Jane was introduced to school gardens more than fifteen years ago when her children first started kindergarten in the Cambridge Public Schools. As the founding director of CitySprouts in 2001, Jane has been an integral part of building the CitySprouts program in Cambridge and Boston. She grew up with lots of space and time to climb trees, explore her neighborhood and turn compost with her dad in the backyard. Jane is passionate about making sure that all children have the chance to know the natural surroundings where they live, whether that’s country or city. In 2008, Jane was selected as one of six regional Social Innovators by Root Cause Social Innovation Forum. Jane holds a Masters in Communication Studies as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Maine at Orono. Her book, Ripe for Change: Garden-Based Learning in Schools, was published by Harvard Education Press in 2015.
For over a decade, Robyn has focused her work in the realm of urban food systems, food justice, community engagement, and youth empowerment with The Food Project and Grow Pittsburgh. As CitySprouts Program Director, she is excited to focus on garden-based learning and continuing to grow fruitful partnerships with both Cambridge and Boston Public Schools. Robyn is a graduate of The Institute for Nonprofit Management & Leadership and holds a Master of Science in Sustainable Systems from Slippery Rock University and a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric & Film Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. She is also a Senior Fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program.
Andrea comes to CitySprouts after serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA in the Greater Boston area addressing homelessness. She loves the visceral experience of being outdoors and working in soil. Andrea brings her core values of experiential learning, environmental stewardship, and enjoying healthy homegrown meals. Andrea graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Warren Wilson College, a liberal arts college with a fully operational garden and farm in North Carolina. She also holds a Master of Science in European Affairs, Social Policy from Lunds Universitet.
Erin has worked as an educator in settings ranging from farms to public school classrooms and with ages ranging from preschool to 12th grade. She first joined CitySprouts as a FoodCorps Service Member in 2011/12, then returned as a Garden Coordinator in 2014 after pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching. Now as the Middle School Program Manager she gets to focus on the age group she finds most fascinating, fun, and motivated to fight injustice. She sees school gardens as ideal settings for authentic inquiry, deep conversations, emotional healing, and much-needed play. She loves running into youth when on long walks or runs.
Michele has been an environmental educator and youth leader for middle and high school students throughout New England, and she has worked on a variety of organic farms, in the US and New Zealand. She finds that spending time on farms and in gardens allows for a more grounded and hands-on mentality. All students, particularly those in urban settings, should experience time in gardens to better connect with food and nature. School gardens offer a place of reflection, an alternative learning space outside the classroom, and plenty of sunshine for students. Michele joined CitySprouts in 2014 to combine her two passions of farming and youth development, and hopes one day to have goats and chickens in all school gardens. Michele graduated from Bowdoin College in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Environmental Studies.
Shay is an experienced youth leader with previous experience teaching at Metropolitan Family Services, Sun Program after school program and Seneca Center school for students who need support in social/emotional behavior skills development and academic support. She has worked with migrant farmers studying for the citizenship test to improve their English skills, and with programs that support LGBTQ and at-risk youth. Shay is a certified organic farmer and holds a Bachelors of Arts in Global Studies from California State University Monterey Bay.
Solomon comes to CitySprouts after being a Youth Worker for Cambridge Youth Programs. He has experience working with both preteen and middle-school youth. Most recently he worked as a liaison between CitySprouts and Cambridge Youth Programs. Solomon is a graduate of the Cambridge Public School system. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a focus in plant ecology and a minor in Classical Studies from Union College where he was a Posse Leadership Scholar. Solomon has also worked at Waltham Fields Community Farm as part of the field crew. He has been an avid gardener for most of his life and feels strongly about access to affordable organic foods for all. He believes that having a personal garden can greatly reduce food costs and hopes to pass on his knowledge to urban youth so that they might garner an interest in sustainable growing practices as well as become stewards for nature and the earth.
David comes to CitySprouts after serving as a City Year AmeriCorps member in Boston, where he provided academic and socio-emotional support for teens. As a lifelong lover of nature, he has worked at the Duke Lemur Center, Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, and Dragon’s Eye Farm in Pahoa, HI. From these experiences, he believes that hands-on, experiential learning is important for developing a love for STEM subjects. He also greatly enjoys cooking, and is excited to introduce students to healthy, organic foods. David graduated from Wake Forest University in 2015, with a Bachelors of Arts in Biology, where he also managed their campus garden.
Eli Bloch comes to City Sprouts after serving as a MassLIFT Americorps member at Groundwork Somerville. He has worked as an organic farmer in New Hampshire and Western Massachusetts. He has experience working with youth in the Somerville Public Schools and with campers at a summer camp in Vermont. Eli holds a Bachelors Degree in Sustainable Food and Farming from the University of Massachusetts. He thinks school gardens help students develop a lifelong interest in the world around them. He hopes that one day every school will have a garden and a paw paw tree.