Our Team

Our Team image


Office Team

Jessie Banhazl, CEO and Founder

Jessie has managed Green City Growers since inception in 2008 to profitability while establishing GCG as the leader in urban agriculture in the Northeast. Jessie was named “…arguably the queen of Boston’s urban ag visionaries” by Stuff Magazine, among the Top 40 Under 40 by Boston Business Journal, Top 30 Under 30 by Zagat, and a Root Cause 2013 Social Innovator. Jessie is a graduate of Smith College in Northampton, MA.

Christopher Grallert, Managing Director


Chris joined Green City Growers in 2015 as a Partner, Advisor, and Managing Director. With over thirty years of professional experience in organic and sustainable agriculture, Chris is committed to supporting agricultural models that foster responsible land and soil stewardship. Outside of his role at GCG, Chris serves as President of Littleton Community Farm, and enjoys working alongside his nine-year-old nephew in his organic vegetable garden and helping to revive the lost art of mechanical weed control by restoring and repurposing cultivating farm machinery. Chris is also a contract auditor for farm sustainability and has degrees from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture (Fruit & Vegetable Production) and the University of Maine (Sustainable Agriculture).

Abby Taylor, Marketing Manager

Abby started with GCG in the summer of 2018, and her history with gardening goes way back. She grew up on her grandparents’ organic farm on the South Shore of MA. Her childhood was spent picking ripe peas and tomatoes off the vine and eating them in the garden. She is driven by a desire to foster beautiful experiences and storytelling which inspire belonging and change within her community. She is a trained fine art painter, but lately her creative outlets have included writing and performing music with her band. She enjoys cooking delicious food for her friends, drinking wine on her back porch, floating around on the family boat, and spending as much time as possible with her tiny doggie friend, Teddy Bowls.

Lacey Oliver, Account Coordinator

Lacey joined Green City Growers as Account Coordinator in the summer of 2018. Lacey brings with her extensive experience in customer service and project management, as well as a passion for social justice and food access. While completing her Bachelor’s at Sewanee: The University of the South, Lacey interned in an organic garden and with Second Harvest Food Bank. After graduating she piloted a school garden program in rural Tennessee through her role as an Americorps VISTA. When not at work, Lacey enjoys yoga, climbing, embroidery, photography, spending time outside, and exploring the Boston area on her bike. Before moving to Boston she lived abroad for a year in South Africa, and she jumps at any chance to experience more of the world through traveling. As a Southern transplant to New England, Lacey is still accepting advice on surviving the long winters in her new home.

Nicole Aube, Office Manager

Nicole joined Green City Growers in the summer of 2018 as the team’s office manager. With a background in nutrition and having spent the past two years managing the Brookline Farmers Market she developed a passion for sustainable agriculture and food security; it’s no surprise she found her way to GCG. Nicole has a real affinity for all things nature and the great outdoors and truly believes that we are what we eat. When she’s not keeping the office in check, you can find Nicole hiking with her dog Millie, day dreaming about Scotland or learning more about her second love – moss. 

Horticulture Team

Zannah Porter, Director of Horticulture

Zannah Porter joined GCG in January 2018. Zannah graduated from Warren Wilson College in 2002 with a degree in Outdoor Leadership. Zannah’s passion for horticulture and agriculture was fostered by a botanist father, a rural up-bringing in southwest Virginia, and many hours spent volunteering on Warren Wilson College’s sustainable farm. This is Zannah’s tenth year working in commercial agriculture in Eastern Massachusetts. Most recently, Zannah managed production on a 22-acre diversified vegetable farm operation. Zannah has a passion for tractors, teaching, and anything to do with the outdoors including winter hiking, surfing, and cycling.

Rie Macchiarolo, Landscape Designer

Rie joined GCG in the spring of 2015 as an Urban Farmer. They got their start in farming during their two-year stint in an intentional community in Virginia where they spent countless hours in the four-and-a-half acre garden used to feed 100 people. After completing a Permaculture Design Certificate course, Rie moved to western Massachusetts where they earned a Masters of Science in Ecological Design from the Conway School. In 2017 Rie stepped into the role of Landscape Designer to expand GCG’s offerings to include landscape design and installation that emphasizes perennial and native species. Rie also serves on the Board of Directors for the Ecological Landscape Alliance. In their free time, Rie loves to bike around greater Boston and prepare vegan feasts!

Lee Toomey, Horticulture Manager

Lee joined GCG in the spring of 2016. They have a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and German from the University of Vermont. Lee has spent time focusing on permaculture and sustainability initiatives in Vermont, Nicaragua, and Germany. They are happy to be closer to their hometown again and are excited to take part in the greening of Boston! When Lee is not at GCG, you can find them drinking tea and bird watching, sometimes simultaneously.

Claire Trail, Urban Farmer

claire-1Claire joined the Green City Growers team in the spring of 2016, after having lived and worked on farms and gardens for most of her life, and heads up a number of our garden education programs for youth. She has been developing her skill in sustainable farming for the last eight years including completing a bachelors degree in Sustainable Agriculture, and working on a vegetable farm, landscaping, and at The Land Institute, an agricultural research facility in Kansas. Claire is committed to making farming more ecologically sustainable, bringing food production and people closer together, and teaching good farming practice and environmental stewardship. Outside of her time at GCG, Claire enjoys Tai Chi, learning, running around outside, and cooking.

Annie Gilmore, Urban Farmer

bio-pic-annieAnnie’s first experience in agriculture came from working on her college’s farm. Though briefly distracted with a stint counting shorebirds for the government, Annie was drawn back into the world of growing veggies with an internship for Green City Growers in 2012. After her first round with GCG, Annie dove into production agriculture on a non-profit farm/wildlife sanctuary, where over the course of three seasons she solidified her love of growing food and working outdoors. Now, four years after her first time with GCG, Annie is back to build upon that knowledge in an urban setting. When not playing/foraging/working outside, you can find Annie eating. Basically all of the time.

