Dear colleagues, friends, partners, and supporters,
After nearly 7 inspiring years as Executive Director at City Growers, I have made the difficult decision to pursue new challenges.
When I was hired as City Growers’ first employee, we had just received our first grant to engage 1,250 students from Western Queens in environmental and food education programs at Brooklyn Grange and in local schools. I was tasked with fulfilling the terms of the 1-year grant; beyond that, it was up to me.
I accepted the tenuous, open-ended position immediately because I saw the incredible educational potential of Brooklyn Grange. I had spent the previous 6 years as an educator, and my experience taught me that kids, and city kids in particular, thrive in outdoor learning environments. Urban farms struck me as the ideal place for kids to engage in hands-on explorations of the food system and the natural world, and the many ways that they interact and influence one another. At Brooklyn Grange, the whimsy inherent in urban farms is magnified by the sweeping views of the city, the oasis above the busy streets, and the sense that anything is possible: an ideal learning laboratory.
Today, City Growers provides a full suite of unique educational experiences for children and teens at Brooklyn Grange’s ever-expanding rooftop farms, as well as in schools and green spaces around the city. Using urban agriculture as theme and inspiration, our camps, after school programs, field trips, and residency programs have engaged 50,235 youth to date. The thing that I’m most proud of is establishing City Growers’ legacy of prioritizing the participation of youth from low income families in our programs, through the solicitation of scholarships, grants, sponsorships, tiered pricing, and government support.
I am endlessly grateful to the donors, volunteers, and interns who continue to give their time, skills, and resources. I’ve been consistently amazed by the quality of people that have come through our doors. In particular, City Growers has been indelibly shaped by the talented employees who have given their hearts to our mission. I am so proud of what we have built!It is with complete confidence and total support that I pass the proverbial baton to Becca Di Meo, City Growers’ new Executive Director. Becca and I have been working together for the past month, and I have been impressed with and comforted by her calm, warm demeanor and strategic vision of the future. I am excited to see where Becca leads City Growers in 2019 and beyond.
It seems appropriate that I end my last correspondence with an ask: please donate to City Growers for Giving Tuesday tomorrow, and in your year-end giving, and ensure that the children who need our programs most continue to comprise the majority of our constituents.
Thank you all for believing in me, for your support, and for your encouragement. It has been a wild, whimsical, fun, challenging, and life-affirming ride for me and my entire family. City Growers will always be a part of me, and I will continue to support its future growth however I can.
Peas and love to all,
11,800 students participated in City Growers programs 60% of participants attend Title 1 schools 83% of summer camp & after school students received scholarships