Executive Director, Lead Designer, Founding Member, Owner
Aja is a lifetime resident of the Hudson Valley, born into a family whose legacy is rooted in the local farming industry. The value of Aja’s work draws from her diverse experiences in land management, propagation, and design, which range from tending the family’s fruit and vegetable production gardens alongside her grandfather from the age of five, to working in New Orleans in the late 90s as a manager for a chain of nurseries whose headquarters were in the 9th ward. Experiencing the juxtaposition of the tropical abundance of these nurseries embedded in a profoundly underserved community, and witnessing how the area was addressed politically after hurricane Katrina has informed much of her subsequent activity and thinking. Her designs are also deeply inspired by her extensive explorations of the high deserts of California and Colorado, as well as the Mountain Ranges of Wyoming and Montana.
Aja was the founder and sole proprietor of Earth Designs from its inception in 2001 until 2016. In order to develop the company more sustainably and align its mission with her long-standing values, in 2014 she offered her employees an opportunity for shared ownership in the company. In May of 2016, eight employees, including Aja herself, became the founding members of Earth Designs Cooperative. Currently, Aja serves as the Executive Director as well as the Board president. As a mentor to the team at EDC, she plays an important role in both conceptualizing the trajectory of the Cooperative and supporting its growth.
Aja studied Landscape Design at the School of Horticulture at the New York Botanical Gardens and is fluent in DynaSCAPE as well as classic landscape illustration and drafting. She is also a Good Work Institute Fellow and actively engages as an environmental & community activist in the Hudson Valley.