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!
2018 Resident Stewards | Carole Crawford & Chris Morrison
Having been born and raised on opposite coasts, Chris on California’s and Carole on Maine’s, it was their shared love of nature and being active in the outdoors that first brought them together. They met when they each were cross-country ski, telemark, and mountain bike instructors in LL Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Program. Chris also was a Maine Guide, and after leading a trip together they soon became partners in life as well as partners in their own guiding company. They offered outdoor adventure trips to youth comprised of bike touring, mountain biking, hiking, rafting, and wilderness camping skills in Maine and Nova Scotia. An appreciation for the unspoiled beauty of the natural world and leaving it that way after their departure, was an integral part of the message they hoped to impart to their young charges.
As an eighteen-year-old, Carole, first became acquainted with the work and teaching of the Nearing’s and visited their homestead in Harborside. Although, Helen and Scott were away that day, just seeing what they had accomplished there had a tremendous impact on her life. Their message of a simple life, self-sustainability, growing and eating organic vegetables, and balancing work with artistic and recreational pursuits, greatly informed her life choices.
She went on to earn a degree in anthropology and saw a great resemblance between the Nearing’s, “good life” and our paleo ancestor’s highly successful way of life that had lasted for millennia. Due to her lifelong love of health and fitness, she became a Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist in 2015. She grows organic vegetables in her backyard and has composted all kitchen scraps without a break since 1976!
Chris grew up in Pasadena, California. His father and step-mother, true adventurers, have bicycle toured on every continent (except Antarctica), and in so doing, instilled a love of the outdoors and the “active lifestyle” in Chris. After moving back east in his mid 20’s, Chris met his wife Carole and her two wonderful children, Charles and Clarissa. They purchased a 100+ year-old 2-family house and have called Portland, Maine home since 1996. He became much more aware of the importance of pure, healthy foods when his eyesight began to fail in his late 20’s. Tests revealed highly elevated levels of lead and mercury in his bloodstream which prompted him to detox and change what he was consuming. Thanks to Carole’s tutelage and experience with organic gardening, they have built 200+ sq. ft. of raised beds, compost bins and planted fruit bearing perennials on their 1/10-acre property in town. The act of preparing soil, raising crops and consuming food right out their backdoor was a novel experience and one of the most empowering endeavors in his life.
In spite of his visual challenges, he has continued to work in the bike & ski industry as a technician, educator and Nordic ski coach for over 35 years. Alongside his lifestyle-based career in the outdoor industry, he has pursued his love of the Industrial Arts and working with his hands in a variety of mediums. In the late 1980’s, his creative license was given wings (pun intended) with formal training as an Airframe & Powerplant Technician. This in-depth education gave him the skills, confidence, and protocols to undertake any project with a holistic approach, be it wood, metal, composite, or other natural material. Most importantly it taught him how to observe before acting and to create a process that arrives at an intended goal on the first try (most of the time). Like his parents, Chris has a love for the out of doors and adventuring. When conditions permit, you’ll often find him on an extended back-country bicycle or ski tour, white-water canoe trip, or just out for a local run or mountain bike ride. Indoors, he enjoys cooking, playing guitar, designing/drawing/drafting, and socializing with friends and family.
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.
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.
Hector Sapien | Board Member
Hector Sapien, LCSW, is a clinical social worker with an extensive history of cultivating and leading child care teams in challenging therapeutic milieus. He has been a child care worker, supervisor and administrator in residential treatment centers and psychiatric hospital settings, and is now a private consultant in Maine, where he trains mental health care professionals working with children and youth. He also consults on risk management, quality assurance, and new program start-ups. Specialized areas of interest include designing, implementing, monitoring, and maintaining mental health programs for diverse populations, as well as recruiting, training, and retention of competent child and youth care workers. He is also a founding member of the Youth in Focus (YiF) Collaborative. He has 2 sons and lives with his wife in Sedgwick, Maine, where his private practice includes a clinical caseload of young people ranging from ages 4 to 22, clinical counseling at George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, Maine and is mental health consultant with the Head Start Division of Downeast Community Partners, headquartered in Ellsworth, Maine. He also teaches as adjunct faculty with the University of Maine at Augusta, via the Ellsworth Educational Extension.
Jeanie Kirk | Board Member
Jeanie Kirk is a writer, editor, curator, feminist, and environmentalist. Her life has been guided by an ethos and desire to “do good” – a complex and ever changing lens through which to view the world. Jeanie loves exploring the concept of intersectionality and is an avid, life-long learner of progressive movements. With a master’s degree from Columbia University focused on the significance of climate change’s impacts on sustainable development, Jeanie felt an alignment with the Nearings’ legacy of environmental and economic justice since she first encountered their lives and teachings in 2016. A nonprofit fundraiser since 2010, she is currently the grants officer at the Prison University Project. Jeanie loves the ocean, really big trees, yoga, hiking, skiing, cooking, reading, swimming, and fresh flowers from Alex.
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.
Jocelyn Langer | Advisory Board Member
Jocelyn Langer has been a member of the Good Life Center group of stewards and board of directors for over 10 years, serving as Secretary and Chair during that time. Jocelyn is also an artist, musician and teacher, and serves as Executive Director of the Listening Wellness Center in Barre, MA. She has traveled around the world learning about holistic health and sustainable agriculture, and currently lives in Hubbardston, 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 have 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.
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.
Josh Saltmarsh | Webmaster, Newsletter Editor
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.