A Company For People and Planet
Worker-owned · Value-led · Mission-driven
SymbiOp started off as one-person landscaping business. We have grown significantly over the years. Our workers have 10+ years of experience cultivating ecological landscapes, and even more years of experience with plant care in general. In the fall of 2021, we will open an ecological garden shop, using our plant expertise to make ecological gardening even more accessible to the greater community.
The name SymbiOp stands for Symbiosis Cooperative. We picked that name because we value the idea of symbiosis – a mutually beneficial relationship for all participants.
We apply this value not only in the work we do, by cultivating plants and landscapes that are beneficial to our customers, our communities, and the greater ecosystems, but also in how we govern our company, as a worker cooperative, an employee-owned company.
Having equal voice and stake in the company enables us to work symbiotically. Our wages are fair. Our work environment is healthy. We take care of each other. We strive to be compassionate, inclusive, equitable, and a safe place. Our diverse work force and leadership team include people of color, indigenous people, queer people, people with disability, women, and working-class families.
Symbiosis is not just a product that we produce. It is a value that we believe in. We value it so much, we put it in our bylaws, so that we legally have to consider our social / environmental impacts before our financial gains.
Meet the Team
Gardeners · Artists · Scientists · Planet Stewards
System Engineer / Business Developer
As a kid, JT spent many hours learning about the earth and the universe, despite growing up in the concrete jungle of Shanghai, China. After moving to the United States and getting his degree in Physics, he dedicated his life in creating resilient systems, be them ecological systems, social systems, business systems, or computer systems. During his free time, JT likes to write essays and fictions, produce music, and go camping. Checkout his blog post detailing the founding of SymbiOp!
Lead Landscape Designer
Born and raised on the west coast, Nutmeg has deep connections to the local ecosystems. Her passion drove her to study ecological landscape design and later on create her own landscaping business. She has also developed a line of sustainable herbal products using the plants she cultivated. During her free time, Nutmeg likes to tend her garden, cook, write music, and volunteer for social/environmental justice organizations.
Lead Landscape Designer
Before calling Portland home, Matt operated an ecological landscaping and nursery business on Vancouver Island, Canada that was featured in local publications. Though he started in traditional landscaping, he soon got tired of the unsustainable practices and toxic culture of that industry. As a member of the Metis Nation of BC, it became more and more important for him to reconnect with the indigenous side of his lineage and restore his relationship with the land. He studied from indigenous elders from all over the world, and has been practicing ecological landscaping ever since. During his free time, Matt enjoys exploring the nooks and crannies of new neighborhoods by bike and getting lost in the woods with his husband.
Project Coordinator / Client Support
Lotus's relationship with nature started with teaching outdoor education to kids for many summers, helping them to connect to nature and understand their impact. She is passionate about building communities for the benefit of humans and nature. This is why outside of SymbiOp, she also serves on the boards of two community nonprofits in Portland. During her free time, Lotus likes to practice Buddhist meditation, read, write, and volunteer for animal shelters and social/environmental justice organizations.
Project Coordinator / Corporate Administrator
Khalila is a Palestinian American, and is the first generation on her fathers side to be born in the United States. She has been gardening for years, but wasn't familiar with regenerative practices before SymbiOp. Incorporating these new practices into her own garden has been very rewarding. She believes in strengthening her community, whether through crisis counseling or trash cleanup. During her free time, she enjoys game nights with friends, bouldering, and having outdoor adventures with her daughter.
More team bios coming soon!