BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Growe is fortunate to have trustees who share our passion for educating children about healthy eating and caring for the environment. Our board brings a wealth of knowledge, skills and community connection to Growe.
Matt Benjamin, Board President
Matt Benjamin is the Education Programs Manager at Fiske Planetarium as he holds a degree in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado. Matt served as Assistant Education and Public Outreach lead for NASA’s Lunar University Network for Astrophysics Research (LUNAR), written and produced 7 national and international planetarium shows, and has written and implemented 7 new courses and curriculum for CU’s Science Discovery Program, serving K-12 students. Matt loves nature and is driven to provide children experiences that inspire a sense of stewardship for their local environments and the planet as a whole. His passions are skiing, backpacking, gardening and photography.
Alex Hanifin, Board Secretary
Alex Hanifin is a native to Boulder, CO, and is the Co-Founder of Alpine Start Foods. She currently sits on the Executive Board of Directors for Naturally Boulder and The Growe Foundation. Alex most recently was on the marketing team at Boulder Brands. She previously worked in innovation and product development for Rudi’s Organic Bakery under the Hain-Celestial Group.
Founder and Managing Partner of Boulder Foods Group, Tom previously co-founded EVOL Foods and was the COO of Bear Naked Granola. Under Tom’s management, both businesses were successfully sold to public companies. In addition to his role at BFG, Tom proudly serves on the board of directors of three non-profit organizations including Growe Foundation, Chef Ann Foundation and Just Label It. Tom was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM. He attended Santa Fe Preparatory School and then Vanderbilt University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors and dual degrees in Economics and Spanish.
Jessica Benjamin, Member at Large
Jessica began event planning for Growe in 2008 and then joined the board in 2015. She began her experience in the restaurant & food industry where Jessica realized her passion for bringing people together over a delicious meal. Here she worked for two years on venue side of event planning with The Kitchen. Moving to the corporate meeting world, Jessica spent over seven years managing multiple clients to execute conferences and meetings all over the world. Jessica loves spending time with her family gardening, cooking, traveling and being outdoors.
Sonja Tuitele, Member at Large
Sonja has spent nearly 15 years working in the natural and organic foods industry. She began her journey as Senior Director of Communications and Investor Relations for Wild Oats Markets until she transitioned into her current role in 2007. Sonja then began leading strategic communications and sustainability initiatives for Aurora Organic Dairy, the leading producer and processor of organic milk for the store-brand market. Additionally, she consults a variety of companies in areas of public relations, investor relations, crisis management, brand development, and sustainability. Sonja is involved in many non-profit causes, and is particularly passionate about educating children about the benefits of natural, organic and locally grown foods.
Growe has committed and experienced staff members to help foster school partnerships and support to ensure the growth of your school gardens.
Lisa Atallah, Executive Director
Lisa’s background spans 20 years of Colorado nonprofit leadership, all centered around hands-on learning experiences for pre-school and elementary age children. Her passion is enhancing quality learning opportunities for young children through program engagement. In 1996, she founded and was the Executive Director of WOW! Children’s Museum in Lafayette, CO for 16 years. This Boulder County museum currently serves 80,000 visitors a year. Previous to WOW!, she held marketing management positions with corporations and trade associations in Colorado and Washington, DC. In her spare time, Lisa volunteers with her golden retriever and Alliance Therapy Dogs at schools, libraries and hospitals.
Deborah Foy, Program Director
Deborah has been involved with Growe since 2008, when she joined to expand programming from its initial start at Creekside Elementary. Bringing her marketing background and expertise as a Colorado Master Gardener she helped develop both the Garden To Table lessons and unique program model used today. Deborah has been an active member of the Boulder community, serving on multiple boards and is currently Conservation Co-Chair for the Garden Club of Denver. She is a passionate beekeeper and a founding member of the Bee Chicas, an advocacy group providing outreach and education on pollinator issues. She believes in the power of planting seeds to inspire change, loves food, travel and playing outdoors.
Sol VanNostrand, Garden Director
Sol has been engaged and in love with organic farming and gardening for the past 17 years. It began while he worked in college for the Center for Sustainable Living (now the Sustainability Experience Center) at Penn State University, which kindled his fire for the land and ethical living. He has since engaged in many organic farming projects, including apprenticing at and later managing Spirit Gardens CSA in Southern Oregon, working for Abbondanza Organic Seeds and Produce in Boulder, CO, providing organic produce to the Food Depot in New Mexico, and several homesteading and permaculture projects in California and New Mexico. Children’s education in healthy eating, organic food and gardening has become a center of interest for him. He brings a wealth of wisdom in the garden to direct the implementation of school educational gardens that serve as the foundation for Growe’s Garden to Table program.
Hannah Bare, Garden and Communications Coordinator
Hannah has combined her personal passions with her professional interest in environmental stewardship and community development. Her studies led her to working in Midwestern urban gardens, a large scale organic farm, wilderness conservation projects in the Pacific Northwest, tropical horticulture in Hawai’i, and drought educational gardens and ranch in California. She was thrilled to begin her work as Garden and Communications Coordinator with Growe in early 2016. Hannah is currently enrolled in CSU’s Colorado Master Gardener Certification program and in her free time she loves to dance, backpack and snowboard. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Urban Studies, minoring in Women’s Studies focusing on environmental and social issues.
Carol Olson, Garden Coordinator
BOARD ADVISORY COMMITTEES
The Board of Directors recently established 5 Board Advisory Committees, to be made up of board and community members with professional and personal interest in the following: Finance Committee; Marketing Committee; Fundraising Committee; Nominating Committee; and Program and Education Committee. Please contact us at email@example.com if you are interested in joining one of our Advisory Committees.
Bryce is a sixth generation New Zealander where he was trained as a Mechanical Engineer and moved to the United States at the age of 21. Working as a management consultant to hospitals he witnessed firsthand the effect that poor diets were having on children’s health and was alarmed by environmental issues. Here he became inspired. In 2004 Bryce started working with at-risk youth from Justice High School in Denver about food and farming. From this small beginning he went on to start the School Food Project in Boulder Valley School District to reform the quality of school meals and to develop the Garden to Table Program, an experiential learning curriculum for elementary schools.