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Our People

Meet the Green Routes staff

Brett Olson

Brett Olson is co-founder and the Creative Director at Renewing the Countryside. He works on community and local foods system development and designs and manages Green Routes. Brett also hosts Local Food Hero radio. He has been working as an art director and designer for fifteen years, starting as a designer at a small design firm in Minneapolis, and then opening his own business. Brett has designed many printed advertising and media campaigns for both non-profit and corporate clients. As one of the founders, Brett has been involved in much of the planning and organizing and promotion of Renewing the Countryside since it’s beginning. Brett lives with Jan and their two kids in St. Paul.

Phone: (651) 293-1172 | Email:

Eli Goodwell

Eli joined Renewing the Countryside as Associate Director in 2014. He has over a dozen years of experience working with local foods systems in the Twin Cities area. He was the general manager at Birchwood Cafe, a bastion of farm-to-table food in Minneapolis; operations director at Resilient Northern Habitats, an organization in Western Wisconsin which works to revitalize the rural landscape and School and CropShare Coordinator of Cooks of Crocus Hill in Saint Paul, which teaches culinary enthusiasts how to prepare delicious homemade and healthy foods. Eli lives in Twin Cities with his wife and son and works from Renewing the Countryside’s Minneapolis office.

Phone: 612.208.8354 | Email:

Jan Joannides

Jan Joannides is the Executive Director and co-founder of Renewing the Countryside. For the past ten years, she has been an advocate and organizer for rural communities and citizens who are working to stimulate economic growth and enhance their communities through sustainable uses of their landscapes and resources. Prior to her work with Renewing the Countryside, Jan coordinated the Community Assistantship Program at the University of Minnesota and helped found and directed the Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management. Jan holds a master’s degree in natural resources from the University of Minnesota. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with her husband Brett, daughter Olivia, and son Axel.

Phone: (612) 251-7304 | Email:

Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko

Lisa and John are co-founders of the RuralRenaissance Network and co-authors of the book, “Rural Renaissance: Renewing the Quest for the Good Life” and numerous others. They live on their farm in Wisconsin, where they operate the nationally recognized Inn Serendipity, and grow organically for market and for themselves. Known for their contemporary approach to more sustainable living, the husband and wife duo share their farm with their son, two llamas, a flock of chickens, and millions of ladybugs.