Sarah Brown

Sarah BrownSarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Science in Secondary Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After teaching in Philadelphia and Seattle, she moved to Detroit where she became involved in urban agriculture. Upon moving to Syracuse in 2010, Sarah quickly became involved in Syracuse Grows by joining the Advisory Board. Serving on the Syracuse Grows Advisory Board allows Sarah to combine her 10 + years of classroom-teaching experience with her love of community gardening, while working toward a healthier food system for all. Sarah is passionate about empowering a younger generation to take part in creating a more just food system. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband and two children cultivating their backyard vegetable garden, outdoor activities, reading, yoga, traveling, cooking and tending her honeybees.

Rozlynn Cespedes-Johnson

Rozlynn Jakes-JohnsonRozlynn is an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher for the Syracuse City School District. She has been teaching English to adult refugees through the district’s Refugee Assistance Program for over 5 years.

Her work in the classroom brought her to the garden when she started teaching an English class centered on gardening. She has been actively involved in the Karibu and Isabella gardens, and is currently their garden buddy. She also is heavily involved in the Salt City Harvest Farm’s community development and strategic planning. She enjoys working with diverse groups individuals on projects that help to increase our sense of community.

Rozlynn received her masters in Public Health from SUNY Upstate in 2015. Besides gardening, her other passions include dancing, hiking, and concocting delicious dishes in the kitchen. She has been on the Syracuse Grows board since 2012.

Jonathan Link Logan

Jonathan Link LoganJonathan is a program director with the Northside Urban Partnership. Growing up in Seneca Falls, NY, he gardened with his family. His studies in graduate school piqued his interest in repurposing vacant city lots for urban agriculture and community gardening. While working for the RRCDC (Rochester Regional Community Design Center), he helped a neighborhood group design and install a community garden near the city’s public market. This process helped him realize the importance of the Community in the community garden. Since moving to Syracuse, he’s helped several community gardens get started on the city’s Northside. In his spare time, Jonathan likes to like to spend time in the woods mountain biking, running, and cross country skiing with his wife Kristen and Noomi (their dog). Baxter (their cat) skips these fun activities and instead prefers to sleep, although he does tolerate it when they’re all at the house concocting their latest homebrew.



Jessi Lyons

Jessi LyonsJessi is a founding member of Syracuse Grows, and a home gardener. Jessi works for the Brady Faith Center directing a new urban farm project in Syracuse, and is a part-time natural resource educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County. Jessi’s Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from SUNY ESF focused on value-based community garden design and urban food production. Jessi is trained as a Master Food Preserver, and can be found experimenting in the kitchen when not in the garden. Before arriving in Syracuse in 2006, Jessi worked in the field of forest ecology and invasive species in the Pacific NW and Kentucky, and she’s still happy to botanize and talk trees with anyone.

Matt Potteiger

Matt is a founding member of Syracuse Grows and a professor of Landscape Architecture at SUNY ESF. His teaching, research, and community engagement focus on the intersection of food and landscape – how the food we eat shapes the ecology, public spaces, and social life of our city. Matt has enjoyed working with. and learning from the great diversity of Syracuse’s New Americans communities to help establish of the Isabella Garden and the Salt City Harvest Farm. His research on urban agriculture and food systems has taken him to Japan, Brazil, the Czech Republic and other parts of the world. New Woodstock, a small hamlet outside Syracuse is home where he lives outside of Syracuse by a waterfall which generates the power for his home. He spends his spare time tapping Maple trees for syrup and gathering wild apples, ramps, and other wild foods.

Jonnell Robinson

Jonnell RobinsonJonnell is a founding member of Syracuse Grows and the director of the Syracuse Community Geography Program at Syracuse University, a program that uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping and a participatory approach to examine community concerns. A native of Central New York, Jonnell returned to Syracuse in 2005 to work with the Syracuse Hunger Project, a coalition of social service providers, activists, and faith leaders that was created in 2003 to better understand and combat hunger in CNY. Syracuse Grows emerged out of discussions among Syracuse Hunger Project participants who were interested to expand urban agriculture and community gardening in Syracuse. Jonnell enjoys engaging with community members through community gardening and creating opportunities for university students to participate in grassroots food efforts. Jonnell enjoys gardening and cooking at home with her husband and children. Jonnell received her Master of Public Health and PhD in Geography from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.



Jennifer Stratton

Jennifer StrattonJennifer has served on the Syracuse Grows Advisory Board since 2013. She brings her 7 years’ experience as a near self-sufficient homesteader in Northeastern Vermont, and 3 years’ experience as a market gardener in central New York, to the board. These days, Jenny can be found teaching science in the Syracuse City School District. She lives on the Northside of Syracuse with her husband and daughter, and tries to grow as much food as possible on their little city lot. Jenny enjoys working with and learning from Syracuse’s New American Community, and has been involved with the Salt City Harvest Farm in various capacities since its inception.

Evan Weissman

Evan WeissmanEvan is a Syracuse native and founding member of Syracuse Grows and the Westcott Community Garden. Evan is an assistant professor in the new food studies program at Syracuse University. His research examines grassroots efforts to address food disparities in urban America and he teaches introductory and upper-division courses in food studies through hands-on approaches. Evan would like to see Syracuse develop comprehensive food policy that includes urban agriculture and community gardening. In his spare time, Evan enjoys cooking, eating, drinking, and merry making with his partner Erin, his three children, and a wonderful group of friends. The family can often be found tending the Westcott Community Garden during growing season.

Mable Wilson

Mable WilsonMable’s passion for gardening began with her work at the White Plains Garden Show for the Parks Department of Westchester County, NY and park ranger proceedings throughout the county. Mable then moved to Seattle, WA where she grew her own garden and started a business selling fruit and vegetables to various neighborhoods within the city. Another move back east to New Jersey roused Mable to help start a battered women’s shelter and grow yet another garden. Her final move to Syracuse came with a discovery of a vacant lot across the street from her family garden. After tireless efforts to learn how to obtain the space and working with city officials and community members, the West Newell Street community garden was born. In 2015 she received a Martin Luther King Jr. “Unsung Hero” Award.

Mable became a board member because she enjoys working from the ground up when starting new projects and sharing ideas with others. In addition to being a board member for Syracuse Grows, Mable is also a member of ACTS (Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse), the Gifford Foundation, and other community involvement activities. Her hobbies include drawing and painting, gardening, meeting people, hiking and fishing. Mable has always liked to watch things grow and love to eat the fruits (or vegetables) of her labor. Mable hopes to inspire more members of the African-American community to study horticulture and the sciences.

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