Lauren Shweder Biel is the Executive Director of DC Greens. Before moving to Washington, DC and founding DC Greens, Lauren worked at Sesame Workshop in the International Education, Research and Outreach department. In her three years at Sesame Workshop, she oversaw the creation of new co-productions in Brazil and Northern Ireland, coordinating outreach efforts, crafting curricula and supervising formative and summative research with local partners. Lauren has a B.A. from Princeton University, and an M.Phil. in Anthropology from NYU with a focus on Culture and Media. Lauren is the mother of two future DCPS students, and serves on the Mayor’s Commission for Healthy Food in Schools.
Sarah Bernardi is co-founder of DC Greens and coordinates all of our school garden initiatives. Sarah is a Nationally Board Certified teacher with 10 years of public elementary school teaching experience. Formerly at Bancroft Elementary, she coordinated garden and farm to school activities and participated in their partnership with the White House garden. Sarah serves as Co-Chair of the DCEEC’s Schoolyard Greening Committee and is a strong advocate for making gardens fully staffed components of all public schools.
Jezra Thompson is the Food Access Director for DC Greens, where she focuses on partnership building for community-based food access projects, such as the farmers market incentive program and the fruit and vegetable prescription program. Before coming to DC Greens, Jezra managed statewide food access projects in California, she was an analyst at the USDA, and she is currently a journalist who writes about food justice on a national and local level. She has a Masters in Urban Planning from Columbia University and she continually aspires to engage communities and policy makers to improve food security and farming sustainability.
Karissa McCarthy is DC Greens’ Farm to School Coordinator. Her work focuses on facilitating educational opportunities for District students to connect to the sources of their food. She graduated from Muhlenberg College with a B.A. in Sociology and Political Science after writing an honors thesis on the Mid Atlantic Farm to School Movement and serving as founding member and president of the campus community garden. Before joining DC Greens full time, Karissa worked for the National Family Farm Coalition as a Program Assistant. During the market season, she also works at the Mt. Pleasant Farmers’ Market as a manager.
Erica Christensen is DC Greens’ Outreach Coordinator and the EBT Operator at the Glover Park – Burleith Farmer’s Market. Her work focuses on promoting the new market incentive program, which doubles Federal benefits at participating farmers’ markets. Erica has her Masters in Global Environmental Policy with a focus on food and agriculture from American University. Prior to moving to DC, she managed a community garden in Tennessee where she developed a youth entrepreneur program. She has a B.A. in political science and international studies from the University of Memphis.
Garden Educator at Stoddert Elementary
Kealy Rudersdorf is DC Greens’ Garden Educator at Stoddert Elementary. She teaches garden-based lessons in the spring and fall with the students, leads community open times in the garden during the summer, and provides environmental-based science lessons during the winter. Kealy has a B.S. in Civil Engineering and a M.A. in Teaching, and has earned a LEED accreditation and a certificate in permaculture design. Before moving back to DC, she was the head gardener and volunteer coordinator at an organic chocolate farm in Costa Rica where she was learning about sustainable living and organic agricultural techniques from a native Costa Rican family. In addition to working with DC Greens, Kealy helps to manage two farmers’ markets and stays active biking, dancing and cooking! She is thrilled to be using her background in engineering, education, and agriculture while promoting healthy food options and organic agricultural techniques through environmental education.
Diana Rayas is the Outreach Coordinator for DC Greens. Diana coordinates grassroots efforts that connect DC communities to healthy, affordable food at farmers markets. Diana has a Post Graduate Degree in International Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism, expertise in strategic marketing, and experience connecting existing resources to those in need. She enjoys helping people access local, nutritious food and hanging out at the farmers markets with her family.
Jeanette Staton is an Outreach Coordinator for DC Greens. Jeanette focuses on engaging DC communities around accessing affordable, healthy foods at farmers markets. Jeanette is currently pursuing a Masters in Science in Human Resource Management with a concentration in Human Resources and Organizational Development. She received her undergraduate degree in Mass Media and Communications and has a background in training and development and project management. Jeanette enjoys helping young people develop healthy living and eating habits.