Staff

SEEDS Staff

SEEDS runs day-to-day with the support of an energetic staff dedicated to Durham’s next generation. We are proud to be a Durham Living Wage Certified organization.

 

Meet the Staff

Summer Bicknell

Owner, LocoPops

Member since 2012

Brenda Brodie

SEEDS Co-Founder, Board Member Emerita

Member since 1994

Dennis Clements

MD, PhD, Division Chief for Duke Children’s Primary Care, Senior Advisor, Duke Global Health Institute

Member since 2007

Michele DeRose

Owner, DeRose Garden & Landscape

Member since 2009

David Hall

Private Practice Attorney

Member since 2010

Garrett Putman

Vice President of Marketing, Republic Wireless

Member since 2009

Ilana Saraf

Chef, Artist, and Community Volunteer

Member since 2008

Thaddeus Bennett

Youth Educator

Thaddeus Bennett has been at SEEDS for 7 1/2 years coordinating programs like Urban Earth and the SEEDlings After School program. One of his favorite things to do at SEEDS is to educate audiences on how safe and valuable spiders and snakes are in gardens all over the world. He also loves potatoes and strawberries!

Email: tbennett@seedsnc.org

Phone: 919-683-1197 x 7

Kristen

Nilisha

Andresha

Alex Britt

This an amazing young volunteer has earned our deepest respect and admiration, and it is always a joy to find this scraggly haired youth chilling in the Market Garden. For a few years now Alex has been volunteering in the DIG garden and recently he has stepped up on his own merit and led volunteers on some big DIG garden projects. We caught Alex recently to give our readers an in-depth look at this fantastic youth volunteer.

SEEDS: So Alex if you could be a vegetable or fruit what would you be?
Alex: [he laughs, smiles, does a circle dance and a tap tap with his foot] I don’t know, some kind of tomato, a big beefy large tomato.
SEEDS: If you could be a garden tool what would you be?
Alex: Oh, I don’t know, my hands.
SEEDS: If you were stranded on an island and you could take only one musician’s entire collection to listen to, who would it be?
Alex: Antonin Dvorak
SEEDS: How did you find out about SEEDS?
Alex: I was looking for a summer activity. I had started a garden, so I saw an opportunity to learn about that as well.
SEEDS: What are your deepest ambitions?
Alex: Do you mean aspirations or dream Job?
SEEDS: Sure.
Alex: I think it would be a chef.
SEEDS: What is your favorite dish to make and eat?
Alex: Stir fry teriyaki shrimp and vegetables.
SEEDS: What do you think about “tres leche”?
Alex: It is awesome, balling off the chain.
SEEDS: How long have you volunteered at SEEDS?
Alex: Almost two years.
SEEDS: How has SEEDS impacted your life?
Alex: I have learned a lot about gardening and I have improved my home garden with lots of vegetables, although my mom would prefer flowers.
SEEDS: What keeps you coming back?
Alex: At first it was all the things I was learning and now I just enjoy it.
SEEDS: What’s one thing you’ve learned while you’ve been volunteering?
Alex: Weeds never die. They’re just temporarily missing in action.
SEEDS: How do you feel about weeding?
Alex: yarrrrrr….

Lacy Smith

How did you learn about SEEDS?

Actually, from the supervisor of volunteer services at the Food Bank next door. It was his suggestion to volunteer at SEEDS because of the interaction with the Food Bank and SEEDS. I didn’t know about the Food Bank until my niece suggested it….I’ve been here ever since!

What programs do you work with?

In general with the outdoor gardening aspect of SEEDS….planting, weeding, watering, composting, pruning.

What are some of the things you like about SEEDS?

Oh the people definitely! They make up everything that SEEDS stands for. [They] add to the beautification of the garden really…they’re smiling faces and positive attitudes makes for a healthy environment inside and out.

What have you learned from volunteering at SEEDS?

I’ve learned to appreciate Mother Nature more because of the way everything’s grown organically without pesticides…and an appreciation of plant life itself.

And how to be a better gardener and pruner and “green person” (laughs)

I’ve learned how to eat healthier, I guess it’s because of the organically grown vegetables and how they are grown.

