The Yale Landscape Lab brings together staff and students from across disciplines to shape the space and build its programming. Our academic year student interns bring their diverse backgrounds, their energy, their expertise, and their deep drives to engage problems and change the world. Read on to learn more about our 2018-2019 team.

 
 
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Justin Freiberg    Founder, Director   Justin’s background is in building collaborations: he co-founded Encendia Biochar, as well as the Urban Foodshed Collaborative, both of which aimed to close material and social loops to create resilient, sustainable systems. Past work with the Wildlife Conservation Society, Added Value, the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, the US-Asia Institute, and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture has taught him to create programming that engages communities around shared interests in the natural environment, food and farming, and entrepreneurship. Justin holds a Masters from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, an M.A. and B.A. in psychology from Wesleyan University, and a Certificate in Conservation Biology from Columbia University. Justin has apprenticed under farmers in Italy, France, and the U.S.

Justin Freiberg

Founder, Director

Justin’s background is in building collaborations: he co-founded Encendia Biochar, as well as the Urban Foodshed Collaborative, both of which aimed to close material and social loops to create resilient, sustainable systems. Past work with the Wildlife Conservation Society, Added Value, the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, the US-Asia Institute, and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture has taught him to create programming that engages communities around shared interests in the natural environment, food and farming, and entrepreneurship. Justin holds a Masters from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, an M.A. and B.A. in psychology from Wesleyan University, and a Certificate in Conservation Biology from Columbia University. Justin has apprenticed under farmers in Italy, France, and the U.S.

Thembi Butelezi    Fellow   Thembi is a marketer, recently turned agro-entrepreneur. As a marketer her work focused on the Consumer Packaged Goods sector where she helped develop localization and growth strategies for global brands.  She started her food venture after graduating from Yale School of Management in 2018 with a Master of Advanced Management. Part of her work includes managing a women’s farming project in rural Limpopo to support economic development in the community.  She is most energized by the challenge of creating viable business models that promote economic development in rural communities in Africa. During her time with YLL, she hopes to take part in meaningful conversations about agricultural value chains and how they might be reimagined.

Thembi Butelezi

Fellow

Thembi is a marketer, recently turned agro-entrepreneur. As a marketer her work focused on the Consumer Packaged Goods sector where she helped develop localization and growth strategies for global brands.

She started her food venture after graduating from Yale School of Management in 2018 with a Master of Advanced Management. Part of her work includes managing a women’s farming project in rural Limpopo to support economic development in the community.

She is most energized by the challenge of creating viable business models that promote economic development in rural communities in Africa. During her time with YLL, she hopes to take part in meaningful conversations about agricultural value chains and how they might be reimagined.

Sanjeet Baidwan    Co-Director, Yale Cultivate Health   Sanjeet is an Internal Medicine attending physician, and currently serves as the Medical Director for Complex Care at Oscar Health in NYC, and teach Prevention & Lifestyle Medicine at Yale Medical School.  After completing her residency at Yale School of Medicine, she served as its first advocacy and community health chief, where she focused on issues of food access and social justice.  Having served on the board of New Haven Farms, she has worked with at-risk populations with preventable chronic diseases, increasing their access to fresh fruits and vegetables, nutrition education and exercise facilities through the expansion of the program to several clinics, increasing Yale New Haven Hospital’s partnerships with local NGOs.

Sanjeet Baidwan

Co-Director, Yale Cultivate Health

Sanjeet is an Internal Medicine attending physician, and currently serves as the Medical Director for Complex Care at Oscar Health in NYC, and teach Prevention & Lifestyle Medicine at Yale Medical School.

After completing her residency at Yale School of Medicine, she served as its first advocacy and community health chief, where she focused on issues of food access and social justice.

Having served on the board of New Haven Farms, she has worked with at-risk populations with preventable chronic diseases, increasing their access to fresh fruits and vegetables, nutrition education and exercise facilities through the expansion of the program to several clinics, increasing Yale New Haven Hospital’s partnerships with local NGOs.

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Andrew Currie   Andrew hails from from South Eastern Pennsylvania, but most of my time farming has been in New England. He is driven by a love of spending time outdoors, raising plants, and eating food. Through his work in agriculture, Andrew would like to help nutrient flows, associated with food production, to become cyclic. Andrew is completing a joint degree between the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Cambridge University.

