BOARD GOVERNANCE EVOLUTION
Farm School NYC’s origin story is one of collective visioning and volunteering -- from its roots at a winter retreat for a few radical women to its growth through the gifted labor of more than 30 farmers and activists from our city’s low income, black and brown communities. Our founders were a collective, holding collective power in this living, growing organization they birthed.
To honor our origin story of collective action and community leadership, Farm School NYC has been evolving our organizational and governance structure since 2018 to reflect those values. This is in alignment with our Community Repair Process Recommendations.
In spring 2021, Farm School NYC launched a new Board process, in which over 150 students, alumni, faculty and staff elected six new Board members, co-creating a community-led decision-making structure that allows us to be truly led by and accountable to our community, a community that has social justice and food sovereignty at its core. Read more about our Board Evolution Process.
Welcome our new Board Members, and stay tuned for updates on our evolution!
Genesis Abreu, Student Representative
Génesis Abreu is a genderqueer person of color with Mayan and Nahuat Indigenous roots and Salvadoran and Dominican ancestry. They were raised and still live in Inwood and Washington Heights in northern Manhattan, the occupied, stolen, and unceded traditional lands of the Lenni Lenape people of Lenapehoking.
Génesis is a community organizer and researcher whose work centers on topics of BIPOC youth leadership, food sovereignty, environmental justice, cooperatives, decolonial land practices, BIPOC solidarity, and QTBIPOC futures. They have gained vast experience in community organizing and outreach, youth environmental justice education, and community participatory research, through their work with WE ACT for Environmental Justice, North Brooklyn Neighbors, and the Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Assessment Initiative. In 2015, Génesis was awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to Cusco, Peru, where they worked alongside Quechua Indigenous farmers from the Potato Park to document the cultural, environmental, and economic implications of the climate crisis on potato production. Génesis holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Marist College and an M.S. in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management from The New School.
Esmerelda Herrera, Student Representative
A first-generation American, born and raised in the South Bronx, New York, Esmeralda Herrera is driven by innovative approaches to creating impact and is passionate about the intersection of business, social impact, and the Bronx. Director of Programs and Community Relations at Communitas America, whose mission is to create social impact ecosystems in underserved communities, where Esmeralda manages an accelerator in the South Bronx for local social entrepreneurs.
She currently works with founders to expand their social impact visions and business plans. She is passionate about equity and social justice to ensure vulnerable communities have opportunities to flourish. Previously she worked with international organizations in India and China that empower changemakers that help revitalize local economies. She has experience in identifying and implementing community and system improvements, interventions, managing teams, and institutional partnerships. She believes in the exchange of ideas in order to connect communities, for growth, and most importantly for learning and organizing communities for collective action, resulting in social change and wellness. In her spare time, you can find her dancing, farming, or trying new recipes.
Tutu Badaru, Community Representative
Tutu Badaru is the Youth Engagement Coordinator for GrowNYC’s Food Access and Agriculture program. Her passion for food and people led her to pursue a career in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. After working in the clinical field for two years and completing a graduate degree in clinical nutrition, she realized that she wanted to be able to work directly with people and communities outside of the restrictions and limitations of Hospital regulations. At GrowNYC, she is part of a team that creates a learning environment in theGreenmarkets where students K-12 can engage with locally grown food and its growers.
The fun, interactive Greenmarket School Tours help children gain an understanding of farming in our region and how their food choices impact their bodies, their communities, and their environment. Tutu Badaru was born and raised in Uganda and moved to New York 7 years ago to pursue a Masters degree in clinical nutrition at NYU. Initially, she had planned to return to Uganda at the completion of her studies. However, during her stay she fell in love with this city and its people and decided to make New York her home. She is also the Chair of the Steering and Envisioning Committee for NYC Nutrition Educators Network (NYCNEN)- a collection of dietitians, nutritionists and food educators who hold space for conversations often around issues affecting BIPOC communities that are often ignored in traditional nutrition spaces.
Hans Hagerman, Community Representative
Hans was raised in Harlem and East Harlem in the Grant Housing projects, the Wilson Housing projects, East 100th street, and finally, in a home that housed "Exodus House," a ground-breaking residential community for drug addiction treatment. The program was founded and run by his father. Through Exodus House and his parents, he learned early lessons about courage and the possibilities of the human spirit. After college at Princeton and law school at Columbia University, he practiced law as a prosecutor and then as a public defender. He left the law practice and started independent schools in Harlem for children who were not successful in public school. Running these schools allowed him to directly impact the school-to-prison pipeline and provide a nurturing environment for creative students who were non-traditional learners.
He went on to lead other youth nonprofits, both here and in Africa and India. Most recently, he was the executive director for Land to Learn, a garden-based education program that works in 11 schools in NY's Hudson Valley. While there, he also created a gardening and yoga program for teen boys convicted in adult court of violent crimes. During his 15-minutes of fame, he was honored to be the recipient of the Robin Hood Foundation Hero Award and the Essence Magazine Award.
For the last six years, He has lived in the mid-Hudson Valley. He also works as a Breath-work practitioner, Reiki healer, hypnotist, yoga teacher, NLP master practitioner. He is a father of children ranging from 15 to 30 years of age. His main goal is to become an ancestor worth remembering.
Ruby Olisemeka, Faculty Representative
Ruby Olisemeka is an independent educator/consultant focusing on socially transformative education; food justice and incorporating African and indigenous spiritual practices into farming and food & farming education.
She began her farming career as an apprentice at Stone Barns (2011) and in 2014 became a certified Master Composter through the New York Botanical Gardens Master Composting Program. Ruby has built numerous school and urban gardens in lower Westchester and Harlem. Ruby has over 10 years’ experience educating children and young adults, she has worked as an educator at Edible Schoolyard NYC, Harlem Grown, Sienna Ranch and various public and private schools and institutions.
She is a facilitator with FarmSchool NYC - an urban agriculture training program for adults. She initiated and is a part of a grassroots community effort to bring local organically grown food to Mount Vernon, NY residents at no cost/pay what you can model, entitled "The Free Peoples Market".
Kelly McLane, Faculty Representative
Kelly was raised in Central Jersey where she gardened with her parents and worked on a flower farm. While studying social work, she managed a small residential ornamental gardening business between NJ and NY. She first fell in love with green education in 1999 at the New York Botanical Garden while facilitating early childhood edible gardening classes. Since then, she has facilitated mathematics, environmental science, urban agriculture and gardening courses in NYC public schools, at NYBG, BBG and QBG as well as with GreenThumb.
In 2006, Kelly co-founded Bronx Green Middle School where she worked as the NYC DoE's first full time Garden Coordinator. As a new mom while attending Farm School NYC, she coordinated the farmers’ market and CSA by where she lived in the Bronx. In 2016, she co-designed, launched and managed the Forest Explorers program at the Queens Botanical Garden. Kelly now lives with her son, Malcolm, in the Bronx where she teaches 6th grade mathematics at the school he attends and co-facilitates the Advanced Facilitation course for FSNYC. She identifies as a white, middle class, cis gendered, heterosexual, Christian woman passionate about green education, racial equity, environmental justice and child development.