Any special moments that stand out for you?

Oh yes, the RIC [Rooted In Community Youth] conference. [Helping with] the organic food preparation and building outdoor garden boxes with people from all over the country from all different ethnic backgrounds….I was glad to be a part of that!

What do you plan to do with your gardening knowledge?

Apply it to my own garden plot here at SEEDS, and to my own space at home, and to other volunteers that want to grow organic plants and vegetables.

I’m planning on spreading the word!

Volunteer Profile: Jean Hamilton

Fall 2009 interview with Jean:

How long have you been volunteering with SEEDS?

6 years [Now 9 years!]

Which programs do you volunteer with?

I started out mostly working with the SEEDlings program, tutoring, then I got interested in the garden. It sort of evolved. I started doing more with the flower beds to help with the flowers to sell. And I’ve had some input into what annuals and perennials to plant. 

How did you hear about SEEDS and what got you interested in becoming a volunteer?

Well I’ve known Brenda Brodie for a while, and I read about [SEEDS]. I used to be a school teacher at Holloway School when it was an elementary school so all my kids came from that area. I knew [SEEDS] would be a great program, particularly in that area.

Are there any memorable experiences you’ve had as a volunteer here?

It’s hard to think of just one thing…oh yes, working on the plant sale sign with Jose…[a former SEEDling]…his quality wasn’t up to snuff at the beginning so we had to go back and forth quite a bit, and then when he’d slow down, his quality got better. He was a good kid.

Any gardening words of wisdom you’d like to share with us?

[laughing] Just get your hands dirty and enjoy it! ….and there’s always next year!

Volunteer Profile: Connie Warren (left in photo)

How long have you been volunteering with SEEDS?

I started volunteering for SEEDS in 2003.

What got you interested in being a part of our organization?

My daughter Shilyh was getting her PHD at Duke that year, and she was the first one to find out about SEEDS. She loved it, and helped with the Seedlings after school program. She was so happy and taken with the organization that she wanted me to take part in it. I had just had a brain surgery, and was not really sure how people were going to like me with half of my hair gone. I never left. People at SEEDS have always been absolutely kind, caring, helpful, and involved in so much having to do with the community as a whole.

What do you do at SEEDS?

After trying a couple of jobs, I found out I like to cook, and that the kids at SEEDS, now big kids, like my food. So I keep bringing my “specialty dishes,” whatever they might be—Spanish, American, mixture of all I can think of. I use the vegetables from the SEEDS garden, and from the Farmers Market on Saturday. I try to include all of our local vendors products to help our community grow in health and goodness with a dish prepared with love and commitment.

What keeps you coming back?

I love what I do for SEEDS, and hope I can do it for as long as I am healthy and capable!

Abbey Piner

Abbey Piner is contracting with us to design and lead activities to gather your creative thoughts and ideas about how the re-designed garden can best connect with neighbors, program participants, and SEEDS supporters. She has a Masters in Horticulture from NC State University and a background in public health. She uses community engaged design to help groups create spaces that fit multiple needs based on a collective voice. Abbey has worked for 10 years with marginalized communities, and she uses plants and participatory design to create a stronger sense of community and health. 

Email: apiner@seedsnc.org Phone: (919) 683-1197 x 4

Volunteer Profile – Adrian Down

Adrian DownI had been noticing the SEEDS booth at the Durham farmers market for a year or two before I visited the garden for the first time.  That visit was the 2012 Pie Social, which was the tastiest introduction to a place that I can imagine.  I saw that SEEDS is strongly connected to the local community, and I wanted to find out more about what they do.  I was interested in volunteering at SEEDS because I support their mission.  I’ve continued to volunteer because I have a great time and because the garden is a beautiful, relaxing place to be.
 
I’m currently getting a Ph.D. in ecology.  I love teaching, but most of what I do these days is geared towards college-age students.  Working with younger gardeners at SEEDS is a great opportunity for me to think about teaching ecological concepts at a more practical and fundamental level.  The garden can be like a hands-on lab for teaching about ecology.  I also learn from the kids whenever I’m volunteering.  The feedback and ideas they have can be insightful, inspired, and sometimes entertaining.
 
