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Our Board

Meet the individuals who work hard every day to carry out Soulful Seeds' mission. Our board is a 100% giving, volunteer, working board.


Earstin Whitten

Earstin Whitten is the Co-Founder of Soulful Seeds. He is retired insurance executive and an Army veteran. Since retiring and moving to Reno 15 years ago, Earstin has served on several boards locally and currently serve with the boards of the Great Basin Community Cooperative and the Nevada Women's Fund. Earstin has always been active in growing healthy food. He is co-found of Soulful Seeds along with his wife, Dolores Schafer-Whitten.


Amanda Burden

Amanda Burden is publisher and editor of edible Reno-Tahoe magazine, which debuted in Spring 2010. Through it, she celebrates and supports the local food and drink movement, which includes chefs, farmers, ranchers, distillers, brewers, home cooks, and more. In addition to being a Soulful Seeds board member, she also serves on the boards of the American Culinary Federation’s High Sierra Chefs Association, which champions the culinary community; the Nevada Press Association, advocating for the state’s journalists; and TEDx Reno. Her business and volunteer work allow her to combine her passions for food, drink, publishing, community, local business, and making a difference.


Marc Chapelle

Marc Chapelle is a landscape architect with L.A. Studio Nevada where he is responsible for land and design planning of all scales and development types. He also holds professional education in agronomy, enology, soils, and plant pathology. Marc comes from a family of passionate gardeners and is an avid gardener himself.


Christina Ghiggeri

Selfless giver. Fitness junkie. Passionate soul. Renoite to the core. A third generation Native Nevadan, I graduated from Wooster High School, followed by college at the University of Nevada, Reno (go Wolf Pack!) where I received a Bachelor’s in Health Ecology. I went on to work as a Marketing Representative at MINDBODY, which eventually led to where I am now promoting health and fitness across our community. My passion is healthy living, and the city of Reno. My other true love is helping others, and I have donated countless hours to local charity events including Mom’s on the Run, Polio Purple Pinky Trail Run & Walk, JUSTin Hope Foundation, and many others. I also serve on a couple local boards such as the Reno Riverwalk Foundation, representing mindfulness and fitness.


Dee Schafer-Whitten

Dee Schafer-Whitten is the Co-Founder of Soulful Seeds. She is a retired Healthcare and Non-Profit Executive. Dee was President and Founder of Corporate Solutions, Inc., a strategic planning firm for non-profits, government, and law enforcement agencies. Dee retired and took a year off to establish Soulful Seeds with her husband, Earstin Whitten, to provide fresh, healthy food to the most vulnerable in our community and move individuals' from poverty to sustainability. Dee currently holds the position as Director for Client Experience at American Wealth Management in Reno.


Parker Peterson

A Reno native, Parker Peterson studied at the University of Nevada Reno, majoring in Photography and History. Upon graduation, Parker earned her master’s degree in Business Management at the Pratt Institute in New York City. There, Parker blended her non-profit management and marketing skills at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and at Made In NYC. Parker returned to Reno in 2019, joining the Saint Mary’s Health Network to help drive marketing forward at the Fitness Center, working directly with the Director to reintroduce the Foundation and the ways in which Saints could give back to the community. Parker always looks forward to combining her creative marketing efforts and passion for bringing others together to introduce individuals to something they haven’t heard of before. In her free time, Parker enjoys tending to her plants, skiing, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.


Janice Bailey

Janice Bailey is the firm administrator for her husband’s Reno CPA firm and a passionate cook and master gardener. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Geography/Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara.  She is one of the founding board members of Soulful Seeds and serves as its’ treasurer. She enjoys volunteering in the Washoe County elementary school garden program with 10 and 11 year olds and looks forward to assisting with the Soulful Seeds education program at the Our Place Campus.

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John Lipinski

John Lipinski is dedicated to supporting causes that benefit our community.  John is a retired industry professional and Air Force veteran.  He volunteers his time with various organizations and previously served on the Board of Directors for the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.  He enjoys skiing, working on his classic car, an occasional round of golf, and making new memories with his family and friends.

Our Team


Lauren Reiner

Lauren is a summer Garden Assistant through AmeriCorps. She will work alongside Earstin and Cindy in the garden through the end of August. Lauren is passionate about public health and brings great experience working with community groups. She is eager to get involved in the large-scale community garden process.


Cara Montoya

Cara is in the Master’s program for Social Work at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is completing her practicum hours with Soulful Seeds. She is passionate about mental health access. Cara believes that mental health is health and that all communities should have equal access to resources that support healthy lives. Cara is also a certified yoga instructor that enjoys sharing practices inspired by nature and compassion. When she is not busy with school, Cara enjoys knitting, backpacking, and spending as much time outside as she can.


Brooke O'Byrne

Brooke is passionate about building stronger and healthier communities. She has consulted with Soulful Seeds since 2021 and supports the team by fulfilling Executive Director tasks. She is a national program consultant with 15 years of program administration and grant management experience and works with multidisciplinary, cross-sector teams in the public and non-profit sectors. Brooke is originally from Wisconsin and has called Nevada home for 13 years. She received her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin, her Master’s in Business Administration from Nevada’s Western Governor’s University, and holds a professional certificate in juvenile justice reform from Georgetown University. She is an appointed member of Nevada's Rural Behavioral Health Policy Board, a licensed drug and alcohol counselor, and a Master Gardener Intern. 


Cindy Gallimore

Cindy is a summer Garden Assistant. She is working alongside Earstin and Lauren in the garden through the end of August. Cindy brings with her a lot of knowledge about food safety. She is passionate about building a better community and is eagerly expanding her knowledge about regenerative agriculture and evidence-based approaches for supporting people to establish a more self-sufficiency.


Miriam Ramirez

Miriam is in her first semester of a two-semester internship with Soulful Seeds. She is completing a Master’s in Social Work Degree from the University of Nevada Reno. Miriam is particularly interested in working with children and families and has developed an internship project focused on developing Soulful Seeds’ food access and nutrition programs for families.

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