top of page

Geeks & Geezers

young michael.jpeg

Michael Pergola

Rev. Michael Pergola MA, MBA, JD is the inspiration and visionary for behind the Center for reGenerative Ecology, Education & Enterprise Development (CREEED).  He stepped off the “Carousel of Conventional Life” over a decade ago, after meeting an 80-year-old man named John McMillin. His legacy has continued as an inspiration to younger folks such as one of the initiatives leaders, Chuck Lazarus.

Screen Shot 2021-06-13 at 12.44.53

Chuck Lazarus


Chuck Lazarus has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, one of Michael’s alma maters, and has travelled extensively with a focus on understanding the plight of the planet. His quick intelligence, communications and tangible energy are vital elements for the leadership role he plays in putting the systemic vision Michael developed over decades into action.

A Team of Colleagues

Rob McGrath hellgate farm.png

Rob McGrath

Founder, Hellgate Farm

Rob McGrath is a co-founder of Hellgate Farm, an Queens, New York-based urban farm recently relocated to the Berkshire region. In addition, One area of focus is sustainable design construction specializing in upcycling discarded materials and repurposing them into design elements. Since 2011, Hellgate Farm has constructed and operated various farms from Queens to Cannan, connecting urban to rural with a focus on food and climate justice.


Sycamore Hess


Permaculture Teacher

Sycamore is a healer of soil, soul & society. A certified permaculture designer, Work That Reconnects facilitator, and Way of Council space holder, he interweaves ecological and social regeneration, offering "Soil & Soul Suppers,” transformational food journeys that aim to re-enchant our relationship to both the sacred earth, and our unique soul mission. For eight years, he has traveled the country, apprenticing at many permaculture farms, homesteads, and intentional communities. 

Dr. Michael Finkelstein.png

Dr. Michael Finkelstein, MD

Health Consultant

Dr. Michael Finkelstein trained in conventional medicine and practiced internal medicine and was the Medical Director of a hospital for 20 years before embarking on further training in Integrative and Holistic Medicine. He went on to create a Health and Wellness Center, called SunRaven, and wrote Slow Medicine: Hope and Healing for Chronic Illness, because he realized that individuals need more than what is found in typical medical institutions. SunRaven is now the home of his practice.

Jody Rael.png

Jody Rael

Solaqua Renewable Power 

Jody Rael is an entrepreneur, inventor and environmentalist. Jody created Solaqua Power and Art in 2005.  The mission of Solaqua is to integrate renewable energy and the arts, and promote a sustainable future through community education and revitalization. In addition, Jody founded Sundog Solar to install solar electric and solar thermal systems for residential and business clients throughout the Hudson Valley. Jody launced Sundog Cider, of making small batch, hand crafted artisanal hard cider in 2013.

Silvia Neri.png

Silvia Neri

Permaculture Designer

Silvia Neri is a yoga teacher, architect and permaculture designer born in Italy. Her permaculture designs focus on urban applications, such as creation of edible gardens on rooftops, terraces, and yards, design of rain water catchment systems, and applications for DEP grants. She leads weekly vinyasa yoga classes in New York City 6 months a year, and runs Orto Dell'Idro, a non-profit Yoga Eco Farm based in the Italian town of Otranto for the other 6 months.

Screen Shot 2021-04-27 at 5.04.15 PM.png

Kate West

Author, Videographer, Communications Specialist

Kate West has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. She attended the Atlantic Theater Company Professional Training Program in New York City, The Lyme Academy of Fine Art and The Art Student’s League in Manhattan where she studied classical drawing and paining. She has worked on both sides of the camera in Cape Town, South Africa where she was a sought after voice over actor and independent film producer. . She is the author and creator of the La Befana and the Star book series as well as its spin off show, Mangia Magic with La Befana and Friends.

Ben Clayton.png

Ben Clayton

Founding Partner - Integrative Permaculture

Ben co-founded Imani Energy Inc., in 2008 with a commitment to community and human transformation, linking concerns for environmental equity and care for our planet with renewable energy, bringing decentralized, solar power generation to traditionally under-served, communities in Los Angeles.  He managed the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center in Los Angeles, including daily operations, cafeteria and kitchen, 

finance, book sales, program scheduling, registration, building operations and departmental management of over 40 departments. 

philip uninsky.jpeg

Philip B. Uninsky, JD

Nonprofit Consultant & Legal Counsel

Philip established the Youth Policy Institute in late 1996. As an evaluator, academic social scientist, legislative counsel, and legal advocate for children and families at risk, Mr. Uninsky has worked extensively in the fields of juvenile justice, education, child welfare, and domestic violence. He has engaged in a wide range of policy research and comprehensive systems evaluations concerning juvenile and adult criminal justice systems, violence prevention programming, and human services delivery.  His law degree is from New York University.

bottom of page