In my past visits to SEEDS, I got to work with the summer camp groups.  Since I study ecology, I wanted to work with students about how plants can adapt to live in different environments.  Most plants are made of the same parts (leaves, stems, roots, flowers, etc.), but those parts look different on different plants, and there are usually reasons for those differences.  We drew pictures of the different parts of a fig tree and labeled them, and we found some plants in the garden that have developed different strategies for survival.  We looked at garlic, which stores extra sugars in the base of its stem (in the big tasty bulb that we humans like to eat), and herbs, which make strong smells and tastes so that fewer bugs eat them.  With the older campers, we tried to extract chlorophyl from some leaves, just to see the chlorophyl itself and to see if different plants have different pigments in their leaves.  I’m not sure if the experiment ever worked, but we had a good time trying.

Volunteer Profile – Lindsey Paydon

After graduating with a Political Science degree from the University of Missouri, I moved to North Carolina and got a job at Whole Foods as a cashier. I really wanted to get to know my new community and find a place to volunteer. Luckily Whole Foods had a volunteer day at SEEDS and I immediately fell in love with the garden and everything SEEDS teaches and promotes. I’ve been volunteering with SEEDS for about 4 months now and I always look forward to my volunteer shifts whether I’m pulling weeds in the garden, helping out with our youngest gardeners, or working in the office. SEEDS has been an incredible learning experience for me in so many ways! I’m thrilled to be a part of something so fun and also so important for our community. 

Leslie Simonds

Programs Manager

Leslie is the coordinator of the DIG program. She is a native to Los Angeles and has made her way to Durham via Olympia WA. Olympia is where Leslie started farming and exploring her passions for agriculture, food justice, and education. Since moving here in 2014, she has fallen for Durham, mostly all the wonderful people that Durham seems to attract. Some of Leslie’s favorite things are cooking up big meals, swimming in the quarry, and getting crafty, all with the accompaniment of good friends.

Phone: 919-683-1197 x 4

Greta Moore

Garden Intern

Greta joins SEEDS as a second-year North Carolina transplant. She first became an outdoors-woman as a child in the woods behind her Massachusetts home, and carried her passion for outdoor exploration and environmental stewardship into her academic and professional career. She earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Vermont, focusing on ecological design for food systems and water management. She went on to work as a design/build assistant in West Virginia, as an outdoor educator, and as an organic farmer in Vermont. When not at SEEDS, Greta also works for ACE: Alliance for Climate Education, educating and inspiring high school students to break through the challenge of climate change. She is so excited to merge her interests in climate change, food justice, nutrition, and community empowerment. Greta loves pesto, rock climbing, camping, and lizards. Her other hobbies include dancing around the house, miniature art projects, and cooking.

Jolie Day

Summer Camp Counselor

Jolie Day received her BFA in Sculpture at UNC Greensboro in May of 2013, and worked as an intern at Salem Art Works in upstate New York. She loves working with volunteers, and meeting a wide variety of people. Jolie thinks everyone should have access to natural spaces, fresh foods and is an advocate for more learning through doing. She likes merging her fine arts background with gardening, and is excited to work on many creative projects around Seeds.
Fun  facts:
Jolie’s favorite vegetables dishes are pickled spicy okra, kimchi, and warm beets with kale salad.
She is an avid kombucha brewer, but often forgets to check on it.
She is always drawing, and jumps at the opportunity do illustrations for anything food and garden based.

Volunteer Profile: Jim Compton

How long have you been volunteering with SEEDS?
I started this past winter because, well, how can you not think of gardening when you’re in the midst of The Polar Vortex.
 
Which programs do you volunteer with?
I do gardening shifts with Hilary, Greta, and Jolie who quietly make sure I don’t harm anything of value with my horrendously-less-than-green thumbs.
 
What got you interested in becoming a volunteer?
I was in a very comfortable rut.  I coordinate volunteers at work (I’m a Pediatric ER nurse at UNC-CH) and it occurred to me that volunteering would be a way to maybe accomplish several things by doing one thing.  I wanted to be outside (Polar Vortex be damned !!) and wanted to get tired and dirty.  Hilary seems to always make sure this happens.
 
