Meet the folks who make it all possible!
Beau cares deeply about the environment, issues involving food insecurity, and asset-based community development. He has a BA in Sustainable Agriculture and is working towards his Masters in Environmental Studies. Beau is a proud veteran of both the US Marines and US Army and is passionate about helping veterans and their families transition back home and build community. He is excited to help enhance the Victory Garden Project, support the development of the Victory Farm, further develop the Food Investment Garden (FIG) program, and encourage emerging community food solutions.
As a long time community member, Beth has aligned her career with working to create positive social change. She has been a business owner, community organizer, project manager and program developer both internationally and regionally. For over 12 years she worked in disadvantaged communities in India developing fair trade product with a women’s co-op and organic farmers. Beth worked for a social enterprise aiming to alleviate poverty and advance gender equality in West Africa through the use of fair trade indigenous resources and community empowerment initiatives. She is passionate about collaborating and connecting with people to help drive social change for a more equitable future. Beth first became involved with GRuB volunteering on the farm when her daughter was a toddler. She immediately felt welcomed into the community and loved being on the land. She is thrilled to be in this role to support GRuB’s impactful work and mission.
Billie Edwards is an alum of the Olympia High School Freedom Farmers, as well as GRuB. Billie started farming when she signed up for the Freedom Farmer program in 2016 and hasn’t looked back since. She briefly discovered GRuB after graduating high school, and worked as a farm assistant in spring of 2019, then returned to the Freedom Farmers the following summer. After three years in the Freedom Farmer program, Billie was offered a staff position from Blue Peetz (GRuB’s co-founder and founder of the Freedom Farmers) to continue to make a difference in youth’s lives. She worked her way up to a Paraeducator position, and became a strong leader to look up to. After ending her position with OHS, Billie transitioned back to working with GRuB as farm coordinator helping youth in GRuB’s GED program, GroundED. Billie has worked with and helped over 80+ students with the Freedom Farmers, 50 students in GroundED, and 16 farm assistants, all over the course of 3 years.
Clare, M.E.S, is a writer, artist, activist, bibliophile, tea-leaf reader, and urban rooftop gardener. She has enjoyed spending lots of her time playing with story--she's worked in bookstores for the past six years, and she's been a writer and storyteller all her life. She loves exploring the nuances of semiotics and rhetoric, hates jargon, and strives to both listen to and help uplift the voices and stories that have been too often cast aside. She can often be found playing at her secret swimming spots with a good book and a bunch of doodling supplies.
Deb is delighted to return home to Washington State to join GRuB’s leadership after several decades farming and teaching in Wisconsin and Illinois. During her 15 years at Angelic Organics Learning Center, she developed programs, partnerships and resources to help farmers and eaters thrive, including establishing an overnight farm camp, building regional programs for farmers, and growing a youth leadership and urban agriculture program. She loves to have her hands in the soil and takes great satisfaction from preparing and sharing good food straight from the land.
Dreama has been digging their hands in the soil on and off for the past 6 years and is a huge mental health advocate. Dreama believes working with the land and healing our relationship with the land can lead to healing the relationship we have with ourselves and others. From their life experiences they have an understanding that not everyone has access to resources that aid in overall wellbeing. This is why they are excited and determined to create more accessibility and resources for those in the community through the GRuB Garden Project! Dreama also enjoys painting, poetry, wildlife and seeking adventure whenever possible!
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” ~ J.R.R Tolkien
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.
Gabriel’s motto is pansies for pansies. They are committed to being the queer educator and farmer that they yearned to see while growing up. They have a fondness for snails and bindweed and other garden nuisances. Their favorite food memory is their maternal grandmother teaching them to catch blue crabs from the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, unceded Nanticoke land. They came to GRuB through an internship with the Garden Project. As the Youth Program Manager, Gabriel loves seeing participants connect to food, land, and each other on the GRuB Farm.
Jennah joined the GRuB community in 2019 as lead garden builder for GRuB's Garden Project. In 2023, she stepped into a new role as Farmer Veteran Project Specialist, where she will get to foster relationships with beginning Veteran farmers. As a Navy Veteran who struggled establishing roots and finding community in and out of the military, Jennah is passionate about creating supportive and equitable spaces for people to come together. Outside of GRuB, Jennah loves spending time with her sweet pup; hiking and foraging; creating and enjoying art; and growing, preparing, and eating delicious food!
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.
Sade Gilliom, MES, has been a part of the GRuB community since 2014 as a volunteer, Americorps member with the GRuB Garden Project, and workshop attendee. They joined the staff team in 2019. Sade’s main role at GRuB includes creating and managing systems to facilitate ease of operations. Sade’s passions include sustainable farming, wild crafting, ecology, criminal justice reform, community connection and everything GRuBby! They spend their free time with their goats and chickens on their farm and kayaking in the Salish Sea.
Born in California, but at home in Washington, Sahfir traveled the country at a young age picking up a deep sense of respect for the arts, native plant life and community. With experience in wellness consulting, sound therapy and activism, his hope is to continue to challenge the systems which continue to marginalize and exclude the communities whose lives would be positively impacted by GRuB's mission statement. The prospect of working closer with the land and the people who feed it back, make his efforts worthwhile.
Samara Gonzalez, MSN calls the entire west coast, from Alaska to Mexico, her home but has planted some sturdy roots in Olympia. And one day she would love to live in Hawaii so she can eat sweet, ripe papaya anytime! Making, sharing, and eating food together has always been important to her cultural identity. She is passionate about sustainable local food systems that are inclusive, culturally relevant, and community focused; food sovereignty is for everyone! Samara loves sharing good food and feeding people, mind, body, and soul! She enjoys dancing, meditating, being her wild self, and finding beauty in the world around her every day.
Selena came to GRuB as the Office Administrator in November 2017. She is a GRuB Youth alum from the 07-08 crew and continued on through 2009 helping assist and prepare for that year's Soirée. 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 four. Selena has extensive background working with children and is passionate about helping in the community. She is working on her degree in Nutrition.
An Olympian since 1995, Wade's formative years included the summers of 2000 & 2001 in GRuB's early teen programs. His love of community service brought him back to the staff in 2009 as the Farm Manager. After transitioning to Lead Teacher of the Youth Program from 2013-2019, he is now the Director of Youth Programs, supporting the youth leaders and program staff, building relationships with partners, and helping to educate others on the Youth Program's tools and practices. He also brings leadership to the regional Northwest Youth Garden Network, and the national Rooted in Community network. He is a big proponent of play and humor in this work, and outside of work can be found doing the same with his family and in community spaces.
Kelly ‘Yaya’ Odell
Kelly ‘Yaya’ Odell is an auntie, educator, beader, and descendant of the Mohawk Nation. They are obsessed with traditional corns, which evolved into a passion for Native plants of the PNW. They love the many forms in which people share stories, they love to cook and feast with community while sharing big belly laughs. Teaching on the land is a dream come true.
Mariana is a citizen of Yakama Nation, an íła (mother) and an artist with a passion for protecting Native foods and medicines and sharing their gifts in community. Mariana co-led Native student buffalo harvests in college which sparked her journey into Tribal Food Sovereignty. She worked for 7 years serving Native youth in leadership development initiatives nationally with the Native Youth Leadership Alliance and Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Youth. She is a founding development team member of the Tend, Gather and Grow curriculum. Mariana holds a B.A. Degree in American Indian Studies.