© Bending Oak 2022

Visit: 100 Cottage Grove Dr., Youngstown, OH 44505

Our Staff

Jim (Jas) – 

Jim joined Bending Oak in the fall of 2019 and became the Farm Manager in Spring of 2020. He is responsible for the continuing development of the 25-acre educational farm including the off grid infrastructure, fruit & nut orchards, food forest development, hoop house plant propagation and visitor facilities. Jim has extensive training in permaculture including the Permaculture Design Course with Bill Wilson of Midwest Permaculture, Advanced Permaculture Design with Peter Bane, and Restoration Agriculture with Mark Shepard. Jim is a trained and certified Arborist and has over 20 years’ experience in landscape design and operations with a primary focus on habitat restoration using native plants and trees. 

Jim holds an undergraduate degree in sculpture from Kent State University and has extensive experience working with different mediums including metal, wood and clay and has a love for architecture . He grew up in rural Pennsylvania which was the catalyst for his love of the natural world. Jim plays guitar and lives in Kent, Ohio with his partner Melissa where they cultivate permaculture principles in their backyard homestead with a variety of small animals and two very loud human children- Olivia and Hayden.

James Matalik bending oak permaculture farm manager


Led by a love of nature and the holistic lifestyle, Serena discovered permaculture in 2017 while researching food forests in Hawaii and was immediately hooked. She joined the Bending Oak team in 2022 and is currently working as Bending Oak’s Marketing and Event Coordinator. In 2024 she earned her Permaculture Design Certificate. Serena is an artist and enjoys spending her free time outside painting, hiking, or foraging with her family.

C. Milton –

Milton is a  permaculturist, forager, educator, and media wizard. He creates transformative experiences for people that allow them to see and think differently. He has taught Permaculture Design Courses with,  supports the website of, and creates content for Midwest Permaculture. He is supporting the website and developing the media outreach for Bending Oak Permaculture Farm. He works closely with Polliwog Farm, developing experimental soul permaculture at Glorious Debris. Also he is co-manager at the emergent The Cooperative at Dawn Farm, where he rotationally grazes sheep for the “Ram Camp” of Project Mow

Ananda –

Ananda is our Education and Events Coordinator. She has worked with children for 8 years and has a background as a Teen Program Coordinator for the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania and as a Nanny. In fall of 2024, Ananda will be attending Maharishi International University to receive her Bachelor’s in Regenerative Organic Agriculture. Her dream is to combine her skills of teaching and her passion to bring awareness and connection back to healing the planet. Her goal is to do this by inspiring others to find true health and freedom by bringing communities together through integrating traditions our ancestors have practiced into our modern times. In her free time, she enjoys setting up a hammock by a creek, dancing, and exploring new places with her dog and friends.

Bending Oak is proud to be a family owned and family-first workplace; In an effort to honor our staff and their families we will be closed on holidays.

© Bending Oak 2022