OUR STORYTELLERS AND COLLABORATORS
Hudson River Flows brings together an intergenerational collaborative of writers, creatives, practitioners, and thought leaders who are passionate about supporting the emergence of the regenerative economy where they live and through their work.
Susan Arterian Chang
Upper West Side, NYC & Ancramdale, NY
“I grew up on the South Shore of Staten Island when most men and women were earning their livings as NYC civil servants and on assembly lines of our local factories. We were part of New York City but dairy cows still grazed on the grounds of a nearby Roman Catholic orphanage. Before overdevelopment and pollution did them in, oysters once prized by the chefs of fine dining establishments from New York City to London had been harvested from our waters. Clammers, until recently, earned a decent seasonal livelihood transporting their catch to depuration facilities in the Peconic Bay where they were then sold as Long Island clams.
"My childhood memories and my sense of the South Shore's regenerative potential led me to a most fortunate storytelling collaboration with Sally Goerner—an “energy flow network” scientist who was eager to work with me on a narrative that could illuminate how a real-world community might reclaim itself following what she knew about how healthy natural systems go about sustaining themselves.
"Our Regenerating Tottenville project made me realize that we needed to cast a wider storytelling net, drawing in more of the lower Hudson River bioregion. My excitement to be working for the first time with an energetic group of local writers and creatives on this broader local storytelling project, as it incubated inside Capital Institute's Field Guide, inspires the launch of Hudson River Flows.
"I am most grateful to my colleague John Fullerton, founder and president of Capital Institute, for the opportunity to create and direct the Field Guide to a Regenerative Economy, for all I have learned from his regenerative economics thought-leadership, and for Capital Institute's transitional support of Hudson River Flows.”
Susan is the founding director of Capital Institute’s Field Guide to Investing in Regenerative Economy, shortlisted for the Guardian’s Sustainable Business Communications Award. Over the past eight years the Field Guide has told the stories of over 50 projects and businesses exemplary of the emerging regenerative economy.
Of the Field Guide’s first activating storytelling project,The Year in the Life of First Green Bank, First Green's CEO has said: “provoked massive introspection, and a questioning of directional trajectory for me and all my co-workers.” And of the documentary produced for that project, public radio and television host David Brancaccio said: “Has the courage to tell an unblinking story about the promise and, yes, the challenges of designing a business with a higher purpose.”
Susan previously worked as a currency advisor for MHT Bank, as a financial writer covering the evolution of the global capital markets, and as the publisher of an award-winning community newspaper in White Plains, New York. She holds a BA in English Literature from Reed College and did graduate work at NYU’s Stern School of Business with a concentration in finance. She lives in Manhattan’s Upper West Side and owns a farm in Columbia County, which is being transitioned from conventional commodity crops to organic grains supplying to local distilleries.
Newburgh, Orange County
“I’m hopeful that regenerative economic principles and practices can shift the ways economic growth is measured and created in low-income communities. Currently a lot of solutions for the challenges those communities face are focused around identifying the ways they lack particular resources, and then figuring out how to address those deficits. Although well-intentioned, when community development strategies focus on what a community lacks, the resources and assets it already has are often overlooked or devalued when in fact those resources could be leveraged to create economic vitality.
"A broader understanding of what constitutes a resource could catalyze new solutions for challenged communities. Because the regenerative economic framework provides an expanded definition of what can and should be considered valuable, and an expanded understanding of what value really is, I believe it can guide us to a more inclusive and sustainable economy.”
Javier grew up in Wappinger Falls, NY, and graduated with a degree in Political Science from Marist College. As an Americorp VISTA member, Javier supported the innovative design of the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI) in Newburgh, working to develop sustainable resident engagement strategies—through deep listening and public sharing that could be modeled and expanded upon by local nonprofit organizations. Today, Javier works as a program coordinator of real estate development at Hudson River Housing, developing both new construction and rehabilitating vacant properties into affordable housing.
Rockaway, Queens County
“For the past decade, I have been engaged in storytelling that empowers community members and drives issue awareness. During that time I have worked in community journalism, nonprofit organizations to improve community financial security, and, most recently, advocacy for systems-level transformation for economies in service to life on earth.
