BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Julia Valentine, President
Julia Valentine teaches gardening in the Sonoma County public schools to children K-8th grade, where her passion for education and gardening are best realized. She is also a trained Waldorf kindergarten teacher with over a decade of experience, as well as a permaculture designer and teacher. Julia is a founding member of Transition Sebastopol, and works closely with the Sebastopol Grange.
Susan Stover, Treasurer
Susan is a Sonoma County farmer, selling produce from an organic orchard and an oversized home garden. Her many years as a produce distributor connects her to the regional farming community. Working with SGN gives her an opportunity to continue to share her commitment to small scale farming with all ages. She believes that learning to grow food is a building block of an education. She shares her farm with her husband and many pet animals.
Aimee Vorhaus, Secretary
Aimee is a sustainable agriculture and healthy foods activist who believes school gardens are crucial to promoting a better understanding of how food is connected to our personal and environmental health. She has a background in fundraising and grant writing, and is currently the School Garden Chair at Grant Elementary where she has spearheaded the development of a new Outdoor Classroom and Learning Garden. Aimee also serves on several boards and committees at the local level, including Slow Foods Marin-Petaluma. She holds a Master’s degree from Brown University and a Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University. Aimee lives with her husband and two young children in Petaluma, CA where she grows fruit and vegetables year-round in their quarter-acre garden.
An educator and a gardener for over 20 years, Elizabeth Westerfield has taught English to Oakland middle schoolers, gardening to urban elementary school students, and English as a Second Language and GED preparation to adults in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. She also assists clients with garden design, development and maintenance. Currently, she and her family live in Forestville where they grow, glean, harvest, and process much of what they eat. She is passionate about the importance of teaching all people the values of eating healthy and growing healthy food, treating the earth with respect, and creating community.
Kenneth is from Scotland and works in the wine world with CIRQ Estate. In previous lives he’s been in general management roles with Seghesio, Medlock Ames and Healdsburg’s SHED. He spends his spare time crafting preserves and convincing people to eat more marmalade. An ardent supporter of school gardens, Kenneth also sits on the board of seedling projects – a do-tank for the artisan food community. He lives in Sebastopol with his uncomplaining wife and son.
SGN is accepting applications for new board members. We are also seeking volunteers to join our committees. If you are interested in joining a committee or want to learn more about serving on SGN’s board, contact Tracy Batchelder at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click HERE to learn more about SGN Committees.
Lauren Bowne, Executive Director
Laurel Anderson, Schoolyard Habitat Program Coordinator (and SGN Board Member)
Laurel Anderson is a founding member of the School Garden Network. She was the School Garden Coordinator at Salmon Creek School for the past fourteen years and is a regular guest instructor at Occidental Arts and Ecology’s annual School Garden Trainings. She currently works as a SGN garden mentor, is a coordinator of SGN’s Schoolyard Habitat Program, and is actively involved in the local farm to school movement. Laurel is passionate about shelling beans and seedsaving and helped to start the West County Community Seed Exchange. She lives with her fifteen year old son and partner on the Laguna in Sebastopol and loves to explore the Sierras!
Annie Silverman, Project Manager
Annie has worked at the intersection of agriculture and education for several years. Her passion for school gardens is rooted in a college internship in which she worked as a school garden intern in a preschool classroom in South Tucson. This experience opened her eyes to the beauty of a school garden’s ability to build community and increase nutritional awareness in a relaxed and organic way. After she graduated from the University of Arizona in 2010, her journey never led her far from growing food. Whether using the garden as on outdoor learning space in her own preschool classroom to managing a small organic farm in Homer, Alaska, she has always been interested in how to marry agriculture and education in way that builds community resilience. Previous to moving to Sonoma County, she lived in Fairbanks, Alaska where she earned a master’s degree in Professional Communication focusing on agricultural education throughout the state.
Beth Domenici, Healthy Roots Instructor
Beth has served as a biologist, educator, and volunteer coordinator for environmental groups throughout Sonoma County for over ten years. As a resource technician for the Sonoma County Water Agency, Beth designed creek-side landscape plans, developed permits and grants, conducted special status species surveys, and led groups of students in riparian restoration. As LandPaths’ Education Coordinator, Beth facilitated nature hikes, summer camps, and farm activities for over 1,200 children annually. She’s worn many hats for local organizations including Pepperwood Preserve, Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, Salmon Creek School, Sonoma State University, and more. Known by her students as “Bumble Beth,” she can be found frolicking the hills in search of wild food and medicine, riding her bright red bicycle, or playing (guitar) in a garden near you.