Core Team


Elyssa Serrilli, Director, Co-Founder

Elyssa’s Bio

Elyssa is guided by the deep knowing that it is possible for humanity to live in peace with each other and with our planet. For over 2 decades, she has worked in the fields of sustainable redevelopment, environmental education, community organizing, ecological restoration and civic mischief. Fae hails from the suburbs of central Jersey, Lenape territory, where she grew up in a big, sometimes loud, Italian American family. During the formative years of her teens and twenties, Elyssa’s family fell apart, and she became a peregrine, a pilgrim in the true sense of the word, seeking a better way to live. She landed in the hands and hearts of many families - Hungarian, Taiwanese, Black, Filipino, Polish and Native. She also began a lifetime of service

Elyssa served 2150 hours with AmeriCorps, planted over 300 trees with the NJ Youth Corps, and co-founded Garden State Green Collar Futures, a permaculture apprenticeship designed to give Newark and Jersey City youth better opportunities in the environmental field.

In 2006, Elyssa traveled to Rancho Mastatal, an international eco-village adjacent to the Zapatón indigenous reserve. Here she experienced for the first time truly local, low-carbon living, slow food, and Biogas. Rural Costa Rica is a huge difference from the pace and quality of life in suburban and urban New Jersey. Each day, Rancho Mastatal fed their in-ground biodigester 3 bags of fresh cow patties and the waste of a couple flush toilets, producing enough biogas to cook all breakfast and most of lunch for 25-40 people. When the biogas ran out, we would switch to propane, or sometimes we would cook with wood in the cob oven. And each night, the biogas would replenish itself as we slept. Rancho Mastatal is a small town located in a remote jungle area accessed only by a couple dirt roads. So, making biogas was very helpful when the roads would get washed out during heavy rains.

From 2006-2008, Elyssa completed a Masters degree in Environmental Education at the NJ School of Conservation, Montclair State’s field campus along the Appalachian Trail in northwest New Jersey. Here, fae lived with the bears, fisher cats and coy-wolves, beaver and perch, dragonfly and lady slipper, and a 60,000 acre back yard. At NJSOC, Elyssa honed her skills as a backcountry naturalist, delighting students with mushrooms and bear scat, wild orchids and salamanders, thunder and lighting bugs. These hands-on learning experiences offered opportunities to learn positive risk-taking, finding your voice, sharing leadership, and teamwork. In grad school, she also deepened her studies in Chemistry and Climate Science, learning also with the Union of Concerned Scientists. For 4 years following grad school, while launching Green Collar Futures, Elyssa worked with the Princeton-Blairstown Center, Princeton University's field campus, guiding urban youth, college students and custom adult programs from NY, NJ and PA to feel at home in the forest, find their voice and shared leadership, and deepen their connection and dedication to service.

In 2011, Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey hard. Elyssa's town lost power for 21 days, her business went bankrupt, and after a bunch of soul-searching she moved to Massachusetts. Leaving the Garden State was not easy for Elyssa, especially after a decade of field ecology and community service. Her last 7 years in the state, she had traveled about 3 months each year to indigenous communities, eco-villages, farms and environmental education centers to learn how to help the people of New Jersey live more gently and in greater harmony. She had even bought a car that ran on waste vegetable oil. But she knew that was more she needed to learn... and she was broke and feeling burned out... so she chose Western Mass new opportunities to grow and be of service.

In Massachusetts, Elyssa soon became part of the so-called "primitive skills" community, learning Northeast Native American woodland skills... predominantly from white people. Slowing down and practicing these skills - fire-making, cordage, foraging, camouflage, tracking, listening to birds - brought a deep, embodied feeling of safety and abundance, and also a feeling of indebtedness. After attending many talks and workshops, her heart was stirred and Elyssa found many ways to be of service to the Native community of Western Mass. She was part of the group that worked to release the old Turners Falls High School mascot (the "Indians") and choose a new one (the "Thunder"), coordinated and supported 6 local Native artists in sharing their own art and culture in the Building Bridges Mural at the Great Falls, and co-hosted workshops on decolonization with Native and BIPOC teachers.

