Lea Rekow
Founding Director

Dr. Rekow is director of Green My Favela, an urban restoration project based in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Lea is also curator and co-organizer of Bifrost, an interdisciplinary arts/science/culture collective that organizes large-scale international public events focused on climate change. In addition, Lea is acting as co-convener of the 2018 Under Western Skies environment/culture conference at MRU in Canada. She also acts as an advising consultant to the sustainable development action network GlobalCAD, is an advisor to the Integrated Media program at Cal Arts, is a special envoy of the European-based Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC), a member of the Institute for Australian Geographers, and a member of New York Women in Film and Television. Lea has held positions as director of Gigantic ArtSpace (NY), media director at the former Center for Peace and Human Security (NY), adjunct professor of media and communications at Pratt Institute (NY), and cultural advisor for Advance (Australian consulate in NY). She has also held positions as executive director of the Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Fe (NM) and research fellow at the Center for Art and the Environment (NV). She was previously an advisor to the European Urban IxD program, and has sat on numerous advisory panels for NYFA, SVA, Parsons, Amnesty International, the MacArthur award, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Lea’s PhD research focused on creative, transdisciplinary practices for reclaiming degraded space in areas where people are living under extreme socio-economic and environmental stress. She has worked extensively with ethnic minorities, including in conflict zones in Burma, and on large-scale land use reclamation projects on the Navajo Nation. Lea founded Green My Favela in Rio de Janeiro in 2011, and has helped establish some of the largest-scale urban organic gardening projects in Latin America.


Julio Cesar L. Monteiro de Barros
Hortas Cariocas director and GMF collaborator

Julio Cesar Barros is Director of Agroecology Organic Gardening for the Rio de Janeiro Municipal Secretary of the Environment. Julio founded the Hortas Cariocas program, which creates organic gardens in underserved municipal public schools and favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Hortas Cariocas works with local people living in these communities to establish and maintain gardens and provide more vulnerable sectors of these communities with access to nutritional food. Thirty gardens have been created since 2006.


Zoë Roller
GMF Collaborating Partner

Zoë Roller is a city planner with extensive project management and community development experience in informal settlements in Rio de Janeiro and Delhi. She is particularly interested in sustainable water and sanitation infrastructure, equitable climate change adaptation, and the effects of organized crime on planning.

Claudio Lucas Capeche

Claudio Lucas Capeche is an agronomist and senior researcher at Embrapa, Brazil’s Federal Soil Research & Testing Facility.


Mariana Vale
Ecological consultant

Mariana Vale (Ph.D.) is an ecologist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Her work focuses on biodiversity conservation in Brazil, in particular inside the Atlantic Rainforest.

Michael Loadenthal
Human Security & Ethics Consultant

Dr. Loadenthal is the Executive Director of the U.S. Peace and Justice Studies Association. He is currently a Visiting Professor of Sociology and Social Justice at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), and has taught courses on political violence, terrorism, and sociology at Georgetown University, George Mason University, University of Cincinnati, University of Malta’s Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, and Jessup Correctional Institution—a maximum security men’s prison in Baltimore county. Michael has served as the Dean’s Fellow (2011-2015) for George Mason’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, a Practitioner-In-Residence (2015-2016) for Georgetown’s Center for Social Justice, and a Research Fellow (2014-present) at Hebrew Union College’s Center for the Study of Ethics & Contemporary Moral Problems. Michael holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University.


GMF community gardeners in the north space in Manguinhos

Conversation with gardeners in the northern GMF garden (in Portuguese)

Conversation with youth at the northern GMF space (in Portuguese)