Social Ecologies builds regenerative systems to catalyze ecological projects. We specialize in multi-year, large-scale land restoration sites, as well as land services for homeowners and land stewards, communities and organizations, businesses and institutions.

We build healthy habitats by directly engaging with the people who live and work there.
We encourage holistic, systematic thinking by inviting participation in all aspects of projects: from planning to implementation.
We embody the belief that regenerative systems grow from ecologically-informed practice.

Engaging local residents — instigating ecological projects — building regenerative systems. Our services translate scientific analysis into actionable steps for our clients.

For projects and partnerships Contact us︎︎︎

Process & Services

• Consultation

Social Ecologies will start with a phone call to assess your needs and goals, to figure out the scope of the project together. This initial consultation will also help us think through the particular characteristics and challenges your project might present.

•• Site Visit

We will come out for a site visit to see the land, meet you and your team, discuss your project to define services and schedule, understand the situation and how to respond.

••• Research

Outline & Inquiry
  • Deeply mapping the land and neighboring spaces to gather information about local ecological and social histories.
  • Sourcing local land survey and climate change data.
  • Soil remediation tools and strategies.

︎Field Work

Site Assessment
  • Soil analysis and testing as well as water sampling, testing, and interpretation.
  • Local soil hydrology assessment.
  • Plant and fungal community identification and description.

︎Site Plan

Planning & Next Steps
  • Implementing regenerative soil building systems.
  • Using mesophilic and thermophilic compost technologies.
  • Applying anaerobic fermentation systems or Biochar.
  • Using soil mycorrhizae to support plant growth, and establishing specific species of plants and fungi.
  • Designing and implementing eco-sanitation systems.

︎Ground Work

Plan Implementation
  • Instigating community design processes and working with land survey data.
  • Providing trainings and workshops on topics such as soil remediation tools and strategies, applied ecology, and plant propagation. 
  • Recurring workshops include Deep Mapping, Biochar, and our signature Soil Science Certification and Training Program, The Soil Keepers.

︎Ongoing Support

Social Ecologies will continue providing support even after the project finishes. We are happy to answer questions, offer advice, and conduct follow-up site assessments for your project to track its progress and make additional recommendations as-needed.


Nance Klehm

︎Founder and Director of Operations

Nance Klehm has been an ecological systems designer, landscaper, horticultural consultant, and agroecological grower for more than three decades. Her approach is centered on instigating change by activating already existent communities, and her work demonstrates her lifelong commitment to redefining the way human populations coexist with plant and animal systems on this planet.

A consultant, speaker, and teacher, Nance is internationally respected for her work on land politics and soil health. Her work has received extensive national and international media coverage and is mentioned in many books, including Leila Darwish’s Earth Repair and Sandor Katz’s The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved. She won the 2012 Utne Visionary Prize and has been a two-time finalist for the Curry-Stone Design Prize. In addition, she has lectured broadly in museum and university settings as well as for countless community groups worldwide. Most recently, she was the subject of the independent documentary Weedeater.

She currently splits her time between Little Village, a densely packed, diverse urban neighborhood in the heart of Chicago, and fifty acres of land in the Driftless Region of northwest Illinois, where she cultivates and forages medicinal and edible plants and fungi, keeps bees and a fruit orchard, raises ducks and quail, and grows for indigenous seed banks. 

Jacob Blecher

︎Director of Research

Jacob Blecher is interested in adaptive agroforestry practices which take into consideration climatological and human development disturbances, and in ways of bootstrapping land regeneration with minimal resources. With Social Ecologies, he’s helped develop community composting and bioremediation projects in Chicago. He holds a BA from Yale University and an MA in Political Science from the University of Chicago, and is based in New York City.

Elliot Heilman


Elliot is an assistant at Social Ecologies, where he helps with everything from communications to grantwriting and technology. Before joining Social Ecologies, Elliot worked as a resource coordinator and mediator in Cook County eviction court and as a program manager for Illinois Humanities, where he helped to coordinate community-led discussion programs about public policy issues such as criminal justice reform. He lives in Little Village with his partner, kiddo, and other kiddo (Red, pictured here).

Learn more through our Work︎︎︎ and Workshops︎︎︎