Board of Directors

Peter Schaller – President & Executive Director

Peter is a native of Connecticut, U.S.A but has lived and worked in Nicaragua since 1995. Peter holds a Bachelor’s degree in Community Organization from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Walden University.

Peter has worked for many nonprofit organizations and is currently the executive director of Rayo de Sol. Peter specializes in the design and implementation of education, economic and community development programs.

Peter is also a freelance writer and photographer, whose work has been published in various literary and professional magazines.

Peter D. Schaller
Executive Director
Rayo de Sol
3775 Cobb Internatinal Boulevard, Kennesaw, Georgia, USA 30152
e-mail: Peter Schaller

Peter is a native of Connecticut, U.S.A but has lived and worked in Nicaragua since 1995. Peter holds a Bachelor’s degree in Community Organization from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master’s … Más/More


Jose Roberto Blandino Obando – Vice President

Roberto Blandino Obando is a native of Managua, Nicaragua where he is an agricultural engineer with extensive expertise in Animal Production Systems.

Since 1980 Blandino has been with the Universidad Nacional Agraria as: 1) professor in the department of Animal Nutrition and Project Development; 2) director of Extension, Planning and External Cooperation; 3) director of Information Technology and Communication (TIC); and, until his recent retirement, 5) Vice Rector General.

Blandino has conducted research in animal nutrition, genetics, pastures and forages, livestock economics, and sustainability of dual purpose cattle farming, and also agricultural extension and information technology and communication.

Blandino has participated as a member of the Grupo Promotor de la Agroecología de Nicaragua (GPAE), founder and member of the Asociación para el Desarrollo Agroecológico Regional (ADAR), and agricultural adviser to the Consorcio Italiano CRIC-MOLISV-ACRA.

Blandino also coordinated development projects such as “Mejoramiento Genético del Ganado Reyna de Nicaragua” (RAREN), “Programa Nacional de Desarrollo Ganadero de Nicaragua” (CONAGAN), “Implementación de las TIC en las Universidades Públicas de Nicaragua” and “Red Nicaragüense de Internet Avanzada” (RENIA).

Blandino is currently an independent consultant for the development of sustainable agricultural and livestock production.

Jose Roberto Blandino Obando
Vice President – BioNica
Centro de Capacitación, Investigación y Demostración
del Método Biointensivo de Cultivo en Nicaragua, Inc.
Nica cel: +505 8631-4941
e-mail: Roberto Blandino Obando

Roberto Blandino Obando is a native of Managua, Nicaragua where he is an agricultural engineer with extensive expertise in Animal Production Systems. Since 1980 Blandino has been with the Universidad … Más/More


Ligia Belli Castellón – Secretary – instructor & grower of seeds

Ligia Belli is in the process of becoming a certified instructor of GROW BIOINTENSIVE® (basic level) through Ecology Action and ECOPOL.

Also, Ligia is a “grower of seeds” for the ECHO-BioNica Seed System.

Ligia and her family live on a small-scale farm, Las Gardenias, near Ticuantepe, Nicaragua. Ligia studied Animal Science at the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Nicaragua and at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Ligia has been involved in several livestock projects such as Proyecto Lechero Chiltepe, the Dirección General de Ganadería at the Ministry of Agriculture, and with Ganaderos Asociados del Nor-Sur exporting meat products from Nicaragua to Mexico.

Since 2008, Ligia has extensive training and experience in producing diversified agricultural goods and the application of agro ecological farming technologies, including hydroponics, organic farming, vermiculture, urban agriculture, production of beneficial microorganisms, organoponics, biodigestors, etc. Ligia has managed to apply the knowledge acquired in workshops and trainings in different modalities, including e-learning.

Las Gardenias produces more than 25 products, including dairy, fruits, vegetables, timber, and processed biomass through composting, vermiculture, fermented beneficial microorganisms, and charcoal production (Biochar).