My cumulative experience fuels my interest in communities under pressure–most often our most vulnerable neighbors (specifically those that are economically disadvantaged and communities of color). I have been inspired by my colleague Dr. Sally J. Goerner's systems science perspective, which has enabled me to recognize how communities under pressure naturally reorganize, innovate, and engage in a process of ongoing learning, producing new sources of prosperity in order to thrive under changing and challenging conditions.
"There is no better example of this response to external pressure than at the nexus of food systems and land, where it is being navigated by those living in our urban centers. These community members live among extremes of resource concentration (both land and financial resources), climate change, and scarcity of nutrient-dense food. Communities faced with these challenges often comprise individuals with lineages of land stewardship. They are repairing their relationship to these lineages as a direct response to the climate, land, and food challenges they work to overcome, as they collaborate, learn together, and transform their realities.
"Through telling their stories, I hope to support the rich knowledge- and skill-sharing efforts of individuals and organizations seeking a truly prosperous experience, and to inspire those who long for a finer future than what we can expect our current extractive economy to deliver.”
Julian spent two years immersed in Regenerative Economic theory at Capital Institute. He continues his work in supporting a more collaborative economy and greater community wealth building as the director of communications at Democracy at Work Institute. Earlier he worked for United Way, raising awareness of education- and financial security-related issues while driving fundraising and other corporate social responsibility initiatives. He began his career as a community news editor in central Connecticut where he founded and managed operations of multiple hyperlocal news websites. Julian is also a certified Master Composter and founder of Rockaway Waste Ed, a community organization helping local nonprofits and community gardens divert food waste, rebuild soil, increase nutrient density, and build connections to our earth through compost management, education, and consultation. He is a resident of Rockaway, Queens, and holds a BA in Communications from Springfield College.
Harlem, New York County
“Telling the stories of our foodways through farmers and producers—whether newbies, those called to the land as a second act, or families working the land for multiple generations—allows a look into the ingenuity, fortitude, and generosity of the human spirit. In the fields and on the table, politics, policy, and agriculture intersect each day as we make choices about what, where, and how we purchase ingredients to prepare a meal to share around the table. Those who lack access to good food due to geography, financial means, or skill-set to grow or prepare it, are likely to experience negative health, education, and financial outcomes. For me, it is these far-reaching impacts and consequences of how food nourishes the mind and body that drive me to learn more about our regional food system and the people who guide it.”
Annette grew up in the Adirondacks, spent over a decade in rural upstate Washington County, and lives in Harlem, New York. She is manager of community partnerships as well as nutrition, food, and culinary programs for The Horticultural Society of New York. She has lead culinary instruction for organizations including Henry Street Settlement, Eastside Day School, The Battenkill Kitchen, as well as NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She has also produced small- to large-scale events for farm to fork and civic engagement events for organizations including the Cleaver Co., Just Food, and Food Tank. She has written on a variety of food-focused topics for Adirondack Life, the Hill Rag and The Saratogian. Her past work includes Director of Marketing & Promotions for Washington DC’s Eastern Market, Director of Communications for Merck Forest & Farmland Center in Vermont, and Director of Administration, US Senate Committee on Finance, Washington, DC. She hold an MA (writing) from Johns Hopkins and a BA from Colgate University.
“I believe food and agriculture represents one of the most promising areas for compelling solutions to our complex web of social and ecological crises in the 21st century. The inherent intersectionality of work with food systems presents a unique opportunity to highlight perspectives rooted in a scientific understanding of systems theory and ecology.
"Working at the level of the watershed, we can ground theoretical work in the tangible details of daily life - where perspectives from real people and real projects can deepen our understanding of how system change in the economy actually happens, day in and day out. Storytelling that is rooted in place can awaken us to the possibility that solutions exist right now, in our backyard, and in our own communities. Place-based work is exciting to me for this very reason - because it feels accessible and achievable in a way that allows for true and local progress on issues that are global in scope.”