In 2020, Elyssa met Dr. Martin Hunter at a spiritual gathering in Vermont, and their connection around chemistry, ecological stewardship and social justice quickly led them to co-found the Northeast Biogas Initiative. In 2022, Elyssa's mother's home in Southern Florida was destroyed by a tornado, while she was in it, and she narrowly escaped alive. This prompted her to double-down on her work with Northeast Biogas Initiative, grant writing, and coalition-building... because the potential of biogas for climate change mitigation is great... and well, it's just fun to work with.

Elyssa speaks Spanish and Italian.

Dr. Martin Hunter, UMass faculty, Co-Founder

My name is Dr. Martin Hunter, and I am a senior lecturer with UMass Amherst in Biomedical Engineering and iCons, an interdisciplinary STEM certificate program. I have been with UMass for 3 years and bring with me over 20 years of experience in teaching, research and laboratory management at Tufts and MIT, with a focus on technology development for clinical disease diagnosis.

My personal specialty is optical engineering and biomedical imaging, and my passions and personal interests are in ecological stewardship, community engagement, and youth mentoring in service learning. I am an alumnus of the UMass CESL one year faculty fellowship in Community Engagement, which I used to develop a new indisciplinary UMass course, "Foundation of Biogas." I am the father of three young adults, a member of the Sunrise Movement and Extinction Rebellion, and a former refugee from Argentina, a journey which brought me first to Uruguay, then Brazil, then Wales, and then Massachusetts.

For the past three years, I have been a key collaborator with the Northeast Biogas Initiative, a community partnership for biogas education and the development of simple, affordable, small-scale methane biodigesters suitable for temperate climates. My work with NBI brings together my chemistry, biology and engineering know-how with my calling to ecological and community service. Through NBI, I have been part of community workshops and webinars, design and installation of new biodigesters on the ground here in Western Mass, and an inspiring mix of student-led research at UMass. Over these three years, I’ve mentored students in biogas analysis and optimization, the use of fungi as a predigestate for woody feedstock, the construction of a hot air solar panel for season extension, and the effects of bio-fertilizer on crop yields. We plan to write our first biogas paper for publication this summer.

Martin speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

Lisa Berkovits, Community Engagement Liaison

I am an 2023 Biogas Apprentice with NBI, taking part in the 3-month online training with Kathy Puffer at Biogas Education Hub, taking part in installations, leading in-person workshops and demos, and helping out in the office.  Having recently been introduced to biogas and home scale biodigesters through NBI, I am excited to find this means of reclaiming food, animal and plant waste in a way which produces not one but two valuable resources: methane gas which can be captured and stored for cooking, and liquid fertilizer that is gold for the soil.  I see so many other benefits these ‘Dragons’ produce. We foster community as people come together to learn about and set up digesters, or when multi-unit households and neighborhoods meet up to cook with the gas they have created from what would have been waste. We can create healthy, thriving soil full of life which - in turn - nurtures more life. I am excited to join NBI and help further small scale biogas awareness and use.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of summers spent helping (not usually out of my own volition) in my mother’s large vegetable garden. As a child, I was not often happy to be recruited to weed, hoe, lug compost, squish potato beetles etc… But I certainly did love the wonderful meals and preserves that all of our labor yielded: eggplant parmesan, homemade tomatoes sauce, pesto, pickled string beans and so much more. My love of fresh, nurturing, locally grown food was seeded in these years and led me to working on a number of small scale vegetable, cheese making, berry and fruit farms. I even spent a summer as a MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association) apprentice on a farm which used draft horses in place of machinery.


In my mid twenties, I found my way into a different type of nurturing career as a massage therapist - a vocation I pursued for the better part of 13 years. As sole proprietor, my massage training and practice taught me many valuable interpersonal, business and organizing skills. Volunteering and coordinating teams of volunteers for community events such as The Cancer Relay for Life & other road races, benefits & other events allowed me to engage in and support my community. After more than a decade in this field, a desire for learning led me back to Greenfield Community College, where I had received my massage therapy certificate. 


