Our Team

The GrowHaus is run by a talented and committed group of individuals that represent the diversity of Denver. As we grow, we are making an effort to hire neighborhood residents and others directly impacted by food injustice. 

Directors

Kayla BirdSong | Interim Executive Director | kayla@thegrowhaus.org

Kayla became involved with the GrowHaus in 2013 while living in the Elyria neighborhood. She was the GrowHaus' Director of Food Distribution for two years during which time she managed the food box program, daily market, and Cosechando Salud free grocery program, as well as running the internship program. Since mid- 2015 she served as Director of Operations, helping the GrowHaus' thrive on a day-to-day basis. Kayla currently oversees food distribution, food production, GrowHaus facility, the internship program, HR, assists with executive projects, and more. Kayla is passionate about working with community to shape our local food system. She grew up in Florida, and studied Business Management and Spanish at the University of Florida. She has studied abroad in Spain, traveled extensively through Asia and Europe, and volunteered on organic farms in Nepal. She speaks Spanish, and also has a Permaculture Design Certificate.

Coby Gould  | Strategic Advisor | Coby@thegrowhaus.org

A Denver native, Coby's background is in food systems, environmental education and permaculture. He holds a degree in Philosophy with a concentration in Environmental Ethics from The University of Colorado, Boulder.  Coby spent time exploring community development in Cape Town, South Africa; gained training in landscape architecture at The Harvard Graduate School of Design; and earned his Permaculture Design Certificate. Coby has taught Environmental Education and Food Justice to low-income youth, and has worked as facilitator and program director for Seeking Common Ground, a local non-profit that brings together Israeli, Palestinian and American youth for dialogue.  Coby is a co-founder of The GrowHaus.

ISABEL SANCHEZ  | PROGRAM DIRECTOR | ISABEL@THEGROWHAUS.ORG

Isabel Sanchez is a permaculture designer, teacher, urban farmer, and activist. For the past twenty years, she has been a passionate advocate for teaching self-reliance and sustainability in relation to the right to housing and food justice. These tools have brought her to travel to Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras and Mexico to work with indigenous communities on self-reliance, learning from them in the process. She has been working in schools teaching garden to table techniques and facilitating 4H clubs for many years. At The GrowHaus, Isabel is the Program Director and also teaches about healthy, organic, and affordable food to a food desert community. She is an artist and a mother of eight.

Nathan Mackenzie| Director of Development | Nathan@thegrowhaus.org

Nathan leads The GrowHaus' development and communications efforts. He is a proud born-and-raised Denverite, went to East High School, and graduated from Wesleyan University with honors in government. After graduation, he moved to Nairobi, Kenya, where he spent a year-and-half working with Shining Hope for Communities, a non-profit  that addresses gender inequality and extreme poverty in urban slums.  There he learned the power of local communities to develop dynamic locally-based solutions to community challenges. After coming back home to Colorado, in 2014 he was selected to join El Pomar Foundation's two year leadership and professional development Fellowship program in Colorado Springs. 

Nathan is passionate about strengthening local food systems, economies and communities. When he's not at The GrowHaus you can find him enjoying the mountains, cooking, reading, or practicing the banjo.

Education and Community Outreach

Tracy Pineda | Community Food Access coordinator | tracy@thegrowhaus.org

Tracy is a native to Wisconsin, she moved to Colorado in 2002. She has a BS in Dietetics and a passion for public health, healthy eating and active living. She has over 10 years of experience working with the Latino community and promotores programs. She is a loving spouse, mother of two, and triathlete.

Alicia perez | RESIDENT Promotora | Alicia@thegrowhaus.org

Alicia Perez is a Promotora for The GrowHaus. As a Promotora, Alicia is the coordinator for the MOVIL program, a free grocery delivery for homebound residents. She also helps facilitate “Seed to Seed”, a summer  educational program for teens, and is a “Seed to Seed” alumni herself. She coordinates all of the events for our community, as well as many of the community classes. She has gone through her Permaculture Design Certification Course and continually strives to serve as an example to educate and empower women and youth in her community. A longtime resident of Elyria-Swansea, she has been involved with The GrowHaus for the past 6 years and is a proud mother of a 3-year-old son.