Mark grew up in the Brandywine River Valley of Pennsylvania, spent six years in Philadelphia. He now lives in Great Barrington, MA, where he ferments food, plays jazz guitar, and invests himself into his community. He also facilitates educational experiences on food and fermentation, and contributes business development to Hosta Hill, a growing, local producer of artisan fermented vegetables based in the Berkshires. His past experience includes conducting Spanish language small business outreach and provided technical assistance to local business owners with the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce/Americorp Vista. Mark holds a BA in Spanish Language and Literature from Temple University.
John Fullerton, Regenerative Finance Advisor
Rye, Westchester County
"The study of systemic behavior is now producing a new picture of how the world works that is both rigorous and commonsensical. The practical experience gleaned from observing regenerative New Economy experiments rising up in the world anchored in this new holistic worldview can show us how to turn today’s lopsided (and unsustainable) form of capitalism into an integrated network of balanced and vibrant economies, all serving systemic health within their own unique contexts. We must illuminate this new synthesis and craft a coherent narrative around it so that it may be applied to defuse today’s global threats, particularly those arising from outdated and at-times-misguided beliefs in business, finance, and economics."
John is an unconventional economist, impact investor, writer, and some have said philosopher. Building on and integrating the work of many, he is the architect of Regenerative Economics, first conceived in his 2015 booklet, “Regenerative Capitalism: How Universal Patterns and Principles Will Shape the New Economy.”
After a successful 20-year career on Wall Street where he was a Managing Director of JPMorgan, John listened to a persistent inner voice and walked away in 2001 with no plan but many questions. A few months later he experienced 9-11 first hand. The questions crystalized into his life’s work with the creation of the Capital Institute in 2010 where his work reflects the rising evolutionary shift in consciousness from Modern Age thinking to Integral Age thinking. Capital Institute is dedicated to the bold reimagination of economics and finance in service to life. Guided by the universal patterns and principles that describe how all healthy living systems that sustain themselves in the real world actually work, the promise of Regenerative Economics and Finance is to unlock the profound and presently unseen potential that is the source of our future prosperity and the reason for hope in our troubled times.
During his Wall Street career, John managed numerous capital markets and derivatives businesses around the globe and was JPMorgan’s Oversight Committee Representative that managed the rescue of Long Term Capital Management in 2008, and finally was Chief Investment Officer for Lab Morgan before retiring from the firm. A committed impact investor, John is the Chairman of New Day Enterprises, PBC, the co-founder of Grasslands, LLC, and a board member of the Savory Institute, and Stone Acres Farm, and is an advisor to numerous sustainability initiatives. John speaks internationally to public audiences and universities, and writes a monthly blog, The Future of Finance.
Sally Goerner, Science Advisor
“I grew up in a time when Americans took pride in their ingenuity and know-how, a time when quality, integrity, and reputation counted, one in which your relationships with others in your business network and community were critical to both your own income and your industry’s health. Researchers such as Elinor Ostrom and Jane Jacobs note that this same pattern of life and business is the basis of socioeconomic vitality around the world. The most innovative and powerful economic networks operating around the world are built of numerous small, high-quality firms linked by this natural pattern of cooperation, learning, and niche building. I believe if we can create a commonsense narrative that illuminates how these regenerative networks remain robust, we can restore our economy to lasting vitality.”
Sally is Director of the Research Alliance for Regenerative Economics (RARE); Co-Founder of, and Principal Investigator for, the Planetary Health Lab at Edinburgh University in Scotland; and Senior Research Fellow at the New York-based Project for Public Spaces. She lectures worldwide on how Energy Network Sciences (ENS) can be applied to human networks and economic systems. Working with energy-network theorists Brian Fath and Robert Ulanowicz, she recently helped create 10 empirical measures of systemic economic vitality based on how natural, self-sustaining flow networks operate.
Sally holds advanced degrees in engineering, nonlinear dynamics, and psychology, and is the author of The New Science of Sustainability: Building a Foundation for Great Change ; After the Clockwork Universe: The Emerging Science and Culture of Integral Society; and Chaos and the Evolving Ecological Universe. She is also co-author with Bernard Lietaer of Money and Sustainability: The Missing Link – Report from the Club of Rome. Of her book, After the Clockwork Universe, renowned urbanist Jane Jacobs said: “…fascinating and amazing in scope. This is the current human condition, socially and scientifically, laid out for all to see.”
