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Our Board

Meet the individuals who work hard every day to carry out Soulful Seeds' mission. Our board is a 100% giving, volunteer, working board.

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Earstin Whitten, Co-founder

Earstin Whitten is the Co-Founder of Soulful Seeds. He is retired insurance executive and an Army veteran. Since retiring and moving to Reno 15 years ago, Earstin has served on several boards locally and currently serve with the boards of the Great Basin Community Cooperative and the Nevada Women's Fund. Earstin has always been active in growing healthy food. He is co-found of Soulful Seeds along with his wife, Dolores Schafer-Whitten.

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John Lipinski, Board Chair

John Lipinski is dedicated to supporting causes that benefit our community.  John is a retired industry professional and Air Force veteran.  He volunteers his time with various organizations and previously served on the Board of Directors for the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.  He enjoys skiing, working on his classic car, an occasional round of golf, and making new memories with his family and friends.

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Parker Peterson

A Reno native, Parker Peterson studied at the University of Nevada Reno, majoring in Photography and History. Upon graduation, Parker earned her master’s degree in Business Management at the Pratt Institute in New York City. There, Parker blended her non-profit management and marketing skills at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and at Made In NYC. Parker returned to Reno in 2019, joining the Saint Mary’s Health Network to help drive marketing forward at the Fitness Center, working directly with the Director to reintroduce the Foundation and the ways in which Saints could give back to the community. Parker always looks forward to combining her creative marketing efforts and passion for bringing others together to introduce individuals to something they haven’t heard of before. In her free time, Parker enjoys tending to her plants, skiing, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.

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Josh Wallin

Josh is the Director of Recreation and Chair of the Green Team at the Grand Sierra Resort (GSR). Josh brings with him a diverse set of business skills and a passion for building a stronger local food system. Prior to joining the board, Josh leveraged his role with the GSR to implement a green waste program across the resort's kitchens. Through this program, all of the resort's green food waste is provided to Soulful Seeds for composting. Josh understands that our food system is reaching a critical point in sustainability and believes Soulful Seeds presents a proactive solution to improving access to fresh, healthy food to underserved neighborhoods while advancing a sustainable local food system and could serve as a model for communities across the country.

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Dee Schafer-Whitten, Co-founder & Secretary

Dee Schafer-Whitten is the Co-Founder of Soulful Seeds. She is a retired Healthcare and Non-Profit Executive. Dee was President and Founder of Corporate Solutions, Inc., a strategic planning firm for non-profits, government, and law enforcement agencies. Dee retired and took a year off to establish Soulful Seeds with her husband, Earstin Whitten, to provide fresh, healthy food to the most vulnerable in our community and move individuals' from poverty to sustainability. Dee currently holds the position as Director for Client Experience at American Wealth Management in Reno.

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Janice Bailey, Treasurer

Janice Bailey is the firm administrator for her husband’s Reno CPA firm and a passionate cook and master gardener. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Geography/Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara.  She is one of the founding board members of Soulful Seeds and serves as its’ treasurer. She enjoys volunteering in the Washoe County elementary school garden program with 10 and 11 year olds and looks forward to assisting with the Soulful Seeds education program at the Our Place Campus.

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Marc Chapelle

Marc Chapelle is a landscape architect with L.A. Studio Nevada where he is responsible for land and design planning of all scales and development types. He also holds professional education in agronomy, enology, soils, and plant pathology. Marc comes from a family of passionate gardeners and is an avid gardener himself.

Our Team

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Brooke O'Byrne

Brooke is passionate about building stronger and healthier communities. She has consulted with Soulful Seeds since 2021 and supports the team as interim Executive Director. She is a national program consultant with 15 years of program administration and grant management experience and works with multidisciplinary, cross-sector teams in the public and non-profit sectors. Brooke is originally from Wisconsin and has called Nevada home for 13 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work, Master’s in Business Administration, and a professional certificate in juvenile justice reform from Georgetown University. She is an appointed member of Nevada's Rural Behavioral Health Policy Board, a licensed drug and alcohol counselor, and a Master Gardener. 

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Cindy Gallimore

Cindy is a Garden Assistant through the AmeriCorps program. She is working alongside Earstin in the garden. Cindy brings with her a lot of knowledge about food safety. She is passionate about building a better community and is eagerly expanding her knowledge about regenerative agriculture and evidence-based approaches for supporting people to establish a more self-sufficiency.

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Cara Montoya

Cara joined the Soulful Seeds team as the Program Coordinator in 2023. She holds a Master's Degree is Social Work and is passionate about advancing holistic wellbeing and mental health access. Cara believes that mental health is health and that all communities should have equal access to resources that support healthy lives so they can thrive. Cara is also a certified yoga instructor and Master Gardener Intern. When she is not busy with school, Cara enjoys knitting, backpacking, and spending as much time outside as she can.

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Kimberly Esse

Kimberly is a Master of Social Work (MSW) student at University of Nevada, Reno, and is delighted to be completing her two-semester concentration internship with Soulful Seeds. Prior to pursuing social work, Kimberly spent twelve years in corporate finance before pivoting to personal finance in 2022, helping individuals and groups build financial resilience as an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®). Her professional interests include identifying and working toward eradicating barriers to economic justice while helping individuals design pathways to their own financial wellness. She understands that financial stability is integral to mental health. In her spare time, she enjoys creating meals from scratch, any kind of dancing, hot yoga, and exploring new places. 

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