Claudia zubia | promotora

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Claudia is originally from Mexico but has been living in Denver for the last 22 years.  She has five children and loves to spend time with them. They love to go out to places with a lot of nature because they can learn about the gifts that life has given them and it helps them to relax. Her favorite hobby is going out to exercise. Her biggest challenge in life is to learn how to swim someday. She feels very happy to belong to the family of the GrowHaus. She loves it because she is more connected to her community.

Guadalupe rodriguez | PROMOTORA

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Guadalupe Rodriguez is married and has 5 children and 2 grandchildren. She’s from Mexico but she’s been living in Colorado for over 20 years! She likes Colorado’s beautiful nature and weather and her favorite hobby is to spend time with her family on walks. She enjoys working at The GrowHaus because it gives her the opportunity to do what she likes best, spend time with the community, share resources, and support those in need.

Eva Valdez | Promotora

Eva Valdez is originally from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico but has been living in Denver for the past 19 years. She has three beautiful children; Stephanie, Steven, and Sarah. She likes to spend quality time with her 4 year old girl. Her favorite hobbies include anything with music, like dancing and zumba! She is happy to be part of the GrowHaus team, because she shares our philosophy. She feels it is nice to be able to support the different families of the community and to be able to return a little of what the community has given her.

Angela Ortiz | program support | Angela@thegrowhaus.org

This Colombian native became passionate and started educating herself about the concepts of Food Systems and Food Justice shortly after migrating north in 2001. Simultaneously, Angela has formed herself as skilled language service provider (Spanish/English/American Sign Language) and in her short experience in this field she has gained a unique understanding around the community’s cultural and linguistic needs and has been able to facilitate and promote communication for the diverse Denver population. Also, with her experience as an Urban Agriculture Educator and after receiving her Permaculture Certificate she has strengthened her commitment to serve the community. As a multicultural and multilingual individual she hopes to continue to contribute in the development of a resilient and sustainable community by building bridges between people, natural resources and the earth. Angela is also passionate about motherhood, music and dance

MARIA CONSTANEDA ARROYO | PROGRAM Assistant | 

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Maria started working part-time at The GrowHaus in 2013, assisting with the mobile market and childcare. Since then, Maria’s role has transformed to be an integral part of the organization, and she now helps to facilitate a number of programs including the Roots to Health Seedling Nursery, Movil deliveries, Cosechando Salud, youth summer programming, and making free meals available to the community. Maria loves working here because she feels she is making a difference in the neighborhood. She has lived in and not far from the 80216 zip code for a number of years and enjoys seeing familiar faces while riding the Movil bicycle route. She also loves to work with children and with the plants in the seedling nursery. Maria hopes that everyone feels welcome when they enter The GrowHaus building. While not at work, you can find Maria riding her bike or tending the flowers in her rose garden. Maria is extremely proud to be a part of this organization and truly feels The GrowHaus is her second home. 

KYLIE GETTLEMAN | Interim Operations manager | Kylie@THEGROWHAUS.ORG

Originally from California, Kylie has lived in Colorado since 2004. Kylie studied Ecological Horticulture and Sustainable Food Systems at the University of California Santa Cruz, where she fell in love with farming and sustainable food production. Kylie went on to work as a farm manager at a 35-acre vegetable farm on the Front Range and then the director of operations for a landscaping and garden education company in Boulder. Kylie is The GrowHaus' Interim Operations Manager, supporting the daily operations of the organization. In addition she is the Seedling Coordinator, where she is responsible for growing transplants for sale through our Roots to Health seedling program. Kylie is a passionate cook and loves climbing, skiing, and adventuring in the mountains when she’s not in the garden. Kylie also has her Permaculture Design Certificate. 

