Team

We're creative, results-oriented individuals who are passionate about food education.

Amina Bahloul

Kitchen Teacher,
P.S. 7/M.S. 7

About

Amina hails from Michigan, where she grew up cheering on the Spartans. Prior to Edible Schoolyard NYC, Amina worked as a Nutrition and Garden Educator through the Michigan Fitness Foundation and served as Healthy Lifestyles Project Coordinator with the Capital Area Health Alliance. Amina brings to her work a degree in Nutrition, a love of trying new things, and a passion for connecting kids to real food.

Veggie Alter Ego

Leek

Get in Touch

Email Amina

Zoe Behan

Grants & Communications Manager

Zoe grew up in Montclair, NJ where she now lives with her family. After spending 15 years in magazine publishing, she has transitioned to the world of nonprofits and couldn’t be happier. Working at ESYNYC allows Zoe to marry her love of food and cooking with her passion for education and equity.

Veggie Alter Ego

Broccolini

Get in Touch

Email Zoe

Kate Brashares

Executive Director

About

Originally from London, Kate has made her home in the U.S. for the past 15 years. After a varied career spanning financial services and marketing, she turned to nonprofit management. Prior to Edible Schoolyard NYC, Kate worked at a charter school network. She studied Classics at Cambridge University and has an MBA from Columbia University. She lives in Montclair, NJ with her husband and three children, where she enjoys attempting to turn her wild backyard into a beautiful garden and cooking with her family.

Happy Place

On the back of a horse, anywhere

Get in Touch

Email Kate

Liza Engelberg

Director of Education

About

Liza comes to Edible Schoolyard NYC after many years as a classroom teacher of both children and adults, and trains our educators to become better teachers themselves. She is currently trying to perfect the kale pesto recipe she learned in a kitchen class at PS 216.

Favorite Cookbook

Marcella Hazan: Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

Get in Touch

Email Liza

Dan Feder

Program Manager,
P.S. 216

About

Dan comes to Edible Schoolyard NYC from the culinary world. Prior to 2012, Dan had a brief stint in the nonprofit development world before leaving to attend culinary school and cook professionally in New York City restaurants. Fortunately he found his way to Edible Schoolyard NYC at P.S. 216, where he happily remains to this very day.

Favorite Cookbook

Eating Delancey: A Celebration of Jewish Food

Get in Touch

Email Dan

Andrea Ferguson

FoodCorps Service Member,
Bubble Schools

About

Andrea grew up in a small town in Florida. After coming to New York to study Nutrition & Public Health, she began volunteering in nutrition education. Her experiences over those few years sparked a passion for food justice, leading her to Foodcorps. She loves being able to try new things and bring people together over good food.

Favorite Cookbook

Feeding the Resistance by Julia Turshen

Get in Touch

Email Andrea

Tessa Finkelstein

FoodCorps Service Member,
Brooklyn Gardens Elementary

About

Tessa returns to FoodCorps for her second year with great vigor and excitement to continue her work and deepen her impact on her school community. She’s a passionate plant advocate with a desire to nurture her students’ curiosity and creativity. Her wish is for every human being to have a nourishing and joyful relationship with food. She believes that food is far more than sustenance – it is a vehicle for connection, collaboration and community.

Veggie Alter Ego

Dragon Carrot

Get in Touch

Email Tessa

 

Marissa Finn

Garden Teacher,
P.S./M.S. 7

About

Marissa grew up on Long Island believing that food grew in the grocery store. After two years as a FoodCorps service member in Guilford County, North Carolina, she discovered that okra is a necessity and biscuits are almost as good as bagels. Armed with a Master’s in Food Studies and years of experience teaching cooking, nutrition, and gardening, she is pumped to be back home to teach gardening in the big city.

Veggie Alter Ego

Sweet Potato

Get in Touch

Email Marissa

Cady Frazier

Program Manager,
Bubble Schools

About

Cady joins Edible Schoolyard NYC with a strong culinary and food justice background. She got her start as a chef and has cooked in restaurants, bakeries, and schools. Last year, Cady served with FoodCorps, working in NYC public schools to foster a creative interest in food and flavor during classroom lessons. Cady is currently studying Food Policy at the New School and plans to work towards making systemic improvements in our food system.

Get in Touch

Email Cady

Cecilia Galarraga

Garden Teacher,
P.S. 216

About

Cecilia has been teaching in parks and gardens for several years in NYC. She can most likely be found looking for ladybugs in the asparagus bed or taking a nap next to the basil.

Favorite Cookbook

The Joy of Cooking

Get in Touch

Email Cecilia

Devon Gingrich

Garden Manager

About

Devon grew up in the suburbs of Albany playing in her backyard with her sister and rollerblading around the neighborhood. She studied Environmental Science at SUNY Binghamton and fell in love with farming as a WWOOFer on an organic vegetable farm in the Adirondack mountains. After a summer spent singing, sweating, and eating too many strawberries, she decided to pursue farming post graduation. Devon has spent the last several years working and managing organic vegetable farms in the Hudson Valley area. As a recent transplant to NYC, Devon hopes to bring her love of the outdoors and diverse farming experiences to a new generation of growers and eaters. When not covered in soil, she enjoys training for half marathons and baking for her friends and family.