Ligia Belli Castellón
Quinta Las Gardenias
Tecuantepe, Nicaragua
Nica cel: +505 8884-0890
e-mail: Ligia Belli

Ligia Belli is in the process of becoming a certified instructor of GROW BIOINTENSIVE® (basic level) through Ecology Action and ECOPOL. Also, Ligia is a “grower of seeds” for the ECHO-BioNica Seed Sys … Más/More


Michael A. Richardson – BioNica Co-Founder

Michael Richardson has been promoting organic gardening in Nicaragua since 2010.  Michael retired as President and Executive Director of BioNica in February 2017 and is now working a small-scale farm on Kinderhook Creek near Chatham, New York.

Michael A. Richardson
BioNica Co-Founder – former President & Executive Director
Sunshadow Farm
100 Kinderhook Street, Chatham, New York, 12037
USA: 1+ 845-489-5959
e-mail: Michael Richardson

Michael Richardson has been promoting organic gardening in Nicaragua since 2010.  Michael retired as President and Executive Director of BioNica in February 2017 and is now working a small-scale farm … Más/More


Guillermo Rodríguez Barreiro – Board of Directors – teacher

Guillermo Rodríguez Barreiro is a certified teacher of GROW BIOINTENSIVE® (basic level) through Ecology Action and ECOPOL.

Guillermo lives in Reserva Sylvester Quelantaro, Villa El Carmen, Managua, Nicaragua. Guillermo was born in Galicia, Spain, and grew up in Meaño, a rural village in the province of Pontevedra. He has grown food organically with his family since childhood and during his youth to guarantee the family food supply.

Later in the 90’s he moved to Ourense, where he studied agricultural engineering at the University of Vigo with a specialization in agricultural and food industries. During his university career, he worked and collaborated with a cooperative of small wine growers producing early white wine (Albariño), and he began to understand the dynamics of small farmer movements and came to participate in the fermentation industry.

In 2000, Guillermo began volunteering with the organization Amigos de la Terra Galicia dealing with energy efficiency, climate change and environmental education subjects, allowing him to get a scholarship from the European Voluntary Service in 2001 and to move to Nicaragua to do volunteer work in biodiversity conservation in the San Juan River Biosphere Reserve.

From 2002 to date, Guillermo has been in charge of the representation of the Amigos de la Tierra España en Nicaragua, writing and managing projects in different protected areas of Central America (Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador) with the main purpose of conserving natural resources and promoting more sustainable patterns of life.

Guillermo Rodríguez Barreiro
Representante en Nicaragua
Amigos de la Tierra – España
De la Vicky, 2 cuadras al sur, 1 cuadra arriba, casa esquinera, número 304, Managua
Nica cel: +505 8925-2970; 8484-4655
e-mail: Guillermo Rodríguez

Guillermo Rodríguez Barreiro is a certified teacher of GROW BIOINTENSIVE® (basic level) through Ecology Action and ECOPOL. Guillermo lives in Reserva Sylvester Quelantaro, Villa El Carmen, Managua, Ni … Más/More


John Wyss – Board of Directors – teacher & grower of seeds

John is a certified teacher of GROW BIOINTENSIVE® (basic level) through Ecology Action and ECOPOL.

Also, John is a “grower of seeds” for the ECHO-BioNica Seed System.

John has resided in Managua, Nicaragua for more than 20 years.  John founded one of Nicaragua’s original internet service providers (IBW) and currently is a partner in Frontera Books and Momotombo Chocolate and teaches masters-level classes at la Universidad Americana en Managua (UAM).

John Wyss
Maestro – Agroecológico Biointensivo
Nicaragua: +505 8882 0966
e-mail: John Wyss

John is a certified teacher of GROW BIOINTENSIVE® (basic level) through Ecology Action and ECOPOL. Also, John is a “grower of seeds” for the ECHO-BioNica Seed System. John has resided in Managua, Nica … Más/More


John Stuart Beeby – Board of Directors – soil specialist

John Beeby resides in Ithaca, New York where he is currently pursuing a M.Sc. at Cornell University on the potential of biochar to reduce arsenic toxicity in soils.