Andrew Currie
Andrew hails from from South Eastern Pennsylvania, but most of my time farming has been in New England. He is driven by a love of spending time outdoors, raising plants, and eating food. Through his work in agriculture, Andrew would like to help nutrient flows, associated with food production, to become cyclic. Andrew is completing a joint degree between the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Cambridge University.

Claire Saint-Amour  Claire is a sophomore in Yale College. She grew up in Philadelphia, where she kept bees at school and in a community garden. She’d like to learn how to have compelling conversations about the environment, so she can help save the world with persuasive rhetoric.

Claire Saint-Amour
Claire is a sophomore in Yale College. She grew up in Philadelphia, where she kept bees at school and in a community garden. She’d like to learn how to have compelling conversations about the environment, so she can help save the world with persuasive rhetoric.

Frenzi Ritter  Frenzi grew up in Germany on an old farmstead that her artist parents converted into a small thriving community with gardens, animals and people all sharing a relatively small piece of land. This idea of creating healthy communities integrated with their built and natural environment helps drives her studies at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. In the future, she hopes to help communities and cities to develop low-carbon and resilient strategies that respond to whatever needs and issues they face.

Frenzi Ritter
Frenzi grew up in Germany on an old farmstead that her artist parents converted into a small thriving community with gardens, animals and people all sharing a relatively small piece of land. This idea of creating healthy communities integrated with their built and natural environment helps drives her studies at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. In the future, she hopes to help communities and cities to develop low-carbon and resilient strategies that respond to whatever needs and issues they face.

Gerardo Acosta   Gerardo was born in Bogota, Colombia, and moved to Jersey City, NJ when he was six years old. As a student at the Yale School of Nursing, he is motivated by how central farming and food are to the societal structures we take for granted, which in turn “makes the Landscape Lab a space for redefining society.” The change he wants to see in the world is ALL people being able to grow and eat organic produce while being able to protect and respect the land around them.

Gerardo Acosta

Gerardo was born in Bogota, Colombia, and moved to Jersey City, NJ when he was six years old. As a student at the Yale School of Nursing, he is motivated by how central farming and food are to the societal structures we take for granted, which in turn “makes the Landscape Lab a space for redefining society.” The change he wants to see in the world is ALL people being able to grow and eat organic produce while being able to protect and respect the land around them.

Jonathan Harper   Jonathan most recently lived in Washington state, where he worked as a nurse prior to returning to the School of Nursing. He is driven to help others by paying forward the knowledge and privileges he has been blessed with. He hopes to drive change in rural healthcare, improving healthcare prospects and outcomes for adult populations occupying the open spaces of our world.

Jonathan Harper

Jonathan most recently lived in Washington state, where he worked as a nurse prior to returning to the School of Nursing. He is driven to help others by paying forward the knowledge and privileges he has been blessed with. He hopes to drive change in rural healthcare, improving healthcare prospects and outcomes for adult populations occupying the open spaces of our world.

 
Lindsey Gillies   Lindsey is currently enrolled at the Yale School of Nursing (YSN) in the Nurse Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner program. Prior to studying at YSN, she worked as a midwife in a busy out-of-hospital birth center on the US/Mexico border, and later, as a home birth midwife in snowy Vermont. Currently, she works at YLL as a farm manager. She is enthusiastic about exploring the intersections of nutrition education, food justice, and food access in Connecticut.

Lindsey Gillies

Lindsey is currently enrolled at the Yale School of Nursing (YSN) in the Nurse Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner program. Prior to studying at YSN, she worked as a midwife in a busy out-of-hospital birth center on the US/Mexico border, and later, as a home birth midwife in snowy Vermont. Currently, she works at YLL as a farm manager. She is enthusiastic about exploring the intersections of nutrition education, food justice, and food access in Connecticut.

 
Cade Mcgovern   Cade is from Houston, Texas and is a proud member of the Texas A&M University Class of 2016 with a degree in Anthropology. He is driven and inspired by the innovative individuals and organizations he has had the privilege to work with. He is motivated to develop and advance public health initiatives to be better adapted to the populations they aim to serve.

Cade Mcgovern

Cade is from Houston, Texas and is a proud member of the Texas A&M University Class of 2016 with a degree in Anthropology. He is driven and inspired by the innovative individuals and organizations he has had the privilege to work with. He is motivated to develop and advance public health initiatives to be better adapted to the populations they aim to serve.

