Kirsten Saylor, chair
I am co-founder of gardening matters and its first executive director. I conducted the participatory study that led to a set of recommendations for community garden sustainability by community gardeners and other stakeholders, and which ultimately led to the first organization dedicated to community gardens. I am excited by the many and deep changes in our literal and social landscape of the Twin Cities since Gardening Matters inception. I look forward to working collaboratively with public agencies, nonprofits, and business to further the good work of growing more growers.
Cindy Johnson, treasurer
I am an experienced accountant, and pursuing a master’s degree from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. I am a lifetime St. Paul resident, and hope to use my volunteer time on the board to make a difference in the Twin Cities Community.
Dina Kountoupes, secretary
I am founder and owner of Harvest Moon Edible Landscapes whose mission is to strengthen the Twin Cities local foods ecosystem by transforming landscapes into tasty, beautiful, and sustainable gardens from which eaters connect directly with their food and land. To do that we design, plant, and grow food gardens and provide garden education for homeowners, renters, schools, and businesses with an exclusive focus on organic and sustainable practices. My hope is to bring more gardens to community spaces in the Twin Cities.
I am in my second year on the Gardening Matters board and provide an expertise in community work. I have been working with Green w Envy, Project Sweetie Pie, NoMi Roots and most recently joined Northside Fresh Policy team, and excited for Gardening Matters to co-create resources and support services with the community gardening community so that these community assets are successful and sustainable.
I am an avid urban homesteader who has a hopeless compulsive food growing disorder. She is originally from Suburban Chicago but has lived in Minnesota since she was 18, including 10 years on a 40 acre farm north of Duluth. She has a Master's of Fine Art degree in Theatre Design and Technology, is a graduate of The National Institute of Wood Finishing and is a certified professional sharpener. Betty has a been an instructor for much of her life, ranging from teaching Theater Design in College and University, to diversity training for non-profits and tax theory and skills for H and R Block. She is currently researching old-time food preservation.
I ate half a bag of onion sets right out of my mom’s garden as a small child because I didn’t fully understand the concept of plant growth, but I’ve come a long way since then. I currently work as the Garden Education Coordinator for Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, where I help people of all ages understand when they should - and should not - eat plants. I am excited to work with Gardening matters to make gardens and all of their benefits more accessible.