Elka Gotfryd, Advisor, Regenerative Planning & Policy
Palenville, Greene County
“I am blessed to have become intimately acquainted with the communities where I have lived, from Toronto to Jerusalem, to New York City and the Catskills. Born and raised in a quiet residential neighborhood in Canada, yet having studied and worked in the politically charged milieu of West Jerusalem and, more recently, in cities and rural towns across the United States, I recognize and acknowledge how specificity of context shapes our human systems, no matter our geography. Context must, in turn, shape the policies and plans that impact our human systems, and the ways by which we govern ourselves.
“Brené Brown said it best: ‘Stories are just data with a soul’. Indeed, stories are the key to revealing context, the distinction of one human sub-system from another, and how hard data uniquely impacts each and every individual and community. Stories grant us the capacity to embrace complexity rather than uniformity, and the insight into how we must evolve our methods in order to thrive in our world.
“My work with Dr. Sally Goerner has taught me how regenerative principles of systemic health can steer us away from rigid and reactionary policy and planning solutions, and toward proactive measures that support our adaptability to change, as a society. These principles offer us a model to translate stories, and the data they convey, into policies and governance structures that nurture our relationships with ourselves, with one another, and with our environment. I am humbled to be working with this collaborative in honoring the intricacies of the human experience as an inseparable part of the planning and policy-making process.”
As Principal of Gotfryd Group Inc. (GGI), Elka brings integrated, cross-disciplinary strategies to urban and rural challenges. Prior to founding GGI, Elka was a Senior Associate at Project for Public Spaces. Previously, Elka worked as the community planner for Old City and Downtown Jerusalem, where she was responsible for representing local communities vis-à-vis City Hall and the Local and Regional Planning Councils.
Elka applies progressive approaches to planning, policy, and management, including inter-departmental collaboration, alternative governance structures, and investment in creative community capacity. She is a member of the Research Alliance for Regenerative Economics (RARE), earned her MA in Urban & Regional Planning from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and MS in Urban Placemaking & Management from Pratt Institute.
Palenville, New York
Kevin Irby, Finance, Visualization & Mapping Advisor
Rhinebeck, Dutchess County
“We live in a time of increasing awareness around our need for a right relationship to the natural world, and deeper connectivity with each other. Lucky for us, three times a day in the company of friends and family we eat food comprised of the plants and animals that come from the soil beneath our feet, and the sunlight above us. With an emerging push for a regenerative food and agriculture system that promotes compassionate relationships, it is crucial to illuminate the stories of those manifesting these ideas into our fields and onto our plates. We live our lives through stories, whether they be written, visualized, mapped, or listened to. For me, stories simultaneously illuminate the past and present, and allow us to imagine the possible future that is emerging in the now, and how we individually and collectively fit into them.”
Kevin Irby (Kirby) is a Texas native now living in Rhinebeck, New York. Kirby is director at Threadspan, a multi-stakeholder collaborative seeking to contribute to the emergence of a regenerative Hudson Valley. Prior to Threadspan, he worked as an Investment Associate at Armonia LLC, a private equity firm focused on regenerative agriculture, and at C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., the largest wholesale grocery supply company in the U.S. He is also an active conservation biologist and previously worked with The Nature Conservancy on Martha’s Vineyard. Before his environmental career, Kirby worked in contemporary art and translation in France, and as a photographer in Spain. Kirby received his BA in Biology and Environmental Studies with a minor in French from Middlebury College in Vermont, with additional coursework at Sciences Po Bordeaux, after attending The United World College of the Atlantic in St. Donat’s, Wales. He enjoys trail running, hiking, reading, analogue photography, spending time in his art studio, and irony.
