About the Growing Center Team
The Somerville Community Growing Center is made up of an all-volunteer Board of Directors, a part-time Volunteer Coordinator, and a part-time Site Coordinator, who oversee the non-profit organization, "Friends of the Community Growing Center." Here is information about them, their background, and interests.
The Growing Center Board of Directors
Liza Kitchell, Growing Center Board President
Liza Kitchell has been a volunteer at the Growing Center for 17 years and a board member for two years. Liza teaches music at the Community Music Center of Boston and in the Boston Public Schools, as well as teaching piano privately at her home in Somerville. She is a composer, and her works have been heard recently with Lynn + Paul Dance in Riverfest, and in “Postcards from Skratz” at the Armory in Somerville. Liza coordinates the Summer Song Series at the Growing Center and is committed to seeing the Growing Center grow and thrive for the next 25 years.
Lisa Brukilacchio, Growing Center Board Vice President
Lisa is a long time Somerville resident, moving here in 1977 from upstate NY. While a student at Tufts, she discovered community gardening and has been hooked ever since. It was while she was serving as the City's Community Gardens Coordinator as part of the Conservation Commission, that the Growing Center was born. As one of the founding members, Lisa was highly motivated by her own childhood experiences to create a space in the city where children could develop their own relationship with the natural world. In addition, she has strived to continue the creative legacy of the early years of the Center by working to foster an environment where all ages and abilities can discover how to apply their passions and talents towards building a model of sustainability, citizen engagement and cultural exploration.
Monica Hileman, Growing Center Board Clerk
Originally from the Chicago area, Monica moved to Somerville back when the old Junior High School was on the site of what is now the growing center. She once picked peaches in Colorado, worked in a potato chip factory in Portland, Oregon, as well as a housing advocate at the Community Action Agency of Somerville, and as an aide at the Massachusetts House of Representatives. She currently spends most of her time writing and is learning a lot about the local ecosystem since joining the board.
Betsy Larkin, Board Member
Betsy grew up in the Boston area and moved to Somerville after college. She began volunteering with the Growing Center in 2010, harvesting and selling herbs and produce at the Union Square Farmers Market. After a break of a few years, during which she had three children, she returned to organize the Growing Center’s summer playgroup that gives area children a non-manicured green space in which to play, run around and be free. This helped cement her connection to the space, which she sees as an important asset for area families, especially those without yards to play in. Betsy has a background in the cultural sector, with a particular focus on tourism programming and marketing. She currently works in program development at Road Scholar, a not-for-profit educational travel organization for older adults.
Additional board members: Aileen Bellwood & Julia Featheringill, Growing Center Board Treasurer
The Growing Center Staff
Christine Savage, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator
Christine (she/her) is the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for the Somerville Community Growing Center. Outside her work at the Growing Center, she can be found this season at the Higher Ground Rooftop Farm at Boston Medical Center. The Emmylou Harris song that brings her the most joy this week is "Feelin' Single, Seein' Double." Tune in for next week.