Meet Our Team
Board of Directors
Susan M. Pereles – Board Chair
David Geiman – Treasurer
Laura Jean Brand – Secretary
Sophie Cantell Lambert
Jenna Clarke Piersol
Jill Templeton, Founding Director
Clara was born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley. She received a BA in Sociology with a concentration in Nutritional Science from Bridgewater College. She lived in the Pacific Northwest for several years before returning to the Valley. Clara’s passion for food justice as well as local and sustainable food systems was nurtured and ultimately led her to Project GROWS. Clara has played an integral role in the organization since joining the Project GROWS team in 2018 as a seasonal Farm Assistant. Since then, serving in ever-expanding roles, she has successfully grown the organization’s outreach and impact in the region through strong leadership skills, her experience on the farm, a thorough knowledge of day-to-day operations, and a commitment to building relationships across the community and with our valued partners.
Director of Food Access
Megan moved to Virginia in 2017 after growing up in Oregon. While pursuing her degree in Public Health at Oregon State University she worked as a nutrition assistant at school gardens. This led to a deep fascination of the connection between food and community. Megan began working for Project GROWS in 2018 as Food Access Coordinator and since transformed many of the public outreach programs. As the Director of Food Access, Megan oversees Project GROWS’ Farmers Market and Mobile Market programs. She connects local farmers to local schools and other farmers market in the community. Megan is the Shenandoah Regional Lead for Virginia Fresh Match where she assists community food retail outlets in setting up healthy food incentive programs and on the board of the Virginia Farmers Market Association.
Director of Education
Nichole, originally from Virginia Beach, received her BA in English and MA in Teaching from James Madison University. Nichole taught English to eighth graders in Harrisonburg, led teenagers on the Pacific Crest Trail, and was the Children’s Education Coordinator at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum in Virginia. Now as Project GROWS’ Director of Education, she manages a wide-ranging menu of Farm to School programs. This includes directing Youth Leaders in Agriculture, managing the Dixon school garden, and numerous summer camps. In 2022, Nichole was awarded the Outstanding Business and Leadership Award from the Virginia Association for Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences for her work developing innovative Farm to School programs alongside Staunton City Schools. Nichole also holds a current Virginia Postgraduate Professional Teaching License (English 6th-12th).
Farmer Price hails from Charleston, South Carolina. She majored in Elementary Education at Clemson University, graduating in 2020. While at Clemson, Price founded Clemson Hope, a non-profit with a mission to empower students and teachers in Title 1 schools near Clemson, SC through relationships, resources, and opportunities. After passing her organization down to the next generation of leaders, Price pursued a passion in farming by working at several food system operations across the United States. Price brings a passion for sustainable agriculture, education, and relationship building into her farming practice and has dedicated her life to serving local food to her community.
Education Support Staff
Born and raised in Staunton, Fiona was a part of the Youth Leaders in Agriculture program their senior year of high school. After attending a year of college, Fiona is back on the farm during a gap year. Fiona is interested in environmental science, sustainable agriculture, and soil science.
Farmers Market Manager
Autumn was born and raised in beautiful Northern Maine. As a child she spent much of her time playing outside and witnessing all four seasons, which fostered a great sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. She loves to explore other cultures through food, music, and travel and considers herself very fortunate to have lived in Okinawa, Japan and Tucson, Arizona. In her free time she loves to cook, create, hike, kayak, photograph nature, and travel to new places. New to Virginia in 2023, she is loving this new adventure and to be part of such an amazing group of people working for an amazing organization.
Waynesboro Education Farm Manager
Jason is a Virginia native settling back home after living across the country. His work in healthcare administration and mental health & substance abuse centers has lent an incredible facet to Project GROWS community oriented programs. He desires to see humanity’s relationship to the earth and all of its inhabitants restored to a community cycle of care and dignity through education, good practice, and a large amount of grace for one another. As the Program Coordinator for the Waynesboro Educational Farm he oversees operations for this satellite farm. He believes in the mission of learning to listen through the practice of growing while providing access to nutrient-dense, chemical free food to in need communities.
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Jeremy received his BFA in Photography and Art History from the Art Institute Of Boston at Lesley University. He pursued a CIEE certificate in Globalization and Development in Thailand’s only international alternative education program. His experiences are far-reaching and untethered to a particular field. Working as a gallery curator and freelance artist his collaborations created experiential events to reclaim unused spaces. As a research assistant for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama his photography contributed to a global carbon budget project. Living in Costa Rica he helped build the brand of Sailcargo Inc. a regenerative cargo ship building company. He has once again transplanted himself and is now aiding the marketing and communications of Project GROWS.
Youth Leader Crew Leader
Rosie is native to the Shenandoah Valley and is majoring in Art at Bridgewater College. Beginning at Project GROWS in 2021 with very little farming experience, Rosie has grown a strong appreciation for the collaboration of farming which motivates her to strive for connections and efficiency when working with the farm team. This year she will help the Youth Leaders learn about growing food and continue to increase her own agricultural knowledge and skills.
Summer Camp Educator
Libby is returning home to Bridgewater, Virginia after completing her BA in Educational Studies and Peace Studies from Manchester University. After being a summer camp counselor at Project GROWS in 2021, Libby realized she had a passion for outdoor education and the incredible learning and personal growth opportunities that come from engaging with nature. Since then, Libby has interned with the Chicago Park District, deepening her knowledge of nature play and building project based curriculum. Libby is rejoining Project GROWS as the Summer Camp Educator and is excited to provide our campers with the chance to experience the joy of being on the farm.
Hannah-Jeanne came to Project GROWS with the goal of developing sustainable agricultural methods and systems. She is passionate about community and youth development, and received her BA in Anthropology from the College of William and Mary. She recently completed an Americorp service year working with a transitional refugee housing program in Washington DC. Though born in rural Texas, Hannah-Jeanne has spent most of her life in the Shenandoah region, and she is thrilled to have this opportunity to serve the valley’s land and people.