MINNEAPOLIS, October 11, 2012—The Twin Cities based non-profit organization Gardening Matters is pleased to announce that Jeremiah Ellis has been named executive director.
“We help community gardens have a positive leadership transition in such a way that it can strengthen the garden, and so it is with Gardening Matters. We’re excited about the leadership qualities that Jeremiah brings to Gardening Matters at a time of rapid growth and expanding opportunities for our organization,” reports Jim Howitt, President of the Gardening Matters Board of Directors.
Ellis comes to Gardening Matters from a career in public and non-profit sector administration. Ellis was drawn to Gardening Matters' approach to self-determination and its community building work. “Gardening Matters aligns with my calling, bringing people together to actualize local solutions. I look forward to supporting the people in our community promoting food justice and guiding their own direction in accessing both beauty and food,” he said in accepting the position.
Gardening Matters’ current executive director, Kirsten Saylor, co-founded the organization in 2008. Saylor will remain at the organization to work on program development and communications. “I am looking forward to focusing my energy on programming and communications within the organization, and getting back to my roots and working with Jeremiah,” states Saylor. "In those early years, we worked hard to share the many benefits of community gardens, and to connect gardeners to each other so that they could share the lessons they had learned and support each other.”
Ellis will be taking charge of a young, yet dynamic organization. Gardening Matters is establishing the infrastructure to create opportunity for anyone to grow and prepare fresh produce, through an array of programs that help provide access to land through community gardens, build soil fertility at community gardens through neighborhood composting, facilitate delivery of affordable gardening supplies and education where people live, and help communities develop proactive public policies in support of community-based food production.
Gardening Matters just released its most recent Snapshot of Community Gardening in Minnesota,( http://www.gardeningmatters.org/snapshot) which verifies the existence of at least 452 community gardens across the state. Statewide, about three quarters of all community gardens list their primary focus as food production. Other important focuses include beautification, community building, and youth education.
More about the Multiple Benefits of Community Gardening and Community Garden Day, as well as the Community Garden Directory are available at www.gardeningmatters.org
Kirsten Saylor, Executive Director