About Grow Ahead

Grow Ahead connects people directly to small-scale farmer organizations to support them as they address the challenge of climate change in their communities.

What We Do

As a crowdfunding platform, Grow Ahead brings together contributions from individuals, businesses, organizations, and grants to fund community-led projects that address the local challenges of climate change. 

Small farmer organizations in the developing world are historically under-resourced, with limited access to the capital needed to grow their organizations and invest in climate solutions. 

Through raising funds for farmer-led agroforestry projects, we endeavor to invest in climate solutions in a way that is accountable to frontline communities. We stand behind reforestation projects run by small-scale farmer organizations. Together we help combat climate change and support communities.


In 2013, Grow Ahead was launched as cross-cultural initiative of Progreso and Cooperative Coffees geared towards pre-financing fair trade coffee harvests. Its organizational structure consisted of partnerships between consumers and producers, roasters and importers, banks and NGOs. In 2017, we relaunched to as an organization that funds small-scale farmer organization-led projects that address their top concerns: climate change, community preservation, income security and food sovereignty.

Grow Ahead is managed by Fair World Project (FWP). FWP is a consumer advocacy organization contributing to the movement to build a just economy that benefits and empowers all people especially those traditionally marginalized in our current system, including small-scale producers, family-scale farmers, and food and apparel workers.

Board of Directors and Team

Ryan Zinn, Grow Ahead Director

Ryan Zinn


Ryan is the Director for Grow Ahead. Ryan is the Organic & Fair Trade Coordinator for Dr. Bronner’s, focusing on Dr. Bronner’s international supply chains and farmer training. Ryan also shares his time with Fair World Project and Grow Ahead. Ryan has worked in the food and farm justice movement at home and abroad for 20 years, including with such organizations as the Center for International Law, Friends of the Earth-Paraguay, Global Exchange and the Organic Consumers Association.

Email Ryan at Ryan @ growahead.org.


Dana Geffner


Dana Geffner has been working in the Fair Trade movement for nearly two decades. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of Fair World Project (FWP) an NGO which started in order to promote a just economy, insist on integrity in Fair Trade and cultivate a holistic approach to global economics. She is editor of For A Better World, a magazine that discusses challenging issues that face our global economy focusing on a just food system that supports small-scale farmers, protects workers’ rights and encourages trade policy transformation. She is on the board of two fair trade organizations: Equal Exchange and Tradiciones de Mayas (Guatemala) as well as Grow Ahead.

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Julia Gentner

Program Manager

Julia Gentner is the Program Manager for Grow Ahead. Julia holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of Washington. With on the ground experience in non-profits and sustainable development in Mexico, Costa Rica and Ecuador, she brings a passion for bolstering women as change-makers, supporting indigenous and rural communities and backing sustainable, grass-roots movements for climate change.

Email Julia at [email protected]

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Margot Conover

Margot Conover has worked in sustainability and equitable development since 2010. Currently, Margot works on sustainable sourcing and regenerative agriculture as a Senior Sustainability Analyst in the General Mills Natural & Organic division. She got her start working with smallholders in Ecuador, supporting sugarcane, cocoa and coffee cooperatives in negotiating contracts with international buyers and complying with their fair trade and organic certifications. Margot also spent two years fundraising for Population Services International, a leading global public health NGO specializing in sexual and reproductive health programs in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Getting back to her ethical supply chain roots, Margot served as Fairtrade America’s External Relations Manager from 2015 - 2018, where she supported companies in fostering sustainable conditions and fair prices for certified farmers and led advocacy campaigns to boost Fairtrade’s presence in the US market. Margot received her MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago and her BA in Political Science from Christopher Newport University, and currently lives in Oakland, Califorina in a co-op with a big organic vegetable garden and two beehives.

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Laura Verónica Muñoz

Social Media and Outreach Coordinator

Laura is an audiovisual and multimedia communicator, climate activist and ecofeminist. She has been involved in the process of building the Colombian, and Latin American climate message to nourish international conversations. She’s part of Fridays For Future, Pacto X El Clima, and Unite For Climate Action. She believes that to achieve climate justice it’s needed to create safe spaces where diversity is the rule and decolonization is the way.

Email Laura at [email protected]

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Anne Costello

Anne Costello is the Director of Coffee at Peace Coffee, a 100% fair trade and organic coffee roaster based in Minneapolis.  Anne became immersed in coffee over ten years ago at a green coffee importer, where she worked in sourcing, hedging, and logistics.  At Peace Coffee, Anne oversees the company’s supply chain, from sourcing green coffee to guiding the roasted coffee lineup and tracking the company’s impact on producer partners.  She remains continually inspired by the complexity of coffee and how it connects people and places thousands of miles away.


Rachel Spence

Rachel Spence has worked for the Fair Trade Federation as their Engagement Manager since 2016. She is responsible for FTF communications, public engagement, as well as advocacy for fair trade principles and practices. Prior to joining the FTF, Rachel worked with fair trade farmer cooperatives in Ecuador. She also worked in the field of international trade policy in New York and with the United Nations and U.S. government in Washington, DC. Rachel has an MA in International Affairs with a concentration in Economic Development from George Washington University and a BA in International Economics & Commerce and Spanish Language & Literature from Lafayette College.