JACKIE BEAVERS | EDUCATION PROGRAM COORDINATOR | JACKIE@THEGROWHAUS.ORG

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Jackie is passionate about education, the environment, and healthy living. She studied Anthropology at the University of Florida, has taught internationally, has worked a couple of farm seasons with a community supporting agriculture (CSA) farm, and travels as much as she can. Jackie is very excited to be working with the Elyria- Swansea- Globeville community as well as fostering many relationships with schools and youth in the Denver area through education programs about food justice, sustainability, leadership, and community. She believes that education is the strongest tool we have to combat many of our world’s issues and is proud to be working with the Growhaus’s education program. When not at the Growhaus, Jackie loves exploring the mountains and having new adventures. 

Laura Neilson | Education Facilitator | Laura@THEGROWHAUS.ORG

Originally from Wisconsin, Laura moved to Denver in Fall 2015 with a hunger for living closer to mountains, escaping the brutal Midwest winters, and finding ways to get kids excited about learning. So far, so good! At The GrowHaus, she led the after-school cooking and gardening classes and is now a facilitator with all of the youth summer programs. She is excited to have the opportunity to connect with students of all ages and inspire an interest in connecting with their bodies as well as with the earth through the food that they eat. Laura has lived in Peru and traveled around Latin America and loves the opportunity to use her Spanish language knowledge with The GrowHaus community. When not at The GrowHaus, she is likely cooking for friends, biking or hiking in Colorado's wild beauty, or planning her next adventure. 

Food Distribution

Kathryn Ardoin| manager of Food Distribution | kathryn@thegrowhaus.org

Kathryn moved to Colorado from Florida in 2014 and immediately found a home in The GrowHaus community. After working as a Food Distribution intern, she was hired on to manage and expand the Food Distribution programs. She has been growing the community market/mercado to include a wider variety of products in efforts to make it a viable option for the grocery needs of the community of Elyria, Swansea, and Globeville, She also runs The Food Box Program which, similarly to a CSA, sells a weekly assortment of produce, eggs, and bread/tortillas. You can purchase a box here at The GrowHaus as well as several convenient pick-up locations throughout Denver. Kathryn graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology and a minor in Public Health. She worked for years at one of Tampa's first farm-to-table restaurants as the Farm Liaison and as a server/bartender. Food justice has always been a priority in her life and works hard to ensure good food is accessible to all. Kathryn enjoys hiking, biking, cooking with fun fruits and vegetables and exploring far off destinations.

Laura molina | Market Coordinator | laura@thegrowhaus.org

Laura Molina is originally from Chihuahua, Mexico but has been living in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood in Denver for the past 18 years. After taking The GrowHaus Micro-farm class, Laura fell in love with The GrowHaus and began working in El Mercado de al Lado. She is now the Market Coordinator and calls The GrowHaus her second home. In her free time, Laura enjoys spending time with her three kids in the mountains of Colorado.  

 

Alexander Class | Market attendant | Alexander@thegrowhaus.org

Alexander Class is originally from Morovis, Puerto Rico  but has been living in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood in Denver for the past year. He first got involved with The GrowHaus through Cosechando Salud (Harvesting Health) on Mondays and fell in love with the inclusive, welcoming community here. He is excited to learn more about how to use food as medicine and to help others to make healthy choices through access, knowledge, and empowerment. When he is not working in Mercado de al Lado, he enjoys practicing aerial acrobatics, acro-yoga, hiking, exploring the mountains, and swimming when he gets the chance. 

Farmers

Jamie Yeast | Hydroponic Farm Manager | JAMIE@THEGROWHAUS.ORG

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Jamie started as a facilities intern with The Growaus in the autumn of 2015. He was hired as the farm apprentice a year later, working in both the aquaponic and hydroponic farms. He previously worked for an organic CSA (community supported agriculture) farm for 12 seasons in northern Colorado. Jamie combines his carpentry and farm experiences with his love of food to enhance the local urban agriculture community.