Happy Place

The Adirondack Mountains

Get in Touch

Email Devon

Shey Hall

Kitchen Teacher,
P.S./M.S. 7

About

After years of working in account management at a media research company, Shey decided it was time to leave the corporate world to sprout new seeds in classrooms and gardens. As a proud Bronx native, Shey found his passion in his community (and its soil!) after learning how to grow everything from jalapeño peppers to cherry trees. When he’s not busy advocating for the Bronx, he can be found exploring the world with his wife, daughter, and dog.

Happy Place

Planning my next adventure

Get in Touch

Email Shey

China Hoffman

Evaluations Coordinator

Food is the common thread in China’s diverse career path, which has spanned working as the restaurant critic at the paper of record in Pittsburgh, PA; heading up merchandising at a food e-commerce startup; and, now, helping to measure the impact of an edible education on NYC kids. 

Along with her work at ESYNYC, China is (very slowly) pursuing a master’s degree in Organizational Psychology, while also trying to spend a lot of time with her two young kids. 

Favorite Cookbook

Melissa Clark’s “Dinner”

Get in Touch

Email China

Lizzie Honan

Vice President, Growth Strategy and Development

About

Lizzie hails from Albany, NY, where she grew up enjoying treats from her mother’s garden. After many years raising money for one of NYC’s public parks, she is thrilled to bring her love of outdoor green spaces, colorful veggies, inquisitive kids, and strategic fundraising to the Edible Schoolyard NYC team.

Happy Place

Fire Island

Get in Touch

Email Lizzie

Leonisa Johnson

Educator/Program Manager,
Evergreen School for Urban Exploration and Brooklyn Gardens Elementary

About

Leonisa joined the Edible Schoolyard NYC team after spending several years working to bring edible education to local New York City after-school programs. A native New Yorker, Leonisa has always enjoyed cooking, eating, and spending time around the table.

Happy Place

The beach

Get in Touch

Email Leonisa

Anthony Jones

Garden Teacher,
P.S./M.S. 7

About

Originally from New Rochelle, NY, Anthony grew up with a love for getting his hands dirty. After studying Environmental Science, Anthony worked in the mountains of California to reconnect students from urban areas to the outdoors. In addition to his experience in outdoor education, Anthony has also worked alongside local community members to promote healthier eating habits. Anthony is passionate about garden-to-table education and encouraging others to eat their fruits and veggies. He is ecstatic about working with NYC students to inspire, grow and eat fresh food. When he doesn’t have his hands deep in compost, Anthony can be found in Barbados, scuba diving, rescuing sea turtles and relaxing on white sand beaches.

Veggie Alter Ego

Butternut Squash

Get in Touch

Email Anthony

Paloma Jones

FoodCorps Service Member,
Evergreen School for Urban Exploration

About

Paloma is a proud native New Yorker, born and raised in Queens. Her enthusiasm for this work has brought her home, where she’s excited to bring her passion for food and nutrition to the 5 boroughs. After earning two Bachelor’s degrees, a BA in psychology from NYU and a BS in nutrition and dietetics from Queens College, Paloma is looking forward to bringing her knowledge to her role as FoodCorps service member in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Prior to coming to ESYNYC, Paloma volunteered as a dietary intern with City Harvest. Most recently she worked as a Program Manager in the Children’s Education Department at New York Cares. In her free time she can be found enjoying all the amazing food the city has to offer.

Get in Touch

Email Paloma

Hannah Joseph

Kitchen Teacher,
P.S. 216

About

Hannah grew up in Washington State, following her mom around the kitchen and exploring the great outdoors. After graduating from Whitman College with a degree in Environmental Studies and Biology, Hannah found her way to Thailand and the education world, first teaching English and later working as a field instructor for a study abroad organization. She merged her love of food and Environmental Studies and Biology as a FoodCorps Service Member in the South Bronx and is now settling into the kitchen classroom at PS 216, where she can’t wait to bring people together around the table. When not in the kitchen, you can find Hannah exploring new places via bicycle or picnicking in the park.

Favorite Cookbook

Pok Pok

Get in Touch

Email Hannah

Alex Larson

Communications and Outreach Coordinator

About

Before coming to NYC, Alex was living her greenest life, leading climbing trips and studying community development in the valleys, rivers, and mountains of beautiful Vermont. It was in Burlington that she experienced the power of community, which sparked her passion for bringing people together around food. When she’s not writing for Edible Schoolyard NYC, you can probably find her being resourceful in her humble kitchen or biking leisurely around Brooklyn, usually with a huge smile.

Veggie Alter Ego

Artichoke

Get in Touch

Email Alex

Rosa Marruffo

Program Manager,
P.S./M.S. 7

About

Rosa comes to Edible Schoolyard NYC by way of OklahomaShe has spent the last six years in garden and food justice education, and has a Master’s in Public Health focusing on community health and social sciences. Rosa is passionate about addressing the unfair access to fresh, affordable healthy foods in order to give everyone a chance to live a healthier life.