What is your favorite thing about SEEDS?
Obviously the people, warm and accepting, patient and caring.  But also the sense of doing what some call ‘good work’, work for no particular reason or reward other than it needs to be done.
 
What was your favorite childhood food?
Well, not brussel sprouts.  Maybe peanut butter and cheese sandwiches ?  Don’t ask.  And my mom’s cookies.
 
Any special SEEDS moments that stand out for you?
Getting all the stuff out of storage from that creepy office building.  Oh, you mean nice things.  Sorry.  My first day when I realized ‘this is really good and these people are of my tribe, even if I can’t garden a lick’.  When I realized how fortunate and lucky I was.
 
 Any words of gardening wisdom?  
Don’t let me near a plant unsupervised.                            
 
What is your most favorite thing to do?
I’m pretty passionate about walking long distances. I’ll be walking 300 miles down the rural Western Wales coast in May and another 200 miles or so somewhere yet to be determined in September. Anybody can come along if they like!                                                           

 

 

Volunteer Profile: Jonah Sharkey

 

How long have you been volunteering with SEEDS?

I’m coming up on a year of volunteering with SEEDS. I started here shortly after moving to the Triangle from California.

 
Which programs do you volunteer with?
 
You’ll find me in the office. I help out with administrative work, fundraising and database management. 

What got you interested in becoming a volunteer? 

Before living here, I lived in Oakland, CA. While there I learned about Oakland’s massive food desert that prevents residents from getting access to good quality produce and having other healthy options. Many people shop at convenience stores and eat fast food. Many also don’t know how to grow their own food. I see SEEDS as an organization that helps to alleviate similar issues here in Durham.

What is your favorite thing about SEEDS?

My favorite thing about SEEDS is the staff. I appreciate how the unique way each member of the team contributes to make SEEDS what it is.

What was your favorite childhood food?

I grew up loving strawberries. I still can’t get enough of them. I particularly like them with cream or on top of waffles.

Any special SEEDS moments that stand out for you?

That would have to be working on the fall fundraiser. It was so inspiring to see how many people feel its important to support the work SEEDS does.  
 
What is your most favorite thing to do?

Spending time with my son has to be my favorite activity. He’s a precocious 7 year old. I enjoy seeing the world through his eyes, the ideas and questions he comes up with never ceases to amaze me and crack us both up. 

Tell us something about you that has nothing to do with gardening or food.              

For a couple of years I raised captive bred seahorses. They have a new brood of around 200 every two to three weeks! 

Wil Weldon

Independent Video Journalist and Filmmaker, Growler Visuals

Member since 2014

Jesse Hall

Garden Intern

Jesse grew up in Arlington and Montross, Virginia and learned to love gardening by watching his grandparents in their herb and vegetable gardens. He brought that passion with him when his family moved to North Carolina. He attended school at UNC-Chapel Hill and graduated with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. After several years in the advertising world, Jesse went back to school and recently completed a United States and environmental history graduate degree at NC State University. While interning at SEEDS, Jesse hopes to utilize his communication skills, environmental history, and a personal love for sustainable gardening to support the vision of the organization and reach out to the local community. He loves organic gardening, cooking, kayaking, fishing, and anything that gets dirt on his hands. His favorite plants to grow include peppers, tomatoes, and figs.

Email: gardeninternorange@seedsnc.org

Tim MacAller

Owner, Four Leaf Farm

Member since 2013

Shane Walden

Senior Business Architecture Consultant, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC

Member since 2017

Ryan Amos

Garden Intern

Ryan studied public policy at Duke University here in Durham. He also currently works part-time as a tomato farmer and researches issues of food access and food justice with Duke. He is a musician and amateur philosopher, night owl and greedy coffee drinker, backpacker, method actor, avid tinkerer, introvert, over-sharer, and a balloon artist. He was born in Raleigh, but spent most of his childhood in Eastern Europe. Extremely American things like grocery store self check-out and deep-fried-just-about-anything still make him a little uneasy. He is excited to be a new SEEDS Garden Intern, working with volunteers on the various projects in the urban garden where food is fresh.

