OUR NETWORK 2018-08-06T20:52:31+00:00

Meet Our Team

Founder & CEO 

Sara is a passionate advocate for regenerative agriculture and the partnership economy.

Over the past 20 years, Sara has developed deep expertise in the intersecting areas of agriculture and climate change — and of business and sustainability. She has worked on these issues from positions in the private, public and non-profit sectors. 

As a legislative staffer on agriculture, environment and energy in the U.S. Senate, Sara learned from all sides and drafted legislation that would have provided financial rewards for farmers that adopted and measured regenerative practices such as no-till and cover crops, to name a few.

Later, she continued building bridges between farmers and environmentalists working for the national non-profit group Environmental Defense Fund. Prior to launching her own company, Sara worked as a consultant to numerous agricultural associations and food companies in the private sector. 

In 2017, Sara founded Grounded Growth, an online platform and a process that creates regenerative partnerships.

Grounded Growth enables, supports and grows partnerships between farmers, food companies and consumers that harness the power of business to help expand regenerative farming practices.

Grounded Growth partnerships help restore the Earth’s soil and mitigate climate change — by giving consumers a direct and simple way to support these causes in practical ways through the food they buy.

Learn more about Sara

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.

Learn more about Jennifer

Director of Marketing & Engagement

Nicole has an incredible background as an Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, and Sports Marketing Professional. Since graduating from Gonzaga University, she has worked with a number of teams, leagues, organizations, corporations, athletes, events and foundations.

Nicole excels at creating strategic engagement plans that use events to bring the brand forward. She has extensive experience securing corporate sponsorships and running charity tournaments sponsored by various athletic organizations.

She also serves as the Tournament Director for the NFL Alumni Chicago and Georgia Chapters.  Nicole is also the co-founder and President of her own marketing firm, 8nine agency.

Nicole provides engagement and marketing strategy for network members and is the guiding light for Grounded Growth’s consumer engagement and activation strategies.

Learn more about Nicole

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.

Learn more about Davida

General Counsel & Director of Legal Strategy

Tricia Dunlap’s business law and corporate sustainability practice serves emerging and established privately-held companies, Fortune 500-1000 companies, municipalities, and non-profits on business law, intellectual property (IP), licensing, regulatory compliance, sustainability / Environment, Social, Governance (ESG) issues, and general counsel matters.

Prior to founding Dunlap Law, Tricia practiced at McGuireWoods after beginning her career in sustainability as General Counsel for Christensen Global Strategies. She is a board member of the Grounded Growth and has served on a number of non-profit boards.

Learn more about Davida

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.

Learn more about Justin


Testimonials

“As we watch marketplace trends unfold, we know that leading edge food influencers are turning their sights on farms and farming practices. Over the next several years, the focus of criticism will be on pesticide use, fertilizers and soil health…

DAVID SHELUGA, PHD HEAD OF CONSUMER + MARKETPLACE INSIGHTS | ARDENT MILLS

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