Happy Place

Oil painting

Get in Touch

Email Rosa

Luis Medina

Operations and Finance Manager

About

Luis spent most of his childhood watching cooking shows and making a mess in the kitchen. He is currently working on his Master’s degree in Food Studies at NYU, where he is studying food access and hunger issues.

Veggie Alter Ego

Purple Carrot

Get in Touch

Email Luis

Fabian Moreno

Kitchen Teacher,
P.S. 216

About

Born and raised in South Central, Los Angeles, Fabian is a diehard Dodgers fan. Before finding his roots at our Gravesend Demonstration school site, Fabian wore many hats in both hospitality and education.

Happy Place

A baseball field

Get in Touch

Email Fabian

Ellen Okamoto

Events and Engagement Manager

About

Ellen’s roots are in the mangrove forests and citrus groves of Southwest Florida. While in college, she spent summer breaks waiting tables on a tropical island, caught the “care bug,” and has been working in restaurants ever since. She was drawn to New York in 2008, and her hospitality experience at Union Square Hospitality Group and Eleven Madison Park instilled in her a deep love for the NYC community and a need to get involved. She is thrilled to be working with kids, food, plants and of course, parties.

Veggie Alter Ego

Bird chili

Get in Touch

Email Ellen

 

Emily Pena

FoodCorps Service Member
Bubble: P.S. 83, Family Life Academy

About

Emily was born and raised in the Bronx with a loving family and cats. When she was younger, Emily loved cooking and baking as a way to explore her creativity. This led her to study dietetics, where her passion for cooking met her passion for helping others lead healthier lives. When she’s not working with Edible Schoolyard NYC’s Bubble schools, you can most likely find her practicing yoga or herbal medicine.

Happy Place

 Hiking

Get in Touch

Email Emily

Elizabeth Quintero

FoodCorps Service Member, P.S. 109

About

After studying English and Environmental Studies in Chicago, Elizabeth has returned to New York. After spending time teaching children about farming in upstate New York, she discovered her passion for food and sustainable agriculture. Elizabeth enjoys exploring everything NYC has to offer as well as finding new hiking trails north of the city!

Get in Touch

Email Elizabeth

Emily Rehberger

Garden Teacher,
P.S. 216

About

Emily grew up with her food-obsessed family in Wisconsin. She moved out to Berkeley to study Environmental Science, and then hopped over to Utah to garden with kids in the red rock canyons. She is now thrilled to be gardening here with the kids in New York City!

Veggie Alter Ego

Beet

Get in Touch

Email Emily

Ryan Renaud

Educator/Program Manager,
P.S. 109 and P.S. 311

About

Ryan comes to NYC from Texas, where he grew up around a family of educators and good food. After attending Columbia University for nutrition and becoming a Registered Dietitian, Ryan spent time at GrowNYC and Children’s Aid Society working with seed-to-plate and food justice programs. With a background in research, Ryan is as likely to be found reading a journal article as searching for the best new restaurant in town.

Favorite Cookbook

The Flavor Bible

Get in Touch

Email Ryan

Dinah Schmeltz

FoodCorps Service Member
P.S. 311

About

Dinah is a recent graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied history with a focus on community development and urban studies. Before serving with FoodCorps, she interned with the Science Barge in Yonkers, NY  and Edible Schoolyard NYC. Through these experiences and working with children in an after school program and daycare, she solidified her love of plant and teaching. Born and raising in Illinois, Dinah has happily called New York home for the past few years and is excited to serve in the Bronx.

Veggie Alter Ego

Dinosaur Kale

Get in Touch

Email Dinah

Emely Cabrera Soto

FoodCorps Service Member,
P.S. 218

About

Emely Cabrera Soto came to Edible Schoolyard NYC by way of Lynn, Massachusetts where she served as a FoodCorps Service Member. After serving with The Food Project, she discovered her passion for public health and education. Now in her second year with FoodCorps, Emely is excited to continue her work in food education while pursuing her dream of living in the city. Emely comes from Providence, Rhode Island where her family resided after they moved from Dominican Republic 11 years ago. She graduated from Guilford College with degrees in Sociology and Anthropology. In the future, she hopes to obtain her masters degree in Public Health and Education.

Happy Place

On the roof of her apartment with family & friends

Get in Touch

Email Emely

Jessica Tartanian

Evaluation Manager

About

Jessie didn’t know that her four years of mandatory agricultural tech classes in school would come in handy. Now with a Master’s in Public Health and over ten years of designing, leading, and training others to lead edible education programs with young people, she is delighted to be measuring impact and helping Edible Schoolyard NYC find new ways to make a difference in our school communities. She and her family live in Pennsylvania and travel back to Brooklyn for work and play often.

Veggie Alter Ego

Aubergine

Get in Touch

Email Jessica

Mirem Villamil

Head Garden Manager

About

Decades after leaving the beaches of Puerto Rico to become a set designer in Barcelona, Mirem switched to garden design (specifically for school gardens) in New York City. She is a mother of two young and experimental cooks.

Favorite Cookbook

Elizabeth David: inspiring, evocative, and not at all precise.

Get in Touch

Email Mirem

Test

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