Chad grew up in Olathe, Kansas, and attended St. Olaf College in Northfield Minnesota. After college, he spent several years working and learning at the Land Institute, an agricultural research farm in Salina, Kansas founded by Wes Jackson. Chad also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama and with the US Forest Service in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. He is presently a research assistant professor at the University of Tennessee’s Agricultural Policy Analysis Center. His work focuses on agricultural land use policies, climate change mitigation, biofuels analysis, and defining appropriate long-term agricultural policy in a post peak-oil world. Chad was the winner of the 2009 Farm Foundation’s 30-year policy contest for his essay entitled, Peak Oil and the Necessity of Transitioning to Regenerative Agriculture.
Chad founded the Knoxville Permaculture Guild in 2008, which has facilitated many events and workshops teaching permaculture practices in Knoxville over the past 2 years. Chad led a successful two-year grassroots campaign to legalize backyard chickens within the City of Knoxville, and was recently appointed by Mayor Bill Haslem to the Knoxville Food Policy Council, where he is working with city officials to create a city-wide policy supportive of community gardening. He received a Permaculture Consultant certificate from Peter Bane, Keith Johnson, and Ronda Baird through a course at the University of Indiana in 2008.