Meet Our Team

Board of Directors

Ann Lefeve Snyder, Co-Chair
Director, Independent and International Schools
Council for Advancement and Support of Education

David Geiman, Co-Chair
Consultant – Agriculture Management
James Goalder
Senior Account Executive, Bloomerang Nonprofit Software
Deborah Bundy-Carpenter, RN
Nurse Manager, Central Shenandoah Health District,
Virginia Department of Health

Sophie Cantell Lambert
Vice President, UrbanPlan
Urban Land Institute
Susan M. Pereles
Attorney
Chris Aycock
D
irector of Development, Healthy Community Health Centers

Emeriti Directors

Tom Brenneman
Courtney Cranor
Jenna Clarke Piersol
Ryan Blosser
Jill Templeton, Founding Director

Staff

Introducing our 2021 Summer Youth Staff!

Introducing our 2021 Summer Youth Staff!

Youth Leaders in Agriculture Program

I’ve always lived in Staunton and I love the area. I go to Staunton High School, but I was homeschooled before the 9th grade. My favorite subject is math, and I intend to look for a career involving that. I also really like hands-on stuff, so I’m looking forward to learning gardening; I appreciate practicality, and gardening is an extremely useful skill. –Patricia W., 12th grade, Staunton High School

I was born in Newville, PA and have lived in 3 states. My most memorable place I’ve lived in is Staunton. I go to Staunton High School and I heard about Project GROWS from a teacher. When I am not working, I like to cook. -Kyra H., 11th grade, Staunton High School

I’ve lived in Augusta County my whole life, and I go to Fort Defiance High School. I attended a Project GROWS homeschool field trip a few years ago and became interested in the farm. In my free time, I love to make art of many mediums, go hiking, spend time with my big family, and care for house plants. After high school I plan to go to college and study art, psychology, and plants. –Rosie C., 12th grade, Fort Defiance High School

I grew up in New York and I’ve lived in Staunton for 8 years. I go to Staunton High School and my favorite subject is history because it’s the easiest one. After high school I plan on doing trade school for plumbing or electricity. When I’m not working, I like to sleep! -Garrett P., 11th grade, Staunton High School

My name is Colby and I am 17 years old. I heard about Project GROWS from a friend more recently and remembered I had been before on field trips. I became interested in farming because I like calm and open environments as well as plants and how they grow. I plan on using this opportunity and my experience to achieve a career in farming/agriculture. –Colby S., 12th grade, Staunton High School

Seth Z., 12th grade, Staunton High School

Nichole Barrows

Nichole Barrows

Director of Education

Nichole is a transplant to the Shenandoah Valley from Virginia Beach and after fourteen years is happy to call it home. After graduating with her BA in English and Master of Arts in Teaching from James Madison University, Nichole taught English to eighth graders in Harrisonburg, backpacked with Camp Woolman teenagers on the Pacific Crest Trail in California, and led forest field trips and directed summer camps in the woods as the children’s education coordinator at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum. She originally connected with Project GROWS when she brought summer enrichment students to the farm for field trips, and she joined the Project GROWS team in 2018.

Always delighted to learn a new tree or wildflower name, Nichole’s passion lies in connecting young people to the outdoors and to local food production. In her free time you can find her on the trail in the George Washington National Forest, with a field guide in one hand and binoculars in the other.

Email Nichole

If you were a vegetable, what would you be?
Like a sweet potato, sometimes I enjoy working on projects for a long time “underground” before the world gets to see them!

What do you love about farming?
Farming gets you “up close and personal” to the seasons of year—the anticipation and green of spring, the heat and hard work of summer, the bounty and color of fall, and the slowness and chill of winter. I’m fascinated by the seasonal parallels we see reflected in the progression of a day from dawn to midnight; the timeline of a human life from birth to death; and the life cycle of a plant from seed to compost. We have so much to learn from the land!

Megan Marshall

Megan Marshall

Director of Food Access

Megan moved to the beautiful state of Virginia in the summer of 2017 after living in Oregon her entire life. Prior to finding her home in the Shenandoah Valley, Megan found herself exploring the connection between food and community while working towards her undergraduate degree in Public Health at Oregon State University. One day, while working as a nutrition assistant at a school garden, Megan saw her first plant grow! Her mind was blown as she realized a zucchini grows out of a flower. This felt so special to her to witness such magic in the world and she wanted make sure everyone had access to this life changing magic, thus she began her journey at Project GROWS.

As the Director of Food Access Megan oversees Project GROWS’ Farmers Market and Mobile Market programs. Megan also works closely with local farmers, connecting them to food retail outlets in the community like our local schools and market opportunities. Additionally, Megan is the Shenandoah Regional Lead for Virgina Fresh Match where she assists new farmers markets, farm direct outlets (CSAs & farm stands) and community food retail outlets in setting up healthy food incentive programs such as SNAP-Match and the WIC/Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Outside of work Megan enjoys cooking, hiking with her dog Moose, and reading.

Email Megan

If you were a vegetable, what would you be?
I would be a mushroom native to the Pacific Northwest, growing on the mossy floor of a pine tree in the Oregon mountains. Mushrooms indicate healthy soil for trees and other plants to grow in. They also love the rain, the forest, and the mountains just like me.

What do you love about farming?
I love being a part of the process! From seed to vegetable, from farm to table, from season to season, from beginning to end. Growing food for myself and my community gives me purpose and connects me to nature.

