GROW
EAT
MAKE

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, community builders that are leading the charge around the conversation about better, healthy living. It is our contribution to an abundant future.
We create lasting change in behaviors toward food and agriculture, through a process of education, mentorship and indelible experiences.
We see a path toward meaningful systems change through shifting behaviors and increasing access at the community level. This supports cultural shift through education, where the next generation can gain access to vocational training and apprenticeships on the farm. This will ensure our greater community can experience where our food comes from and gain access to it in more diverse ways.
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We create lasting change in behaviors toward food and agriculture, through a process of education, mentorship and indelible experiences.
We see a path toward meaningful systems change through shifting behaviors and increasing access at the community level. This supports cultural shift through education, where the next generation can gain access to vocational training and apprenticeships on the farm. This will ensure our greater community can experience where our food comes from and gain access to it in more diverse ways.
In our 10 year history:
More than 150,000 people of all ages have engaged in conversation, programs and activities that connect ecology to food.
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.
WE'VE ENGAGED...
180,000On-Site
65,000Children
450,000Online
500Artisans/ Farmers/ Chefs
45Corporations
700Volunteers
2,400Donors

CHANGE BEGINS IN OUR BACKYARD

Southern California once served as the bread and fruit basket of our nation, but today The Ecology Center is one of the only organic farms left in the county.

We have the rare opportunity to steward this unique fertile farmland by utilizing our seasoned skills in instructional and experiential design. Our aim is to not only shift culture and behavior, but also to inspire and set an example for entrepreneurs and organizations looking to develop similar projects within the region and beyond.

CHANGE BEGINS IN OUR BACKYARD

Southern California once served as the bread and fruit basket of our nation, but today The Ecology Center is one of the only organic farms left in the county.

We have the rare opportunity to steward this unique fertile farmland by utilizing our seasoned skills in instructional and experiential design. Our aim is to not only shift culture and behavior, but also to inspire and set an example for entrepreneurs and organizations looking to develop similar projects within the region and beyond.

Mentorship is at the heart of our work.

The farm has been envisioned and designed as a living system, classroom, and laboratory for tomorrow’s leaders.

Here, we will share skills, perspectives, and experiences that all visitors can use to make a difference in their own lives, educations and professions. Some will dive deeper to become true change- makers and engaged advocates for our healthy future.

Towards this goal The Ecology Center will offer apprenticeships designed for intense vocational training with the focus to expand local food production throughout southern California. To ensure diversity and more systemic impact across the region, scholarships will provide access for underserved candidates who are often left behind.

Mentorship is at the heart of our work.

The farm has been envisioned and designed as a living system, classroom, and laboratory for tomorrow’s leaders.

Here, we will share skills, perspectives, and experiences that all visitors can use to make a difference in their own lives, educations and professions. Some will dive deeper to become true change- makers and engaged advocates for our healthy future.

Towards this goal The Ecology Center will offer apprenticeships designed for intense vocational training with the focus to expand local food production throughout southern California. To ensure diversity and more systemic impact across the region, scholarships will provide access for underserved candidates who are often left behind.

harvesting produce on the farm

GROW
Farming
From the field to the barn there are many ways to lend a hand to this land.

BECOME A VOLUNTEER

preparing butternut squash by removing the seeds

EAT
Farm Produce
Our Farm Stand is open daily to meet all of your culinary and household needs.

VISIT OUR FARM STAND

MAKE
Programs
We offer programming for all ages, check back soon as we add programs often.

VIEW ALL PROGRAMMING

The Ecology Center Family and Partners

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.

“One day in Nigeria, Evan Marks had a realization that he wanted to go home and change the Orange County community where he grew up.

So Marks, a Newport Beach native and UC Santa Cruz graduate, repatriated himself and came upon a dirt lot in San Juan Capistrano. The property along Alipaz Street contained a very old palm tree, a very old citrus tree and an 1878 farmhouse, the oldest wooden structure in the city. The bare homestead had belonged to Pony Express rider Joel Congdon and was the site of the county’s first walnut grove. Now it belonged to the city. Nothing was happening there.

