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.

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.

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.

Rose Tardiff

Rose TardiffInterested in food justice and sustainable agriculture, Rose first connected with the Syracuse Grows community as a student at Syracuse University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Geography with a minor in Ceramics. Rose has previously worked on an educational farm in Lake Placid, as a researcher at the Syracuse Community Geography Program, and as a Geography Intern at National Geographic. She spent two years doing mapping and design at the environmental consulting firm TIG Environmental before returning to organic farming in 2018. Outside of growing food and flowers, Rose enjoys making pottery, cooking, and trail running with her Rotski dog Akira.