About Us

About Us

The Ecology Center believes in a culture that gives more than it takes.

Our non-profit organization models creative 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. We design spaces that inspire interaction with our ecosystem and transform our relationship with each other.

Let’s dig in and build an abundant future for all. Together, we can inspire change!


Our Initiatives

We highlight cutting-edge environmental perspectives through our four core initiatives.



Thriving ecosystems nourish our community

Creating gardens, resources, and community to make vibrant spaces out of vacant places.



Building pathways to an ecological food future

Gathering chefs, farmers, and community together to eat with intention.



Supporting local artisans and modeling a modern village

Creating pathways for more conscious consumption by building a vibrant local economy.

Our Home

The Ecology Center’s headquarters is located in the historic Congdon Farmhouse in San Juan Capistrano, CA.

From an empty dirt lot, we have created an ecological oasis. Our home is a model for how every home can be reimagined and every space revived.

Having witnessed more than 130 years of social, agricultural, and environmental change, the Congdon House is the perfect venue for an exploration of the links between past, present, and future. At the same time, as one of the oldest standing embodiments of the past, it serves to remind us that we must act today to rejuvenate the environment for the generations to follow.

Our Team

Evan Marks

Executive Director

With his background in permaculture and agroecology, and, having worked extensively in California, Hawaii, and internationally in Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Ghana and Nigeria, Evan Marks knows that people have the ability to directly impact the environment through individual change.

Jonathan Zaidman

Director of Replication, Development & Impact

Bret Babos

Director of Operations

Johnny Wilson

Farm Director

Kat Reynolds

Director of Community Engagement

Stephen Allison

Facilites Manager

Debbie Hansen


Heather Disher

Senior Development Manager

Nereo Zago

Art Director

Katie Hibbard


Amanda Mahaffey

Volunteer & Experiences Coordinator

Summer Kerr

Farm Share Coordinator

Guadalupe Avila

Farm Stand Staff

Andrew Sieger


Lauren Stanko

Garden Coordinator

Fransisco Galmich


Gregory Foster

Lead Educator

Colleen Culhane

Lead Educator

Board of Directors
Joe Baird

Board Chairman
CEO, Rumiano Cheese

Mark Magiera

Operations, Chez Panisse Restaurant and Café

Erin Browne

Managing Director, Pimco

Kaitrin Cooper

Board Member
Entrepreneur & Philanthropist, COOPERative Foundation

Sara Lowell

Board Member
Marisla Foundation

Jennifer Sherman

Board Member
General Manager & Co-Chef, Chez Panisse Restaurant and Café

Caitlin Wege

Board Member
Venture Capitalist and Philanthropist

Ann Shea - Honorary

Philanthropist & Sustainable Agriculture Advocate

Evan Marks

Board Member
Founder & Executive Director, The Ecology Center

Alice Waters

Chez Panisse

Ben Edwards

Sustainability Consultant

David Kennedy


Eric Paine

Principal, Community Development Partners

Glenn Roberts

Anson Mills

Jack Algiere

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Jason McCleod

Ironside Fish & Oyster

Manuel Toscano


Michael Besancon

Natural Foods Pioneer

Paddy Glennon

Culinary Liberation Front

Rich Mead

Farmhouse at Rogers Gardens

Rick Bolton

Brand & Business Strategist

Vicki Marks

Green Feast Chair