Meet the Good Life Center Team
Who are the Good Life Center Stewards?
Stewards of the Good Life Center activate this ethic by attending annual meetings to exercise their right to voice and vote on the nomination of Directors and the annual program plan and budget. The Stewards are the animating influence of the Good Life Center. Stewards often create and execute special projects for the Good Life Center. Many talents are appreciated to assist with the management of this precious resource.
If you would like to join our illustrious group of Stewards and use your energies to further enhance this Good Life, please contact any of our members!
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.
Michael Maynard | Farm Maintenance
Michael Maynard works as a custodian at Brooksville Elementary School. He received his B.A. and M.A. from Assumption College before eventually becoming a clinical social worker at Saint Joseph Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island in 1988. After his ten-year career as a clinician, Michael moved to Harborside, with his wife, Martha. While in Maine, Michael learned to practice dry laid stone masonry. An example of his work can be viewed at the Good Life Center, where he donated his labor to fabricate the stone steps and landing at Helen and Scott’s former home. Michael has created a portfolio of his stonework throughout the Blue Hill Peninsula and beyond, and continues to ply his craft in his own back yard. In addition to stone masonry, Michael is an accomplished master gardener. He recently contributed to his first art exhibit at the Gallery Within, a new exhibit at the Reversing Falls Sanctuary in North Brooksville, titled, Art from Anything: exploring diverse materials. His medium is fiber.
Mary Hildebrand | Bookkeeper
Mary Hildebrand lives with her husband Steve in an owner-built, solar powered off-grid home in Surry, Maine, where they grow a lovely garden on their small, wooded, pastured lot. Mary is a firm believer in Scott and Helen Nearing’s pay-as-you-go philosophy. She enjoys volunteering at The Simmering Pot Community Supper and is a member of the Hancock County Food Security Network. Along with Steve and a small group of close friends she shouts it out with a local rock n’ roll band known as The Free Radicals.
Rachael Birch | Administrator
Rachael held many titles before joining the Good Life Center team, including Latin and Greek Teacher, Legal Assistant, and Foster Parent; but, since 2017 she has focused her attention on homesteading a small and wild piece of land in Penobscot, Maine. In all her work, Rachael has always been driven by fairness and beauty– the two things she admires most in Helen & Scott’s legacy– fairness, for all people and animals; beauty, found in all of nature and in our actions toward each other.
Alison Stephens | Board Chair
Blue Hill, ME
Alison Stephens was raised a pacifist Quaker, living with her activist parents overseas during the French and Algerian war. Worked as the first Victim-Witness Advocate with the Hancock Co. District Attorneys office in Ellsworth Maine in the 1980’s. She married Rev. Charles Stephens, and became a Unitarian Universalist, helping to serve a number of churches in varying states over the years. They raised 3 children and she worked as an office administrator in varying positions. Returning to Maine in 2012 to create their own homestead in Blue Hill, Alison and Charles were able to become Resident Stewards of the Good Life Center during the 2012 season. She eagerly learned all she could about the Nearing’s, their history and philosophy. It was an honor taking care of the homestead and garden and sharing the Nearing’s message of independent, simple living and political activism with visitors. After the stint as Resident Stewards, Alison worked as a part time administrator for the Good Life Center for a spell. Continuing with her interest in The Good Life Center she joined the board in 2016 and took over as board chair in 2018.
Marni Salerno | Board Member
Marni joined the Good Life Center board in 2016 after attending an apple tree pruning workshop. Marni is proud to live near and support the Good Life Center as an important resource for radical thought and homestead based education. They believe in practicing small acts of anti-capitalism and are growing, learning and working toward being more self- sufficient.
Alex Page | Board Member, Treasurer
Alex did not know about the Nearings until he visited the farm at the recommendation of a friend in 2016. Arriving outside of visiting hours, he and his wife Jeanie had the farm all to themselves and spent 2 hours in the late summer rains wandering, meditating, and admiring the abundant and beautiful garden. The next year, Alex and Jeanie became the Resident Stewards and fell even more deeply in love with the Nearings’ philosophy and tranquil lifestyle. Alex has always loved gardening, and his politics geared towards that of Scott’s pacifist and socialist teachings. Though based on the west coast of the United States, the Good Life Center captured a piece of his heart and his desire to help keep the mission alive and inspiring others has brought him back to his role on the Board.
Holli Cederholm | Board Member
Holli has spent the last fifteen years immersed in sustainable agriculture as a farmer, advocate, and storyteller. Self-reliance as a form of social and environmental justice, inspired by the writings of Helen and Scott Nearing, is a driving force in her life. In 2016, Holli and her partner Greg Benson were honored to be Resident Stewards at Forest Farm. She first apprenticed on an organic farm in 2005 while completing a degree in Environmental Writing at Unity College in Unity, ME. She then founded her own small farm focused on celebrating the diversity of open-pollinated and heirloom vegetables through MOFGA’s Farmer-in-Residence program. During this time, Holli cut flowers, tinctured herbs, put by the season’s bounty, fermented small batches of tempeh, and accompanied her herd of dairy goats for forage walks in the woods. As the former general manager of a national nonprofit dedicated to organic seed growers, she authored a peer-reviewed handbook on GMO avoidance strategies for farmers and went to court against Monsanto to protect farmers’ rights to save seed. Holli continues to grow and preserve organic vegetables while working as a writer.
