After nearly 10 years of teaching primarily at-risk youth at inner-city high schools, Maggie had an “Ah-ha moment” compelling her to abandon her tenured position. The realization was that the “Hot” Cheetos and Pepsi imbibed by many of her students for breakfast, or lunch, or both, was not providing the sustenance students require for their success. Regardless of how dedicated Maggie was to supporting students, they both were up against a fortress of unhealthy food choices, reinforced by a lack of culinary and nutrition education. As a result, teachers and administrators faced the daily routine of otherwise great students caught in the physical and psychological maze of unhealthful nourishment. Maggie is currently using the breadth of her experience--academically, professionally, and personally--to address and alter this cycle. She endeavor's to create and support viable, systems-based programs at the crossroads of education, nutrition, and civic engagement for young adults.
Susan moved to Portland from Minneapolis to attend Lewis & Clark College eleven years ago. She has nearly ten years of experience in garden-based education, and over thirteen years in the professional gardening and landscaping field. She spent six years as the owner of Black-Eyed Susan Gardening and Landscaping, and recently left the business to expand her work teaching sustainable agriculture. Her passion for garden-based education began when she worked as an educator at Slide Ranch, an educational farm in the Bay Area. This passion was rooted in a belief that experiential education and service learning opportunities incites wonder, curiosity, and excitement in students, thereby increasing engagement and student achievement. Susan worked as the school garden coordinator for the West Linn Wilsonville School District just before she began as the garden coordinator at Madison High School in 2010. At MHS she manages the garden, co-teachers, and develops standards-based, academically rigorous garden curriculum for students enrolled in a Sustainable Agriculture class.