Meet our

Team

CURRENT TEAM MEMBERS

Jason Skipton

Executive Director

With a diverse background in agriculture and community garden education programs particularly in Central America and experience in the Peace Corp, Jason leads the team at Growing Gardens by providing leadership, resources, training and oversight for all staff. (Pronouns: he/him)

*Hablo Español*

Tracey Harper

Business Manager

With a degree in Economics from University of Washington and a longstanding career in nonprofit finance, there’s no one better than Tracey to make sure our office is running efficiently. She’s passionate about working for an organization that strives to better people’s lives through healthy food.

Iva Dubyak

Finance

Iva spent years working markets for California farms and tutoring writing before starting to work for social justice organizations. New to Portland, they are excited to be a part of an organization that builds community food sovereignty and is committed to dismantling racism. Iva is a big nerd for science fiction, their 2 dogs, the ocean and trying to learn from their mistakes. (Pronouns: she/they)

*Govorim Hrvatski*

Kelsey Gorman

Development coordinator

Kelsey began her investigation of food systems while working on a sustainable farm in college, and has been diving in with food justice and sustainability ever since. She has worked as a garden educator in Chicago, and has transitioned to development work to help make food access programming available to more members of her community. Outside of work, Kelsey enjoys hiking, dancing, tending to her houseplants, and learning more about social justice work. (Pronouns: she/her)

Skylar

Branch Manager

Emily Keeler

Virtual Education & Technology manager

Emily has been part of Growing Gardens team for 6 years, recently moving from her role as the Home Gardens Director, to the manager of virtual education and technology. Before that she spent 8 years working on and managing small scale farms. Growing food helps her feel connected to people and the land, and helping other people learn to grow food is one of her biggest joys. (Pronouns: she/her)

*Hablo Español*

Rima Green

Lettuce Grow Program Director

After many years working in technology-related jobs, Rima returned to her first love, gardening. As an Oregon Master Gardener™, Rima directs the Lettuce Grow program and provides garden education to inmates in state correctional institutions and juvenile facilities throughout the state of Oregon.

Mirabai

Operations Manager

Rashae Burns

Home Gardens Director

As a native Portlander, Rashae knows the city inside and out. She loves promoting health and gardening within the community. With over 20 years of health care experience, she has a vast knowledge of preventative care, chronic illness and social determinants of health. Rashae started our program as a Home Gardens participant to foster a healthy lifestyle.  She became a community organizer in the North Portland region in 2018 and has been instrumental in helping marginalized communities improve their lives through gardening. (Pronouns: she/they)

Antonio Rodriguez

Home Gardens Manager

Antonio joined the Growing Huertos program in 2014 and quickly became one of the program’s most dedicated volunteers, helping with installations and site visits, hosting workshops, and mentoring new gardeners. He has a great passion for agriculture and community education.

*Hablo Español*

Isabel Cruz

Community Organizer – Cully

Isabel joined the Home Gardens program in 2005 and quickly became one of its biggest supporters. She loves growing her own food at home, raising chickens, and spending time with her plants. She is a teacher for Oregon’s Food Bank’s Siembra La Cena (Seed to Supper) garden education course and a Promotor de Salud (Health Promoter). She has led many classes on growing your own vegetables, nutritional health, and healthy cooking. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.

*Hablo Español*

Angelica Cortes

Community Coordinator – GRESHAM

Angelica Cortes Mejia was born in Mexico and has lived in Portland for 12 years. Her favorite part of her role is helping people in her community grow and sustain their own source of vegetables and fruits. Her favorite part about having her garden is sharing what she harvests with her neighbors and building strong community relations through food. (Pronouns: she/her)

*Hablo Español*

Camilo Centeno

Community Organizer – North PoRTLAND

Camilo’s roots began in Colima, Mexico where he was born. As a child, he worked in the fields and later came to the United States. Camilo’s passions include helping families with limited resources, being involved in his community and spending time with his family and three children.

*Hablo Español*

Carlos Flores

Community Organizer – North PORTLAND

Born and raised in El Salvador, Carlos has lived in Portland for over 30 years. His background is in electrical engineering, but since his arrival in Portland has been involved with community organizations building solidarity bridges between our communities. He loves the outdoors and spending time with family and friends. (Pronouns: he/him)

*Hablo Español*

Gabi

Community Coordinator – Clackamas

Gabi Villaseñor is an artist, avid gardener and advocate for the positive effects that can come from growing your own food, flowers and healthy habitats for other species. Originally from Southern California, Gabi has lived and gardened in the Pacific Northwest since 2007. Her art practice involves set design, ceramics and painting, each of which take inspiration from the natural world. She is currently enrolled in a Psychology program at PCC in hopes of becoming an art therapist, specializing in the nurturing and beneficial effects that our green environment and gardening has on our mental health. (Pronouns: she/her)

Shaquoya Burns

Community Coordinator – GRESHAM

A graduate of our Home Gardens program, Shaquoya is one of our best advocates for home gardening! She’s a mother of five who loves spending time with her family and growing her food. She wants to ensure that her children learn about gardening and how growing your own food can have positive effects on your life. Lastly, she loves cooking so having a home garden is a perfect place for her to unwind and relax while allowing her the ability to utilize what she grows in her cooking.

Carolina Barrosa

Community Organizer - Milwaukie

 

*Hablo Español*

Anna Garwood

Youth Grow Program Director

Anna directs the Growing Gardens Youth Grow program, which teaches children how to grow, prepare and learn to love eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Her background is in managing a sustainable development nonprofit that helps rural communities around the world access clean water, renewable energy and healthy watersheds. She enjoys traveling, cooking, and watching her  daughters grow by leaps and bounds.