Carole Crawford | Board Member
Inspired by reading Living the Good Life in 1976 and by visiting Forest Farm in 1982, Carole moved to a farm. She lived there for 7 years, growing organic vegetables and harvesting firewood for commercial sale. Her passion for the land and nature and the world of ballet, which she taught back then, were her main loves until her beautiful daughter and son were born. After Carole left the farm, the Portland, Maine, area became her home and this is where she has lived for many years. The lessons of the Nearings were never lost however, as she has grown organic vegetables and continuously composted food scraps and yard waste since 1976 without a break — something she feels is one of her greatest accomplishments. When she and Chris met working in the outdoor industry their common love of cycling and camping brought them together both personally and professionally. They ran a guiding business together for 7 years. It introduced young people to mountain biking, road biking, and camping with the intent of fostering love and good stewardship of the land and natural places. Becoming a Resident Steward at the GLC in 2018, after first being introduced to it 42 years before, was life in full circle and a dream come true! Many of the things that have inspired Carole throughout her life still inspire her today, namely spending time with her children, growing organic food and composting, mountain biking, and Nordic skiing. Her latest endeavor and something she feels passionate about is working toward stopping the use of chemicals, particularly glyphosate, and promoting regenerative organic practices on farms and in our towns and cities, through the organizations Farmers Footprint and Non Toxic Neighborhoods.
Chris Morrison | Board Member
After a health scare in his late twenties, Chris came to the realization that he drastically needed to change his eating habits. Inspired by the Nearings, Chris and Carole have 200+ sq. ft. of raised beds, compost bins, and a couple of prolific blueberry bushes on their 1/10 acre property in Portland, Maine. “Do what you can, where you can,” is Chris’ motto since his second season as a Resident Steward at Forest Farm. The Nearings’ example of how to live, “sanely and simply in a troubled world,” has become a touchstone for Chris in countless ways. Chris believes that Helen and Scott Nearing humbly inspired thousands to action by their regenerative farming practices, their social and political activism, and by living what they taught. Chris is a step-father and an outdoor skills educator, and has worked in the Industrial Arts for close to 40 years. Chris spends most of his free time with family and friends, enjoying outdoor activities whenever possible.
Sam Adels | Advisory Board Member
Sam fell in love with growing food after years of being asked to help out in the family garden. Sam studied history and the environment at Macalester College and has a masters degree in environmental education from New York University. Sam is committed to social and environmental justice and has devoted his professional life to environmental education. Sam and his wife Claire were the resident stewards of Forest Farm in 2015. He wrote a blog about the experience for the Bangor Daily News. Deeply inspired by his time at the Good Life Center, Sam currently teaches organic gardening to public elementary school students in the Hudson Valley, New York. Sam teaches through hands-on, experiential education, and enjoys encouraging kids to explore and connect to the world around them, in hopes of inspiring future generations of eco-literate stewards. When not in the classroom or garden, Sam can be found cooking, baking, or exploring the Hudson Valley by foot or bicycle.
Greg Joly | Advisory Board Member
Greg Joly joined the Group of Stewards in 1997 and has been Chair of the Publication Committee since almost the beginning of his service. For the past 30 years, he has collected oral histories, built a research library, and has written and spoken extensively on all things Nearing. These interests have led to rewarding contacts with individuals and researchers both national and international. For a spell, Greg served on the Board of Directors and Chaired that entity for the duration allowed by GLC board term limits.
Greg homesteads with his partner-wife, Mary, in Jamaica, Vermont only seven miles from the Nearing’s original Stone House. When gardening, fuel gathering, composting, carpentry and stone work duties flag, he sometimes sets type and letterpress prints on his 1895 foot-treadled platen press, under the moniker Bull Thistle Press.
Jocelyn Langer | Advisory Board Member
Jocelyn Langer has been a member of the Good Life Center group of stewards for over 20 years, and served on the board as both Secretary and Chair. Jocelyn is currently Executive Director of NOFA/Mass (Northeast Organic Farming Association), and formerly served as Executive Director of Listening Wellness Center in Barre, MA. She is also a founder and board member of Just Words Language Justice Coop in Northampton, MA.
Keith Morton | Advisory Board Member
Keith Morton became a steward of the Good Life Center in 1996, and served on the board for nearly a decade. He teaches public and community service studies at Providence College, and lives on a small farm in Warren, Rhode Island. His teaching includes courses on the history of simple living, nonviolence and community building. He continues to appreciate the social and political significance of the GLC and the people it brings together.
John Saltmarsh | Advisory Board Member
John first met Scott and Helen when Scott was in his 99th year. As a result of that time spent at Forest Farm, he wrote a biography of Scott (The Making of a Homesteader, 1991), worked with, and then without, Helen in the creation of the Good Life Center, serving as its first Board Chair. It was an outcome of that first meeting that he was introduced their friend, Bill Coperthwaite, forming an endearing friendship that included writing the introduction to his A Handmade Life (2007). It was in the creation of the Good Life Center that he also met Guy and Laura Waterman, Vermont homesteaders who had started their homesteading journey guided by the Nearing’s Living the Good Life. The Watermans gifted their homestead, Barra, to the Good Life Center to create opportunities for future generations of homesteaders, and he had the good fortune to work on that project for over a decade. What he has learned since that first meeting with Scott and Helen is that the Good Life Center, advancing the Nearing ideas and values, exists primarily in order to support and encourage others to explore what the good life means for them, and to assist them in their journey. This is important, and increasingly urgent, work. It is also his work as an educator at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where his efforts focus on revitalizing the public purposes of higher education to assist students in developing their civic agency in a diverse democracy.
Josh Saltmarsh | Advisory Board Member
Chappaquiddick Island, MA
Josh Saltmarsh studied finance and after college worked in New York and Boston. “Narrowly escaping the grasp of corporate America”, he moved to Maine for four years where he owned a small business and became interested in a simpler lifestyle. During his time there he built an off grid tiny house and studied permaculture and natural building. 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, skiing, and yoga.