Jeffrey Potent, Academic & Policy Advisor
Kings County & Catskills
“I have lived both in New York City and the Hudson Valley/Catskills greater bioregion all of my adult life. I am of this place in substance, spirit and vocation, and I am dedicated to building on our unique natural, cultural and human assets to create a truly regenerative economy and society that will evolve and strengthen for years to come. Specifically, I will support the Hudson River Flows project through my work advancing regenerative agriculture and community development in the Hudson Valley/Catskill region and through my teaching and student counseling in this and related fields.”
Jeffrey develops and teaches graduate courses in corporate sustainable development, systems theory, natural capital valuation, and sustainable agriculture at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and the Columbia University Earth Institute. He advises graduate students and student teams on sustainability projects, contributes to the Columbia University Seminar Series on Sustainable Finance, serves on several non-profit boards and for the past three years hosted an annual forum on sustainable agriculture. He also consults and speaks publicly on corporate and agricultural sustainability and water quality. Jeffrey has been invited to join Congressman Antonio Delgado’s (D NY19) Agriculture Advisory Committee. Congressman Delgado has been appointed to the House Agriculture Committee and has established this advisory committee to garner input from constituents with professional expertise in the sector.
Jeffrey formerly led corporate partnerships for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Water in Washington DC, advancing sustainable and market-based approaches to environmental protection. Before this position, he served as EPA/ US Department of Agriculture (USDA) liaison, facilitating collaboration among land grant universities, EPA, USDA, industry associations and other governmental agencies and academic institutions. He established a regional component of the USDA National Integrated Water Quality Program, serving as regional director and member of the program's national leadership team. Earlier in his career, Mr. Potent led an energy and environmental engineering consulting practice, managed pollution prevention programs for a large environmental agency, and planned satellite and cable infrastructure for a global telecommunications corporation.
Chris Loughlin, Spiritual Ecology Advisor
"Hudson River Flows, was latent in the Dream when Thomas Berry wrote The Dream of the Earth. Now that Dream is manifesting. The Hudson and its story is very significant. So too will be the healing of the waters and the reconstituting of human communities who no longer 'shape' the River but are 'shaped' by the River."
Chris Loughlin, a Dominican Sister of Peace, makes her home at Crystal Spring, an ever unfolding ecology center in Plainville, MA. Crystal Spring collaborates with small-scale agricultural programs, land conservation organizations, and local efforts in becoming a living embodiment of a bio-regionally appropriate culture. Her particular work is assisting Religious Communities to enter a new relationship with their lands. The Religious Lands Conservancy Project was established in 2000 and partners with The Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition to preserve common values that protect and conserve land.
Marie McCann, Graphic Designer,
Peekskill, Westchester County
"I have always believed that if we imagine the world we want to live in, then we can create it. There is such a sense of possibility in the Hudson Valley. Artists, makers, farmers, entrepreneurs and community organizers are working in ways that are conscious and respectful of environmental impact. When we learn about our neighbors’ higher goals, — through their stories — we can support and help realize them. And we can be inspired to make positive change in our own endeavors.
"As a graphic designer, I love making these stories of regeneration visual. I hope by arranging the written words and sounds and images into a coherent whole, I am helping move these stories forward."
Marie grew up in the Hudson Valley, in a rotation from suburbs to city and back again. She spent her childhood swimming in the Hudson River and the past few years kayaking along its shorelines. She learned the impact of good design while studying at Parsons School of Design.
Noah Sheetz, Advisor
The Bronx, New York
“I’ve spent the better part of twenty years working to bridge the gap between local growers and local consumers. To me it just makes sense to buy locally whenever possible. It’s better for the environment and it supports the local economy. I also think, as humans, that we need to return to the practice of growing food ourselves, on any level. Whether you grow sprouts or tomatoes, we need to contribute as individuals to our local food system. I always imagine the money that could collectively be saved, and the positive environmental impact that would result, if everyone grew their own tomatoes in the summer.”
Originally from El Paso Texas, Noah settled in the Hudson Valley to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Over the course of his career, Noah has worked in fine dining restaurants, owned a bakery, taught courses in culinary arts, and served as the Executive Chef at the Governor’s Mansion in Albany through four administrations.
