Staff

 
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Devon Turner

Executive Director

T. 917 710 3168
devon@growdatyouthfarm.org

A native of Plaquemines Parish in southeastern Louisiana, Devon's career has been focused on supporting and advocating for young men and women, first as an educator, teaching about social justice issues at the nexus of race, gender, justice, and violence. She was then instrumental in the creation of New York City’s first community-based school for justice system-involved youth. She most recently served New Orleans youth by developing young leadership opportunities at Liberty’s Kitchen as well as connecting them to a host of resources throughout the city.


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Julie Gable

Development Director

T. 504 258 8539
julie@growdatyouthfarm.org

Considering herself a country girl, originally from a small rural township sixty miles south of Chicago, Julie Gable loves being around people and can be the “class clown” at times.  Her passion to help others, being a team player, and organizing tasks at hand, is the reason she loves working in the non-profit sector. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communications/Public Relations from Illinois State University and has 30+ work experience years in marketing, public relations and development.  Julie’s passion stretches even further as the wife of a pastor and mother or two sons, using her spare time to share in church activities, serving others in the local community, using creative skills to create printed programs and monitoring the media/sound system at church. She is thrilled to be a part of the Grow Dat team and to let others know of its mission of youth leadership.  


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Leo Gorman

Farm Manager

T. 504 616 1777
leo@growdatyouthfarm.org

Leo Gorman earned his BA in Anthropology and Latin American Studies from Tulane University in 2000. He worked for three years in Mexico and Colombia with Witness for Peace, working with partners to educate U.S. citizens about the impacts of free trade policy on civil society and the environment. He earned his MA in History at the University of New Orleans in 2009 and has co-authored several published articles and book chapters on indigenous rights, popular education and immigration. Leo taught social studies at Warren Easton High School and ran market gardens near Xavier University in New Orleans. He has interned multiple seasons on three organic vegetable farms and is thrilled to be part of a project that merges his passions for experiential education, social justice and sustainable agriculture.


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Glenn Caston

Program Manager

T. 504 307 1200
glenn@growdatyouthfarm.org

Glenn Caston is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. He studied mathematics at Tulane University and secondary education at Our Lady of Holy Cross College. Glenn's desire is to provide space that promotes equitable learning experiences to the young people of New Orleans. His professional roots are in the public education sector where he served as a teacher, instructional coach, data coordinator, and curriculum specialist. Working as a high school math teacher, Glenn noticed a lack of advanced opportunities for the students he served. As a result, Glenn teamed up with members of the Cowen Institute in an effort to provide advanced placement courses for the students of Algiers. Glenn has also served in the capacity of a learning team leader at Greater New Orleans Teach For America, where he provided professional development opportunities for first-year corp members. He continues his work at Grow Dat Youth Farm in the capacity of program manager. 


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Kevin Connell

Education Coordinator

T. 850 240 3048
kevin@growdatyouthfarm.org

Kevin Connell is a teacher, farmer, and musician from Valparaiso, Florida. Starting out in education as a paraprofessional, he has taught bilingual social studies to new immigrants, ESL in Indonesia and Tanzania, special education science in New York, and adult education in New Orleans. As a novice urban farmer trying to grow vegetables with teenagers in Battery Park, Kevin discovered the power of farming as a tool for social justice education. He is happy to be back among live oaks and pelicans and to be teaching outdoors, helping the young folks of Grow Dat to question our food system and envision more just and sustainable alternatives. He holds a master’s degree from Teachers College and is a certified special education and social studies teacher. 


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Alex Sanders

Assistant Farm Manager

alex@growdatyouthfarm.org

Alexander Sanders was born in Louisiana but moved to Tennessee after the hurricane. After a few years Alex moved back to New Orleans to finish school. As a junior attending G.W. Carver Collegiate high school he found his first job at Grow Dat. As a Crew Member working in the field and learning about sustainable agriculture he fell in love with the life of agriculture. He returned to Grow Dat to complete another year as an Assistant Crew Leader to help teach youth like himself about the importance of agriculture and social justice. In his third year with the organization Alex took on the role of Farm Fellow which has now transitioned to the position of Assistant Farm Manager. In the future Alex hopes to continue the lifestyle of agriculture and start his own recycling company.


