FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Johanna Gilligan has worked in the field of food education since 2003. She began her career at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where she taught inquiry-based plant science to students in Title 1 schools. In 2006 she moved back to New Orleans and worked as the Educational Programs Manager with the New Orleans Food and Farm Network while simultaneously launching her own business, Clean Plate Projects, LLC. As a consultant, she has worked with many organizations, most notably with Rethink–a non-profit whose mission is to develop civic engagement among youth by bringing their voice to school reform. Her school food reform work with Rethink students generated national attention for its innovative approach and hard-hitting successes, eventually being profiled on the HBO documentary series, “Weight of the Nation”. Johanna founded Grow Dat Youth Farm in collaboration with Tulane University and many additional partners and individuals in 2011. Johanna was a 2012 Urban Innovation Challenge Fellow at Tulane University, and has also been a finalist for Echoing Green and the Kellogg Foundation’s Food and Society Fellowship. In 2012 she was a nominee for City Business Woman of the Year and a recipient of City Park’s Presidential Awards.
Leo Gorman taught social studies at Warren Easton High School and ran market gardens near Xavier University. He has interned multiples seasons on three organic vegetable farms and has worked as an educator, youth organizer and photojournalist throughout Latin America and the United States. Leo is thrilled to be part of a project that merges his passions for youth empowerment, community education and sustainable agriculture. He loves to grow stuff and eat it with friends and family.
SITE MANAGER AND OUTREACH COORDINATOR
Jabari Brown has been gardening organically for the last three years. It was a strong desire to give back to his community and sustainability that drew him to gardening. His motto is: “What good am I if I can’t teach others what I have learned?”. Serving at Grow Dat Youth Farm, he has the awesome opportunity to teach students about gardening while also learning from master gardeners.
Jeanne holds a Master of Science in Gender, Development and Globalization from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor of Specialized Studies in Peace and Conflict Studies from Cornell College. She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee and lectures as an adjunct Professor with the Payson School for International Development at Tulane University. Jeanne has worked with food and social justice projects in San Francisco, including Mission Pie, Global Exchange and Brava for Women in the Arts. Using a justice-based approach to food systems and a critical lens, she is interested in how food issues intersect with gender, race and location. Jeanne is proud that farming connects her to many generations of her family who continue to farm on the Kansas prairie. She is honored to be a founding staff member of the committed and innovative Grow Dat team.
FARM ASSISTANT AND MARKET MANAGER
Sarah Howard comes to Grow Dat with a background in community organizing and community health education. She learned about food justice issues in New Orleans while working on a campaign to re-open the historic Circle Food Store in the city’s 7th Ward. While helping to start a community garden in the neighborhood, she also rediscovered a love for growing food. Sarah gained additional skills in sustainable agricultural production through apprenticing with local urban farmer Macon Fry and at the Full Sun Farm in Big Sandy Mush, North Carolina. Sarah holds a BA in Studies of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and African American Studies from Harvard University. She is a student of herbal medicine and is a certified Louisiana Master Naturalist.
Born in Cincinnati Ohio and raised by a single parent, Tony’s mother taught him to take advantage of every single opportunity. In 1971 he joined the U.S. Navy where he began his electrical career. He has worked many jobs in the electrician’s field, from audio and lighting technician for many musicians to electrical mechanical installer for the space shuttle program. However, he is most proud of being a community urban farmer and helping people to learn to feed themselves.