Clara Metzler

Clara Metzler

Director of Community Engagement

Clara was born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley. Following high school, she moved to the Pacific Northwest where she lived for several years honing her barista skills and exploring glacier lakes. Following a backpacking stint in India and Nepal trying every variation of curry and momos she could, Clara returned to the valley and completed her BA in Sociology with a concentration in Nutritional Science from Bridgewater College in December 2017. While at Bridgewater College, Clara’s passion for food justice as well as local and sustainable food systems was nurtured and ultimately led her to Project GROWS.

When she’s not at the farm, Clara spends her time experimenting in the kitchen while listening to podcasts, playing frisbee with her pup Ginger, and spending time with family and friends – preferably outdoors!

Email Clara

If you were a vegetable, what would you be?
Green beans! They remind me of summertime meals at my Grandma’s house. Freshly harvested and sautéed with garlic (runner up in the favorite veggie race), I can’t think of anything more satisfying to my tastebuds!  

What do you love about farming?
Food! No farming, no food – and what a sad and impossible world that would be. More personally, farming provides me the opportunity to view the food system from beyond a consumer standpoint; by taking an active role in food production, I am constantly reminded of the time, care, and hard work that goes into growing the food that nurtures our bodies and minds.

Robert Clemmer

Robert Clemmer

Farm Manager

Robert grew up in Staunton and after college spent time working outdoors with conservation programs in northern New Mexico, Arizona, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. After adventuring in Alaska as a dog musher, Robert discovered a passion for farming as an Environmental Educator at the Rock Eagle 4H Center in Georgia, managing the farm at their History site. In 2018, Robert moved back home and is continuing his farming journey.

Robert has a degree in History and a degree in Classical Studies from Hampden Sydney College. He is also a Master Gardener and has a Blue Ribbon for his tomatoes. When he’s not on the farm, Robert is either playing mandolin, trail running, 3D printing, or spending time with his two dogs.

Email Robert

If you were a vegetable, what would you be?

I would be some kind of Winter Squash, with vines sprawling all over the place. In the summertime, I’d be blossoming all over the place. When fall comes around, I’d be showstopping, popping out some crazy-looking Pumpkins or Squash! Varieties would include Galeux d’Esyine, North Georgia Candy Roaster, or Tromboniccio Rampicante.

What do you love about farming?
I love the connection with the land and the connection with the seasons. Seeing all the ecological aspects that are involved is fascinating. I’m also moved by the idea of growing food and feeding others.

Brynn Grumstrup

Brynn Grumstrup

Director of Farming

Brynn first got the farming bug in 2008 during an apprenticeship at the Local Food Project at Airlie in Warrenton, VA. In grad school they explored the intersections of food access, community participation, and urban agriculture in Washington, DC and Arlington, VA. Brynn later lived and worked in the beautiful town of Pucón, Chile for five years where they managed two small farm businesses and grew delicious produce that wowed customers and chefs.

Brynn has also farmed in Colorado, New Mexico, and Oregon, and has worked as a teacher of English as a foreign language, youth educator, delivery driver, communications manager, and editor. A native of the high desert of northern Nevada, Brynn enjoys being outdoors, dancing, swim/bike/run, and delving into esoteric topics in a lamplit room.

Email Brynn

If you were a vegetable, what would you be?
I would be arugula because it can be spicy or mild, sweet or nutty, depending on the conditions, the season, and the number of cuttings.

What do you love about farming?
I like being both stimulated and humbled by working with natural systems – experiencing spectacular successes and failures and coming back for more.

 

Lindy Magness

Lindy Magness

Administrative Assistant + Education Coordinator

A transplant from the Midwest, Lindy has enjoyed living in Virginia for the past 4 years, getting to know all the wildlife she can. Lindy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Wheaton College (IL) and a Master’s degree from Eastern Mennonite University focused in Conflict Transformation. Lindy has done all sorts of work from floral arranging and event design to wilderness trip leading, swim coaching, and working in residential education for college students, but views her life’s work as helping plants, animals, and people learn how to get along with each other and find community and interdependence. Lindy loves hiking, running, and playing outside, especially when it is with her two pups.

Email Lindy

If you were a vegetable, what would you be?

I think I might be a butternut squash – people may think they know what they will get from me upon first impression (like delicious soup!), but I am capable of surprising people with lots of fun and creativity and depth (like amazing tacos!).

What do you love about farming?

I love farming because it helps us connect to the earth – not only do we get our hands dirty actually touching the earth when working at the farm, we also get to be responsive to the weather and work with what the seasons are doing. You can learn so much about adaptability and resilience by watching the way plants and animals have survived for centuries, and I think farming helps us reconnect to those more rhythmed ways of being.

Lallon Pond

Lallon Pond

Bookkeeper

After teaching and doing administrative work at Mary Baldwin University for 28 years, I retired at the end of 2020. During those years, I taught accounting, finance, and statistics. I graduated from Florida State University (FSU) in 1983 with an MBA/Finance and went into the doctoral program in Finance. I left FSU to teach at James Madison University in 1986. My dissertation was never completed, so left JMU in 1992. I started at MBU in 1993. I spent several years as MBU as the Director of the Adult Degree Program (renamed Baldwin Online). 

After retirement, I wanted to use my academic background to help non-profits in the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro area and found that Project Grows was looking for a part-time bookkeeper. I have been a long time supporter of Project Grows and was happy to take on a more active role in the organization.

Email Lallon

If you were a vegetable, what would you be?
If I were a vegetable, I would be okra. It has beautiful flowers that lead to elegant pods, if a bit prickly. It can be cooked and eaten in so many ways. There is nothing like fresh okra picked fresh when still small. Pickle, boil, steam, fry, bake, and use in soups and stews; so versatile and so unique!