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Kaya Jones

Field Trip and Alumni Coordinator

kaya@growdatyouthfarm.org

Kaya Jones grew up in North Florida where she was able to enjoy beautiful beaches and gorgeous trees. She graduated from Florida A&M University with a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science. While in college she founded a student community garden and worked with different organizations to help fight environmental injustices in the Sunshine State. After graduating college in 2016 Kaya worked as an Environmental Educator at the Mcdowell Environmental Center in the Bankhead National Forest in Alabama. Kaya was excellent in her position of Crew Leader and Farm Fellow last year, and she is super excited to now be working at Grow Dat as Field Trip and Alumni Coordinator. She is thrilled to continue to learn about farming in Louisiana and the amazing culture of New Orleans.


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Cassie Reeves

Communications and Events Coordinator

T. 678 425 8245
cassie@growdatyouthfarm.org

Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Cassie strives to foster harmony between her urban surroundings and creating green space to cultivate fresh, healthy produce. During her tenure at the University of Georgia, she earned dual BA's in Advertising and Psychology with an emphasis in Graphic Design. She enjoys working with her hands, whether it be Photoshop media design or building a vertical planter on her small patio in the city. Cassie's love of the land runs deep despite her urban upbringing. Her latest endeavors have included managing and event planning at the state's oldest operating bed and breakfast on beautiful Amelia Island, Florida, and managing the dining room at Lake Hotel in Yellowstone National Park. Having worked for over a decade in hospitality, her appreciation of the culinary arts and access to quality ingredients serve as the backbone for her belief in a just food system. She also serves as a copywriter for Southbound Brewing Company and can be found kayaking the bayou, planning her next travel adventure, or photographing vibrant New Orleans during her free time. 


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Travis Cleaver

Site Coordinator

T. 504 957 7706
travis@growdatyouthfarm.org

Travis Cleaver is a landscape architect and former business owner. Travis moved to New Orleans in 2002 from his family farm in West Virginia, and is happy to again take part in the farm life at Grow Dat. He studied architecture and permaculture design through Tulane University, and in 2007 started the landscape architecture firm EcoUrban Landscaping. Travis's work at EcoUrban focused on sustainable design and installation, native and edible plants, and forward-thinking water management, all of which Travis draws from in his work maintaining and expanding Grow Dat Youth Farm. Travis also enjoys carpentry, welding, drawing, hiking, live music and all manner of outdoor activities.


Grow Dat Fellows

Grow Dat Crew Leader Fellows come from across the country to teach and learn alongside Grow Dat youth. This 9-month fellowship focuses on facilitation skills, critical analysis, and sustainable agriculture.  

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Jessie Zelisko

Farm Fellow

jessie@growdatyouthfarm.org

As a prison abolitionist and climate justice activist, Jessie is excited to fuse her work fighting mass incarceration and pipeline infrastructure with cultivating food sovereignty and youth empowerment. While completing her B.A. in International Development and Social Change and Women’s and Gender Studies at Clark University, Jessie interned at several food justice organizations, leading her to write her senior capstone paper titled Whiteness in the Food Justice Movement. Through her food justice work, Jessie witnessed the devastation mass incarceration has caused Black families and communities. This led her to work on the roots of racism as seen manifested in the system of mass incarceration as the Office Manager at The First 72 +, an organization founded and led by formerly incarcerated folks that helps people thrive in their transition home from prison. Radicalized in the Unitarian Universalist youth movement, Jessie is exited to support Grow Dat youth in claiming their power as activists and agents of social change. She is passionate about collective living and can often be found with beloved community co-visioning queer utopian futures rooted in collective liberation.