While at GCC, the 'Introduction to Food Systems’ class left a lasting impression on me. The work of the whole semester was focused on creating a Sustainable Food System plan for Greenfield, like the towns of Northampton and Turners Falls had created. My team chose to work on planning composting systems for the town, especially as it related to food waste from institutions such as Universities and hospitals. At the end of the semester the class presented our plans to the Mayor, town representatives and interested citizens.  My choice of focus for this project ingrained in me an interest around managing and reclaiming food waste and the ways it could be turned into something beneficial that contributes to growing more life, as opposed to unnecessarily filling up landfills and damaging our atmosphere with methane.  I'm glad to be coming around full circle with Northeast Biogas!

Kathy Puffer, Educator, Innovator, Co-Founder

A skilled and experienced homesteader, teacher and "dragon tender", Kathy has 4 (!) small-scale biodigesters at her home... two DIY IBC container digesters and two HomeBiogas units, one of which is integrated into an outhouse/greenhouse. She has earned the bragging rights of not needing to buy cooking gas for over 9 years! Kathy uses her biogas for indoor cooking on a 2-burner HomeBiogas stove, as well as on dueling barbeques out in the patio. She uses her bio-fertilizer to create rich soil on her previously sandy homestead in the Hudson Valley, feeding her family, neighbors and on-site livestock (ducks, chickens, sheep and pigs). She has also used bio-fertilizer for hydroponic vertical gardens.

Kathy brings over a decade of international biogas teaching and technology development, in the US, Haiti and Europe. She is passionate about customizing small-scale home biogas systems to fit any household or small business. Kathy leads, an ongoing online 3-month biogas training program on Mighty Networks, which trains students from around the world. This is the training program we use for our cohorts of Northeast Biogas apprentices, paired with hands-on training.

Learn how to run small-scale biogas at your site with Kathy, by going to
Follow her on ig @kathy.puffer .

Join us the Northeast Biogas Advisory Council!

Who are we? Community members working in farming, education, social justice, green energy and sustainable redevelopment, builders, homesteaders, biogas researchers from colleges and universities in the bioregion, and industry leaders.

What do we do? Growing from the wealth of our wisdom, passions, experience and webs of connection, we are growing the network of biogas supporters, developing a strategic plan, identifying and soliciting funding, and laying the groundwork for legislation and building codes that support biogas and other carbon-neutral, decentralized energy and waste-processing technologies.

Why small-scale biogas? In the US, small-scale biogas systems are largely unutilized and unexplored. All sizes of biogas - small, medium and large - are needed to reach the goal of 10% reduction in carbon emissions through biogas. Each size has their niche. Small-scale biogas technologies are uniquely suited to address a suite of problems faced by communities at the front lines of climate change, providing energy and food security, nutritional benefits, sanitation, waste management, and entrepreneurial opportunities.

What is the commitment level? The Advisory Council will meet for 2-hour meetings on a quarterly basis. Optional activities include listing your biodigester as a case study of biogas in action, joining a working group or taking on a project from a working group.

Contact us at for more information and to join!

Northeast Biogas Advisory Council ( aka Stewardship Circle )

Marco Andre, Nature Yogi

Marco is the creator of the Private Non-profit, Dragonfly Kingdom Library/Dragonfly Kingdom International Service Agency.  He is an accredited certified holistic health/wellness specialist & practitioner, including yoga, nutritionist,   herbalist, crystal reiki master, sound & music meditation therapist, counselor & advisor, and is accredited & certified in numerous complimentary spiritual health & wellness therapies as a Holistic Health Wellness & Fitness Specialist with additional continuing education certificates from NCCIH, Complimentary & Integrative Medicine Department of


Marco and NBI met at one of our hands-on DIY biodigester construction workshops in 2022, where both shared a passion for community empowerment, renewable energy, and human and environmental health.   Marco is skilled at  community engagement and event production, having worked as a Sound Artist/Music Producer & Therapist for many years.


He is a member of Herbalists Without Borders, Himalayan Institute, PAN (Permaculture Association of Northeast), Appalachian Mountain ClubAmerican Forests, CPD, International Association of Therapists and International Reiki Association/Organization.

