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.
Elizabeth Westerfield, Treasurer
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Maggie Fleming, Executive Director
Maggie Fleming is thrilled to serve as Executive Director of the School Garden Network. Maggie is passionate about community organizing, youth and leadership development, and environmental activism. Her experience in nonprofit leadership includes serving as Co-Director of Transition US, the US arm of the worldwide Transition movement; Executive Director of EarthTeam, a regional youth environmental education and leadership organization; and Senior Development Associate at Earthjustice, an environmental public interest law firm. Maggie is a fellow of LeaderSpring and the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy.
Tracy Batchelder, Program & Administrative Associate
Tracy has volunteered for her children’s school gardens and parent teacher organizations for many years and enjoys spending time in her own garden. She appreciates the important role school gardens play in introducing students to essential connections between nature and their own health. She has a Masters of Environmental Management (MEM) and spent her early professional years working on conservation projects and programs in the United States and Latin America with government agencies and non-profit organizations. Working with SGN affords her the opportunity to combine her experience in non-profit management and natural resources management with her interest in education, gardening, and nutrition.