*Hablo Español*

Amoreena Guerrero

Youth Grow Coordinator/Educator

As the Youth Grow Coordinator/Educator, Amoreena supports other garden coordinators and educators create successful and engaging garden-based programs for many schools and their students. Working with other adults to expand opportunities for students to learn outside is her number one professional goal. She comes to Youth Grow with a Master’s degree in Education and 15 years of teaching experience, both indoors and out. When she’s not out in school gardens, you might find her with her family, or at the dojo teaching a weekly Ki-Aikido children’s class. (Pronouns: she/her)

*Hablo Español*

Kathy Barry

Davis/Glenfair School Garden Coordinator

Kathy started out volunteering as a parent in an afterschool class taught by Growing Gardens when her daughter was in elementary school over 10 years ago. She then envisioned a garden transforming that same school. She was involved in that transformation process by getting garden beds built and teaching a garden class. She grew as the garden grew — evolving from a volunteer into a garden educator and now a Growing Gardens staff member. She loves teaching health and nutrition, watching young individuals thrive in a growing environment and being part of an organization that supports so many communities and is teaching life skills.

Maxine Rodrigues

Kelly/Whitman Youth Grow Educator

Born and raised in Portland, Maxine (or Max) loves the outdoors and enjoys gardening and learning with students. With a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources from Oregon State University and experience working with underserved communities through AmeriCorps, Maxine’s passion for environmental and social equity runs deep. On the weekends you can find Maxine hiking, camping, making scrumptious meals, and being goofy with loved ones. (Pronouns: she/they)

Kat Barton

LENT/PATRICK LYNCH
Youth Grow Educator

Kat grew up in Vermont and graduated from the University of Vermont in 2015. While in college, she started a school garden in her community for a few kindergarten teachers and has been passionate about school gardens ever since. She has worked as a garden educator for a non-profit in Boulder, CO, and served a year of FoodCorps in Salem, OR. Last summer, she worked on a small farm in Willits, CA in order to learn more about sustainable agriculture. Now, back in Oregon, she is excited to share her knowledge with others. (Pronouns: she/her)

Allison Yoder

Glenfair/Powell Butte Youth Grow Educator

Allison has a Master’s degree in Social Work from PSU, and has worked in a variety of social services settings over the last 10 years, most recently managing a youth mentoring program serving elementary-school students in Gresham and Rockwood. Allison’s experience has given her a trauma-informed, equity-centered approach, and she is passionate about building authentic relationships with kids and their families.Allison’s love of gardening and enthusiasm for the outdoors inspired her to become a Master Gardener volunteer in 2019, and she recently completed the Seed to Supper facilitator training. (Pronouns: she/her)

Betsy Lattig

Faubion Elementary Youth Grow Educator

Betsy Lattig was born in Portland, and spent half of her childhood growing up in the rugged beauty of the Oregon coast. Betsy is a passionate educator, sparking joy for learning in both children and adults. She has spent the past 15 years teaching art, ecology, and gardening in the Portland area. Beyond her love of children and education, Betsy also enjoys gardening, painting, hanging out with her lovely teenage boys, and spending time with friends and family in nature. (Pronouns: she/her)

Ángeles Martínez

Powell Butte School Garden Coordinator

Coming from Puebla Mexico, Angela’s first language is Spanish but has lived in the United States for the past 19 years. She loves children and being out in the nature, admiring flowers, planting fruits and vegetables and the like. Combining these two loves makes her an excellent community organizer for our Powell Butte neighborhood. She loves helping others become more self-sufficient through gardening and appreciating nature.

*Hablo Español*

Katharine Grunseth

Kelly School Garden Coordinator

Katharine is a 4th grade teacher who loves bringing her students into the school garden. Before she went back to get her Masters in Education she had a career in Resource Conservation and worked on the family cherry orchard in Tasmania, Australia. She is excited to introduce and educate students and their families to the benefits of a school/family garden.

Rebecca Melton

Lent School Garden Coordinator

Being creative is important to Rebecca’s life. She’s a Mom, an artist, and a teacher. For many years Rebecca gardened by the “plant it and hope for the best” philosophy, but once she became a gardener through the Home Gardens program she became a part of the “put it in the ground and it will grow, and then you can eat it and share it!” camp. She’s very excited to have gone through the program and become a member of the Growing Gardens team and loves being able to share her experience, knowledge, and love of community with others.

Kelley Smith

FOOdCorps Member

Kelley grew up on the east coast and moved to Portland for graduate school. While studying Nutrition at National University of Natural Medicine, she fell in love with gardening and wanted to connect the two. After interning with FoodWaves and Wild Lilac, she knew she wanted to be a part of the Farm to School initiative. New to the West coast, she loves exploring and hiking but also spends a good amount of time indoors cooking and reading. This is her first year serving with FoodCorps and she is so excited to share her passion with elementary school kids!

Jess Faunt

Food Systems Educator David Douglas High School

As a Food Systems Educator at David Douglas High School and Ockley Green Middle School, Jess supports students to grow their own food, learn how to cook that food, and address food insecurity in their communities. Jess comes to Growing Gardens with a passion for co-creating restorative outdoor experiences with youth. Outside of work, Jess enjoys taking care of her friends and family and starting ambitious crafting projects. (Pronouns: she/they)

*Hablo Español*