Dan Antonioli, General Contractor + Permaculture Designer

Dan Antonioli is a licensed general building contractor, permaculture designer, and green developer. A cultural change agent with a passion for sustainability and social justice, his interests span a wide range of social, economic, and technical areas. He holds a Masters in transpersonal psychology from Sonoma State University and a BA in psychology from UC Berkeley. Founder of the Laytonville Ecovillage in Northern California and a small urban ecovillage in Oakland, CA, he has a personal and professional interest in the role that community plays in shaping a sustainable future.

Dan split his childhood growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Great Basin desert of Nevada in a multigenerational construction family and has seen the negative impacts from development both urban and rural. After many years of pioneering work in California, Dan made a decision to move to upstate NY and now resides in Dryden where he’s creating a net zero energy historic restoration. His current focus is in bridging preservation and sustainability.

His company,, focuses on the nuts and bolts of sustainable systems as well as comprehensive plans. His combined background in permaculture and construction allows him to put round pegs into square holes, which is something he enjoys doing. Biogas is a tool in his toolbox and he is excited to help implement a larger biogas movement in the Northeast and beyond. 

Claudio Amherd, Brewer & Biogas Developer

Hola soy CLAUDIO AMHERD, estoy trabajando en biogás desde el año 2016. Primero fabricando mis primeros biodigestores en pequeña escala para mi domicilio y pequeña fabrica de cerveza artesanal. Procesando todos los desperdicios, convertirlos en biogás y bio fertilizante. Ademas trabaje como técnico consultor en el programa de EDUCACION BIOENERGETICA DE LA PROVINCIA DE SANTA FE: PROGRAMA QUE INSTALO 105 BIODIGESTORES EN ESCUELA RURALES, de la provincia de Santa Fe, Argentina, con el objetivo de enseñar sobre uso de biogás. Ademas desarrolle proyectos de biogás para granjas porcinas a gran escala (una granja de ciclo completo con mas de 6000 cerdos). Fabrico equipo con materiales recilados a pequeña escala.

Lise Coppinger, Energy Efficient Builder & Homesteader

Lise Coppinger’s interest in sustainability started in college with an “Appropriate Technology” class in 1983, where she was first introduced to Biogas. Since then, she has worked at the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, became a certified teacher, works as an energy efficient residential builder, and lives in the woods on an organic farm in Western Massachusetts with gardens, field crops and animals. Lise puts building community at the center of an enriched and healthy society. She has been active as a Board Member at her local food coop, and volunteers locally. She is looking forward to participating on the Northeast Biogas Advisory Council. 

Mykuuhl Electric, Camp Timber Trails, Dance New England

Mykuuhl Electric is a hands-on, feet-on-the-ground kind of guy who knows energy... both how to direct it in running electricity for homes and businesses... how to nourish community. A dancer, singer and musician, an avid recycler, a long-time vegan, and one of the co-owners and caretakers of Camp Timber Trails in Western Massachusetts, Mykuuhl has a refined appreciation for the sacredness of land that holds us in and through our growth as humans. Mykuuhl is part of a growing group of Camp Timber Trails co-owners exploring biogas as a solution to processing camp food wastes on site and saving money on fuel, and the trouble of overflowing landfills and the carbon they leak.

Monica Ibacache, Beyond Organic, PINA

A native of Chile, Monica has been a New York City–based organizer, sustainability educator, and ecological designer since 2007. She became an avid gardener as a small child with her grandparents then rekindled her passion for growing food as an adult while living in Southeast Alaska. A bite of her first homegrown lettuce and understanding why it was so delicious, unlike the store-bought variety, led Monica down the rabbit hole, irrevocably altering her life path.

She is committed to improving food systems and advancing environmental justice globally. Monica has dedicated her life to working with diverse and marginalized communities in education and local development in the U.S. and abroad. She has advanced certifications in Permaculture Design and Teaching, specializing in Teaching Permaculture to Children, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Permaculture Institute of North America (PINA) and the Northeast Biogas Advisory Council.

Stephanie Lansing, University of Maryland

Dr. Lansing leads the Bioenergy and Bioprocessing Technology Lab at the nexus of renewable energy, water quality, waste treatment, and human health, and is committed to understanding the ecological, engineering, and social systems that influence these intertwined areas.