Jamie graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in English Literature and continues to read, mostly comics. When he is not growing or gardening, Jamie spends his time with his family. He enjoys spending time in the mountains, creating art, or napping in the back porch hammock.    

 

Kate Farley | AQUAPONIC Farm Manager | kate@thegrowhaus.org

Kate first became involved at the The GrowHaus in early 2015 as a hydroponic farm intern. Soon after, she was hired to help manage the production, distribution, and operation of the hydroponic farm. She believes education is the key to fostering social change and is an advocate that food can be positioned as a solution to many global issues. She is excited to support the mission of The GrowHaus in her role as Assistant Hydroponic Farm Manager and pursue her passion of working at the community level to address issues of food justice and sustainable agriculture.

Kate graduated from Eckerd College with a degree in Environmental Studies and minors in Political Science and Anthropology. She received her Masters degree from the University of Colorado Denver with a focus in food justice and sustainable agriculture. She loves exploring the Rocky Mountains, hiking, camping, and traveling.

 

ALLIE RUNNE | ASSISTANT FARM MANAGER | ALLIE@THEGROWHAUS.ORG

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Allie is a Denver transplant from North Carolina. She began her relationship with the GrowHaus as a Hydroponic Farm intern in June 2016 and was hired on later that summer as Assistant Farm Manager for the Hydroponic and Aquaponic farms. Allie has a degree from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Sociology and Sustainable Development with a minor in Business. Her passions in urban agriculture and sustainable food production blossomed from her interests in gardening and cooking with home-grown ingredients. Allie believes that food security involves the entire product life-cycle of food from the seeding/planting stage, production, growth, transportation and allocation, focusing on sustainability at every level. Her hobbies include hiking, gardening, working with animals, and learning the flora and fauna of her new home in Colorado. Allie is interested in the healing powers of food and herbs. In the future, she hopes to delve into permaculture design, herbalism, and to travel the world!

MARIELLE D'ONOFRIO | Farm sales & logistics | MARIELLE@thegrowhaus.org

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Marielle D'Onofrio is a Denver transplant who got involved with The GrowHaus through the hydroponic internship program in March 2015.  Upon completion, she was hired by Colorado Aquaponics to be the Farm Manager for the Aquaponics farm.  With a passion for food, she has set out to produce the perfect produce here at The GrowHaus.

 

 

 

Alexander Albu | MYCOLOGIST | alex@THEGROWHAUS.ORG

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Alex manages our mushroom farm and mycology program. In addition to producing gourmet mushrooms for The GrowHaus Market and local restaurants, Alex helps educate the local community about fungi and their uses and human benefits. His goals are to build up a sustainable mushroom growing operation and culture bank, as well as to implement local mycoremediation experiments. A recent convert to sustainable agriculture, Alex has homesteading ambitions and great faith in controlled environment agriculture as a means to solve food access issues worldwide. He has BS in Biology from MSU Denver, as well as a BS in Political Economy from UC Berkeley. When he’s not at The GrowHaus, you can bet that Alex is hanging out with his newborn son.

Caden Werner | FARM APPRENTICE | caden@thegrowhaus.org

Caden started as an aquaponics intern at the GrowHaus and was hired as the farm apprentice shortly after. Prior to coming to the GrowHaus, Caden worked seasonally at farms throughout the U.S., learning to grow food in multiple climates and soil types. In their free time, Caden enjoys gardening, writing, and exploring new hiking trails with their border collie, Layla. 

 

 

 

 

Meme Loftin | ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT | meme@thegrowhaus.org

Shortly after working as an intern to Program Director, Isabel Sanchez, Meme was hired on as Interim Administrative Assistant.  She is passionate about helping others fall madly in love with food and building relationships.  As a part time employee, Meme works closely with our Executive Director to handle a lot of the logistics and behind the scenes operations here at The GrowHaus, including office operations, organization metrics, recruiting, and more.  Meme splits her time with Kidstek, a non-profit after school program and writing several blogs.  Meme graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and a minor in Public Relations. She has traveled extensively but found "home" in Colorado and when she is not working you can find her in the mountains hiking, camping, or skiing!