Volunteer Profile: Dylan Jarrell

How long have you been volunteering with SEEDS?

Since the end of July, 2014.

Which programs do you volunteer with?
 
I’ve gotten my hands dirty in the Southside Garden, and volunteer in the office, writing blog posts and supporting outreach.

What got you interested in becoming a volunteer? 

I had just finished my degree at CCCC. I studied Sustainable Technologies and had worked with Laurel (of SEEDS) on a project. I contacted her to see if anything needed doing, and it did!

What is your favorite thing about SEEDS?

I love the mission. It really speaks to what brings me to care about the planet and it is at the same time a calling to action. I appreciate that.

What was your favorite childhood food?

Pizza…..Probably pizza.

Any special SEEDS moments that stand out for you?

Being with the office and garden staff during the lunch hour. I had usually ate by then, but all the aromatic smells of fresh food being cooked up. It’s very nice.
 
What is your most favorite thing to do?

I really enjoy meditating and researching all-things-zen. I lived in a Zen temple for 2 months before I came to SEEDS.

Tell us something about you that has nothing to do with gardening or food.              

I have a tattoo of Bela Lugosi’s face as Dracula. I was obsessed with Dracula when I was a child, I even made a coffin out of cardboard to sleep in. Haha.

Volunteer Profile: George Maha

How long have you been volunteering with SEEDS?

I’m actually an Intern, for about 2 months.

Which programs do you volunteer with?

I am doing the adult internship; helping with research and design for the pollinator garden, later I may be doing some planting, developing literature explaining the purpose of various processes/spaces and putting this information on informative signs.

What got you interested in becoming a volunteer? 

While I was doing my entrepreneurial concentration courses at NC State I came up with a concept for a not-for-profit with a similar mission to SEEDS, I called it Gardens For Good (G4G).  Realizing the financial obstacles of creating my own organization I went online to see if there were any that were already out there and found out about SEEDS.

What is your favorite thing about SEEDS?

Just how many different problems it is working to solve (poverty, social justice, and health/ nutritional problems). While promoting childhood enrichment/supplementary education, sustainable agriculture, environmental health, and stronger communities.  Also, everyone that I work with or meet here are respectful and nice.

What was your favorite childhood food?

Cheese.

Any special SEEDS moments that stand out for you?

It is a really interesting time to be here and it is changing so rapidly.  I am sure that when I get to come back and see the pollinator garden finished it will be pretty special.

What is your most favorite thing to do?

Due to having so much going on right now sleep is #1, when I am less busy and have more energy I enjoy building things and growing plants. 

Tell us something about you that has nothing to do with gardening or food. 

I play chess, and am an advocate for Sustainable practices.

Volunteer: Prathima Kannan

How long have you been volunteering with SEEDS?

I have been a volunteer since June 2014 so almost a year.

Which programs do you volunteer with?

I started volunteering with the Durham Inner-city Gardeners (DIG) by cooking a nutritious and delicious lunch with them and for them using produce from the gardens. Then I moved on to volunteer with the Children’s Gardening and Cooking Programs (after school, during breaks and over the summer) where the Sprouts and Seedlings (kids ages 6-12) learn about gardening, nutrition, cooking, and healthy eating. I’d love to get back involved with DIG crew in the future.

What got you interested in becoming a volunteer?

I heard about SEEDS, when I was a Masters student in the Nutrition program at the UNC School of Public Health.  Some students were talking about SEEDS in the break room, and my Professors would mention SEEDS at times in the context of increasing access to healthy food and improving community health through community gardening.  I made a mental note to look into SEEDS and finally started volunteering in June 2014.

What is your favorite thing about SEEDS?

I love that SEEDS has truly knowledgeable, hardworking, dedicated staff and volunteers who care deeply about individual and community well-being and the environment.  They are such great role models.  I always learn something new like a teaching or gardening technique.  Also, I love simply to look at the beautiful gardens. So pretty and invigorating and mind clearing!

What was your favorite childhood food?