Dr. Lansing is leading two new grants totaling $6 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop sustainable products like biofuels and bioplastics from food waste. These grants are aimed at understanding the waste sources we have, particularly the quantities of food waste, and determining what opportunities exist for us to create renewable resources and energy from that waste–one grant is focused on the production of bioplastics from food waste, while the other is focused on characterizing the municipal solid waste stream to create biofuels that can replace liquid fuels like gasoline.

Opeyemi Parham, FPMD

Doctor O is a 66 year old Black woman with 22 years of life experience as an active family practitioner. In 2007, she “went feral”; reclaiming her rights as an artist (healing), and leaving the conventional medical model. Now, she is ROGUE, and uses voice, song, written word, dance and theater in her evolving role as intinerant community activist, healing artist, and “edu-tainer”. She believes that those initials behind her name signify “Feral Physician (once domesticated, but returned to the WILD) and Mistress of Death (having learned mightily from her own Near Death Experience). As a writer she has an essay in “Hope Beneath Our Feet” and a chapter in “Dancing on the Earth: Women’s Stories of Healing, Through Dance.” She can be found on TikTok ("TikTok Granny Doc") on YouTube (at “The Doctor Speaks”) or at her

After raising a family and working in family practice in the Boston area, Dr O spend many years in Western Mass. She nows lives in Central Vermont, where the floodwaters of the Summer 2023 rains literally came up to her doorstep and her town's downtown was destroyed.

"I have been awake and aware of carbon footprint issues for over 30 years. When my commitment to a program called "Awakening the Dreamer" ( went absolutely nowhere, I decided to stay local and love it; shifting my focus to "educate the girls" and "get reproductive Rights into women's hands" as my personal commitment to lowering human's CO2 footprint both listed as effective issues #6 and #7 in Project Drawdown.

My recent experiences with the Vermont flooding, which included flood waters coming within feet of my apartment complex, reinforced my commitment to doing what I can. Since I have a female friend who is passionate about biogas as a grassroots way to address climate chaos I have agreed to support her project."

Anandi Premlall

Anandi A. Premlall is an International AgroEcological Grower and Educator of the South Asian Diaspora.

Anandi is a Certified Permaculture Educator as well as Urban Agriculture Consultant and Environmental Educator. She is based in New Orleans and inspires positive actions worldwide. Anandi promotes health and community engagement by integrating artistic creativity, holistic wellness practices, and ecological principles of building healing spaces. On International Women's Day, her work was featured on The Female Farmer Project. Her article: The Intersection of Permaculture Ethics was published in Permaculture Design Magazine #98.

While Anandi is considered the consummate eco-agricultural citizen of New Orleans, her mycelial network stems from Queens, the Caribbean and ancestral India! She is interested in urban solutions as well as rural solutions as she stands with her feet in two worlds.

Anandi continues to command further inclusion and support of women and others with diverse backgrounds through her work will alter the face of permaculture leadership and create a reflection for others, in particular young people of color and women of color who may not feel that permaculture is for them due to the appropriation of indigenous cultural practices or may not identify the work they are doing as permaculture. She wants to create opportunities for women and people of color to own land and sustain themselves and their families through an inclusive land trust and enterprises. Anandi is directly involved with co-creating systems of right livelihood where girls and women have abundant resources to support themselves through agriculture.

Anandi is particularly interested in being one of the first Indo-Caribbean women to lead and to be a reflection for the young People of the Global Marjority in her life and beyond. There are not many women and people of color leading PDCs or trainings. By being the change she wants to see in the world, Anandi is creating a container for new seeds to sprout. She wants to continue sharing and teaching about know we can co-create abundant new systems to grow food for all locally, without toxic pesticides, no genetically modified organisms, and without slave-labor.

