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 known as the Pima and Maricopa. These roots developed an appreciation of farming and healthy eating that would develop into interests in indigenous agriculture, food insecurity 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.
Lisa Alexander, Executive Director (she/her/hers)
Shaun Ananko, Director of Agriculture & 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.
Tina Miller, Farm Educator (she/ her/ hers)
Tina's love of the outdoors and gardening began when she was little growing up near the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch farm country where access to fresh, local food was plentiful.
Tina has 20 years of teaching experience and has been with Grow It Green Morristown since 2017. Prior to being known as "Farmer Tina", she taught middle school science for 12 years and outdoor environmental education for 5 years. She graduated from Lafayette College with a BS Geology degree and Environmental Science minor. She also has her Masters degree in Education. She loves being able to give children the opportunity to try fresh, organic food and appreciate the beauty of nature at The Urban Farm or in their school gardens. She designs and implements farm-based programming for Pre-K through high school level students. She currently teaches field trips at The Urban Farm, provides on-site garden programming for four Morris area preschools, and teaches within numerous classrooms in the Morris School District. All in all, she educates more than 800 students per year. The goal of her programming is to provide the students with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to be life-long healthy eaters and stewards of the environment
At home, Tina and her husband tend to a small backyard garden along with their flock of three children and chickens. She is a firm believer in experiential learning and looks forward to sharing Grow It Green Morristown's message of healthy eating and environmental sustainability with the children of Morris County.
Ann Kent, Development Manager (she/her/hers)
Ann is thrilled to have joined the team at Grow It Green Morristown. She has over 15 years of professional experience in corporate, legal, and non-profit marketing and communications work with a strong interest in local, healthy food, and the importance of our education program. As a volunteer, Ann helped to rebuild the Woodland School Garden and serves as the Co-Chair the Landscaping and Gardening Committee at Woodland. Last spring, she planted with each grade level at the school.
She grew up in Morristown and has three young children who love visiting the Urban Farm. Farmer Tina taught her children in the Morris School District and at The Presbyterian Church of Morristown’s Nursery School.
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.
Chris Rodriguez, Seasonal Farm Apprentice (he/him/his)
Chris is a New Jersey-based musician and educator. He served as a high school English teacher for six years, advocating for culturally-responsive education for his students. In collaboration with his students, he created poetry and music clubs that served as spaces of care, exploration, artistry, and community. He also facilitates weekly Afro-Puerto Rican drumming circles (bateys) in Jersey City to foster healing and strengthen his community ties.
Chris comes to farming with the same intentions: to build relationships, this time with the land. Guided by the marvelous decolonization work of indigenous activists, Chris has taken time to honor and heal his own complicated history as a descendent of Puerto Rican and Cuban farmers. He is working with Grow It Green Morristown not only to return to his roots, but also to reimagine and recreate healthier, more balanced relationships between his communities and the Earth.
Grace Bambilla, Seasonal Farm Apprentice
Grace is a lover of the outdoors, having grown up playing in the mud, taking walks through the quiet suburbs of Livingston, and going camping and fishing during the summers with her family, who taught her to work with her hands. She loves caring for animals and enjoys bee-watching.
She is currently a student at NJIT studying environmental science and sustainability, feeding her passion for sustainable agriculture and lifestyle while also protecting the Earth's fragile ecosystems from abrasive farming tactics. Her interest in environmental science and sustainability stemmed from a middle school gardening club where she learned how to take care of her first crop and why growing food locally is important for the environment.
Grace is excited to become part of the team where she can put her passion and skills to use in promoting sustainable farming and eating!
Emily Evers, Outreach & Marketing Manager/ Garden Manager
A Morris County native, Emily Evers grew up playing outside, visiting the Jersey Shore and countless parks and trails throughout her neighborhood. But it wasn’t until her college years until she truly developed a love and passion for agriculture, sustainability, and how the two intersect. While spending time as an Americorps member at Elijah’s Promise in New Brunswick, caring for crops at the farm and beds at the community garden, she grew a deep understanding of how food, communities, and social justice are connected. After her term of service came to an end, she knew she wanted to pursue something that could connect all three - which is how she ended up at Grow it Green!
Emily hopes to combine her studies in Political Science and Sociology as a recent graduate of TCNJ with her experience and passion for communications in the nonprofit world to enhance her role and help promote Grow it Green’s mission!
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.
Grow It Green Morristown is a 501(c)(3) public charity and, in order to maintain this nonprofit status, we must abide by a strict IRS prohibition against involvement in candidate campaigns ("electioneering"). Grow It Green Morristown cannot and does not support or oppose political candidates in any way.