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Staff and Board of Directors

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at


Leigh Crenshaw — Development Director

Leigh Crenshaw is the Development Director for ILSR, serving with over seven years of development experience. Leigh works closely with ILSR staff on grant-writing and donor relations as well as assisting our programs in zero-waste and composting.

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John Farrell — Director, Democratic Energy Initiative

John Farrell is a senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its work on democratic energy.  John is best known for his vivid illustrations of the economic and environmental benefits of local ownership of decentralized renewable energy.

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Lisa Gonzalez — Research Associate, Community Broadband Networks Initiative

Lisa Gonzalez researches and reports on telecommunications and how those networks impact life on the local level. Her background includes experience in state politics, law, writing, and freelance journalism.

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Linda Knapp — Director, MACREDO Project

Linda Knapp is a Senior Program Manager for ILSR, overseeing the Mid-Atlantic Consortium of Recycling and Economic Development Officials, a recycling market development group funded by US EPA Region 3. Her current work focuses on increasing on-farm composting.

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Christopher Mitchell — Director, Community Broadband Networks Initiative

Christopher’s work focuses on telecommunications — helping communities ensure the networks upon which they depend, are accountable to the community.  He has published several reports, articles, and interviews while also offering technical assistance to communities around the country.

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Stacy Mitchell — Co-Director & Director, Community-Scaled Economy Initiative

Stacy Mitchell directs ILSR’s Community-Scaled Economy Initiative, which produces research and analysis, and partners with a range of allies to design and implement policies that curb economic consolidation and strengthen community-rooted enterprise.

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David Morris — Director, Defending the Public Good Initiative

Dr. David Morris is co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. He directs its initiative on The Public Good.  He has served as an adviser or consultant to local, state and national governments and to private businesses large and small.

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Sarah Pickell — Finance Director

Sarah Pickell is responsible for the fiscal management of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Having spent the previous 16 years with The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Sarah brings over 25 years of financial and administrative expertise to ILSR.



Brenda Platt — Co-Director & Director, Waste to Wealth Initiative, Director of Composting Makes $en$e Project

Brenda Platt is a recycling expert and composting advocate, and co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). She directs ILSR’s Sustainable Plastics and Composting Makes $en$e projects and co-chairs the Sustainable Biomaterials Collaborative.

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Neil Seldman — Senior Staff, Waste to Wealth Initiative, Director of Recycling-Based Economic Development Program

Neil Seldman, Ph.D., co-founded the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in 1974. An economic development planner and former manufacturer, Dr. Seldman specializes in approaches to municipal and commercial solid waste management that emphasize environmental quality and create economic development opportunities for small businesses, community organizations, and other targeted populations.

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Rebecca Toews

Rebecca Toews — Communications Specialist

Rebecca’s experience lies all along the media spectrum. Her communication focus originated in the news field, with more than seven years experience in newsroom settings and professional & university teaching positions.  She has a Masters degree from the Univ. of Oregon and is skilled at communicating complex material to diverse audiences, crafting internal and external communications in corporate and non-profit settings.

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Robert Bell — Research Associate, Composting Makes $en$e ProjectJacob Rounds  Intern, Democratic EnergyDavid MilavetzIntern, Telecommunications as Commons Initiative

Linda Bilsens — Intern, Composting Makes $en$e Project


Board of Directors

Becca Vargo Daggett – Financial Consultant

Jolie Jones – Take It Back Foundation

Kirk Marckwald – California Environmental Associates

David Morris – ILSR

Roy Priest – Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority

Andy Reicher – Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB)

Neil Seldman – ILSR


To reach ILSR staff members not listing an address, send e-mail to