New addition to Phyla Advisory Board

Former USAID Agriculture Director John Van D. Lewis
New addition to Phyla Advisory Board
John in Mali, 1978

Phyla appoints former USAID Agriculture Director Dr. John Van D. Lewis to Advisory Board

February 2024

Phyla Earth is thrilled to welcome Dr. John Van D. Lewis, former USAID Director of Agriculture and Managing Director at Terra Capital, to our Advisory Board where he will advise on regenerative agriculture and market opportunities in the sector. 

With over four decades of experience working at the intersection of agriculture, anthropology, sustainable development and food security, John is ideally suited to advance Phyla’s mission of scaling agroforestry systems to meet a rising demand for sustainable resources whilst furthering rural development and improving livelihoods across the income spectrum.   

John began his professional career researching farming villages in Mali in the 1970s and developed a deep understanding for the value of healthy soil; he has been at the forefront of regenerative agriculture ever since.  Having served in numerous countries across Africa and particularly in the Sahel, John has been a steward for regenerative agriculture and community building across the region in support of the Great Green Wall, a restoration initiative to halt desertification/expansion of the Sahara desert, which Phyla has also been strongly involved with for the past decade.

John’s training in socioeconomic anthropology at Yale has given him a unique perspective on ethno agriculture and rural banking systems which has become increasingly relevant as the world moves towards building a sustainable green economy.   Having spent substantial time working in the private sector developing nature based solutions, John will be an invaluable source of wisdom for Phyla as we pursue our global growth strategy.

On the appointment, John said "I'm delighted to join Phyla Earth and to have a unique opportunity to use the experience I've obtained over the course of my career to help the team advance their ambitions for a regenerative, inclusive and economically sustainable future. I see potential for Phyla to have a truly transformative impact and am therefore keen to contribute funding know-how together with anthropological insights to foster community-based, climate smart agriculture across the tropics."