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
Managing Director of Development, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank

Emeriti Directors

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

Staff

Introducing our Spring 2022 Youth Leaders in Agriculture!

Rosey F. 
I grew up in Staunton and I am a senior at Staunton High School. I am interested in Project GROWS because I want to make a positive impact in my community. I have always been interested in farming and ecology because I feel like there is much more we can do for the environment. I am most excited about working with people this Spring. After high school I plan to go into pediatrics, in hopes that I can make a difference in the lives of others. 
I would be a cucumber because I love the color of them! They are a little rough on the outside and nice on the inside and I feel like that is an important message.
Austin C. 
I grew up in Broadway, Virginia then moved to Staunton about a year ago. For about 10 years, I studied martial arts and got my 1st degree black belt. I think of myself as quiet but can be talkative. I enjoy being outside and using my hands!
If I was a vegetable, I’d be a potato. With potatoes, you can have a lot of different flavors!
Annie Sachs

Annie Sachs

Executive Director

Raised in nearby Rockbridge County, VA and educated at VCU, until recently Annie served as Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Waynesboro, Staunton, and Augusta County where she gained deep appreciation for the challenges facing communities in our area. As a mother and community-minded citizen, Annie is a consistent advocate for wellness and the importance of connection to the natural environment amongst youth and families in our region. 

If you were a vegetable, what would you be?

If I were a vegetable, I would be an artichoke. They have a tender heart at their core which is protected by strong layers of leaves—contrast and characteristics that may be interpreted in a myriad of ways! Artichokes are an ancient vegetable full of symbolism— and they’re quite delicious!

Email Annie

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.

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.

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.

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!

Robert Clemmer

Robert Clemmer

Farm Educator

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.

Georgia Meyer

Georgia Meyer

Market Manager

Georgia grew up in the great state of Minnesota, spending ample time romping around on her family’s farm in northern Iowa. In college her love of growing plants solidified when she completed Urban Adamah’s urban farming fellowship in the Bay Area, CA. After receiving her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Haverford College, Georgia moved to the Shenandoah Valley to take part in Allegheny Mountain Institute’s Farm and Food System Fellowship. During this time she leaned in to small-scale agriculture and communal living, eventually managing Staunton’s Local Food Drive-Thru—an initiative to keep farmers and food producers in business during the pandemic. After AMI, Georgia continued managing the Drive-Thru while working for Second Mountain Farm.

When she’s not at work, you can find her making soup, exploring the mountains, and playing the fiddle and racket sports (but not at the same time).

If you were a vegetable, what would you be? 
I would be a versatile hakuri turnip—I’m a root vegetable gal myself, but you can’t go wrong with some tasty greens to top it off!  

What do you love about farming?
Farming opens your eyes to the time and energy that goes into feeding ourselves and our community. It’s easy to take for granted what’s on our plate, but farming shows that it’s all interdependence–a true labor of love!

Abria Brown

Abria Brown

Social Work Intern

Abria was born and raised in Staunton where she attended and graduated from Staunton High School in 2018. She went on to finish her first two years of undergraduate school at Blue Ridge Community College where she then graduated with her Associates of Applied Science in Human Services in 2020. Abria then began her junior year of college at Mary Baldwin University, she is now in her final year at MBU and on track to graduate in May of 2022 with her Bachelor of Social Work. After graduation, Abria hopes to work closely with at-risk youth. 

If you were a vegetable, what would you be?
Probably a potato! They’re such a versatile vegetable and have a form for everyone to love.

What do you love about farming?
I’m new to farming, so right now I’d say I love the anticipation of learning about farming and about the land the most. 

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!

Allison Profeta

Community Ambassador

 Allison Profeta is a writer and activist who moved to Staunton in 2013 after having lived on Long Island, NY her entire life. She majored in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, is a single mom, and a novice gardener. She’s passionate about justice and equity and her work is focused on empowering her community to feel both well-informed and inspired to fight for both on a hyper-local level. Allison first visited Project GROWS on a field trip with her children who are unschoolers. She worked to legalize the keeping of hens in Staunton and became the first public housing resident to serve on Staunton’s Housing Authority Board.

If you were a vegetable, what would you be? If I were a vegetable, I’d be a big bulb of garlic. Garlic makes everything better and should only ever be measured with your heart. Plus, only garlic could steal an entire scene in a movie like Goodfellas: “In prison, dinner was always a big thing. We had a pasta course and then we had a meat or fish. Paulie did the prep work. He was doing a year for contempt, and he had this wonderful system for doing the garlic. He used a razor, and he used to slice it so thin that he used to liquefy in the pan with just a little oil. It was a very good system.” That scene, watching Paulie slowly slice through a clove of garlic with a razor, always makes my mouth water.