Harry Kim   Harry is a student in the School of Public Health. Before coming to Yale, he grew up in Montreal, Canada, where he completed his undergraduate degree in Microbiology and Immunology. He is interested in developing sustainable, long-term health interventions that empower the involved communities. He would love to continue his career back in Canada, and work with Indigenous and First Nations communities. He also love bees and social insects.

Harry Kim

Harry is a student in the School of Public Health. Before coming to Yale, he grew up in Montreal, Canada, where he completed his undergraduate degree in Microbiology and Immunology. He is interested in developing sustainable, long-term health interventions that empower the involved communities. He would love to continue his career back in Canada, and work with Indigenous and First Nations communities. He also love bees and social insects.

Allegra Wiprud   Allegra is dedicated to reconnecting land and people through supporting working and living lands, environmental and social ethics, and rediscovery of the sacred. She is a Master of Environmental Management student at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Having grown up in Brooklyn, New York, she became involved in organic farming and permaculture during college and has had her feet in the soil ever since.

Allegra Wiprud

Allegra is dedicated to reconnecting land and people through supporting working and living lands, environmental and social ethics, and rediscovery of the sacred. She is a Master of Environmental Management student at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Having grown up in Brooklyn, New York, she became involved in organic farming and permaculture during college and has had her feet in the soil ever since.

 
Jesse Gehrke   Jesse is from Livermore, CA, and studied International Development and Spanish at the University of Oregon. He has worked in agriculture across the U.S., Thailand, and Guatemala. He is a Master of Forestry candidate at Yale FES, focusing on Forest Ecology and Agroforestry.

Jesse Gehrke

Jesse is from Livermore, CA, and studied International Development and Spanish at the University of Oregon. He has worked in agriculture across the U.S., Thailand, and Guatemala. He is a Master of Forestry candidate at Yale FES, focusing on Forest Ecology and Agroforestry.

 
Haley Leslie-Bole   Haley grew up in California, and attended Colorado College, developing a deep concern for the environmental and social issues equitable stakeholder engagement and sustainable land use in the Rocky Mountain West. Haley coordinates the Fermentation Intensive- a deep-dive into the art and science of fermented food. Haley’s work at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies focuses on environmental justice and political ecology. Prior to Yale, Haley worked as an outdoor educator and wilderness guide in Alaska, Colorado, and Wyoming and most recently taught environmental science for NatureBridge in Yosemite National Park.

Haley Leslie-Bole

Haley grew up in California, and attended Colorado College, developing a deep concern for the environmental and social issues equitable stakeholder engagement and sustainable land use in the Rocky Mountain West. Haley coordinates the Fermentation Intensive- a deep-dive into the art and science of fermented food. Haley’s work at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies focuses on environmental justice and political ecology. Prior to Yale, Haley worked as an outdoor educator and wilderness guide in Alaska, Colorado, and Wyoming and most recently taught environmental science for NatureBridge in Yosemite National Park.

Gabriela Morales Nieves   Gabriela is from Puerto Rico. Growing up surrounded by lush tropical forests built her fascination for how people perceive their natural resources and how they feel a connection to them, influenced by the sociopolitical history of the place, among other aspects. Gabriela’s vision to promote food sovereignty and improve the access of communities that live in and around forests to the decision-making process that so affects them helps drive her studies at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Gabriela Morales Nieves

Gabriela is from Puerto Rico. Growing up surrounded by lush tropical forests built her fascination for how people perceive their natural resources and how they feel a connection to them, influenced by the sociopolitical history of the place, among other aspects. Gabriela’s vision to promote food sovereignty and improve the access of communities that live in and around forests to the decision-making process that so affects them helps drive her studies at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Taiga Christie   Taiga is a health worker, EMT and theater artist with roots in rural New England and on the west coast. A student at the School of Public Health, she is interested in land-based and rural medicine, community-based arts, and health education. She is drawn to plant medicine because of its accessibility and connection to land, and is interested in understanding dynamics of colonization and power inherent in medical work.

Taiga Christie

Taiga is a health worker, EMT and theater artist with roots in rural New England and on the west coast. A student at the School of Public Health, she is interested in land-based and rural medicine, community-based arts, and health education. She is drawn to plant medicine because of its accessibility and connection to land, and is interested in understanding dynamics of colonization and power inherent in medical work.

 
Miguel Sanchez Enkerlin    Miguel is a third year Architecture graduate student from Canada. He attended the University of Waterloo School of Architecture and has over 3 years of work experience in architecture and construction. At Yale, he has been involved in the Tsai CITY Accelerator, the Jim Vlock Yale Building Project, and is currently one of the Design Build coordinators at the Yale Landscape Lab. Through his professional and academic work, Miguel has sought to imbue architecture and design projects with a sense for beauty and close consideration of the use of structures by people.

