Ryan and Alicia met on a blind date and were college sweet hearts. Ten years ago they returned to North Carolina after living in downtown Baltimore. They share the farm and their mid century modern farmhouse with their three fantastic little boys: Jackson (11), Gates (9), and Finn (7), Alicia’s mother Catherine, and two Great Danes, Temple Grandin and Cash. Green Button Farm is truly where the wild things grow. Some people in Baltimore still think we are living on a tiny Caribbean island, but no – Bahama holds a better version of paradise for us.
Growing up in Martin County, in Northeastern North Carolina, agriculture was a part of Ryan’s life from the start. His father, Danny Butler, is a lifelong agricultural educator serving the communities of Martin County for nearly 40 years as a Vocational Agriculture High School Teacher and as an extension agent for North Carolina State University. Many of Ryan’s family members were farmers, and he quickly developed the hard work ethic so vital to life on America’s small farms. One of the most influential people in Ryan’s childhood was his Great Uncle J.A. Stalls – his next-door neighbor. Living and struggling through the Great Depression, Uncle J. A. became an expert of living off of the land. As a child, Ryan spent many summer and fall afternoons selling his uncle’s sweet corn, pumpkins, and collards. His Uncle J. A. taught him how to be a proficient outdoorsman, make homemade wine, and grow his own food.
Ryan attended Davidson College and earned a B.S degree in Agricultural Business Management with a concentration in Agricultural Economics from North Carolina State University. Over his fifteen year working career, Ryan has worked for the USDA, big chemical, an international grocer, and worldwide financial institutions. Those experiences have provided first hand knowledge of how our current agricultural system is broken and where we are as a nation of people starved for local, safe food.
Ryan is the CFO (Chief Farming Officer) of Green Button Farm. He has a seemingly innate ability to care for animals and increase soil fertility. He finds it extremely rewarding to grow food for people he loves. You should see the animals follow Ryan around the farm. Their mutual love and respect for one another is evident.
Ryan is also a partner in Picnic Durham, a new modern BBQ joint in North Durham.
President & CEO
Alicia has lived and traveled to 5 continents were she developed a life-long respect for and interest in other cultures and ways of life. While studying art in Florence she developed a European sense of local food and agriculture. Alicia earned a Studio Art degree with a concentration in Fibers and a B.A in Early Childhood education from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. As an art educator in inner city Baltimore, Maryland, Alicia saw first hand the effects of a broken community, poverty, and malnutrition. Her devotion to helping those unable to help themselves has been life-long, and has developed a sense of urgency in the upbringing of the three boys. Alicia’s strong maternal instincts have developed in her a need to protect her children from the chemicals and test tube nature of our food.
Alicia is the President and CEO of Green Button Farm. She is currently the art teacher at Club Boulevard Elementary School She also manages farm communications, summer camps, and keeping the three boys from flooding the chicken coop. She loves to be knee deep in dirt, but at the end of the day, she always wants life balanced with fine wine and a fashion trendy consciousness.
The thread that keeps the Green Button on are our wonderful friends and family. Our parents have spent countless hours and resources helping this labor of love grow. Our closest friends have literally moved mountains of soil, purchased hundreds of dozens of eggs, listened to many worries, and even provided legal advice all in faith that we would make it. You all know who you are, and we are richer for knowing each of you.