom
Alice Waters

The Ecology Center Family

The Ecology Center staff pose in front of the rainbow on the farm.

CULINARY

Orfelinda Delgado
Courtney Goerger
Austin McCoy
Nic Rocha
Doug Settle
Robby Sunday
Irving Zarate

ENGAGEMENT

Gabrielle Saupe

EDUCATION

Gregory Foster
Joseph Galmich
Samantha Giacobetti
Ashley Hill
Amanda Mahaffey
Perla Rico
Jennifer Soto-Banks
Paige Volk

FARM STAND

Jonathan Barnhill
Emily Brennick
Brigid Ray Fortner
Matthew Ohnersorgen
Jennifer Pardee
Patrick Redmond
Noli Stark
Jordan Stern
Brooklyn Taylor Maloley
Hadley Thorsell
Alison Wilson

FARM

Griffin Cassara
Isela Chavarria
Ruben Delgado
Gerardo Lima Juarez
Agapo Medrano-Mendoza
Gil Molina
Augustin Morales
Alma Torres
Irma Torres
Jose Miguel Valadez
Alfredo Ramon Valencia
Mario Vallejo
Jose Valesco
Jonathan Wilson

FINANCE

Maryam Fesharaki

FLORAL

Guadalupe Avila
Carra Duggan
Lorenzo Gonzalez-Escalona
Monique Grimaldi
Luis Perez

FACILITIES

Stephen Allison
Francisco Galmich
Joel Martinez-Barreiros

MARKETING & CREATIVE

Alexandra Farah
Katherine Hibbard
Sean Kelley
Casey Walker Andrews
Emily Wanous