Will Raap serves as chairman of Gardener’s Supply Company in Burlington, Vermont, which he founded in 1983. Under his leadership, the 300-person, employee-owned firm, now among the world’s largest online and catalog gardening retailers, has won national and regional awards for its products and services, as well as for its socially responsible business practices.
Gardener’s Supply is the first national company to speak out against genetic engineering. Raap helped to initiate the Genetic Engineering Action Network in Vermont, a nonprofit dedicated to creating a dialog about genetic engineering.
Raap founded and was past chairman of the Intervale Center, a non-profit organization also located in Burlington, Vermont. Since 1987, the Intervale Center has been developing farm and land-based enterprises that generate economic and social opportunity while protecting natural resources. The Intervale, which had long been a landfill for old cars, tires, used appliances, and other trash, is now a pastoral area of small farms close to downtown Burlington. In 2000 he adapted the Intervale Center’s mission to Guantacaste, Costa Rica, where he cofounded El Centro Verde, a sustainable gardening, farming and agroforestry education and demonstration center and Restoring Our Watershed, a US non-profit that leads the environmental and economic transformation of a 25,000 acre watershed.
Raap was a founding board member of Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in 1995, a nonprofit organization that partners with state government, private sector businesses, and nonprofits to build a thriving economic, social, and ecological future for Vermont using creative approaches and innovative models to advance Vermont’s agriculture and food systems, forest products, waste management, renewable energy, and environmental technology. VSJF now leads the transformation of the Vermont food system and is a national model. In 2017 he co-founded the Vermont Dairy and Water Collaborative to help design a new future for the Vermont dairy.
Raap received a B.A. in economics from the University of California, Davis, and an M.A. in business and urban planning from the University of California, Berkeley.