GRuB Staff

Meet the folks who make it all possible!

Rebeca Potasnik

Operations Director & Interim Co-Director

Rebeca has a Master’s Degree in Community and Regional Planning and Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Oregon. She has applied her passion for equity planning in the fields of public transportation, asset building, and now food systems. Olympia has been her home for over 20 years. She loves making her garden bigger and seeing how much food she can produce from her yard.

Kim Gaffi

Director of Youth Programs & Initiatives & Interim Co-Director

As a GRuB co-founder, Kim has served the organization for more than twenty years. She earned her BA in Community Development and BS in Environmental Science from the Evergreen State College and loves thinking about and working on the intersection of humans and the natural environment. Kim brings her passion for experiential education & food justice as well as her skills in group facilitation & organizational development to her leadership role at GRuB. 

Elise Krohn

Director of Traditional Plant Programs

Elise Krohn, M.Ed. is an educator, author, herbalist, and native foods specialist in the Pacific Northwest. She is committed to cultivating healing relationships between people, plants, place and cultural traditions. During her 18 years of experience teaching in tribal communities, she has worked with elders and cultural specialists to create successful community gardens, food sovereignty resources, a program on healing addiction, and curricula on chronic disease prevention. Through leading ‘train the trainers’ workshops, Elise has multiplied the number of educators who are teaching about native foods and herbal medicines in tribal communities.

Kerensa Mabwa

Cultivation Manager

Kerensa leads GRuB’s Community-based Fundraising, Special Events and Volunteer Coordination Programs. She comes to GRuB with passions for good local food, gardening and building relationships across multicultural backgrounds. She has over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit world from parenting & child welfare, affordable housing & grantwriting, and project evaluation & management. With Kerensa’s international background and passion for inspiring cross-cultural learning, much of her past work has been spent helping people to live successful and sustainable lives through empowerment and inclusivity.

Wade Uyeda

Youth Programs Lead Educator

Wade is a longtime Washingtonian, spending most of his life as an Olympia resident, which is where he developed a passion for serving others. He began his career with GRuB as a Cultivating Youth crewmember in the summers of 2000 and 2001. From 2005-2007 he went on to serve throughout Washington as an Americorps member through the Washington Conservation Corps. Wade is the first Cultivating Youth alum to be brought on as a core staff member of GRuB.

Jackson Sillars

Community Food Solutions Manager

Jackson is dedicated to creating relationships with people and the Earth that honor and build upon the work of those who came before us. He began his journey with GRuB in 2002 as the AmeriCorps Kitchen Garden Project (KGP) Coordinator. Since then he has worn a variety of hats within the organization including Youth Program Director and Community Engagement Coordinator. After an extended hiatus Jackson returned to GRuB in 2014 as an independent contractor and was hired as a full-time staff in the spring of 2015. In his new position he is excited to return to his roots with the KGP, support the development of the Victory Farm, further develop the Food Investment Garden (FIG) program, and encourage emerging community food solutions. He is grateful for any opportunity to explore the wild with family and friends

Heather Rudich

Farm Manager

Heather comes to GRuB after spending 4 seasons farming in Oregon.  She has a degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University, but her favorite place to teach has no walls or florescent lights.  She is so excited that her position as  Farm Manager weaves together her loves of  playing in the dirt and growing delicious food, as well as engaging with youth and community members in the relevant and dynamic work. Heather thoroughly enjoys living in the northwest and when she's not at the farm you can find her sniffing out the perfect camp spot under big trees or seeking out some funky jams.

Amory van Orman-Ballantine

they/them, she/her
Grants & Evaluation Manager

Amory grew up between the woods of northern New Jersey and hill country of Austin, Texas. They moved from Chicago to Olympia in 2007. They hold interdisciplinary B.A. (2007) and Master of Environmental Studies (2016) degrees from Evergreen, where they focused on postcolonial theory, literature, sociology, and political ecology.  They come to GRuB with a background in community organizing around issues of community health (particularly sexual assault and domestic violence prevention and survivor support) and spatial justice (particularly housing and transportation issues). Amory is passionate about storytelling and reflection as practices of research justice and popular education.

Mallorie Shellmer

Coordinator of Operations & Pollination

Mallorie is an alumna of our Cultivating Youth Program and has been with GRuB in a multitude of roles since being a youth crew member in 2010. As GRuB's Pollination Coordinator, she supports other school districts and organizations in developing their own GRuB-like programs and leads trainings on our program model & youth development tools. As a part of our administrative team, Mallorie supports smooth day-to-day operations. Mallorie has her Bachelor’s degree from The Evergreen State College with an emphasis in Business Administration and Community Development.

Selena Watte

Administrative Assistant

Selena came to GRuB as Administrative Assistant November 2017. Her pronouns are she/her. She is a GRuB Alumni from the 07-08 crew and continued on through 09 helping assist and prepare for Soiree 2009. She has two boys named Braxton and Dakota. Selena was born and raised in Washington and over her lifetime has been to 26 different states and lived in 4. Selena comes from an extensive background working with children and helping in the community as her passions. She is working on her degree in Nutrition.

Karen Ray

Seed to Table Program Manager

Karen has worked in the field of edible education for youth for over ten years, and previously served as the coordinator of Lincoln Elementary School’s garden program and as the Thurston County Food Bank School Gardens Program Manager. Karen has a doctorate in education and enjoys developing hands-on curriculum. She brings her passion for teaching kids about gardening and cooking to GRuB’s Seed to Table camp program.

Laura Marone

Victory Garden Project Coordinator

Laura cares deeply about social justice issues surrounding food especially access, affordability and sustainability. As a Veteran, Laura has a profound awareness of veterans’ needs and is a fierce advocate for integrated, holistic support for veterans. Laura hopes to make a difference in the lives of other service members and the community through inclusion and the cultivation of new connections. She has focused her education around policy initiatives geared toward improving the food system and she is currently completing her Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy.

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