For more than 20 years, Brett Melone has been working with farmers in California and Latin America to support their business success and natural resource management, and leading nonprofit organizations that serve farmers. Melone grew up in South Florida, where his father managed hundreds of acres of avocadoes, limes and mangoes, and his mother owned a tropical plant nursery. The beauty and abundance, as well as the dark underbelly of agriculture that he experienced, had a major impact on his career path.

After obtaining his undergraduate degree and working for a few years, Melone obtained an MA in International Environmental Policy at the Monterey Institute, focusing on integrated coastal zone management, watershed management and sustainable agriculture. Following a Sea Grant Fellowship with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds, and a Rotary Foundation scholarship with Tierra Viva, Agricultores Orgánicos de Chile, Melone worked on the implementation of Local Agenda 21 in Latin America, and served as the first executive director of CET Sur, a regional NGO focused on agricultural, rural and leadership development. Today he serves as the director of lending with California FarmLink, a community development organization that facilitates access to land for farmers, and access to capital for diverse ag, food and natural resource-based businesses.

Areas of Interest

I am motivated and inspired in my work by people – those who produce our food, innovate new systems and ways of doing business, steward natural resources, create and advocate for policies that will drive change, educators, scientists who interpret the complex processes that make our world work, and consumers and eaters who make change through their actions.

Our ability to manage and adapt is in our collective hands. My work at the intersection of agriculture, fisheries, community development finance and teaching aims to contribute to the common good by amplifying knowledge and capacity, and enabling promising business models to succeed.

Academic Degrees

  • MA in International Environmental Policy, Monterey Institute of International Studies, 1999
  • BA in International Relations, Business and Spanish, University of San Diego, 1991

Professor Melone has been teaching at the Institute since 2011.


  • “In the Fields of Salinas: Cultivating Intercultural Leadership,” Whole Thinking Journal, No. 6, Winter 2010-11.
  • Grassroots Guide to the Farm Bill, Editor, Spanish, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, 2011.
  • Farmer Education Program Curriculum Resource Guide, ALBA, 2011.
  • Farm Incubator Toolkit, ALBA, 2011.
  • Farming for the Future – Contributor, Editor and Translator for ALBA’s quarterly print newsletter.
  • Organic Agriculture Education, Crop Management, September 2006.
  • The Face of Food on the Central Coast: A Community Food Assessment, ALBA, 2006.
  • Local Agenda 21 in Latin America: An Analytical Look at 10 Cases, ICLEI, 2000. (collaborator)
  • Tribal Wetland Program Highlights, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2000.