We are elated to have so many incredible change-makers leading GrowTeams across Vermont and growing the state’s collective gardening movement. If you are interested in joining a GrowTeam we hope you will learn more about our mentors, spread the word, and sign up for a GrowTeam location today! 

Candace Taylor (she/her/they/them) | BIPOC GrowTeam in Winooski, VT

Candace, creator of Conscious Homestead is a land steward, yoga practitioner, herbalist, urban homesteader and ancestral cook. Candace is committed to living with not over the land, centering wholeness and radical love. Since 2014, Candace has had one dream, to open a BIPOC Urban Farm and wholeness retreat in Winooski, VT.  Seeking out land in Winooski was a challenge but in 2020, Candace pivoted from looking outward for a space to build their vision and decided to convert their own small family urban homestead into a shared space for BIPOC to connect to the land and nurture their individual and collective wholeness. Sign up to work with Candace here.

Carolina Lukac (she/her) | Restaurant GrowTeam in Burlington, VT

Carolina’s role as a garden educator for Vermont Community Garden Network, combines her passion for growing nourishing food with the opportunity to facilitate meaningful learning experiences for folks of all ages and backgrounds.  Her work in the nonprofit world began with designing educational programs for urban agriculture initiatives in her native landscape of Mexico City.  Now, almost 15 years later, community-based gardens across Vermont have become the focus of her everyday, along with caring for her toddler son, raising backyard chickens, and growing an abundance of food and medicine for her family. Sign up to work with Carolina here.

Amanda Franz with their horse

Amanda Franz (they/them) | Restaurant GrowTeam in East Montpelier, VT

Amanda has been the on-the-ground garden logistics coordinator and visionary since the inception of the Everything Space Garden Project. Their education of growing food and medicine is experiential and embedded in relationship. They currently hold the roles of garden mapping, tasking, leading and coordinating loose ends for the Garden Project, and actively seek to support members’ education to enable them more autonomy in the garden. Amanda brings their skills of curiosity, empathy and clear communication in working with and welcoming folx in the garden. Sign up to work with Amanda here.

Elisabeth Cadle | Restaurant GrowTeam in White River Junction, VT

As a mother, teaching artist, earth keeper, permaculture designer, labyrinth facilitator, response team volunteer, and independent contractor, Elisabeth is exceedingly grateful for a life that fosters creativity, contemplative practice, community service and the work of relearning and remembering. She has co-founded several efforts to bring education, beauty, and free food to the community through the Upper Valley Apple Corp, Latham Works Food Forest Trail, The White River School Labyrinth Garden, and The Center for Transformational Practice in White River Junction, VT where she is the land coordinator and has resided with her family within the community for the last decade. Elisabeth is humbled and eager to learn from who and what might emerge this season and to build relationships that honor wholeness and justice. Sign up to work with Elisabeth here.

Julie Loosigian | Restaurant GrowTeam in White River Junction

Julie is originally from southern NH and spent her childhood running around her grandparents’ vegetable farm. After her time at Antioch University New England in Keene, NH, where she studied advocacy, forest ecology, and conservation biology, she was the lead educator at Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center in East Thetford, VT. She is thrilled to be a part of the team at Sweet Beet Farm in Bradford, NH, part of the Kearsarge Food Hub, which works to “reinvigorate [the] community within a restorative local food system through cultivating food sovereignty, growing engaged learners, and nurturing community.” Julie strongly believes in the magic of community gardening and in growing food in ways that are reciprocal with the earth, and she is eager to learn from and grow delicious food with folx this season. Sign up to work with Julie here.

Becky Ballard (she/her) | Restaurant GrowTeam Mentor in Stowe VT

Much of Becky’s gardening knowledge comes from her many years of being an active member of UVM’s Master Gardener Program. Becky also owned and operated a small vegetable farm that included an apiary and small flock of laying hens where the farm sold directly to local restaurants and had CSA members. Becky is looking forward to sharing her gardening skills with volunteers so they can learn about the benefits and joy that comes from growing and sharing healthy foods. Sign up to work with Becky here.

Who’s ready to get outside this summer and grow some food? We hope you’ll join one of our GrowTeams or reach out to us at [email protected] to collaborate.