Meet Our Team
Founder & CEO
Over the past 20 years, Sara has developed deep expertise at the intersections of agriculture, climate change and corporate sustainability. She has spent a lifetime building bridges between unlikely allies by allowing each side to get to the same place for different reasons.
From 1999-2003, Sara worked as a legislative staffer on agricultural, environmental and other issues in the U.S. Senate. She drafted legislation that would have paid farmers for adopting what are now called regenerative farming practices in exchange for measurement information provided to USDA about how much carbon was stored in the soil. This information would have laid the groundwork for farmers to be paid for the benefits they provided in fighting climate change.
After her time on the Hill, Sara continued to build support for regenerative farming by building political and policy alliances between farmers, environmentalists and Republicans on the issue of climate change for the national non-profit, Environmental Defense Fund. More recently, she worked as a sustainability consultant for U.S. national farm associations and global agribusiness companies in the private sector.
In late 2017, Sara launched Grounded Growth, LLC — a unique, online platform that provides the resources, strategy and connections needed to bring regenerative agriculture to market in a way that helps restore consumers, the planet, food producers and farmers.
Grounded Growth is creating a pathway for a practical, outcomes-based version of regenerative agriculture to come to market. Grounded Growth’s private online website combines creates a place where experience is shared and trust can be built. Through it, Sara facilitates change by providing educational resources, emerging market intelligence, valuable introductions and business development content in a unique cross supply-chain community forum.
The members-only website, RegenerativePartnerships.com is part private Linked-in, part nerdy Netflix — sharing content from Sara’s expertise as well as the significant knowledge of other members — all committed to building regenerative supply chains. Grounded Growth is one of the few places that is opening doors for farmers to move beyond being a commodity, for emerging brands embed regenerative ingredients into their brand value and for consumers to learn about this positive trend that they have the power to propel.
Sara is also a professional public speaker and is frequently asked to present her expertise on the topics of defining regenerative agriculture, explaining the difference between regenerative and organic agriculture and building unlikely alliances that last. Some of her most recent speaking commitments include:
- March 2020 – Regeneration Canada’s Living Soils Symposium, Montreal (QC), Canada
- March 2020 – Real Local RVA, Richmond, Virginia
- February 2020 – Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario, London (ON), Canada
- January 2020 – Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Winter Conference, Kennewick, Washington
Director of Finance & Business Analyst
Jennifer is a serial entrepreneur in both the food company and financial advising sectors. She provides expertise in helping small businesses grow their companies to the next level by optimizing their operations and cutting costs.
After graduating from The Ohio State University where she majored in Finance, Jennifer held accounting and financial analysis positions for not-for-profit and for-profit organizations. She is currently the President & CEO of Kocher Foods International, Inc., a gluten-free manufacturing company in Ohio providing Around the World Gourmet brand products.
As Grounded Growth’s Director of Finance and Business Analyst, Jennifer will manage the network’s finances as well as provide business analysis for network members. She is passionate about organic growing, sustainable agriculture and business practices and helping small businesses grow.
Director of Supply Chain & Operational Analysis
Davida has more than a decade of experience managing small businesses and building entrepreneurial enterprises. Most recently, she formed and operated a mission-based, vertically integrated food company, Blue Evolution; One of the first “farm-to-finished-good” seaweed businesses globally. Operations begin with seaweed farms in Mexico and carry the ingredient to a line of inspired consumer packaged goods (CPGs). Before that, she co-founded, developed and sold a sustainable, whole systems off-shore aquaculture business, Earth Oceans Farms.
Davida’s areas of expertise include: operations, brand-building, all aspects of CPG business from package design to commercial manufacture and distribution, R&D and prototyping; and FDA compliance and Quality Assurance programs.
Davida’s passion for regenerative food systems comes from her deep roots in wholistic health. She has a Masters and a Clinical Specialty Doctorate in Acupuncture and Traditional Oriental Medicine. Her wholistic approach to health extends way beyond the individual to include the food we eat and the soil — and water — we depend on to grow it.
Her inspiration: Wholistic approaches to health and sustainable food systems.
Director of Agriculture
Justin is a fifth-generation farmer who grows sorghum, alfalfa, wheat, corn and soybeans in Central Kansas. His family’s farm roots stretch back 160 years. He is an avid conservationist who is devoted to increasing soil health. Justin has served as a farm advisory council member to Environmental Defense Fund and was recently featured in a book and documentary, “Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman” that spotlights conservation heroes.
Justin will serve as our lead farmer advisor and will help Grounded Growth define our standards around regenerative agriculture.
Justin has a degree in agronomy from Kansas State University.