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About the Observatory

From Observatory

The Observatory is a free digital education resource. It offers the public useful information to help them both better understand today's issues and navigate life in the modern world.

Visitors engage with the Observatory:

  • Via Search: For expertise by keyword, topic area, or a favorite author.
  • Via Guides: That unlock the world in a single article or an expert-curated series.

The Observatory uses MediaWiki, the software that powers Wikipedia, to publish content by a team of expert contributors.

Our doors are open: The Observatory is designed to incorporate reader feedback, and for input and collaboration with volunteer researchers and editors.

Our goal is to be an audience-supported education resource that can make a difference.

The Observatory Team

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Jan Ritch-Frel
Observatory Co-Founder and Publisher

Jan Ritch-Frel is the executive director of the Independent Media Institute, a nonprofit organization that educates the public through a diverse array of independent media projects and programs. He has worked in independent media for more than two decades and has advised dozens of media companies.

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Jenny Pierson
Observatory Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer

Jenny Pierson is the manager of editorial projects and the programs administrator at the Independent Media Institute. She has spent more than a decade in independent media working in both digital journalism (editing U.S. and international news and editorials) and book publishing.

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Reynard Loki
Observatory Co-Founder and Environment and Animal Rights Editor

Reynard Loki is a writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute, where he serves as the editor and chief correspondent for Earth | Food | Life. His work has appeared in dozens of U.S. and international publications.


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April M. Short
Observatory Co-Founder and Local Peace Economy Editor

April M. Short is a writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute and the editor for Local Peace Economy. She has led editorial projects on consciousness, plant medicines, care, and well-being, including Reset.me and Lucid.News (which she also co-founded). Her work has appeared in dozens of U.S. and international publications.

Authors Spotlight

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Justin Podur is a Toronto-based writer.
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Chris Smaje has co-worked on a small farm in Somerset, southwest England, since 2007. Smaje is the author of A Small Farm Future, writes the blog at www.smallfarmfuture.org.uk and is a featured author at resilience.org.
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Mary Mazzoni is the senior editor of TriplePundit and director of TriplePundit’s Brand Studio.
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Jimmy Videle is a farmer, naturalist, and researcher. He is the author of The Veganic Grower’s Handbook: Cultivating Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs from Urban Backyard to Rural Farmyard (Lantern Press, 2023) and the co-founder of NAVCS-Certified Veganic. His writing has appeared in CounterPunch, Countercurrents, and LA Progressive, among others.


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