About Us

“In the process of life activity the
whole soil population carries out work of cosmic importance.”

-N.A Krasil’nikov in Soil Microorganisms and Higher Plants, 1958

Our Mission

Renaissance Soil is dedicated to promoting soil regeneration through education, outreach, and action opportunities.

Our Vision

Through direct microscopy, observational studies, and citizen-science, Renaissance Soil will contribute to our societal understanding of the underground ecosystem and its relation to the health of everything above ground. By engaging and inspiring people, Renaissance Soil aims to advance soil regeneration as a key tool in our work to address climate change, environmental pollution, biodiversity loss, and diet-related disease.



Our People

Kassie Brown
Founder and Educator

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Kassie has always been passionate about reconnecting people, food, and nature. After studying the soil food web in courses taught by leading soil microbiologist Dr. Elaine Ingham, Kassie decided to make the amazing complexity of life below ground her primary focus. Kassie lives in Saint Paul with her partner and their four chickens, two kittens, and innumerable microbes. 

Board of Directors

Claire Baglien

IMG_8962Claire believes in the power of food as a tool for social change. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Food Justice & Sustainability from the University of Minnesota in 2014, and recently completed her Permaculture Design Certificate through Land by Hand’s Open Hearth program. Claire previously coordinated the Gandhi Mahal Interfaith Garden, an urban garden partnership between Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, First Nations Kitchen, and Gandhi Mahal Restaurant. In addition to the garden, she also worked as the Office Manager for Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light. Claire now serves as the Sustainability Coordinator at Gandhi Mahal and thinks the best part of her job is feeding the fish in the restaurant’s aquaponics system. Passionate about empowering women, Claire also volunteered for three and a half years as a domestic and sexual assault advocate for survivors of abuse. She dreams of someday having her own farm so she can play around with permaculture design, raise Scottish Highland cows, and experiment with regenerative agriculture.  

Kelly Kopish 

RenSoils_Photo_Kopish.pngA veteran of the nonprofit field, Kelly is a writer-turned-accidental-techie whose work focuses primarily on nonprofit technology, database management, & digital marketing. Kelly’s passion in the garden is for the pollinators and the flowers, and she is learning every day to appreciate the complexity of the unseen life below that is vital to our ability to thrive above.  As a Twin Cities transplant, Kelly spends the winters hibernating with her mixed-species family in their Saint Paul home and her summers biking and exploring her adopted city.

Annie Nelson 

After graduating with English and Women’s Studies degrees, Annie realized that her true passion was growing her own food. Yes, these are two very different fields, but she begs you continue reading. One fateful environmental justice course pushed Annie to realized that in solving and fighting environmental injustice, we simultaneously solve other injustices. These important lessons brought her to realize that growing her own food was one step towards peace. Her passion for vegetable gardening grew and led her to take a short permaculture program through the Permaculture Research Institute for Cold Climates and to apply for an apprenticeship with a local urban farm. While not in her own garden, Annie enjoys educating and advising others on sustainable vegetable gardening. She enjoys learning of the many ways soil remediation heals not only the environment, but also the people on this planet. Annie resides in Bloomington with a few dogs, a handful of cats and a rabbit named Norman.

Sara Nelson 

IMG_0231Sara is interested in environmental justice, botanical medicine, regenerative agriculture, and reconciliation ecology, the branch of ecology that seeks to make habitat for wild plant and animal species within human-dominated landscapes. She has farmed in urban and rural settings, organized workshops on bioremediation, led neighborhood plant walks, and worked as a botanical consultant for the University of Minnesota. She serves as the program committee co-chair for Wild Ones Twin Cities and is the founder of the Corcoran Pollinator Project, and she recently created the zine Weeds of Minneapolis, a field guide to commonly-encountered plants in the city.