Our Team

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Lisa Alexander

Executive Director (she/her/hers)

As a child, Lisa enjoyed visiting her grandparents at their farm, riding the tractor, feeding the pigs and picking fresh blackberries. She was fortunate to grow up with a family vegetable garden and fruit trees in Arizona. Growing up in Arizona, she developed a respect for Native Americans growing up next to the Salt River Indian Community which is comprised of two Native American tribes: the “Akimel O’Odham” (River People) and the “Xalychidom Piipaash” (People who live toward the water), also commonly known as the Pima and Maricopa. These roots developed an appreciation of farming and healthy eating that would develop into interests in indigenous agriculture, self sufficiency and sustainable living. From her own experience, Lisa holds firmly the belief that we cannot underestimate the impact that teaching children early on where food comes from has on their nutritional choices and overall health. The ability to make healthy food choices and enjoy open spaces are a right and necessity for all persons in order to build successful, equitable communities particularly in a time of increasing urbanization.  ​ Lisa comes from a professional career at Dole Fresh Fruit International. Working collaboratively with a diverse, multi-cultural team in Latin America promoting fresh produce, nutrition education and sustainable practices for over two decades is a part of her motivation to make change happen. ​ When Dole relocated her position, Lisa decided to stay in the Garden State. She has lived in Morris County for over 20 years primarily in Morris Township. Her children attend the Morris School District public schools, and her kids have appreciated first-hand the educational sessions provided by Grow It Green. Lisa has volunteered as a leader with the Girl Scouts, and her husband has volunteered as a coach for multiple Morristown sports.  ​ Being curious and always willing to listen and learn are essential to her role at Grow It Green. She deeply appreciates the local community- working with NJ organizations, schools, churches, business owners and neighbors to support each other in a combined mission to address nutritional and racial inequity while inspiring wellness and environmentally sustainable choices.

Shaun Ananko

Director of Agriculture and Education (he/him/his)

A native to Morristown, Shaun Ananko began developing his love for farming as a small child when his mother taught him how to grow tomatoes in their home garden. Now as Farmer Shaun for Grow It Green Morristown, he is proud to share his knowledge of sustainable food cultivation with the Morristown community and students of local schools. Shaun’s career prior to joining the Urban Farm included 10 years at the former Health Shoppe in Morristown, managing operations for their online vitamin business. Shaun has a degree in Agriculture from Community College of Morris and completed an internship with a Morristown-based CSA at Valley Vue Farm. Shaun challenges himself each year to finds ways to learn more to increase the impact of the organization listening to the members of the town to become more inclusive, recognizing the rich diversity of the neighborhoods where the farm and garden thrive. An urban learning farm is a unique resource to welcome others into the study of land stewardship, water conservation and integrated pest management. Through his experiences and studies, Shaun was also brought into the world of beekeeping in 2007 and has delved into apiary practice with an emphasis on treatment-free strategies for breeding strong and healthy bees. As the Grow It Green Farmer, Shaun teaches classes on the life cycle of honeybees and the crucial role they play in feeding our world through pollination. He has a beehive site in Morristown at Early Street Community Garden and offers mentoring and beehive management services throughout Northern New Jersey.

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Marley Weaver

Assistant Farmer (she/they)

Marley grew up in the city of Rahway playing in the dirt, climbing trees and fences, and collecting insects. She was lucky enough to have an active family that introduced her to the outdoors through camping and sailing, activities which taught her the joys of working outdoors with her hands and learning practical skills. 

In high school, she began working in the restaurant industry, fueling an already well-established love of food. She continued to work in restaurants through college where she studied biology, literature, and psychology.

 

During her studies, she developed a passion for environmental and ecological sciences, equitable and sustainable food systems, and social justice. These passions encouraged a natural interest in farming, and she began to experiment in her own yard with a vegetable, herb, and flower garden. She's so glad to be at Grow It Green where she can learn more about farming, put her interests and knowledge to good use, and continue to play in the dirt.  

Jenna Karahalios

Education and Garden Manager (she/her/hers)

Jenna is a graduate of Caldwell University with degrees in Art and Psychology. Her love of nature brought her to farming in 2016. Since then, it's become a permanent part of her life and how she connects to the Earth and people in her community. She is currently studying to become a Registered Horticultural Therapist with the hopes of helping people see and feel the magic, abundance, and graciousness of our natural world. There was a time in her life when she was not connected to growing food or gardening and the difference before and after is like night and day. This experience is what inspires Jenna to cultivate knowledge and share the experience of growing food with everyone! She believes that connecting to and caring for plants is something natural for everyone. All we need is the opportunity to experience it! Jenna is proud to support the mission of Grow it Green as an Educator and Community Garden Manager. Her training as a Forest Preschool Teacher and Children's Yoga Instructor have given her the experience she needs to become a Farm Educator and teach about things she truly loves. In this space she learned how to support child-led play and leave space for children to observe, problem solve, and create in their own unique way. As a teacher she modeled behavior to create a compassionate classroom and crafted a welcoming space to support inquiry and academic learning. She fostered the students' natural connection to the Earth through teachings of seasons, local ecosystems, and play in our outdoor classroom. Jenna believes every harvest, whether it is a flower, vegetable, or seed, is a gift. She looks forward to being a part of this community and sharing in the joy of connecting to the Earth! 

Andeana Gonzales

Winter Market Manager (she/her/hers)

Growing up in rural New Jersey, Andeana was a playful kid; stealing tomatoes from her mother's garden, climbing trees, and swimming in the creek by her house. She was a true nature lover from the get go and a bit of rebel as well. She lives the message her father continues to tell her, "the best room in the house is outside."

While growing up, Andeana realized she was an extrovert that really liked working with the public. After 10 years working at a library in Warren County, she decided to break away and start a new life in the great outdoors. Wanting to do something new and different she decided to take a farm job in California. Immediately she felt at home in the fresh air. Since 2016, Andeana has worked on a variety of farms in California, Georgia and Pennsylvania. She values small farms that share the same values as her: sustainability, eco-friendly, organic and community oriented. 

Andeana loves bringing the market to the community!

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Christine Malloy

Operations Coordinator (she/her/hers)

Growing up on Long Island, Christine spent her summers out east at a 4-H camp, working on the farm there, picking plums and chasing chickens. She developed a love of berry crumb pies and summer tomatoes. This love of food eventually led Christine to the French Culinary Institute where she learned everything from souffle prep to braising beef cheeks. She expected to work in food media, but quickly fell in love with the adrenaline of working in restaurant kitchens. Christine worked on the line at the Waldorf Astoria, One if by Land, Two if By Sea and finally at the renowned Gramercy Tavern. Gramercy Tavern exposed her to a world of flavors and local ingredients, and she transitioned into the esteemed pastry program. There, she rose the ranks to pastry sous chef and she was responsible for all levels of production, making ice creams, doughs, batters and menu planning.  Eventually, she traded in her toque for a minivan, raising two daughters in New Jersey with her husband and dog. Christine is the consummate volunteer, working behind the scenes as a Girl Scout leader, Home and School Association President, Green Team chairperson and other volunteer posts that she is too tired to enumerate. Ultimately, she likes helping people and feeding them and Grow It Green Morristown aligns perfectly with what she likes to do best: exposing people to seasonal produce and helping people grow confidence to get their hands dirty planting their own gardens. 

Baking Croissants

2021 and 2022
High School Interns

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