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Our Team

Our Team image

 

Office Team

Jessie Banhazl, CEO and Founder

Jessie is the CEO and Founder of Green City Growers. After graduating college, she moved to New York City to begin a career in reality television production. Disillusioned with the entertainment industry, she moved back to Boston to run GCG, re-awakening her passion for food, farming, and sustainability. she has extensive experience in public speaking, marketing, communications, management, production, and PR. She is passionate about cooking with fresh, locally grown ingredients.

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.

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, Education Manager

Caitie joined GCG in March 2018. Caitie graduated from Clark University with a bachelors in Biology and a masters in Education. She loves the intersection of nature, farming, and teaching. Caitie’s experience gardening with her parents in central Mass, apprenticing 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 happy to be developing GCG education programs, supporting farmers in teaching, and getting kid’s hands in the dirt. Some of her other loves are hiking and playing around outside with family and dogs, picking and eating berries at the same time, and playing guitar.

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.

 

Brian Alba, Crew Member

Brian Alba graduated from Northeastern University in the spring of 2018 with a BS in Geology. Ever since he was young, he’s always loved working with his hands, especially outside. He has found so much satisfaction in the work he does at GCG’s production sites, and is always excited to show up for work in the morning. When he’s not farming you’ll find him either racing his bike, drinking coffee, or playing guitar. He’s always excited to cook up some of the tasty produce he gets his hands on at the office, and every day he learns a little bit more about farming.

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.

Cait Wright, Urban Farmer

Cait joined Green City Growers in March of 2018. She is excited to be connecting people with food in urban spaces. She grew up gardening and has spent time working on biodynamic and organic farms as well as working in restaurants driven by sustainability and seasonality. She is interested in food and communities and is passionate about the visibility and accessibility of the gardens that Green City Growers is helping create! In her spare time, Cait loves to explore Boston’s food scene, ferment things, and make pottery.

Mary Alice Koon, Urban Farmer

Mary Alice joined Green City Growers in the summer of 2018. She graduated from Pomona College in 2017 with a degree in Sociology. It was working on her college’s farm that Mary Alice fell in love with growing crops and working outside with other people. After graduation, Mary Alice spent a year as the Farm Manager of the Pomona College Organic Farm, and she is now very excited to be part of the Green City Growers team as an urban farmer and educator. She loves being part of exposing students to the magic of growing a plant! While not farming, Mary Alice enjoys exploring Boston, drinking coffee, being outside, and reading a good book.

Product Development and Installation Team

Tim Cross, Facilities 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 Facilities 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.

Interns

Karinna Melker, Marketing Intern

Karinna is a Junior at Lasell College majoring in Entrepreneurship, and is interning with us through the College for Social Innovation’s Semester in the City Program. She is working on the Marketing Team and hopes to gain work experience and more knowledge in how to run a business that creates social impact. In her free time, Karinna enjoys hiking, practicing yoga, and drawing.