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 CitySprout’s 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 veteran homelessness. By joining the CitySprouts team, she is looking forward to sharing her core values of hands-on learning, environmental stewardship, and experiencing healthy homegrown meals. After volunteering in a community garden in Sweden and attending a liberal arts college with a fully operational garden and farm in North Carolina, Andrea is excited to bring her work to Boston. Andrea graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Warren Wilson College and holds a Master of Science in European Affairs, Social Policy from Lund University.
Chara has over 15 years of experience in the strategic development and implementation of programs in the fields of international development and social change philanthropy. She has expertise working with governments, the United Nations, nongovernmental organizations and local communities in the U.S. and the Global South. A proud Liberian, Chara is passionate about grassroots sustainable development, social justice and the promotion of traditional textiles. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in International Affairs from the American University of Paris and a Master of Science in Forced Migration from the University of Oxford. Chara is a Human Rights Commissioner for the City of Cambridge and serves on the Board of Directors of Franciscan Works, which provides oversight to Liberia’s highest achieving parochial school–Liberia Mission.
Erin has worked as an educator in settings ranging from farms to public school classrooms and with ages ranging from preschool to 12th grade. After farming in a setting where the only kids were goats (and missing the presence of children) she joined CitySprouts as a FoodCorps Service Member in Cambridge and on the North Shore. When Erin left to pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching from Tufts University, she did not go far. She student taught in Cambridge, focusing on the intersections among the STEM subjects, food, and justice. She sees school gardens as ideal settings for authentic inquiry, deep conversations among students, social/emotional healing, and much-needed play. She returned to CitySprouts as a Garden Coordinator in 2014.
Greg joined CitySprouts staff in 2014 after serving as a FoodCorps service member with CitySprouts the previous year. A lifelong nature lover, Greg is proud to help the plants and the students grow. Humans of all ages thrive when they are able to cultivate strong relationships with the land. School gardens reinforce academic knowledge, spark self-motivated learning, support positive mental well-being, and are just plain fun. Prior to his time as Garden Coordinator, Greg has worked as an urban educator in both traditional and outdoor settings. Greg received a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University in 2013 and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Tufts University in 2011.
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.
Originally from Washington Grove, MD, Jack moved up to Boston in 2014 to attend Antioch University of New England Graduate School to pursue a MS in Environmental Education. Before going back to school, Jack taught Physical Education in Arlington, VA for 3 years and realized how important it was for kids to learn and understand not only how to live an active life, but also how nutrition and healthy foods play a vital role in their lives. Jack had the opportunity to work alongside some local organizations (i.e. Mill City Grows, The Three Sisters Garden Project and Waltham Fields Community Farm) where he increased his knowledge and skill set in agriculture and sustainability. He has a deep love and appreciation for the natural world and believes that every individual should have the opportunity to enjoy and embrace its remarkable benefits and beauty. Jack not only enjoys gardening, but also loves to go hiking, surfing, challenging his taste buds with new foods, walking his dogs and spending time with his family and friends.
Maggie joins CitySprouts as a Commonwealth Corps service member for the 2016-2017 school year after being an educator in Boston since graduating in 2014. She studied Biology in school concentrating in Ecology and Animal Behavior, which led her to work at the New England Aquarium. Even though in school she focused on marine education, she grew up gardening and cooking with her family and shared those passions by working with kid and teens cooking classes. Using the cooking classes as a teaching opportunity to showcase how cooking can connect youth to their families and communities, she sparked her passion to get involved in food system education. By choosing to serve for a year with the Commonwealth Corps and CitySprouts she hopes that it will deepen her connection to her home-state communities, working with youth, and develop her education career, all while showcasing how important the food we put into our bodies every day is, not only for nutritional reasons, but for food justice as well.
Ch’nia Williams has been teaching gardening and cooking skills to youth since 2013. She has worked on small gardens and large farms while working at different organizations including The Boys and Girls and The Food Project. Ch’nia is passionate about food systems and how they affect low income communities. She enjoys working with youth and educating them about living healthy lifestyles. Ch’nia joined CitySprouts as a Massachusetts Corps member. She majored in Sustainable Agriculture, while attending Green Mountain College.