 

ANNA TUCHSCHER| BOOKKEEPER | ANNA@THEGROWHAUS.ORG

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Anna was born and raised in rural North Dakota surrounded by wheat and sunflowers. She earned her accounting degree from North Dakota State University (Go Bison!).  Anna moved to Colorado in 1999 and plans to stay forever.  After moving to a home with too much lawn and not enough flowers and vegetables, Anna became an avid gardener and earned her Master Gardener certification.  She is interested in growing good, organic food for everyone, keeping it local, and making better use of our resources.

Anna spent time working at a Mariposario (butterfly garden) in Montezuma, Costa Rica and considers that her home away from home.  Anna is married with three children and two dogs, she loves gardening, cooking, traveling, reading.

She is thrilled to be involved with The GrowHaus.  The staff, interns and volunteers and the great work they all do is inspiring and make for a fun and exciting environment.

 

Joe Phillips | Facilities Manager | joe@thegrowhaus.org

Joe joined The GrowHaus team as an intern in January of 2015 and was hired as the Facilities Manager in June of 2015.  He is a former manufacturing business owner from Ohio and moved to Colorado in 2011.  Joe has a bachelor's degree from the University of Montana in Resource Management.  At The GrowHaus, his duties include maintenance, repairs, intern oversight, and special projects.  

Nina Roumell| Development and Communications Associate| NINA@THEGROWHAUS.ORG

As the Development and Communications Associate, Nina works to capture and communicate the impact of the GrowHaus with partners and funders. She has spent the past seven years living in Colorado, first in Colorado Springs while earning her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from Colorado College – Go Tigers! She spent a semester abroad in India analyzing the effectiveness of a government program in combating children’s malnutrition and left with a deep interest in community development and public health. After graduating, she moved to Denver and spent three years working on health policy advocacy and research at the state level.

Nina is also the proud coach of the Lady Mammoths basketball and soccer team at Wilfley Boys and Girls Club. When she’s not coaching or at the GrowHaus you can find her running through Colorado’s mountains or sitting around a campfire with friends. 

 

Outreach Educators

Eutimia Cruz Montoya

Eutimia Cruz Montoya is a curandera (healer), herbalist, licensed acupuncturist, Real Foods Activist and Food Systems Educator. She is the descendent of New Mexican curanderos, and learned the healing ways in the home.   She grew up participating in indigenous American song, dance and prayer traditions, giving her an inborn connection to and understanding of Body and Source.  Eutimia has a degree in the Anthropological Sciences from Stanford University, a Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine, and has been studying and practicing Classical Chinese Medicine since 2004. She came home to her Curanderismo roots under the guidance of Maestra Laura Alonzo de Franklin and Kalpulli Teocalli Ollin in 2013. Eutimia is the founder of the GrowHaus' "Cooktrition and Food Medicine" class which she has been volunteer teaching for almost 3 years. As an educator, Eutimia is passionate about reigniting the fire of agency in Personal Well-being through teaching the importance of internal and external environmental influences on whole body, mind and spirit health. She is grateful to offer her services to you, her community.


In Memory of Kaela Allton

It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we remember our colleague and friend, Kaela Allton, who passed away on October 22nd, 2015, after a bicycle accident. Kaela worked at The GrowHaus as Programs Assistant for several months through the program Colorado Vincentian Volunteers. She supported many programs including Cosechando Salud/Harvesting Health, Service Learning, Mercado de al Lado, tours, volunteer groups, and was the assistant to our Director of Programs. She made a lasting impact on our community with her welcoming and willing attitude, and especially her hilarious sense of humor.  We will all miss her more than words can express.