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 Summer 2022 Youth Leaders in Agriculture!

Kiersten C.
Staunton High School
Hi! My name is Kiersten and this is my first summer working with Project GROWS. I grew up in Staunton and just graduated from SHS. I heard about Project GROWS from my guidance counselor and was instantly intrigued. I am excited to enjoy nature and be outside this summer! After high school, I am going to George Mason University’s Honors College in order to study environmental chemistry. In my free time, I like to read and play soccer.
If I were a vegetable… I would definitely be a tomato. They grow alongside many others! They also remind me of my childhood summers.
Bailey H.
Staunton High School
I grew up in Staunton, Virginia and go to Staunton High School. I heard about Project GROWS from my high school. I’m interested in farming and working outside because after high school I’m considering pursuing an education in the environmental field. One thing I’m excited about my job at Project GROWS this summer is learning more about the environment. My favorite subject in school is science. In my free time, I enjoy riding horses.
If I were a vegetable… I would be a pumpkin because I love Halloween. I would be a fun part of the food and activities of the season.
Katie W.
Stuarts Draft High School
Hi! My name is Katie, and this is my first summer with Project GROWS. I grew up in Augusta County and graduated from Stuarts Draft HS this spring. There are several farmers, gardeners, and ag teachers in my family who have influenced my love for working with agriculture. I am excited to learn as much as possible this summer, while still being able to work with people of all ages. In school, my favorite subjects were agriculture and science. I will be attending Bridgewater College in the fall to study health and exercise science, in hopes of pursuing a career in physical therapy. In my free time, I enjoy spending time outside hiking, hunting, fishing, and doing things with my friends and family.
If I were a vegetable… I would be a cucumber because I am pretty laid back, but can be a little “prickly” at times.
Colby S.
Youth Farm Apprentice
I have lived in Staunton all my life and graduated from Staunton High. I was informed of Project GROWS in 2020 through school, and was fairly interested in working there through the summer. This year I return for my second summer at PG because the last summer was perfect. I’m excited to be back and to share what I learned last year with the new Youth Leaders in Ag. I hope to continue in agriculture and improve my skills, body, mind, and be a better person than when I arrived.
If I were a vegetable… BEANS beanz beanz beanz beanz beanz! Because beans are the ultimate work snack!
Rosie C.
Assistant Crew Leader
I have lived in rural Augusta County my whole life and have always loved the beauty of it. I am a passionate artist and have recently worked mainly in portraiture. I also love to work with plants, specifically herbs and flowers. My family members (nine siblings, nephews, a niece, parents, etc.) are my best friends. I’m excited to see where my interest in farming and art goes next as I take a gap year and then attend Bridgewater College in Fall 2023.
If I were a vegetable, I would be a beet. As an artist, I enjoy spreading beauty and color throughout spaces I’m in, just like beets do with their vibrant, pink juice. Like a beet growing below the ground, I like to hide to take quiet times. When I farm, I love to get my hands dirty and feel connected to the earth. I also love how rewarding the hard work is when I get to eat fresh vegetables.
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 fifteen 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. 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.

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!

Kelsey Klotz

Kelsey Klotz

Administrative Assistant, Social Media Manager

Born and raised in the beautiful Augusta County, Kelsey grew up in the woods with her dog exploring the wonder of nature! After graduating from Blue Ridge Community College with an Associates in Science she turned her passion for nature into a photography business, capturing the beautiful scenery this area has to offer. Eventually that business shifted into more editorial photos than nature, which is what led Kelsey to Project GROWS!

If you were a vegetable, what would you be?
Carrots, as they are so versatile. You can put carrots with basically any dish and they will not only absorb the flavors around them but enhance them! Stews, soups, raw, cooked, you can never go wrong with carrots!

Email Kelsey

Mackenzie Jenkins

Mackenzie Jenkins

Market Assistant

Mackenzie grew up in Richmond, Virginia and moved to the Shenandoah Valley to study Sociology and Spanish at James Madison University. After graduating, she worked for a short time at a bowling corporation and quickly realized that she wanted to do something more community and land oriented. She returned to the valley and spent a few seasons doing disaster relief work and working in our National Parks and Forests with a conservation program in Virginia. In 2018 Mackenzie discovered a budding love for local farmers and agriculture when she was hired as the assistant manager of the produce department at the Friendly City Food Co-op in Harrisonburg. Four years later, she still works at the co-op and now with us, so she can continue to learn and understand how local farmers and organizations can serve the wider community in different ways! 

If you were a vegetable, what would you be?
I would be a golden beet. I love how bright and sunshine-y they are for something that grows underground in the dark! I also love how you can eat all the parts of a beet, and that distinct earthy sweetness that they have. 

What do you love about farming?
It’s such a beautiful thing to watch things turn from tiny seeds into food that feeds families and the local community! 

Alison Profeta

Alison 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.