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Our Story

The NorCal Community Resilience Network was founded in 2013 by Susan Silber, a longtime environmental educator and community organizer. Susan’s original intent was to support Transition groups from across Northern California after helping to organize the 2012 Transition Conference. In 2013, permaculture and Transition leaders combined conferences to produce the first Building Resilient Communities Convergence. In a desire to support grassroots efforts across the region beyond this annual event, the Network vision expanded to include permaculture and community resilience groups so as to strengthen connections and collaborations born out of the yearly gatherings. Since its inception, the organization has sought to integrate an ethos of social justice and radical inclusion in order to support transformation in the environmental movement as a whole.

In terms of NorCal’s structure as an organization, we are in the process of building out a Spokes Council involving representatives from across the region as well as localized organizing bodies within different bioregions. 

Staff

Susan Silber

Susan was introduced to community resilience after learning about the Transition Movement and co-founded the Berkeley Transition Initiative five years ago. Susan was co-producer of the Building Resilience Communities Convergence in both 2013 and 2015, and Community Resilience Challenge for two years. She also worked as an environmental educator for the past 25 years, and is proud to have introduced thousands of youth to the joys of nature, working with the Green Schools Initiative, Hostelling International, the Peace Corps and other programs.

Molly Hoffman

Molly is an event producer and community organizer with a background in Permaculture Design, Visual Arts and Placemaking. Her work is driven by the understanding that equity and health of people are not mutually exclusive to the health of our planet. She’s most passionate about events that use the “social glues” of our world—food, art, music—as catalysts for change. She’s currently serving as the Events Steward at PLACE For Sustainable Living in Oakland.

Tony Kamba

Tony is from South Sudan working on a fellowship in collaboration with EcoCity Builders and the NorCal Resilience Network until December 2017. He is focusing on media and sharing stories about our Network and movement. The Community Solutions Program is a professional leadership development program for the best and brightest community leaders worldwide. Tony works with PLAN International in South Sudan.

Steering Committee

Ayako Nagano

Ayako is an attorney, entrepreneur, community organizer and frequent volunteer at Transition Berkeley. She presently serves on the Board of ZenPlay, a charitable organization that crowd-sources funds to help under-served children both locally and globally. Ayako has utilized her non-profit and legal experience to support diverse causes including the Japanese-speaking persons living in the United States; tenant rights in Oakland; the HIV Law Project in New York City; the Union of Needletrade, Industrial, and Textile Employees; women’s rights, and human rights.

Yasir Cross

Yasir is a design engineer by trade and has been practicing permaculture design for many years. He is a grey water specialist as well as a skilled builder. He is passionate about natural beekeeping and has been studying and keeping bees successfully for almost a decade. Yasir is also a crafter and artist who loves to work with his hands.  He has a natural gift for fixing just about anything and as an organic farmer is putting that gift to good use. A student of the biodynamic farming methodology, Yasir is using, learning, and teaching his experience.  Sustainable building, grafting fruit trees, composting, double digging, and building soil are some of his interests. Yasir is co-owner of Soul Flower Farm where he lives with his wife, sons, chickens, bees and jersey milk cows.

Lucy (Luz) O’Leary

Lucy, or Luz, is a community organizer and artivist with a background in research, education, and permaculture design. Luz worked as a labor and community organizer in her hometown of Los Angeles before traveling for two years in Latin America as a student of permaculture, traditional music, and Buddhist meditation. During this time, she served as Intercultural Education Coordinator at Alianza Arkana, a grassroots alliance of indigenous communities and international allies working to protect and regenerate the Peruvian Amazon. Luz is currently partnering with the Creative Liberation Network on the pilot design of a permaculture-inspired treasure hunt in Oakland.

Sunil Nair

Sunil R Nair is the Founder of Cogarden – a technology platform that Connects People, Plants, and Places. Through Cogarden, Sunil’s primary focus is on enabling a ‘Community To Consumer’ food system as an economically viable, ecologically balanced alternative to factory farming, and as a healthier option to the food access challenges impacting the working poor. Cogarden is inspired by the social equity, interdependence, and sustainability culture embedded within large and small food cooperatives. Previously, Sunil led Line of Business, Business Process Engineering functions within technology companies in India, Middle East, and in the U.S. over a corporate career spanning 22 years. Since taking a stay-at-home dad gig on becoming a parent in 2012, Sunil has been involved in a variety of Food Justice and Food Access initiatives – Seed Lending Libraries, Community Gardens, Urban Homesteading – along the East Bay, and at the NOFA-NJ Beginner Farmer Incubator program.