Thomas Cole has spent 25 years in sustainable agriculture, livelihoods, community development and humanitarian response work. Presently based in California, he has close to a decade of field experience across Sub-Saharan Africa- with significant time in Mozambique, Uganda and Ethiopia. His focal areas are in urban agriculture, food production system design, post-conflict recovery, organic horticulture, agricultural extension, permaculture, natural resource management and livelihoods. He spends much of his spare time in these countries climbing the odd mountain and researching succulent plants, primarily aloes.
He works as a consultant on a range of sustainable food security and food production projects in the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa- having recently spent two years working with USAID’s Urban Gardens Program in Ethiopia, where he lent agronomic guidance to one of the world’s largest urban agriculture projects supporting HIV-affected women and orphans. He currently works as an agroecology and drought management advisor for global USAID food security programs, and provides technical agricultural support for numerous communities recovering from conflict and disaster. Previously he worked as the Africa Region Food Security and Livelihoods Advisor for Save the Children. In California, he is the co-owner and operator of Cold Spring Aloes, a small succulent plant nursery and award-winning garden design business.
Thomas has a Masters degree in Humanitarian Assistance from the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University and is a 5-time world Frisbee champion. Since 2011 he has authored three new species of aloe from Uganda (Aloe wanalensis, aloe butiabana and aloe lukeana), and is presently working on a field guide to all of Uganda’s presently known aloe species.