After working in Albany, Noah worked for Cura Hospitality at Hudson Valley Hospital Center where he planned healthy, seasonal meals made with local ingredients and conducted cooking demonstrations at the hospital’s bi-monthly farmers markets. Recently Noah worked as an adjunct instructor at SUNY Cobleskill where he taught beginning culinary arts students cooking fundamentals and the importance of working with local and seasonal ingredients.
Currently Noah is a contract chef for the Office of Children and Family Services where he works with cook supervisors at twelve youth detention centers throughout New York State on menu development and sourcing local ingredients.
He holds an MBA from the University of Albany, an accomplishment that serves him well in his role as the farm-to-table coordinator for Chefs' Consortium, a collaboration of creative and talented chefs who are committed to the same fresh-local ideals.
Noah creates partnerships with other non-profit organizations, actively recruits new chefs for the Consortium, and facilitates the procurement of local ingredients for educational events. Noah travels throughout New York City, the Hudson Valley, and the Capital region building relationships with area farmers in his mission to support local agriculture and to highlight the many benefits of eating locally.
Raymond Figueroa, Jr., Advisor
The Bronx, New York
“Community gardens lay the foundation for civic engagement, leadership development, and continued community development initiatives that are genuinely sustainable.” They are about grassroots, community-based institution building, allowing people to iterate and delineate their productivity in a way that is self-determining and that honors their sense of human dignity. They lay the foundation for civic engagement, leadership development, and continued community development initiatives that are genuinely sustainable.”
Raymond is Director of Social-Ecological Community Development Projects at Friends of Brook Park and is President of the New York City Community Garden Coalition. He is currently a Taconic Faculty Fellow at the Pratt Center for Community Development and a Visiting Faculty Sustainable Environmental Systems, at Pratt Institute's Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment.
He has served as an urban agriculture consultant to foundations, government, non-profit organizations, and publications, including the Tri-State Community Food Funders; the National Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders; and the New York City Mayor's Office, Urban Agriculture Task Force.
He has been an advisor to the New York City Council’s Report: "FoodWorks: A Vision to Improve New York City's Food System: Accomplishments and New Ideas"; the Nos Quedamos Community Development Corporation’s strategic partnership on the planning and development of a Community Land Trust (CLT) in the South Bronx; and the Mott Haven/Port Morris Community Land Trust Stewards.
Ray's work has been reported on in the MIT CoLab Radio article: "Growing Community, Gardens, and Land Trusts: Raymond Figueroa, Jr. in the South Bronx;" the Design Trust for Public Space Report: "Five Borough Farm: Seeding the Future of Urban Agriculture in New York City"; and the University of Georgia Press’s Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation series: "Beyond the Kale: Urban Agriculture and Social Justice Activism in New York City," by Nevin Cohen and Kristin Reynolds.
Ray is the recipient of prestigious PAR (Participant Action Research) grants for his contributions to: the National Academy of Medicine’s Health Literacy and Nutrition Mapping of Food Marketing to Youth in Harlem; and Columbia University’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy study: “The Built Environment and Health Project - Identifying New Sites for Community Gardens by Combining GIS Analysis and Site Alternative Field Surveys.” The latter project resulted in at least two community farms being established in the mapped areas within the South Bronx.
Ray is also the co-recipient of the Cornell University Institute for Community and Rural Development: Innovator Award, and was named the Natural Resources Defense Council Earth Day New York City Grassroots Environmental Advocate of the Year.
Lisa Elaine Held is a food and agriculture reporter. She covers food and farm policy, how food production impacts the environment and public health, small farm economics, labor rights within the food system, the organic industry, and more. She is a regular contributor to Civil Eats and produces and hosts the weekly radio show/podcast The Farm Report on Heritage Radio Network. Her work has been published in various magazines, newspapers, and online publications including NPR's The Salt, Eater, Edible Manhattan/Brooklyn, The New York Times, and more. She has a master's degree from Columbia University's School of Journalism.
Lisa Held, Contributor
Robert Ramin Raymond, Contributor
Robert is a Founding Producer of the Upstream Podcast and Senior Producer of The Response. He is passionate about exploring the intersections of sound design, storytelling, and eco-socialist principles to help ease our way out of these tumultuous times.