Jacquelyn ZitaDirector of Education and Operations & Farm Manager, Professor Emeritus University of Minnesota
Prominent Gender/Women’s Studies scholar and educator, Jacquelyn is the former Chair of the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota and former national President of the Women’s Studies Association. She serves as WEI’s volunteer Director of Operations and Education and Farm Manager for WEI’s Amador Hill Farm. Dr. Zita holds a BS in Biology and Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Washington University, St. Louis. Jacquelyn brings eight years of experience running our CSA farm and extensive knowledge of organic farming, biology of farming, women’s health issues, and gender, environmental and social justice studies. She is currently heading up WEI’s North Circle Project, working with Chisago County’s Food Charter, and developing WEI’s new school, Down to Earth: A School for Sustainability, Arts and Justice.
Karen ClarkExecutive Director
Karen earned her BA in nursing from the College of St. Teresa, worked as a public-health nurse and OB-GYN nurse practitioner, community organizer, earned a Masters of Public Administration graduate degree from the JFK School at Harvard University, and has served as a progressive Minnesota State legislator for 34 years representing three core-city South Minneapolis neighborhoods.
Karen is currently a part-time instructor at St. Catherine University’s Graduate Program of Holistic Health Studies. Karen’s passionate dedication to environmental justice is reflected in her legislative, community and personal priorities. She is volunteer Executive Director.
Jerry KrierFinancial/Human Resources Manager
Jerry holds a BS in Industrial Technology from U.W.-Stout and a BS in Accounting from Metropolitan State in St. Paul. Jerry has worked in the accounting field for over 10 years and provides accounting services including all payroll tax filing for many clients in the Twin Cities Metro Area.
Jerry is a member at Access Church in NB. Adeline Starin (his granddaughter), is 3-1/2 and just learning how to count and say everything she hears. Jerry’s lovely wife Kathy Krier is a stay at home mom who loves to decorate. They have 3 children Melinda Starin with husband Quentin and granddaughter Adeline; Bryan Henrichs, and Christina Grams with husband Reggie. All children are in the Twin Cities Metro area.
Jerry’s and his wife Kathy moved to Almelund in 1993 and worked together to build an EI or Environmentally Toxic free safe house for Kathy’s health. Chemical toxins compromised Kathy’s health many years before. Jerry is an active member with his home church Access in North Branch and serves in the nursery teaching and helping the 0 to 3 year olds.
Melissa KingPT Farm Assistant/Supervisor
Melissa began as a CSA work-share volunteer with WEI two years ago. She participated in the Growing Power training weekend at WEI and is now hired as a part-time farmer at the Amador Hill Farm Campus. Melissa notes that she enjoys working and learning farm skills as well as preserving the fruits of the harvest. She has become an essential part of the WEI farm production team.
Gina SappWEI Farmer and HFJC Herb Apprentice
Gina has a BS in Education and an Associate’s degree in Physical Therapy Assistance. She was a Chisago County Master Gardener for 10 years, and she and her husband own a small farm in Almelund, MN where they raised Scotch Highland Cattle and chickens for many years. They currently farm a home garden and orchard for their personal use.
Gina has been active as a volunteer in medical missions work, and participated in a trip to Guatemala where the team served the medical needs of the indigenous Mayan population. She is also an active member of her home church in Almelund, and serves on the Sunday School and Adult Education committees, among others..
Ly VangHmong Women Farmers Group – Farmer at WEI
Founder and former Executive Director of the Association for the Advance of Hmong Women, Ly is a licensed nurse who is also employed as a skilled medical interpreter at several health care settings. Ly leads a group of hardworking Hmong women farmers who are employed part time at the WEI farm and also have their own culturally specific garden sites where they expertly grow Hmong produce and herbs, both for family use and for markets.
Annelie Livingston-Anderson24th Street Urban Farmer Administrative Coordinator
Annelie graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a B.S. in Biology. She received her Master of Science in Integrated Biosciences from the University of Minnesota Duluth in July of 2012. Annelie served as WEI’s Program Manager for two years from 2013-2015. She is currently working for a third year as the Administrative Coordinator of WEI’s Mashkiikii Gitigan, 24th Street Community Urban Farm Project in South Minneapolis. Annelie and her husband Kevin (and their new baby girl) are in the process of starting a small organic farm, Good Turn Farm, in Stockholm, WI.
Rosa Victoria Zamora ChimborazoAssistant Farmer, 24th Street Urban Community Farm
An Indigenous woman from Ecuador, Rosa arrived here in the United States in 2011. She has been working with Christina at the Good JuJu Garden since the first day she arrived in the US. Rosa has a lifetime of experience as a professional farmer in Ecuador and comes from a long-time farming family. Rosa is very happy and very proud to be employed at the Mashkiikii Gitigan.
Belinda OlsonNaples Acres Farm
Belinda Olson is a partnering farmer (Naples Acres) who is one of our registered North Circle Farmers. More bio to come ~ Welcome, Belinda!
Christina Elias24th Street Urban Lead Farmer/Coordinator
Christina’s gardening/farming experience began when she was bicycling across France and she discovered a small farm at “La Benechie.” She stayed for more than a year to help care for the goats, make cheese and create a garden to grow produce from which was served “Table of the Host” – a bed and breakfast that served a five course meal to guests each evening. Her formal education includes a degree in both Spanish and French from Arizona State University, as well as Masters studies in theatre from California Institute of the Arts. She worked for more than ten years as a teacher, and one of her favorite teaching experiences was working at Dream of Wild Health with the “Cora’s Kids” youth program, which brought her back to farming.
Christina produced large community art installations through The Walker Art Center’s Open Field titled: “We Are All Connected” (2011) and “The Abundant Harvest” (2012) which expressed her philosophy: there is abundance available to us all when we work together as a community and are willing to share. After spending four years developing “The Good JuJu Garden” (2010 to present) which is still producing food for the community on land provided by American Indian Community Development at 2121 14th Ave. So. in Minneapolis, Christina is now proud to be the Farmer/Coordinator for the “Mashkiikii Gitigan” (Ojibwe for Medicine Garden), also known as the 24th Street Community Urban Farm. Her hope is that The Mashkiikii Gitigan is the beginning of something very exciting and positive for the Phillips Community in Minneapolis! Christina is thankful to her Grandmother and Grandfather, for their love of the earth that has been a huge influence in her life.