Israel developed an affinity for the natural world at an early age, having been homeschooled in rural West Virginia by parents who owned and operated a plant nursery.  Israel was raised to value the importance of caring for the Earth and the people who inhabit it. A passion for contributing to the positive development of future generations led him to a career in social work. For the past decade, he worked with developmentally disabled youth and operated a program which supported youth in foster care in their transition to living independently in the community as young adults. In this capacity, he organized a gardening program for the youth in his organization. This program not only provided food, but also yielded therapeutic benefits for youth with troubled pasts. When Israel relocated to STL from the east coast in August 2016, he sought to shift his career focus to urban agriculture. His position with Urban Harvest has affords him the opportunity to synthesize his passions of community service and growing food.