Jan Joannides is the Executive Director and co-founder of Renewing the Countryside. For the past fifteen years, she has been an advocate and organizer for rural communities and citizens who are working to stimulate economic growth and enhance their communities through sustainable uses of their landscapes and resources. Jan also holds an appointment as Senior Fellow at the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture. Prior to her work with Renewing the Countryside, Jan coordinated the Community Assistantship Program at the University of Minnesota and helped found and directed the Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management. Jan holds a master's degree in natural resources from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Zumbro Falls, Minnesota with her husband Brett, daughter Olivia, and son Axel.
Brett Olson is co-founder and the Creative Director at Renewing the Countryside. He works on community and local foods system development and designs and manages Green Routes. Brett also hosts Local Food Hero radio. He has been working as an art director and designer for fifteen years, starting as a designer at a small design firm in Minneapolis, and then opening his own business. Brett has designed many printed advertising and media campaigns for both non-profit and corporate clients. As one of the founders, Brett has been involved in much of the planning and organizing and promotion of Renewing the Countryside since its beginning. Brett lives with Jan and their two kids in Zumbro Falls.
Sarah Wolbert is staff at Renewing the Countryside, providing support for a range of programs and general operations. She also works as a designer, sustainable consultant, and performing artist. After living on the east coast for 10 years, she moved to Minnesota for graduate school to receive two masters degrees in sustainability and architecture. Sarah teaches violin at the Linden Hills House of Music and has taught environmental design at Carleton College.
Lindsay is the New Organic Stewards coordinator. New Organic Stewards connects new farmers, provides educational opportunities, and seeds inspiration for sustainable, organic production. New Organic Stewards is for any young or beginning farmer who is aspiring to be or currently involved in organic and sustainable farming. NOS is a joint project of Renewing the Countryside and MOSES. Lindsay is also an urban farmer and advocate and designer for sustainable landscapes applying permaculture strategies.
Lynne joined Renewing the Countryside in 2012 as financial manager.
Molly Turnquist is staff at Renewing the Countryside, where she assists with a number of projects and programs. She graduated from the Coordinated Master’s Program in Public Health Nutrition at the University of Minnesota in August, 2012 where she earned a Masters of Public Health and RD credential. Molly also works as an RD consultant for several area school districts. As a Public Health Dietitian, Molly hopes to play a role in ensuring access to healthy, sustainably grown food for individuals, families, and communities through promoting a healthy and sustainable regional food system.
Robyn Ingber joined Renewing the Countryside as its Staff Attorney in July 2012. She grew up on the plains of Oklahoma, then later attended the University of Kansas, where she received a B.A. in Political Science. Robyn comes from a long line of Southern farmers, so she is thrilled to combine her passion for law and family tradition in the work she is doing with the Farm Transitions program. Robyn is a Certified Farm Succession Coordinator, which means she is trained in the particular issues that farm families face when doing estate planning and farm succession planning. Robyn graduated from William Mitchell College of Law in 2008 and spent the past three years practicing in an estate-planning firm in Minnetonka. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Marc; 19 mo. old daughter, Ella; and 75-pound lapdog, Otis. She is known among her colleagues and friends for making delectable pecan pies.