Meet the folks who make it all possible!
Kelly ‘Yaya’ Odell
Kelly ‘Yaya’ Odell is an auntie, gardener, beader and educator. They grew up as a guest on Squaxin Island and Nisqually land here in Olympia, WA. Their family descends from the Mohawk Nation, out of Kanatsiohareke (place of the clean pot), and other corn peoples of the South East. They also descend from Irish/Scottish/Swiss immigrants as well. Their mother’s love of gardening, and their own love of corn and the Three Sisters started their gardening journey, which evolved into a love of learning about Native plants of the PNW. They feel ecstatic to return home to this place where they befriended the cedars, ferns and nettles in their backyard as a kid. They are humbled and excited to join the Wild Food and Medicines team. They hope to learn how to be a better community member and land steward from the people, the land and the stories of this place. They love stories and the many forms in which people share stories, cooking and feasting with community, and sharing laughter with those around them. GRuB already feels like home.
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.
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 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.
An alum from the 2000 & 2001 GRuB Youth Programs, Wade has served the community as a GRuB staff member since 2009; first as the Farm Manager, then Lead Educator of GRuB School, and now as the Director of Youth Programs. An Olympian since 1995, he is dedicated to serving his “hometown,” and is inspired by the evolution of experiences we offer on the farm to youth of all ages. He’s also supporting Vocational Pathways and Opportunities for youth, interns, and volunteers; Staff Development by incorporating youth program philosophies; and sits on the Rooted in Community advisory board.
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.
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.
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.
Once a field researcher in urban ecology, Alexander has spent the last 10 years as a teacher all-sorts, now working to transform institutional trauma within education systems. He combines experience in program management, farm and garden coordination, and advocacy for marginalized populations with a commitment to radically sustaining care and the daily work of community-building. Alexander's goal is to develop and facilitate programming grounded in interdependence, joy, and strength. Additional modes of understanding he incorporates are Renewal Judaism, flower essences, and clown.
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.
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.
Born and raised in Alaska, Nicole grew up with the rhythm of seasonal subsistence hunting, fishing, and gathering. When she relocated to Washington, this way of life translated to a passion for both local food and for food systems justice. She had an exciting trek through higher education, obtaining a Bachelor's in both Anthropology/Archaeology and Religion Studies, and a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership. As the Director of Development at GRuB, she is joining her love of playing in the dirt, helping folks nurture healthy, reciprocal relationships, and deep appreciation for the connective, healing power of food.
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.