STAFF BIOS

Grey Kolevzon, Co-Director

Originally from Berkeley, Grey Kolevzon has worked full-time since 1995 with East Bay public schools and nonprofit organizations to develop projects that improve community health and sustainability. This includes helping to develop 30 school & community gardens, leading over 2,000 bicycle- and transit-based outdoor education programs, teaching ecological science and sustainable agriculture at 50+ Oakland public schools, and co-developing several successful “green” enterprises, including Cycles of Change.  Grey teaches ecological field studies and urban agriculture, and is a development consultant for Oakland-based non-profit organizations. Grey was an advisor for Growing Together in our early years and currently works as codirector to coordinate programming education and partnerships with local schools.

adélàjà simon, Co-Director, Workshops and Education

Raised in Baltimore, adélàjà is a first generation U.S.er of Yoruba and Haitian descent. He uses his body and life as a vessel to lift others up and to explore the question, 'What does a truly regenerative, place-based human culture that is rooted in ancestral wisdom look like?' Whether he’s farming, cooking, leading trainings, offering bodywork, speaking at schools, or accompanying you on a walk, adélàjà embodies his beliefs and invites you into this exploration in a way that instantly touches your heart. 

Paloma Collier, Program Director

Paloma grew up gardening in Northern New Mexico with her dad and grandmothers. She strives to bring that childlike wonder, love for nutritious food and connection to nature to all of her students and to her work in food justice.  She studied farming at UCSC's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, among other places, and brings that knowledge into all of her work. Paloma Collier is the Garden Educator at Markham Elementary school, where she has been working for the last 4 years, and coordinates Schoolyard Greening at Markham and other school sites. During the pandemic, she was instrumental, with the rest of the team, in developing and running our Farms to Communities program.

Osvaldo Guerrero, Green Schoolyards Specialist

Ozzy has worked in the garden maintenance and landscaping business for 8 years using organic and sustainable methods.  Over a period of several years he worked as a contractor to support school gardens through OUSD before becoming a team member of Growing Together.  He brings his experience in irrigation installation and maintenance, landscape construction (e.g. fencing, raised beds, benches), garden maintenance, and landscape design, to his work with our Green Schoolyards projects.

Jose Luis Rodriguez, Green Schoolyards Educator

Jose Luis is an environmental educator, gardener, and artist serving the East Bay. He is a first generation Mexican American with roots tracing back to Pajacuaran, Michoacan. He found his passion for growing food at a young age learning from his mother and grandfather who grew food in the hills of Michoacan. Jose Luis has worked on the installation of new school gardens throughout Oakland and offers leadership development through teaching about food, gardening, and sustainability with high school students. Jose Luis is also an artist and has also participated in various murals in the Fruitvale district.

Rosa Isabel Franco, Farms to Communities Produce Delivery Director

(bio forthcoming)

Mallika Nair, Founder, Development and Communications

With a decade of background in food justice activism, and a continued path of learning in permaculture, and folk herbalism, Mallika is passionate about sharing and spreading the magic of the plant world, remembering the old ways, and nurturing the youth. In 2013, Mallika started Growing Together, to plant fruit trees and run environment education in Oakland, California. She is currently working as a grantwriter for environmental justice and arts organizations, and is completing a Masters in Agroecology from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, with a focus on regenerative forestation.

Mallika is currently supporting Growing Together with grants and communications, and is grateful for the ways the work is continuing and evolving with new leadership. 

 

Growingtogetherinfo@gmail .com

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