The most vital relationship of Grow It Know It is the AmeriCorps VISTA service member and the school community the VISTA serves. Each and every school day, the AmeriCorps VISTA, serving in the role of the school gardener, organizes resources and volunteers for the benefit of the school garden, trains school staff and students to run their own sustainability program, meets with teachers to examine how the garden can be brought into the classroom, and in general flies all over the school from here to there and back again, doing their best to build a community around the idea that school gardens are good for us all.
Ashley is a recent graduate of Young Harris College with a background in biology and sustainability. She operates a small homestead in Winder,Georgia where she and her fiance raise rabbits and poultry. Ashley is extremely passionate about agriculture and the current farm to school movement in the area and hopes to help expand the movement to other schools within the county. Ashley will be serving as a Grow It Know It AmeriCorps VISTA in Barrow County this year, managing her time between CFIT (The Center For Innovation and Technology) and Appalachee High School.
Ellen is a recent graduate of UGA with a degree in cellular biology. Ellen will be serving as the school gardener at Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School. She is new to the agriculture scene but still strives to learn as much as possible about sustainability and the farm to school programs in Athens-Clarke County and Winder. She hopes to attend medical school in the future.
Emma is a recent UGA graduate with a degree in horticulture focusing on sustainable food systems. She has previous experience in small farm settings, urban rooftop gardening, and farm to table programming in a summer camp setting. Emma is passionate about sustainability and equitable food systems. In her free time, Emma enjoys hiking, cooking, reading and will readily talk about food waste to anyone! Emma will be serving as the school gardener at W.R. Coile Middle School.
Emma has just returned from Mexico, where she spent the last two years teaching English, surrounded by many varieties of succulents and cacti, prominent among them agave and prickly pear. She has previously worked on organic farms and in community gardens in Canada and Mexico, which is strange because she grew up in Decatur and this will be her first time really growing stuff in the South, let alone the entire country. She is excited to be back in Georgia, working with middle schoolers and sharing what she knows about plants, cooking, sustainable living and equal access to cheap, fresh and healthy food. Emma will be serving as the school gardener at Clarke Middle School.
Charlie just completed a bachelors in Natural Resources, Recreation, and Tourism in 2018. Before Grow It Know It, she worked as an interpreter for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, educating the public on plant and animal identification and the importance of Leave No Trace. Now with Grow It Know It, she is ready to step outside her box of natural resources and learn about engaging students in farm to table and sustainability programs at their schools.