I really liked a few Indian dishes my mom made: yogurt rice/curd rice tempered with mustard and cumin seeds, ginger, dried peppers, curry leaves, urad dal and other spices with sautéed bittermelon and hot mango pickle. I still want it!

Any special SEEDS moments that stand out for you?

I love it when one of the SEEDlings or the Sprouts say something like: ”More salad! More salad!” It’s not often that you hear a 6 year old begging for salad. Or “That was the best I ever had,” after tasting a sweet potato quesadilla, or “That was the best soup EVER!” (the soup was full of veggies, whole grain goodness and lean chicken breast), or  “Miss Prathima, Miss Prathima what are we going to make!?!?” I love seeing and hearing the eagerness to learn new things and try new healthful foods. It definitely puts a big smile on my face.

What is your most favorite thing to do?

Collecting cookbooks, collecting and compiling my family’s recipes for blog I want to create, and cooking/baking.

Tell us something about you that has nothing to do with gardening or food.       

I am fascinated by psychiatry and mental illness and really interested in animal behavior, language, social structure and emotions!  I had a hard time choosing between medical or veterinary school—it took me way longer than average.  I choose medical school, but I will always be involved with animal conservation somehow whether it’s reading about it or going out in the field.

Tiffany Graves

Clinical Trial Manager, Novella Clinical

Member since 2014

Kim Blair

Secretary

Director of Community Relations, BCBSNC

Member since 2015

Lisa Bruckner

Garden Intern

Being from a family of eight, Lisa understands SEEDS value of sharing and bonding over food particularly well. She grew up in Chapel Hill and received her BA in Environmental Studies in Minnesota where she started working on farms and in gardens. After college, she learned a variety of skills, including how to lead workshops with children, adults with special needs, other volunteers and Senegalese farmers through AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps. Currently, she plans to become an Occupational Therapist. Lisa is happy to be working outside with volunteers while singing punny garden songs. Come out and lettuce spend some thyme together!

Kenneth Strickland

Kenneth Strickland is the After School Program Coordinator. He started as a volunteer at Seeds in the spring of 2015. Then, he worked as a Summer Camp Coordinator with Mr. Thad, Heather Hill, and Joli Day where he learned the value of the farm to table movement and how to teach children yoga and movement in the context of the Children’s Garden   After the summer, he built upon what he learned at Seeds Children’s Summer camp by teaching children for ZenKids at Patanjali’s Place in Durham and for Yoga for Youth in Culbreath Middle School in Chapel Hill. Kenneth looks forward to expanding the children’s role in decision-making, focusing on the lessons that the garden can teach the children, and to helping the children to become the future leaders at SEEDS.

Angela Gilmore

Board Vice President

Professor of Law, NCCU School of Law

Member since 2016

Sandi Kronick

CEO, Eastern Carolina Organics

Member since 2016

Deshira Wallace

Board President

Associate, ICF International; MSPH in Health Behavior, UNC Chapel Hill

Member since 2016

Hilary Nichols

Garden Manager & Volunteer Coordinator

Hilary can’t wait to taste new foods, especially picked straight off the plant and popped in your mouth. Loquats are her favorite fruiting plant for their cheerful scent. Hilary loves gardening, and believes that dirty hands are happy hands! Hilary is a horticulturist. She gets excited teaching about gardening, and bringing people closer to plants and each other through growing together. Hilary is the one to talk to about edible and pollinator gardening in Southside, the SEEDS community garden program, workshops, plant sale, and the Garden of Eatin. She is committed to collaboratively honoring human work and creativity, while maintaining sound ecological practices through permaculture. Take care of the Earth. Take care of the People. Share the Surplus.

Email: hnichols@seedsnc.org

Phone: 919-683-1197 ext. 3

Brent Droege

Board Treasurer

President, Agape Lawn Company

Member since 2016

Abby Goodman

Communications & Development Coordinator

Abby joined SEEDS after several years of work in fundraising and communications in the Triangle, including UNC Chapel Hill and Benevolence Farm. She moved to Durham from Nashville where she graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Human & Organizational Development. Abby believes in the power of building community through food and in her spare time can be found gardening, cooking, preserving, knitting and naturally dyeing yarn and textiles.

