Tania Slawecki, Ph.D.
Tania is a materials scientist at Penn State’s Materials Research Institute whose present work entails using microwaves to process materials used in a wide variety of applications (for significant energy and cost savings); her previous work entailed investigating the structure of water and material reasons for the efficacy of therapeutic electromagnetic devices. While Director of Penn State's Center for Sustainability (2001-4) she won a PA Growing Greener grant to design and construct a living machine for wastewater treatment at Penn State, and (with dedicated student help) established the 8-acre Projects Site east of campus. The site included a biointensive mini-farm, winter-season food production, passive and active solar structures, structures constructed using salvaged materials and various earthen architectural methods (plastered strawbale, light clay construction), the Penn State Power Lion (1.6 kW portable photovoltaic array), an on-site graywater treatment system and pond with windmill aerator, and a wind-power generator integrated with the PV array and Renewable Energy Homestead. As an Assistant Professor in the Science, Technology and Society Program in the College of Engineering, she developed and taught two senior-level courses (Green Design & Technology and the hands-on Projects in Sustainable Living) and a 200-level course in Integrative Medicine. [See also Tania's Penn State website.] After seven years of university teaching, she decided in 2006 to focus on further developing the technologies she introduced in these courses.
Gene Bazan, Ph.D.
Gene has spent a large part of his last 30 years working with educational, environmental, civic, governmental and business organizations here and abroad on projects, funding, and board and staff development. Dr. Bazan has taught at three universities, in the U.S. and abroad. At Penn State, he helped create the Center for Sustainability and design the first Projects in Sustainable Living course. He was the lead consultant and author of "Saving the Farm, Saving the Farmer: Securing a Future for Agriculture in Chester County". He has given numerous workshops, talks and tours in Central Pennsylvania on organic gardening since 1998. His university training is in Electrical Engineering & Economics, and his Ph.D. is in City & Regional Planning.
The Team. Together, this husband-wife team is dedicated to living more lightly on Earth and to advancing our understanding of what constitutes sane and healthy living. They have been gradually retrofitting their 1938-built home to learn what it takes to salvage structures that have been poorly designed to begin with! In 2006 Gene and Tania presented a workshop at the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture's annual conference on “Implications of and Alternatives to Petroleum-Based Farming”. In February 2008, they presented an invited workshop on the operation of their backyard biointensive minifarm: "Year-Round Backyard Mini-Farming: Food with the Least Fossil Fuel and Footprint." It was so well received that PASA invited them to give it again in 2009 and 2010 (Backyard Minifarming PART A and PART B). In 2011 they gave another workshop at PASA: "From Farmhouse to Eco-House: Retrofits and Building New". In 2012 and 2013 they gave presentations on microfarming and homesteading at PASA. In January of 2016 the two organized an afternoon workshop in Washington, D.C. featuring John Jeavons and two of his colleagues from Ecology Action. The workshop, one in a three day conference on "The Food-Energy-Water Nexus" put on by the National Council for Science and the Environment, focused on GROW BIOINTENSIVE ® as an ecologically sustainable way to grow food.