Miguel Sanchez Enkerlin

Miguel is a third year Architecture graduate student from Canada. He attended the University of Waterloo School of Architecture and has over 3 years of work experience in architecture and construction. At Yale, he has been involved in the Tsai CITY Accelerator, the Jim Vlock Yale Building Project, and is currently one of the Design Build coordinators at the Yale Landscape Lab. Through his professional and academic work, Miguel has sought to imbue architecture and design projects with a sense for beauty and close consideration of the use of structures by people.

Jane Dai   Before coming to the Yale School of Public Health, Jane was a Biology and Psychology major at Williams College. She is in pursuit of a holistic definition of “health” that extends beyond physical and mental health and includes the social, cultural, and political systems that shape the way we live. At YLL and beyond, she hopes to bring people with different, even opposing, stories to a common table — to be fed with food produced with integrity, and to be nourished with new food for thought.

Jane Dai

Before coming to the Yale School of Public Health, Jane was a Biology and Psychology major at Williams College. She is in pursuit of a holistic definition of “health” that extends beyond physical and mental health and includes the social, cultural, and political systems that shape the way we live. At YLL and beyond, she hopes to bring people with different, even opposing, stories to a common table — to be fed with food produced with integrity, and to be nourished with new food for thought.

Allec Willis   Allec is from West Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Over his years at Yale Landscape Lab, where he has interned since his second year at Yale, Allec has worked on physically restructuring the landscape lab to improve accessibility, but is currently focusing on composing an ethnography of the space that investigates its shifting identity and its relationship to its constituents.

Allec Willis

Allec is from West Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Over his years at Yale Landscape Lab, where he has interned since his second year at Yale, Allec has worked on physically restructuring the landscape lab to improve accessibility, but is currently focusing on composing an ethnography of the space that investigates its shifting identity and its relationship to its constituents.

 
David Bruce   David hails from from Hanover, New Hampshire. He is a joint degree between the School of Architecture and the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He is interested in how human designed spaces can more powerfully integrate with the ecological intricacies of the sites where we build.

David Bruce

David hails from from Hanover, New Hampshire. He is a joint degree between the School of Architecture and the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He is interested in how human designed spaces can more powerfully integrate with the ecological intricacies of the sites where we build.

 
 
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In 2013, the Lab’s roots were planted in its first outdoor classroom site: the West Campus Urban Farm. The Farm’s creation was among the first initiatives to bring community together at Yale’s new West Campus following its purchase from Bayer Pharmaceuticals in 2007. In those earliest years, we tapped maple trees, welcomed local school children, and began our volunteer days to help build community through growing organic produce together.

In the ensuing years, educational programming was designed and executed, and new partnerships were built across Yale. Of our earliest partnerships, we worked alongside the Yale Sustainable Food Program to complement the food and agriculture programming at the New Haven-based Yale Farm. With the school of Forestry & Environmental Studies, we worked with students to envision a more extensive campus trail system. With these and other Centers at Yale, we identified a greater potential where the wider application and realization of student ideas could be brought to scale at the Lab.

 
 
 

Today, the farm serves the same purpose – engaging members of the Yale community as well as members of our local towns – but our ambitions to serve broader academic aims steadily evolved to make full use of the entire 136 acre Campus. Our landscape typologies have in turn extended to meet new needs as our partners at Yale continue to confront issues across the world and the need to address them through nearby implementation.

Students, staff, and faculty from across Yale have embraced this vision for use of the campus landscape -- creating events, workshops, and courses. From our initial footprint at the farm, our programs are now integrated into coursework at the Yale School of Medicine and Yale School of Nursing, where future doctors and nurses are connecting with the natural environment to better serve their patients. In research, we’ve partnered with faculty to analyze the microbial diversity of soil types, harvested and supplies plants for analyses of their photosynthetic properties, and investigated natural compounds for potential cancer therapeutics. In innovation and entrepreneurship, we site and support student ventures on the landscape that range in focus from renewable energy to alternative protein production.

 
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Today, we draw partnership from over thirty departments, schools, and Centers across the entire University. Over the next five years, we will continue to diversify ever more who we work with, continue to partner on solving some of the big problems where we can make a difference, and continue to give students transformative access to the tangible realization of their ideas while at Yale.

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