Bob Jones, Chair, Brooksville, ME
Bob Jones retired from the business world to focus on environmental problems. He opposed the aerial spraying of pesticides on blueberries, started the Toddy Pond Environmental Association, was active in Transition Town work and after 9/11 became an anti-war activist, organized protests and started an Occupy group. Bob identifies with Scott Nearing’s writings on the dangers of oligarchy and militarism. He strives to embody the Nearing model of self-sufficiency with his partner, Doris Groves (they grow much of their own food at their home, Sweet Dog Farm, in Brooksville, Maine. Bob enjoys working with and teaching organic gardening methods to the younger generation. His focus today is on raising awareness of the major impact animal agriculture has upon climate change.
Doris Groves, Board Member, Brooksville, ME
Doris Groves first met Helen Nearing in 1986 and was inspired by Helen’s good energy, direct manner and compassionate ways. She settled in Brooksville, Maine where she raised and homeschooled her daughter and son, and in 2008 co-founded the Brooksville Farmer’s Market. A vegetarian since the age of 18, Doris made the decision to embrace a vegan lifestyle in November 2013. She and her partner Bob Jones practice vegan farming at Sweet Dog Farm in Brooksville and offer an exchange program for WWOOFers (Worldwide Workers on Organic Farms).
Warren Berkowitz, Board Member, Blue Hill, ME
Warren Berkowitz was a long-time friend of the Nearings and one of the Good Life Center’s first stewards. After 40 years of service in public education Warren now lives in Blue Hill, Maine with his wife Nancy. Warren’s goals as Farm Manager include maintaining Forest Farm to provide future generations with access to the inspiring Nearing legacy, nurturing the Residential Steward Program and inviting youth groups to participate in the Good Life Center’s Daily activities. A proud parent, Warren’s two adult children have wonderful memories of time spent with Helen at Forest Farm. Daughter Jenny is a yoga teacher, professional dancer and Occupational Therapist in Baltimore and son Jacob Scott is an international economics analyst in Washington DC. Warren’s primary interests include gardening, yoga and tennis.
Charles Stephens, Board Member, Blue Hill, ME
Charles Stephens first met Helen and Scott Nearing while serving as minister of the Ellsworth and Castine Unitarian Universalist Congregations during the 1980s. Charles officiated at Warren and Nancy Berkowitz’ wedding at the Nearing homestead and, after Scott’s death, conducted a Sunday morning memorial service at the Common Ground Fair. He and his wife, Alison, were Resident Stewards at the Good Life Center in 2012. Born into a farming family in rural northern Wisconsin, Charles learned to garden from his parents and has gardened all of his life.
Originally a Lutheran minister, he transferred to Unitarian Universalism in 1981, drawn by its liberal position on religious/spiritual beliefs and social justice. Past ministries include Unitarian Universalist congregations in Concord, NH and Washington’s Crossing in Titusville, NJ. He was Spiritual Director and adjunct staff member for the Spiritual Guidance Program at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Bethesda, Maryland, where he worked with people from a variety of faiths. Charles was especially attracted to the Nearings’ outspoken stand on peace and social justice. During his forty plus years of ministry he has advocated for peace, marriage equity for same-sex couples, mental illness awareness, taxation equity, affordable housing, school funding, and immigration policy. In 1982 Charles and Alison cut and pealed logs to build a cabin in Maine, where they retreated with their three children for summer vacations. When Charles retired they built a year-round home on the original property where they garden, tap maple trees, keep bees and continue to advocate for social justice.
Kim Peralta, Board Member, Brooksville, ME
Kim Peralta was attracted to the Good Life Center by the vegan element of the Nearings’ vision: “Milk is food for the infant of its species. Eggs are food for the embryo bird. Neither should be consumed by human adults.” – Helen Nearing. Kim became a steward in 2014 after attending a meeting of the GLC. A senior student of Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar since 1989, she returns to India each year for further training at the Iyengar Institute. Kim lives on a ten acre farm where she embraces a vegan lifestyle and continues to teach Iyengar yoga in Brooksville and Portland.
David Zachow, Board Member
Born in Philadelphia, David Zachow grew up in Bryn Mawr,PA. Not having had the opportunity to meet the Nearings, David has nevertheless been influenced by the people who worked directly with them, whose “..obvious humility, humanity, love of the earth and generous good nature carry on the teachings that Helen and Scott offered the world.” David has been involved in building homes and installing electrical systems for much of his life. In 1993 he developed Ancient Hills Cottage Builders, a green home building business focused on strawbale and cob construction. In 2007 he started Direct Connect Solar & Electric, concentrating on the installation of solar electric systems. “Going green was inspired by the natural beauty and environmental consciousness of my adopted home, Floyd County. Grid-tied solar systems may be an evolutionary step toward cleaner, affordable electrical generation that will serve, not bankrupt future generations.” David and his wife, Annie Guppy, divide their time between Harborside, Maine and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Josh Saltmarsh, Board Member, Mercer, ME
Josh Saltmarsh studied finance and after college worked in New York and Boston. “Narrowly escaping the grasp of corporate America”, he now owns a small business and lives in an off-grid tiny house in rural Mercer, Maine. Josh first visited Forest Farm in 1996 with his father, John Saltmarsh, who at the time was writing a biography of Scott Nearing. Years later, in 2015, Josh reconnected with the GLC as part of his quest to build a sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle. Josh’s primary interests include permaculture studies, surfing and yoga.