Executive Director Ava Bynum is a passionate systems thinker and non profit executive, with experience in start-ups, development, non profit management, education, food systems, and community organizing. Prior to founding Hudson Valley Seed Ava was a farmer at Four Winds Farm and a teacher at the Garden Road School. In both of these roles she deepened her commitment to making good food and inspiring education accessible to all children. She is a graduate of the Rockwood Leadership Institute and is currently a fellow at the Good Work Institute. In addition to running Hudson Valley Seed, Ava facilitates racial justice and equity trainings for individuals and organizations. She brings humor, innovation, and integrity to all of her endeavors.
Email Ava Bynum at email@example.com
Development Manager Air Nonken would gladly spend every minute outside. With a Master's from the The New School’s nonprofit management program and a post-graduate degree in environmental ethics from the University of Melbourne, they draw on more than twenty years of experience working in the third sector across three continents. Social and environmental justice drive their work, and they love sharing their awe of nature. In addition to avidly gardening, Air also sits on the City of Beacon's Conservation Advisory Committee, makes furniture from found wood, leads a local hiking club, and captures nature photography.
Email Air at firstname.lastname@example.org
Program Coordinator Omari Washington is an urbanist with a passion for building strong, equitable communities through inclusive local food projects. Over the past decade, he has been involved in the management of various environmental initiatives in New York City and the Hudson Valley, including MillionTreesNYC, and he has consulted with national organizations, such as National Wildlife Federation and National Urban League. Environmental education has been a core component of Omari’s work since he travelled to Alaska during college for a 40-day backpacking and canoeing trip above the Arctic Circle with the National Outdoor Leadership School. This trip provided unequivocal proof of environmental degradation of our planet and happened to coincide with the release of Al Gore’s book, An Inconvenient Truth, which together created a clear imperative to help conserve our natural resources and processes. In December 2016, Omari will graduate from Pratt Institute with a Master’s degree in Sustainable Environmental Systems. Email Omari at email@example.com
Educator and Community Outreach Coordinator Nicole Porto was turned on to farming through her service learning experiences at small organic farms throughout the world. As she earned her graduate degree in environmental education with the Expedition Education Institute, she explored the role agricultural systems play in the degradation of the natural world and human health. She then decided she would dedicate her career to building sustainable and just food systems. She has gardened and taught with various programs, such as a school garden in Costa Rica, Farm & Wilderness Camp in Vermont, and City Parks Foundation’s Learning Gardens in New York City. Before joining Hudson Valley Seed Nicole ran a small CSA farm in the lower Hudson Valley where she had the opportunity to provide bountiful harvests for her community and hone her skills as a grower. She is passionate about gardening and education. Email Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Garden Educator Christine Gavin is a life-long resident of the Hudson Valley with a BA from Vassar College, and she has been working as a farmer and educator in the region for over a decade. Her passion for agriculture grew from her academic interest in social justice and the desire to create tangible positive change in her local community. Her educational philosophy is rooted in the belief that we are all stewards of the natural world and that it is essential that we pass that sense of responsibility to the next generation to help build ethical global citizens. Christine was the farm manager of a local educational dairy farm in Poughkeepsie, and most recently she was the lead educator for the Common Ground Farm summer programs. She is also an avid urban farmer with a yard full of tomatoes and a flock of chickens. Email Christine at email@example.com.
Newburgh Educator and Outreach Coordinator Sam Adels fell in love with gardening after years of being asked to help out in the family garden. A love and respect for the natural world was instilled in him by frequent camping trips; his earliest memory is of a family road trip to national parks at age four. Sam studied history and the environment at Macalester College and has a masters degree in environmental education from New York University. Sam is committed to social and environmental justice and has devoted his professional life to environmental education. A former national park ranger, Sam has spent many years educating youth about ecology and the environment. Before joining Hudson Valley Seed, Sam taught ecology and gardening to NYC public school students, and also worked on a small, organic farm in Maine. Sam teaches through hands-on, experiential education, and enjoys encouraging kids to explore and connect to the world around them, in hopes of inspiring future generations of eco-literate stewards. When not in the classroom or garden, Sam can be found cooking, baking, or exploring the Hudson Valley by foot or bicycle. Email Sam Adels at firstname.lastname@example.org
Education and garden intern, Kindeya Green is 16 years old, attends Beacon High School and started learning about growing food and keeping up a garden through a local gardening program called Green Teen. She worked a season with Green Teen in 2015 and was fascinated by the whole experience. She began assisting her grandmother in her garden and tries to be green as much as possible. Email Kindeya at email@example.com.
Education and Garden Intern, Chelsea Schiffer is an 18 year old Beacon native who discovered a love for gardening when she started working for Green Teen, a local gardening program in Beacon, almost 2 years ago. This summer she got the chance to work for Hudson Valley Seed and she really enjoys being able to help teach and garden with kids in the area and spreading the word about how important growing your own food is. Aside from gardening, Chelsea is either with friends and family or taking walks around Beacon. Email Chelsea at firstname.lastname@example.org.