Megan is a community engager dedicated to reimagining a just and restorative American way of eating. A Texas native, Megan comes from a family of Mexican farmers and Jewish Cooks. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Hispanic Studies from The University of Pennsylvania and has spent time studying and farming in Latin America. Before moving to Colorado to grow full-time, Megan worked for several nonprofits and eventually co-led local Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives for The Nielsen Company in New York City. However, it was while working for a tahini company in college that Megan developed a love/hate relationship with the food industry that drove her to dig into the roots of social justice as it is related to food. Now Megan is grateful to lead The Growing Project’s effort to challenge the local food system and create social change through education and restoring relationships with people and land. Recreationally, she enjoys doodling, cooking, hiking, and talking to strangers.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Chris is an Attorney at The Fry Law Firm LLC. He received his law degree from the University of Colorado Law School (J.D.) and his B.A. from Columbia University in the City of New York, where he earned a double major in Economics and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures. Chris has held various leadership positions on The Growing Project team for over the past 10 years and now leads the 2020-2022 board as President.
Adam is passionate about connecting people through gardening. After growing up in a Montessori School through high school, Adam began a career in regenerative agriculture after a Permaculture Design Certificate training in Ecuador in 2015. When he returned to Colorado, Adam worked for Aspen Moon Farm. In 2016, he completed an internship in community development and education with The Growing Project. Adam loved it so much, he came back as an Assistant Farm Manager and Educator in 2017. In 2018 Adam was hired on as The Growing Project's Programs Manager, and in 2019 he was the Community Outreach and Garden Specialist. Adam holds an Associates of Arts and Science from Front Range Community College, and is active in the Fort Collins Community.
Matt is a designer & activist. Years ago, a love for cooking sparked his desire for a deeper connection with the origins of food, which ultimately ignited the light of permaculture in him. In 2015 he founded Common Roots to build a more resilient community designing food systems and water-conscious lifestyles. He's a mentor gardener for The Growing Project's Urban Food Outreach program when not working his day job as a website designer and developer.
Jeremy is a software engineering professional and cooking enthusiast. His culinary hobby sparked an interest in food quality, farming practices and environmental stewardship. In 2017 he got involved with The Growing Project as a volunteer to help him better understand food production and the environmental impact, as well as to help increase the availability of high quality food in the community. Since then, he has grown a stronger connection to TGP, joined the Board of Directors and accepted the role of Treasurer to help steward in the next chapter of the organization.
Human Resources Support
Gabi is an organizer, community connector, and local food advocate. Originally from South Africa, she grew up in a small town in Texas and is a recent Fort Collins transplant by way of Houston. She holds a B.S. in Business Management and prior to moving to Colorado worked for a non-profit teaching farm, where she focused on youth and adult education programs and strategic planning. After relocating to Fort Collins in 2019, she began establishing connections in the community to become a bridge-builder for the local food system and support working towards a brighter, more regenerative agricultural future. Currently, she consults and works with local food and farm-focused organizations including Poudre Valley Community Farms, The Northern Colorado Foodshed Project, and Big Green Colorado. She is deeply passionate about creating a more environmentally and socially just food system and working with learners of all ages to help better understand their connection to and relationship with food.
Lauren Alessi is a researcher in the Social Work Department at CSU. She has worked in Colorado as a community educator on opioid use and harm reduction; as a program evaluator for social services nationwide working in child welfare, criminal justice, and economic security; and as a researcher in New Zealand on a project exploring young people's transitions into adulthood. Lauren has facilitated writing programs for people in jail and prison and continues to research prison arts and education, volunteering in prison, and the impacts of these programs at the community and system-levels. She is passionate about building communities rooted in accountability, equity and restorative relationships and the role that food justice can play in these efforts.
James Hale is a social scientist at Colorado State University. He is passionate about improving food systems, especially efforts aimed at achieving food justice. James has spent time in both practitioner and research settings including working as a Peace Corps agroforestry agent in Malawi, helping develop urban agriculture organizations in Denver, and managing food systems research projects at Colorado State University, Colorado School of Public Health, and at the University of Otago in New Zealand. He enjoys music, fermentation, and hiking.
Stefanie Berganini is a PhD student and instructor in CSU’s department of anthropology and geography, and a long-time Fort Collins resident. Her MA research focused on homelessness in Fort Collins, and the intersection between public policy, social services, and the lived experiences of homeless people. She is still active in several community groups related to housing and homelessness – interests which connect deeply to issues surrounding food and food justice. Her PhD research is focused on wellbeing economies – countries with a formal commitment to measuring national success on the basis of social and environmental wellbeing as a complement/alternative to GDP. She was The Growing Project’s marketing and design intern during the 2019 growing season, and is currently chair of the board’s governance and oversight committee.