The Compost Power Network Team, Board of Directors

Ben Falk

Permaculture, Design, Forestry Consultant


Ben operates Whole Systems Design, a renowned permaculture design business in Vermont. Ben developed Whole Systems Design as a land-based response to biological and cultural extinction and the increasing separation between people and elemental things. His home landscape and the WSD studio site in Vermont's Mad River Valley serve as a proving ground for the innovative land developments featured in the projects of Whole Systems Design.

Ben has studied architecture and landscape architecture at the graduate level and holds a master’s degree in land-use planning and design. He has taught design courses at the University of Vermont and Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum as well as on permaculture design, microclimate design, and design for climate change.  He serves on the Board of Directors and Faculty at the Yestermorrow Design-Build School..

Jason McCune-Sanders

Systems Engineer and Design Consultant


Jason McCune-Sanders is an engineer, researcher and builder with a background designing anaerobic digesters for dairy farms ( With a passion for ecology, Jason works to develop technologies that improve our relationship with the environment. Currently he is conducting the first controlled thermodynamic study of the Jean Pain method, in a six by eight foot cylinder packed with fine wood chips and 50+ temperature sensors. Jason brings applied knowledge of mechanical design, CAD, plumbing and controls to the Compost Power team, as well as the only self-powered chipper in the region with adjustable chip size.

Gaelan Brown


Executive Director


Gaelan has helped organize several grassroots non-profits and has held mangement roles in successful companies including Green Mountain Coffee, groSolar and

He writes as "An Energy Optimist" for Vermont Commons and other sustainability-focused publications. With the help of the Carbon Shredders he built Vermont's first prototype Jean Pain Mound in 2009 and teaches "how to" classes through Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield.

Jasna Brown

Development Director


Jasna has a diverse background in non-profit organizing and corporate social responsibility. She was the Domestic Outreach Manager for Green Mountain Coffee, responsible for all grant-making, sponsorship, volunteer event and donation programs.

She was a co-founder of the Carbon Shredders and is also on the board of Waterbury LEAP, which is focused on grassroots energy/efficiency work. She is active in several community organizing and fundraising projects around Vermont.

Sam Groton

Systems Engineer and Design Consultant


Sam is a chemical engineer. His diverse experience in University R&D, coupled with his agricultural heritage, seeded his current interests in ecological design of biofuels processes. Sam’s undergraduate thesis topic at Clarkson U. was “Optimal Utilization of Mass and Energy Flows in Farming Communities Integrated with an Intensified Biodiesel Production System.” 

As an independent engineering contractor, he has contributed to the research and design of solid catalyst biodiesel production processes and thermal energy from compost systems. Sam also spent a year as a graduate student at Washington State University (Pullman, WA), where his research focused on studying microbial community dynamics in anaerobic digestion. Currently, Sam is a 2nd year PhD student in Natural Resources, researching the design and analysis of integrated food-energy systems for rural farming communities.

James McSweeny

Compost-Science and Design Consultant

    James is a compost specialist working at Highfields Composting in Hardwick. His first experience with the Jean Pain Method was as a student of a Yestermorrow class taught by Gaelan Brown, and he has since become an integral member of the team by leveraging his applied compost-science skills.