Aaron Sauerhoff, Founder, Earth Homes LLC

Growing up in New York, Aaron developed a deep curiosity about the creation of sustainable buildings, and how they shaped people’s experiences of life. After seven years of intensive training as a pilot, he moved out to the Pacific Northwest to pursue his dream of becoming an ecological builder. After serving as project manager and finance officer for a small custom homebuilding company in the Seattle area at the age of 20, he undertook a series of internships and leadership positions in student organizations through his years at The Evergreen State College. In January 2019, at the age of 24, he fulfilled his dream of founding Earth Homes, an ecologically-oriented design-build firm in Olympia, WA, with a vision to effect radical reunion between natural and green building practices, and to help shape the future of the built environment. When not happily troweling clay plaster or giving direction on a job site, Aaron can be found in the meeting chambers of the Olympia Planning Commission, talking strategy at midnight with his community, flying small planes, or wearing moss around his neck as mayor of Ecotopia at the Cascadia NW Arts and Music Festival.

Melissa Rasmussen, LWT, Earth Homes

As the child of a Navy disaster-responder and a permaculturist, Melissa grew up with a strong drive toward improving and integrating humanitarian, economic, and ecological systems toward a future she believes is both necessary and possible: one that is multicultural, cooperative, and climate-adaptive. In her late teens, her commitment to this work took her to indigenous-led wisdom ceremonies in BC, village-based food forests in Indonesia, pioneer aquaponics farms in Hawai’i, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, and a year of dedicated effort towards the creation of a permaculture-based community aquaponics system in Ghana. After her daughter was born in 2013, she turned her attention toward community development, biophilic design, ecological governance, and ethical marketing, and undertook her final two years of college at Evergreen in 2017. There, she trained in natural building and housing issues, sustainable infrastructure, alternative and cooperative economics, the psychology of empire, pro-social and ecological business, and the art of complex collaborations. Her commitment is to designing and developing regenerative communities that embody the principle of partnership between humans, nature, and spirit. When not tending to her several families and businesses, Melissa can be found gardening, on the road, or hugging someone who desperately needs it - often a fellow Ecotopian.