Who We Are
FEF is run and administered by a core group of caring, experienced and knowledgeable individuals. They give their time and energy to ensuring FEF is successful in meeting its mission. Mini-bio's are presented below.
Priscilla Carolyn, Board Member - with her combined certifications as a Permaculture Designer and Licensed Massage Therapist, her passion for health and sustainability brings a holistic perspective to Fertile Earth Foundation. Carolyn completed the CLEO Institute Empowering Capable Climate Communicators Training Series in 2013. She began composting with worms in 2011 and has taught several workshops on Vermiculture and composting. Born and raised in the Miami Beach area, she is all too familiar with the intricacies of South Florida's habitat and culture, and the true need for protecting it with awareness, education, and action.
Juanmanuel Garcia-Sanchez, Board Member - is an advisor to the President of Liberia as a member of Tony Blair's Africa Governance Initiative, imbedded in the Ministry of State. In this capacity, Juanmanuel assists to create systems and structures for improved collaboration and coordination among the President's Delivery Unit, the Cabinet, and the Office of Communications in delivering the president's key priorities for the country. His previous work experience is varied although sustainability has been a common thread throughout. He worked for a nonprofit in international development, including coordinating research on sustainable fishing practices, as well as for the City of Atlanta Mayor's Office of Sustainability as a project manager and legislation & policy manager. Juanmanuel also has over 4 years of experience in private law firms on transactional matters. He is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School and of Emory University, including its law school. On the lighter side - Juanmanuel enjoys a good run, cooking, exploring new cities, and is a proud father.
Melissa Selem, Executive Director | Board Member - has a B.A. in Psychology from Emory University, a M.S.Ed in Counseling Psychology from the University of Miami, and a Ph.D. in Community Health from the University of Illinois. She worked for Elemental Impact, a national non-profit, as a program administrator and gained extensive experience within the sustainability and non-profit sectors. Highlights from past work include contributing to two psychology handbooks, providing youth and adult counseling, and teaching college courses in the community health field. Her cumulative experiences have cultivated a love for composting that she hopes to share through her work with FEF. On a personal level, she is a Cuban-American, aspiring urban farmer, maker, out-of-the box thinker, mother of two children, one cat and one leopard gecko.
Lanette Sobel, Co-Founder | Board Member - AKA, the Worm Lady, Lanette earned her BS in Commerce with a double concentration in Finance and MIS from the University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce. Sobel is the Managing Partner of the Fertile Earth Worm Farm, which diverts food destined for landfills to feed animals instead. Sobel is a certified Permaculturist and is a graduate from the Maine Compost School allowing her to operate any commercial composting facility in the US.
Lanette currently is a Doctor of Plant Medicine student and is working on a Masters of Forestry under the supervision of Dr. Jason Smith at the University of Florida. With a background in business and sustainability, she is interested in protecting and preserving ecosystems through a holistic approach which combines research, technology and emerging paradigms such as Permaculture. Her current research involves identifying, propagating and preserving culturally significant swamp bay trees of the Miccosukee and Seminole tribes in South Florida from the threat of Laurel Wilt disease. Lanette is also a certified yoga instructor and loves to spend time outdoors with her daughter.