Email: agoodman@seedsnc.org

Phone: 919-683-1197 ext. 2

Herb Thornton

SEEDlings After-School Coordinator

Herb has worked in the before- and after-school programs at Hope Valley Elementary School, motivating and engaging the students in academic, social and professional experiences they might not otherwise get at school. Passionate about children, his move to Eno Valley Elementary School as an educator for children with different learning styles was a natural fit. Herb studied English and sociology at North Carolina Central University, and now, in his free time, he cooks and reads modernist fiction and poetry. (He’s also a regular participant in the annual Great Durham Pun Challenge!) As a garden and chef educator at SEEDS, Herb helps engage young people in growing and cooking food as life skills; they learn to care for the environment, conserve natural resources, build confidence and foster teamwork.

Email: hthornton@seedsnc.org

Phone: 919.683.1197 ext. 6

Jeff Howell

Executive Director

Jeff Howell joins SEEDS after four years at Southern School of Energy and Sustainability and E.K. Powe Elementary School in Durham where he worked as an exceptional children’s teacher and case manager. He earned an undergraduate degree in environmental science from Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland, and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied behavioral and community health science. He believes that hands-on learning is a necessary tool for all students to remain engaged and understand new concepts. With a persistently positive outlook, Jeff brings to SEEDS a commitment to community building, collaboration and social justice.

Email: jhowell@seedsnc.org

Phone: 919.683.1197 ext. 8

Trevor Hyde

Farm Manager & Educator

Trevor is super excited to join the SEEDS Team as the Farm Manager and Educator. After a long stint in academia, at Trinity College, Yale, and UNC-Chapel Hill, Trevor realized the Ivory Tower was the wrong place for him, and switched to practical work with a community impact through food. After a second Masters in Agriculture and Education at NC-State, he worked on farms and managed his own incubator plot, honing his skills in permaculture, interplanting, and seasonality, with an educational focus. After a two-year search for the right educational agricultural nonprofit, he was excited for the possibilities unfolding in this new chapter of SEEDS. He believes that we can change the world through food and our interaction with nature, and that teaching youth will create a generation of change for the future.
Email: thyde@seedsnc.org

Phone: 919-683-1197 ext. 5

Sumi Dutta

Chef Educator

Sumi teaches seed-to-table cooking classes with the youth at SEEDS. She recently returned to Durham, her hometown, by way of Atlanta and New Orleans and is happy to make home and community here again. Sumi is a social justice educator, writer, and herbalist who teaches feminist food healing classes across the South. She invites folks to get curious about the feelings and stories our food holds. All her work aims to reconnect people of color to the earth, without uncertainty of our belonging.

Email: sdutta@seedsnc.org

Phone: 919.683.1197 ext. 7

Aaron Kienow

Farm Educator

Aaron grew up growing vegetables with his mother in their garden. She was a creative gardener, scavenging potential containers in order to grow where the soil was poor. Aaron has volunteered with the Interfaith Food Shuttle’s Geer Street location, where he got his first hands-on taste of farm work. He has worked many years as a chef and wants to flip the side of the food industry he works in. At SEEDS, Aaron enjoys the hands-on learning environment, and the opportunity to learn about greenhouse-management and expand his exposure to various plants.
Email: akienow@seedsnc.org
Phone: 919-683-1197 ext. 4

Preston Montague

Artist, Educator, and Landscape Designer

Member since 2018

Jamel Lynch

Principal Consultant, Nfinite Technologies

Member since 2018

Cynelsa Broderick

Operations & Administrative Coordinator

Cynelsa joined the staff after past experiences in sustainability and environmental education, administrative work, and the Conservation Trust for NC’s AmeriCorps Program. She has lived in Durham since Summer 2011, moving from Dover, Delaware after college. She earned an undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Delaware and is passionate about the creative and important connection between STEM and the arts. When not in our building or educational garden and kitchen classroom, Cynelsa can be found outdoors enjoying nature or volunteering in the Durham arts community, lettering local calligraphy projects, or making visual art of her own.

Email: cbroderick@seedsnc.org

Phone: 919-683-1197 ext. 1