Board of Trustees
Michelle Blume, president of GROW's board of trustees, was a longtime gardener at the Solstice P-Patch near Lincoln Park until 2019 and as the site coordinator, she was instrumental in creating a leadership team to administer the patch. She gives credit to the P-Patch Program for further developing her enthusiasm for advocating on behalf of food security and the importance of supporting the “buy local/eat local” philosophy. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and is currently employed as a Procurement Agent for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. After a recent residential downsize and move to Auburn WA, she is now exploring the world of planter gardening and learning how to perfect the art of square foot gardening. When not puttering on the back patio, she is enjoys reading, binge watching Netflix shows, and taking walks with her husband and their dog, Abby, along the White River Trails.
Alice Burgess is a communications consultant with 35 years of experience in creating and managing public/community relations programs for non-profit organizations and public agencies. Much of her work has been focused on “friend-raising” communication strategies that maximize fund-raising potential. She has served on several other non-profit boards of directors and helped create fund-raising campaigns for those organizations. An escaped journalist, Alice taught writing for public relations and fund-raising professionals at the University of Washington for many years. She finds Seattle P-Patches particularly compelling because of their power to draw together people from diverse cultures and socio-economic strata, uniting them around a healthy shared interest. Alice and her husband have gardened at the Interbay P-Patch since 1996. Perhaps because she began gardening as a pre-schooler, she particularly enjoys seeing children learning to grow things in the P-Patches and enjoying the produce they nurture.
Michael McNutt has extensive experience helping small and medium sized manufacturers bring products to market, improve profitability, and to scale their operations. One of his passions is building strong communities and securing open space in the city where people can gather, talk, and garden. A native of Seattle, Michael has contacts throughout the public and private sectors and works to increase GROW's ability to raise money in order to more broadly fulfill its mission. Additionally, he makes use of his business experience in helping to increase GROW's effectiveness at executing its strategic planning goals and objectives. Michael has served on a variety of boards of directors, including the Epilepsy Association and Impact Washington (formerly Washington Manufacturing Services). A gardener at the Queen Anne P-Patch, Michael began serving on GROW's Land Stewardship Committee in 1998 and joined the board of directors in 2003. He currently serves as board treasurer.
Eric Todderud is an attorney in a two-person law firm that represents companies in the electric power industry. He has gardened at the Eastlake P-Patch for more than ten years. In his spare time, Eric bicycles, skis, and sails. Eric joined the GROW Board in 2012 and currently serves as the Board secretary.
Kara Conner is the Director of a local farmers market and is passionate about de-stigmatizing food access programs. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Washington State Farmers Market Association to advocate for food justice and provide support for farmers markets across the state. When Kara moved to Seattle, she was excited to join in community gardening and lucked out with the unique Howell Collective P-Patch in Capitol Hill. She loves the collective structure of this unique P-Patch and enjoys working together as a community to maintain and grow the garden. Kara joined the GROW Board of Trustees in 2020 because she wanted to bring a voice to P-Patch gardeners. She is excited to visit P-Patches and elevate the stories of gardeners across Seattle.
Brianna Hendeson is a graduate of Seattle University, where she majored in Strategic Communications. She has spent the last ten years of her professional career in various positions in community engagement, communications, fundraising, and marketing. Through her participation in a number of volunteer projects, she is expanding her knowledge in brand and social strategy, which are areas she aims to implement at GROW. When she is not keeping busy between work, school and volunteer gigs, she can be found gardening at her plot on the Eastside, which helps her to manage stress. Not only is gardening in a p-patch personally valuable to her, she values maintaining green spaces in an ever-changing city like Seattle and the community building that happens among diverse groups at p-patch gardens. She previously held a plot at the UpGarden P-Patch in Queen Anne.
Jay Galligher has an extensive background leading and growing operations, product, and technical development teams to build digital health programs in the private sector. With that, he brings experience in how to create immersive digital experiences for people. Most recently, he launched a digital type 2 diabetes prevention program that earned recognition by the CDC as an effective program that delivered significant results. Jay is now widening his scope of health to that of our mother earth. He's currently attending the University of CO earning an MBA with a focus in sustainability. Jay is a Seattle native and grew up gardening with this family. Some of his earliest memories are of picking carrots out of the garden with his grandmother and has since become a staunch advocate for food justice. As a young adult, he joined Seattle's P-Patch but now gardens at his Beacon Hill home with his two daughters, Iris and Vivian, and spouse Matt. When he's not out in the garden, he's doing other activities in the outdoors like camping, hiking, or playing in the park with his family.
Stephanie Gai is a Seattle native who holds a JD and MBA from Seattle University. Her legal practice specializes in immigration law, where she focuses on family unification and assisting victims of violence. Stephanie joined the Interbay p-patch in 2019 with her husband and dog, who were all very excited to graduate from window-sill gardeners to having a patch of land to grow our plants!
Kristin Parker has always enjoyed growing food and became a p-patch gardener in 2013, first at the Burke-Gilman P-patch and later at Westcrest P-Patch in West Seattle where she currently serves on the leadership team. She brings to the GROW Board more than 20 years of experience working with nonprofit foundations, trade, and professional associations. She is currently employed with the Legal Foundation of Washington which funds civil legal aid programs for low income people throughout Washington state. Kristin joined the GROW Board in 2019.
Tanya Sinkovits brings her experience in journalism and digital marketing to the GROW Team. She is currently the Digital Content Specialist at Pike Place Market, where she supports local businesses, artists, and farmers through educational classes and one-on-one guidance. For a decade prior, Tanya worked in television and radio newsrooms across the county revamping their digital and social media presence. Tanya is passionate about helping people and organizations find their voice, learn about seasonal eating, and bond over gardening and the outdoors. Tanya was an active member of the UpGarden P-Patch for several years before joining the GROW Board of Trustees in 2019.
JoJo Tran has been gardening at Cascade P-Patch Community Garden since 1999. He works as an independent contract / contact for the City of Seattle, King County and other organizations in special projects and programs. As an educator and a long time volunteer, JoJo is a strong supporter and advocate of a sustainable system consisting of organic gardening and soil building, as well as composting and recycling. He is a champion for our community’s farmers' markets, maintaining the city’s Green Belts, and the need for the Giving Gardens. JoJo shares his love of gardening through giving, sharing seeds, plants, and freely offering fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers to people in his community.