Living Roots


Meet the Team

Michael Hicks, Founder/Owner, Farm Manager, Farm School Director/Teacher, Massage Therapist

michael (at)

Michael has led a very passionate and dynamic life thus far. A variety of broad experiences has given him an optimistic perspective of how we can proactively create a better future for ourselves, our communities, and our planet. His intent is to empower others to find their peace, their bounty, and their own deeper path through life.

Michael has been teaching farm education, health and wellness, and business within experiential education learning models for over 18 years. He has taught hundreds of students through apprenticeships, public school, workshops, classes, and work exchange programs.

Out of high school, Michael was nominated to attend the US Air Force Academy. After spending two years there, he transferred to and graduated with high honors from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, with a degree in Accounting and Finance. Two years of working in corporate America then sent him into his deep self-exploratory years. He traveled for two years around the world, visiting far off corners of the planet such as Lapland, Timbuktu, and Tibet. His love of diversity and life was expanded during these years as he witnessed both the beauty of this earth, its creatures, its cultures, and at the same time, the destructive environmental and social damage that is occurring on this planet.

This knowledge and awareness has led Michael down a path of healing and philanthropy. Michael has traveled to 40 countries, worked as an outdoor experiential education teacher for Outward Bound, owned and operated Indian Creek Farm, where he sold organic vegetables and herbs, ran the Center for Community Empowerment, and was the Finance Director for EO Products, a family owned organic and natural personal body care company in California.

He has done much volunteer work and served on various boards, which include the Board of Directors for the Local Growers Guild, the Board of Directors for Lost River Community Coop, and the Bloomington Community Farmers Market Advisory Board. While in California, Michael graduated from Diamond Light School of Massage and Healing Arts with a Professional Bodywork Therapist certificate. He also attended the California Institute of Integral Studies, where he focused on personal/spiritual growth with an East/West perspective as well as individual and relationship counseling.

His hobbies include farming, natural building, massage therapy, AcroYoga, food production/preservation/fermentation, mead/beer making, cheese making, cooking in general, natural living, herbal medicine making, yoga, traveling, hiking, listening to live music, trying to play drums and the guitar. Most importantly he loves playing on the farm with his son, Leo.

Thadius Wooden, Assistant Farm Manager, Animal Manager

Howdy folks. My name is RH.  I am a true blue Indiana boy - corn fed and Wabash raised. I believe in work ethic, a firm handshake, and an honest living. Whether it's fixing fences, sorting cattle, rounding up hogs, or chasing chickens, I deal with it all out here.  A lot goes into a day's work as the Living Roots Animal Manager but I'm proud to say that's what I do. Now I would tell you about my life but quite frankly it's pretty boring so instead I'll say I'm proud of where I am today. Where I am is due in no small part to Living Roots. Thanks for reading.

Noel Thomas, Assistant Farm Manager, Produce Lead

Born in Wisconsin and raised in Chicago land area, Noel grew up In busy suburbia.  He tried pursuing his interests in biology and chemistry  and taking the more traditional route, but he realized it wasn't for him.  After spending some time traveling, he met his partner Olivia and they packed up and found their way to Living Roots to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather.  That was the first time he found his way here - where he found a lifestyle he loved.  After exploring other farms and areas, he's back to continuing learning and growing.  He loves fruit farming and hopes to explore cultivating mushrooms.  He loves the Indiana sky and the diversity here on the farm and hopes to help make Living Roots a great example of an alternative sustainable lifestyle.

Olivia Grunau, Assistant Farm Manager, Produce Lead

Born and raised in the mountains of West Virginia, Olivia started life on the same path as her parents and friends-- school, more school, and then a job in some office-- but by the time she received her Bachelor's degree in English Literature, she had become disillusioned with the hollow, neverending busy-ness and anxiety of modern life. So she packed her car with only the essentials and made the trek with her partner Noel to Living Roots. That was in 2018, and although Olivia has lived in other states (and worked other jobs) since her first stay at Living Roots, she's never found quite as much satisfaction or peace as she has when she's working under a bright blue sky with her hands in the soil.

Supporting Members

Laurie Becher
Erin Hochgesang
Tim Bowman
Sam Arena
Dr. John and Paula Clayton
John Gibson
Norbert Krapf
Paul McKenzie
Shireen McKenzie
David Masterson
Joseph Butterfield
Janice Luebbehusen
Debbie Hicks
Lisa Engelke
David Dudine
Lisa Boyles
Jeff Mease
Hootoksi Tyabji
Emma Wännström
Sister Mary Lee Hillenbrand
Tom Gallagher
Laura Henne
Linda Chapman
De Feigel
Ron Day
Janabai Raymundo
Hollie Hirst
Rebecca Cohen
Timothy Wickham
Janice Lilly
Ethan Engelke
Amina Shabani
Drew Eckert
Michael E. Hicks
Dee Wickham
Sara Pugh
Carol Olinger
Carol Thornton-Anderson
Kristen Abbott
Helen Vasquez
Larry Gillen
Jim Weber
Maria Mitchell
Raymond Foddrill
Phyllis Willis
Eric Day
John Van Meter
Ulla Linenthal


Living Roots Inc., 5907 W. County Road 375 South, French Lick, IN 47432

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