Vanessa Tavernetti is committed to people being and feeling deeply nourished.
Over the past 20 years, Vanessa has become an Earth connection expert. She has dedicated herself to connecting people to themselves through cultivating their relationship with the Earth. She has instructed hundreds of adults and children to strengthen their relationships by creating gardens and growing their own food and medicine. The tremendous healing and growth that she facilitates through her programs have been a continual source of inspiration and passion that guides her life.
As a credentialed teacher, Vanessa has worked within the school system leading the school garden movement for the past 15 years. She began creating school gardens in the Chicago Metro area before she was instrumental in the creation and success of the Valley Vista Garden Program in Petaluma, California, which was a program supported by Alice Waters of Chez Panisse and the Edible Schoolyard. During that time, in 2004, she was the recipient of the Jack London Teacher of the Year Award for the success of the curriculum of that program. Through being a cofounder of the Sonoma County School Garden Network, serving as School Garden Coordinator for the Petaluma City Schools District, teaching at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center School Garden Teacher Trainings, Sonoma State University, and the New College in Santa Rosa, California, Vanessa has supported and inspired hundreds of people around the country to sustain school garden programs through her consulting. She has seen first hand how naturally connected children are with the Earth when given the opportunity, time, and space. This has led to dramatic shifts in children's behavior and their ability to focus.
Her lifelong journey of profoundly understanding our connection to the Earth began in Springfield, Illinois where she has witnessed, over time, the effects chemical-laden conventional corn and soybean fields has on human health. After receiving a clear message in a near death experience, she developed a passion for spreading knowledge about healthier ways of relating to the Earth, especially in how our food is produced and the medicines we choose to use. This is when she confirmed her knowledge that the earth is a powerful healing tool. She has lived and worked on many organic and biodynamic farms, and has continually lived closely and intimately with the natural world. Vanessa is one of the most resilient people you will ever meet.
Vanessa studied at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where she received her BA in International Studies with a focus on Sustainable Development and Water Rights. She continued with her Master Studies in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies at the University of Illinois. After moving to California, Vanessa earned her multi-subject teaching credential at Sonoma State University. She has also attained a certificate in Meditation and Intuitive Studies from Crystal Rose in Petaluma, California, and most recently studied Aromotherapy: Essential Oil Medicine and Nutrition from Master Ayurvedic Practicioner Deanna Batdorff of the dhyana Center in Sebastopol, Ca.
Throughout the years, Vanessa has been able to share her Earth wisdom skills and experiences with high-risk teenage girls through mentor programs in Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Hartford CT, Westchester County and Brooklyn NY. Vanessa has found in pairing Earth connection with meditation, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence, children are more aware and better prepared to be successful in the world. Her dedication to sustainable living, enthusiasm for life, and loving kindness towards others assists her in being a beacon for holistic and compassionate living.
Vanessa has traveled extensively throughout the United States, as well as, Africa, Europe, and South America. This has given her a breadth and appreciation for global sustainability practices, as well as, different spiritualities and ceremonies to help with transitions in life.
Most recently, Vanessa provided workshops and one-on-one home connection programs with her own business, Mother Daughter Gardens. For several years, she helped mothers and their preteen/teenage daughters strengthen their relationships through creating gardens at their home that focused on holistic nutrition, herbal medicine remedies, and natural beauty care. The link home was what she had found missing when working with school gardens and other nature programs. Through people learning how to take better care of themselves and establishing peaceful relationships, Vanessa believes the Earth will be as it is intended to be. She does not believe the Earth, or anyone else has anything "wrong" with them or needs to be healed. Instead, Vanessa holds true that through enlivening the connection to our selves, each other, and the Earth we create a more abundant, holistic society.
Rhett Tavernetti is committed to reminding people how we are connected to the Earth and who we are in relation to the Earth and each other. It is in this awareness, Rhett believes, that our gifts and abilities can truly be realized and brought forth into all aspects of our lives.
Rhett has taught hundreds of children in outdoor settings from school gardens to wilderness areas. Most recently, Rhett has mentored young men and boys who struggle with ADHD. After seeing many boys and young men that are frustrated and disheartened by feeling out of place, misunderstood, and unsupported, he was inspired to provide options that allow them to express the fullness of their potential.
In his youth, Rhett struggled with ADHD, anxiety, and depression and found no relief in the medications he was prescribed. His performance in school began to slip and he became more and more withdrawn, turning to many destructive behaviors that caused intense stress on his family.
As a teen, Rhett began to discover practices that allowed him to become grounded, centered, and focused. Through his deep nature connection, the dietary awareness that arose from growing his own food, and the meditation practice that he began at the age of 18, he was more effectively able to utilize his abilities and achieve the goals that he put his mind to. These practices became the foundation of what he has since refined and synthesized into his programs for children. Rhett has become an expert in the science of why these methods work and the research that validates this.
Rhett learned Survival and Traditional Skills from Tom Brown Jr’s Tracker School and with a variety of indigenous and other expert instructors. He is skilled in: bird language, basket making, tracking, weaving, fire-by-friction, hunting and trapping, animal processing, cordage, shelter, water purification, wildcrafting, wilderness stewardship, and traditional cooking methods.
Rhett graduated from the New College of California, earning a BA in Humanities: Cultural Ecology and Sustainability with an emphasis in Ecological Agriculture and a Permaculture Certifcate. He developed a working model of food production for his thesis project on Urban Agriculture, cultivating hundreds of pounds of fruit, vegetables, grains, meat, eggs, mushrooms, and honey in a small backyard. At the same time, Rhett worked for the Indian Health Project Diabetes Prevention Garden at Ya-Ka-Ama in Forestville, CA., and went on to teach ecology, ancient technologies, cooking, nutrition, sustainability, and organic gardening in public schools in Oakland and Petaluma, CA. While working with renowned soil scientist, Dr. Carole Ann Rollins, he cultivated beneficial microorganisms to increase yields and nutritional values for organic farms and vineyards of Sonoma County.
Rhett later went on to earn a landscape contractor’s license, and become an ecological landscape contractor and permaculture designer. He ran his own business for five years after gaining experience managing landscape crews as a foreman for several years.
Having been there and struggled himself with ADHD, he understands what it is like to feel overwhelmed, unsupported, and unfulfilled. It is for this reason that he chooses to be the person that he had wished to have in his own life as a young man and to guide those who are currently facing similar challenges.