Michael S. Easterling

Michael is a social entrepreneur with nearly 20 years of experience in nonprofit capacity building. His core services include strategic planning, program development and project management for new initiatives and early-stage ventures. Michael’s work in urban agriculture and local food-systems development started when he began cultivating an organic garden in 2006. In the process of growing it from 400 square feet to more than 4,000 over the course of three seasons, he began to network with the well-established local food movement in Cleveland, OH. Michael currently chairs the academics committee of Farm School NYC, a two-year certificate program in urban agriculture funded by the USDA New Farmer / New Rancher grant. He is also the conference-committee chair of Black Urban Growers (BUGs), a community-based group in NYC that annually produces the national Black Farmers & Urban Gardeners conference. In addition to organizing and convening, he also teaches a course in sustainable food-system development with Garden State Urban Farms, a network of commercial greenhouses that sells directly to restaurants in the Tri-State Area, and partners with Essex County College to implement a workforce-development program in urban agriculture.