Culture's Edge Advisory Board and Staff
For over thirty years, Steve Torma has gently guided our culture toward cooperation and regeneration. He is the current Firekeeper of Earthaven Ecovillage, where he lives his passion for community and sustainability. Steve also co-founded The REAL Center (an acronym for Relationship, Embodiment, and Awakened Living), through which he teaches and coaches people to more just, sustainable and joyous lives.
Laird Schaub has been the Executive Secretary of the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) since 1998, as well as one of its founders. In 1974, Laird helped start Sandhill Farm, a thriving income-sharing community in northeast Missouri. He raised his two children there, and in the mid-90s recruited Dancing Rabbit—one of the most successful ecovillages in the US—to buy neighboring land and establish its model village three miles away.
Laird has been a group process consultant since 1987. He is both a teacher and a for-hire outside facilitator, specializing in helping groups work constructively through conflict and in learning how to conduct productive and up-tempo meetings using consensus. In 2003 he pioneered a two-year training course in Integrative Facilitation where students in a geographic area immerse themselves in learning the craft of facilitation.
Janell Kapoor‘s work in the field of natural building inspired the founding of Kleiwerks International, a nonprofit organization and global network of ecological design-build specialists. Over the past decade, Janell taught the initial trainings that launched the natural building movements in four regions of the world. She has trained people from 45 countries, with more alumni performing muddy miracles than she can shake a stick at. Hundreds of teachers, education centers, communities, businesses, trainings, and homes have been created as a result. Currently, Janell is developing a global alliance of women natural builders. Back home, she founded and lives at the Ashevillage Institute and Sanctuary in Asheville, North Carolina, an eco-urban demonstration center that offers educational programs that support resilient living practices. When not in "do mode," Janell loves to dance, walk barefoot in the mountains, make and eat fermented foods, and throw fine parties!
Will Hooker received his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from SUNY at Syracuse in 1967 and his Masters of Landscape Architecture from NC State in 1979. He is a registered Landscape Architect in NC, and has been with the NC State University Department of Horticultural Science since 1979. He currently teaches introductory and advanced small-scale landscape design studios, and the sustainable living methodology course, Permaculture: Sustainable Living. He is also known for the ephemeral bamboo sculptures that he builds in the Triangle and around the State with his students.
Annice Brown has over 20 years experience in economic development, managing and implementing policies and programs promoting public and private sector development in the U.S. and internationally. She is the Assistant Regional Director for the North Carolina Small Business Technology Development Center, which provides one-on-one business counseling services to small and medium size businesses in fourteen counties in Western North Carolina. Areas of expertise include economic development, strategic planning, project management, technology transfer, marketing, and fundraising. She is currently the Vice President of the NC Natural Products Association.
Michael Bunch, a.k.a “MEKA,” has taught and demonstrated natural building techniques via public events and workshops, locally and internationally, and has facilitated Placemaking projects at four of City Repair’s annual Village Building Convergence events in Portland, Oregon. Meka continues to do freelance work, specializing in creating benches, garden walls, kiosks, earthen ovens and Rumford fireplaces, with Artisan Builders Collective based in Asheville, NC. Meka's latest venture, Outreach Projects Engaging Neighborhoods (O.P.E.N.), is a creative placemaking non-profit transforming the urban realm into a more livable, walkable, and human scale environment.