Marks saw potential. He had a vision to change that corner of the county, which was otherwise full of “cul-de-sacs and consumers,” as he puts it.”
– Los Angeles Times

Jonathan Zaidman | Engagement & Impact

Colleen Culhane | Community Engagement

Greg Foster | Education

Amanda Mahaffey | Mentorship

Heather Disher | Development

Bret Babos | Operations

Stephen Allison | Facilities

Francisco | Facilities

Joel | Facilities

Summer Kerr | Distribution

Mickee Avila | Farm Share

Gabrielle Saupe | Farm Share

Sean Kelley | Communications

Monica Hernandez | Communications

Nereo Zago | Art & Design

Andrew | Architecture

Debbie Hansen | Accounting

Johnny Wilson | Farm

Lauren Stanko | Farm

Mario Vallejo | Farm

Daniel | Farm

Damian | Farm

Isella | Farm

Alfredo Aguirre | Farm

Felipe Aguirre | Farm

Rube Delgado | Farm

Fabian Acension | Farm

Maria Garcia | Farm

Alfredo Valenica | Farm

Jose Contreres | Farm

Augustin Morales | Farm

Lorenzo Gonzales | Farm

Andres Hernandez | Farm

Flavio Romero | Farm

Oscar Leon | Farm

Gerardo Lima | Farm

Sonya | Farm

Lorenzo Gonzales | Farm

Brandon Wickes | Market Garden

Carra Duggan | Flowers

Cathryn | Encinitas

Ryan Peterson | Culinary

Amber Bewick | Culinary

Ali Wilson | Farm Stand

Jon Barnhill | Farm Stand

Katie Hibbard | Farm Stand

Our board is comprised of advocates, philanthropists and business leaders fighting for an ecological future.
Governance sets culture and drives us towards our strategic goals of shifting culture.

Joe Baird | Board Chairman
CEO, Rumiano Cheese

Kaitrin Cooper | Board Member
Entrepreneur & Philanthropist

Caitlin Wege | Board Member
Venture Capitalist and Philanthropist

Mark Magiera | Secretary
Operations, Chez Panisse Restaurant and Café (Retired)

Sara Lowell | Board Member
Marisla Foundation

Erin Brown | Treasurer
Managing Director, Pimco

Evan Marks | Board Member
Founder & Executive Director

Jimmy Peterson | Capital Campaign
Philanthropist

Karen Jaffe | Capital Campaign
Philanthropist

Jennifer Segerstrom | Capital Campaign
Philanthropist

Kelly Hallman | Capital Campaign
Philanthropist

Our advisors are a creative bunch with direct experience designing culture. Each provide us with invaluable mentorship and guidance towards achieving our mission.

Glenn Roberts
Anson Mills

Manuel Toscano
Zago

David Kennedy
Creative

Michael Besancon
Natural Foods Pioneer

Jack Algiere
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Rick Bolton
Brand & Business Strategist

Cody Hudson
Artist

Jason Woodside
Artist

Kristin Morrison
Artist

The number and quality of donors, alliances and collaborations are testaments to both the Center’s relevance and effectiveness. 

It is through the generosity and efforts of our community that the Center has been able to make a difference. As our grassroots membership grows, so does the financial and strategic support from foundations, business leaders, and public agencies including school districts. It tells us that we are on time, and it reminds us that this project will continue to flourish only with the combined efforts of passionate contributors.

Marisla Foundation

Shelia and Jim Peterson

The Cooperation Fund

Jaffe Family Foundation

Rosemary Kraemer Raitt Foundation

Vincent Smith & Victoria Flaherty

The Hexberg Family Foundation

Shea Family Foundation

The Living Peace Foundation

Wege Foundation

Tsao Family Foundation

Simpson PSB Fund

The Chuck and Ernestina Kreutzkamp Foundation

Anonymous Foundation

Keith and Judy Swayne Family Foundation

Lisa Argyros/Argyros Family Foundation

Patagonia

SDG&E

Alteryx

Anonymous Donor

OC Community Resilience Fund

The Ranch

Draper Family Foundation