A former Ecology Action staff member, John is an expert in Biointensive agriculture and sustainability, Ecology Action’s main soil fertility advisor, and the creator of Harvest Planner, a unique online program which helps farmers plan and grow nutritionally complete diets sustainably. John is the editor of From The Field, associate editor of the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems (Cambridge Press) and author of several publications, including the books Future Fertility and Test Your Soil With Plants!

John catalyzed a website to share GROW BIOINTENSIVE® teaching materials, developing and consulting on experiments in Kenya and Latin America on one-time fertilizer applications for long term improved soil fertility, and operates Grow Your Soil, a soil consulting service that makes organic fertilizer recommendations for farmers around the world.

John S. Beeby
Grow Your Soil
Post Office Box 4095, Ithaca, New York, 14852
e-mail: John Beeby

John Beeby resides in Ithaca, New York where he is currently pursuing a M.Sc. at Cornell University on the potential of biochar to reduce arsenic toxicity in soils. A former Ecology Action staff membe … Más/More


María Mercedes Álvarez – Board of Directors

Mercedes is a native of Nicaragua and is the founder and current Director of FUPROSOMUNIC (Fundación Proyecto Solar para Mujeres Nicaragüenses) working together with over 700 Nicaraguan families to provide low-cost solar ovens and other sustainable environmental technology in rural impoverished areas. This work has involved direct teaching of solar oven construction, followed by training for the ongoing use of the ovens, as well as instruction in general health principles related to adverse effects of smoke exposure for women and their families and the need for better nutritional intake.

FUPROSOMUNIC is in the beginning phase of building a processing center for fruits and teas which in the long-term will provide income and self-sustainability to the organization. They also are planning for a demonstration center to promote Biointensive gardens for vegetables, herbs, spices, and fruits.

Mercedes served as the Regional Coordinator for Sustainable Harvest International from 2005 to 2012 with outreach programs in Panama, Honduras, Belize, and Nicaragua. Mercedes was directly responsible for supervision of an agricultural program providing extended health counseling and nutritional services to individual farmers and over 1,000 families throughout Central America.

Mercedes was an Environmental Analyst with the National Center of Diagnosis and Reference within the Nicaragua Ministry of Health from 1988 to 1997 where she provided professional analysis of heavy metals in food, water and biological compounds, and made determination of pesticide levels in food, grains, water and soils for Nicaraguan families, as well as providing assessment and quality control for drinking water.

María Mercedes Álvarez
Fundación Proyecto Solar para Mujeres Nicaragüenses
e-mail: Mercedes Álvarez

Mercedes is a native of Nicaragua and is the founder and current Director of FUPROSOMUNIC (Fundación Proyecto Solar para Mujeres Nicaragüenses) working together with over 700 Nicaraguan families to pr … Más/More


Maria Isabel Chavarría Gaitán – Board of Directors & professor of agronomy

Isabel Chavarría is native to Masaya, Nicaragua. Isabel is an agronomist and has been with the Universidad Nacional Agraria since 1993 teaching in the Agronomy Department.

Isabel has taught: general genetics, sustainable agriculture, agroecology, and practical modules in the establishment of perennial crops, establishment of annual crops, and production alternatives for family gardens.

Isabel has done research on genetic improvement of rice and sugar cane; also research in the composting process and the use of organic fertilizers in growing pipián and corn. Since 2003, Isabel has been involved in the group Abonos Orgánicos at the Universidad Nacional Agraria working specifically with composting and vermiculture.

Maria Isabel Chavarría Gaitán
Universidad Nacional Agraria
Managua, Nicaragua
Nica cel: +505 8746-2697; 8786-6960
e-mail: Isabel Chavarría

Isabel Chavarría is native to Masaya, Nicaragua. Isabel is an agronomist and has been with the Universidad Nacional Agraria since 1993 teaching in the Agronomy Department. Isabel has taught: general g … Más/More