Since taking her Earth Activist Training, Anandi:
- Continues to utilize her social permaculture skills to build community online and offline
- Enjoyed being part of the SEED team and leading the organizing for the 2014 Northeast Women in Permaculture Gathering at Omega Institute for Sustainability
- Has been utilizing techniques for agriculture with soil remediation, sheet mulching and lasagna bed gardening, mushroom pilot, composting with chickens, vermicomposting, The Raven Orchard (a chicken orchard) at Earth Matter Compost Learning Center on Governors Island
- Has participated in the North American Permaculture Convergence and drafted 10 requests from the POC community
- Has taught multi-generational women of color how to create seedbombs and distribute through a local Queens MOOC civic ecology class with Cornell University
- Has created and lead a Growing an Urban Food Forest workshop at Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s annual Making Brooklyn Bloom conference
- Has inspired Battery Urban Farm to take on creating a new Forest Farm on site through sharing during my Farm Educator apprenticeship
- Has been a part of part of the SEED team and leading the organizing for the 2015 Northeast Women in Permaculture Gathering at Omega during Service Week and the annual gathering in September
- Has been sharing permaculture inspirations through the SustyQ (Sustainable Queens) network
- Is actively working on creating a long-term sustainable food supply chain with local Growers to create a more food secure state of Louisiana

Matt Steiman, Dickinson College

Matt Steiman is the Director of Energy Projects at the Dickinson College Farm near Carlisle PA.  After fifteen years of working on small scale biogas system research and development, the farm embarked on development of a commercial scale biogas to power project that combines the waste of 150 dairy cows with 2-3 tons per day of community food waste.  Matt has a masters degree in Environmental Pollution Control with a focus on anaerobic digestion from Penn State University.  He enjoys farming, teaching, tinkering and fabrication.



Winter ‘22-Spring ‘23 Apprentices

Jessy, Tim, Adam, Shira, Zoe, Harriet, Ren and Fred took part in the 2022-2023 Biogas Apprenticeship, which consisted of a 3-month online training with Kathy Puffer at, and hands-on work with small-scale biodigesters in the Valley.

(picture is from our March 25 workshop at UMass… can you spot the apprentices?)

Siddh Gala, UMass Intern, 2022

The term Biogas was introduced to me when I was in India. I was helping a village by educating its residents about the importance of drinking clean water and distributing water purification tablets. That is where I came across a Biodigester which utilized the waste food and cow dung to produce energy for a household. That piqued my interest so I started doing a little research about how biodigesters use biogas to provide energy for cooking, electricity and many other applications. Taking “Foundations of Biogas” at UMass has sparked my interest into the Biochemical analysis techniques. Using FTIR for the biogas composition, MacConkey and LB agar for E. coli, and soil test kits for checking the NPK composition is something which I never did as I haven’t had a lot of experience with laboratory techniques and the equipment. During the course I learned and developed certain techniques to check for the E. coli and using FTIR to know the biogas composition with Professor Hunter. In future I would like to get into in depth research on the developing tests or getting to know the exact ratios of NPK in the effluent and the genetical identification of different strains of bacteria in the biodigester to ensure that the effluent that is coming out is safe to be used as fertilizers. I would also like to examine the feedstock and measure their C:N ratio as it is important that the digester is fed a feedstock with a range of C:N ratio. This would let us know which feedstock is more efficient in producing the methane.

Michelle Gilman, Community Engagement Liaison, 2022

Michelle's areas of interest and expertise include weaving community food webs and working at the intersection of public health nutrition, regenerative food systems, and community development. In 2022, she was instrumental in developing Northeast Biogas’ educational and marketing materials, in networking with community partners, and in strategic planning. Michelle’s skills in community engagement also shined while speaking at conferences, festivals and other local events, and in leading Biogas cooking demos, which combined her passions for nutrition, local veggies, and full-circle regenerative food systems.

Michelle's background includes nonprofit administration and operations in a range of programs including international development, urban agriculture, public education, and community nutrition. She has lived, worked and volunteered in Colombia, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Libera, and has a Master’s degree in Global Public Health Nutrition and a Permaculture Design Certificate. She's driven to raise awareness about the role of diet in human, soil, and ecosystem health and through this, encourage and enable people to love their relationship with food. She’s truly in her element when leading food-based workshops in the kitchen, classroom, or garden. These skill sets and missions are what led her to develop the Food Fluency organization and educational program. You can read more about her work at