Melissa Steele (Founder, Chair) is an artist, designer, and organic farmer.
She founded Little Rose Nature School in Watkinsville, Georgia in 2014 where she and her husband, Michael have lived since 1993.
Her lifelong love of children and an easy way with them called her to create her unique educational adventure.
As an artist she has the ability to spark imagination in children and adults, and as a natural leader, all are drawn to her free-spirited approach to learning.
Her 30 year interior design career, heading up her own firm, taught her innovative project and personnel management skills. Her design expertise has been featured on numerous television shows and her designs and advisory columns have been featured in national publications.
She and Michael created their small farm, Little Rose Organics, in 2015. They sell their organic vegetables and free-range eggs to local chefs as well as a network of friends.
Melissa’s passion for forming Buds of Little Rose was as an avenue to conserve the land she calls home and was sparked by the desire to find a conservation solution to the large tract she hopes to protect which adjoins the 8 acres of their farm. She hopes to shield this space from further residential development that has flooded the area in the last 24 years. This land, previously a cotton farm, has many unique historic features and is graced by two beautiful creeks and a treasured wetlands which are tributaries to Georgia’s largest watershed, the Upper Oconee.
Michael Steele (Vice Chair, Treasurer) is a professional musician, producer, and organic farmer.
He tours the United States and overseas with singers Randall Bramblett, John Berry, and Chuck Leavell, to name a few.
His production credits are vast and his much sought after studio and television performances grace hundreds of recordings created in Nashville, Atlanta, and the surrounding music community.
Prior to his musical career as a bassist and backup vocalist he served 6 years in the United States Navy. While in service he worked as a computer programmer at the Pentagon on missile guidance systems. After his service he attended Old Dominion University and graduated with a Horticulture/ Greenhouse Management degree.
He and Melissa formed Little Rose Organics in 2015 after receiving a USDA Grant for a greenhouse which he single-handedly constructed and installed including extensive interior raised beds, matching his exterior 20-year-old vegetable garden.
Michael's passion for creation is evident both on stage and in his immaculate landscape. Over the past 24 years he and Melissa have restored their 120-year-old farm house and turned an old cotton field into their very own verdant paradise.
His support of Buds of Little Rose is born of his desire to make this farm all that it can be by sharing it’s abundance, inspiring the community and the next generation of stewards of the earth.
Diane Beeler (Secretary) is a licensed massage therapist with a thriving practice in St. Simons Island, Georgia.
Diane was born in Hawaii, lived Greece for five years and eventually Madison, Georgia before moving to St. Simons.
Along with providing a myriad of massage services to her very loyal clientele, animal rescue, yoga, spending time with her beloved pets and enjoying the beach with her two young grandson’s occupy her free time.
A big part of her heart resides, however, at Little Rose, where she hopes to retire within a few years and join Michael and Melissa in their quest to make the farm, school, and venue all that it can be.
Her talents are many, her attention to detail is exquisite, and she is a force of nature when it comes to tackling projects of all scopes.