Caitie Dwyer-Huppert, Program and Engagement Specialist

Caitie joined GCG in March 2018. Caitie graduated from Clark University in 2002 and 2003 with a bachelors in Biology and a masters in Education. She is passionate about the intersection of nature, farming, and teaching. Caitie’s experience gardening with her parents in rural central Mass, learning no-till methods at Seeds of Solidarity Farm, and starting school gardens in Worcester, fueled this passion. After teaching science for 15 years in Worcester and Boston public schools, she earned a masters of Science in Ecological Design from the Conway School. She is so happy to be developing GCG’s education programs, supporting farmers in teaching, and getting kid’s hands in the dirt, while expanding her horticulture and design skills. In Caitie’s time off she loves running, hiking and playing outside, hanging out with her dogs, and reading novels.

Katie O’Connell, Urban Farmer

Katie graduated Northeastern University in August of 2017 with a degree in Environmental Studies and Elementary Education. She had interned at Green City Growers for the spring of 2017 as a part of Northeastern’s cooperative (experiential learning) program. Katie looks to combine her studies in the Environment and Elementary Education to make hands-on outdoor environmental learning a staple for all students, especially those in urban areas with less accessibility to nature. When Katie is not learning from all the experiences to be had at GCG you can find her on the Charles River rowing from when the sun rises until it sets. She is otherwise sleeping or eating.

Amanda Kerr, Urban Farmer

Amanda joined GCG in the summer of 2018, after completing her degree in Environmental Science and Food Systems at Northeastern University. She brings experience and endless curiosity from several stints of volunteer-farming in places such as Maine, Hawai’i, and New Zealand. Amanda is delighted to continue developing her skills in food production and community outreach with Green City Growers’ mission-oriented team. Her interests range from radical composting to food literacy, to soil conservation. In her free time, Amanda enjoys making music, practicing yoga, hiking, and otherwise being outdoors.

Morgan Thomson, Farmer Educator

Morgan joined the GCG team in March 2018. They grew up around gardening with their botanist father and have spent some time volunteering and working on farms in Western Mass. Morgan is passionate about food justice and have volunteered with Food Not Bombs as well as having worked at the Greater Boston Food Bank. They have many years of working with kids in many capacities and are excited to be combining their skills and passions at GCG. Some of Morgan’s other passions include playing music, making or building things, and volunteering with Girls Rock Boston.

Claire Penney, Urban Farmer

Claire joined Green City Growers in the spring of 2018. Growing up with one grandfather who was a hay farmer and one who was a beekeeper and avid gardener, Claire feels most in her element outside in the dirt. She channeled that interest into a degree in Environmental Science at Northeastern University, focusing on the myriad areas where issues of food and environment overlap. While at school, Claire worked at Pork Hill Farm and Waltham Fields Community Farm, which confirmed her interest in bringing healthy, sustainable food to as many people as possible. She is thrilled to continue this mission as an Urban Farmer at Green City Growers, working with individuals, school programs, and corporate groups to turn previously unused spaces into thriving, productive gardens. When not at work, Claire likes to spend her time tending her own gardens, hanging out with her cat, cooking and baking, and doing outdoorsy things.

Product Development and Installation Team

Patrick Mulligan, Director of Operations

Patrick joined Green City Growers in 2017 as the Director of Operations. Patrick is a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Studio for Interrelated Media, where he began a lifelong journey of exploring the interconnections of art and ecology. A series of field recording projects in the Maine woods inspired Patrick to complete the Sustainable Food and Farming program at Stockbridge School of Agriculture, then soon found himself designing and building urban agriculture systems and infrastructure. Patrick is a NOFA accredited AOLCP and has been managing ecological landscaping and farmscaping projects around Massachusetts and Maine for the past few years.

Tim Cross, Shop Manager

Version 2Tim joined Green City Growers in 2015 as a seasonal crew member, but he’s excited to be on board full time as Builds Manager this season. Born in Boston and raised on the North Shore, Tim has deep roots to the city. Tim is a retired Army veteran, having served for thirteen years. He lives with his wife of twelve years, Melissa, and his son, Benjamin. Tim cares passionately about sustainability, self-sufficiency, and education, all of which he is proud to support through his work at Green City Growers.


Jo-z Coppinger, Marketing Intern

Growing up on farmland and a family owned tree farm in Western Mass, Jo-z gained interest in environmental studies and sustainability. Jo-z is now a rising Junior at Wheaton College, majoring in Sociology and Studio Art. She started interning at Green City Growers in January through the College for Social Innovation’s Semester in the City program. Jo-z is working on the Marketing Team at Green City Growers and hopes to gain work experience and further her knowledge in business, marketing, and food access. When not interning or in class, Jo-z likes to make art, be outdoors, or play Ultimate Frisbee.

Eric Dawson, Urban Farmer Intern

Eric is a rising senior at Connecticut College and majoring in Environmental Studies and International Relations. Eric Joined the Green City Growers team during the Summer of 2017, working part-time and returning again for the Summer of 2018. This time working as an intern working with the Horticulture and Educational teams. At School, Eric is the head manager of Sprout, the college’s organic garden and also works with the local preschool teaching about food and nutrition. Eric works alongside Green City Growers Urban Farmers at many of the production farm sites and helps tend to the greenhouse. He is passionate about Urban Ag. and spreading its many benefits wherever he can. In his free time, Eric enjoys gardening at home with his dad, being outside, and snowboarding in the winter.