Our People


Staff

Olivia Kersey-Bronec

EnergyCorp Member

Olivia grew up in Canby, Oregon on an organic farm and went on to study Chemistry at the University of Puget Sound. Olivia found her way out to Montana as an AmeriCorp volunteer with Jesuit Volunteer Corp Northwest in Ashland, Montana working at St. Labre School. She is happy to join Freedom Gardens as an EnergyCorp member this year. This is the first time she has worked with aquaponics and is learning a lot. She is passionate about education and sustainable food production and is excited to have joined the Freedom Garden team. 

Ryan Hoskinson

Microgreens Program Manager

Stay tuned for Ryan's bio.


Board of Directors

Heath Carey
Chair

Heath N. Carey moved from Gettysburg, PA to Missoula in 2005 to pursue a graduate degree in Resource Conservation.  His research focused on developing, implementing, and studying the Missoula Hybrid Poplar Project, which included planting some 377 poplar trees that utilize treated municipal waste water as a source of irrigation and fertilization. This successful project was expanded to over 180 acres at present. Heath has served on the Missoula Mayor's Climate Change Advisory Board, The Missoula Fleet and Facilities Conservation and Climate Action Plan Board, The Missoula Zero Waste Group, Transition Missoula Steering Committee, and currently serves as the secretary to The Missoula Winter Public Market Board. Heath is also the owner of Nourishing Cultures, a Missoula-based fermented food business. 

Riley Devins
Frenchtown School Dist. Liaison / Treasurer

Riley Devins works in Frenchtown School District as the Intermediate Principal/K-12 Director of Academic Services and is the school representative on the Freedom Gardens Board. He is passionate about growing local food and knowing where the food that we consume comes from. With a background in education, Riley is involved in curriculum development, fundraising and community engagement. He is working to establish student understanding of agricultural practices and science modalities that encompass local sustainability in agriculture and gardening practices that start through education in our schools and move into the local community.

Hanna Tester
Secretary

Hanna Tester has two young boys attending Frenchtown Elementary School and the Tester family enjoys gardening together during Montana summers in their family garden.  Not only has gardening been a great bonding experience for Hanna and her family, but the Testers have learned together the impact that growing and harvesting their own food have on their health and their boys' relationship with their food. Hanna graduated form the university of Montana in 2008 with an undergraduate degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. She has worked in the nonprofit environment for seven years, with extensive experience in housing and finding paths to acquire safe, healthy homes everyone can afford.  Throughout her tenure in the nonprofit sector, Hanna has acquired extensive experience in grant writing and grant compliance for both local funders as well as government funders. Hanna and her husband, Michael, feel incredibly lucky that their boys attend Frenchtown elementary and get such intimate, hands-on learning about sustainability and food cultivation. 

Alaina Dunne
Curriculum  Director

Alaina was raised on a Montana ranch, participating in 4-H for ten years.  With a BA in Social Work from UM, she did a practicum with the Flagship Program at Lowell Elementary School, developing after-school programs, recruiting, training and managing volunteers.  Alaina also has two years of case management experience with parents in the HeadStart Program.  She believes that her involvement with the 4-H Program from a young age keeps her grounded in the community.  

Alaina was raised on a Montana ranch, participating in 4-H for ten years.  With a BA in Social Work from UM, she did a practicum with the Flagship Program at Lowell Elementary School, developing after-school programs, recruiting, training and managing volunteers.  Alaina also has two years of case management experience with parents in the HeadStart Program.  She believes that her involvement with the 4-H Program from a young age keeps her grounded in the community.  

Charles (Chuck) Holman

Chuck was born and raised on a cattle ranch North of Chinook, Mt. After graduating high school, he moved to Seattle and was introduced to commercial landscaping and maintenance. Chuck owned and operated CTC Landscape Maintenance for six  years before selling the company and moving to Michigan. In Michigan, Chuck again started his own landscape maintenance company, Holman Landscape Services. In Spring 2006, Chuck started working with Crop Service International where he was introduced to Eco Agriculture and the many different forms of natural farming. Chuck learned the value of mineral balancing soils, remediating the microbiology in the soil and the importance that these microbes play in the nutrient density of our foods. In 2014, Chuck moved back to Montana and landed in Missoula; he worked with two nonprofits before beginning his third landscape maintenance and healthy soil consulting business, Earth in Hand. Chuck is one of the founders of the Montana Hemp Cooperative where he still serves on the board of directors as the Public and Media liaison.

Randy Cline

Stay tuned for Randy's bio.

Julia Crocker

Julia Crocker was born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma. She has moved around a bit, but has settled in nicely here in Montana. Julia has spent the last three years teaching various science classes at Frenchtown High School. The environmental science class she helped design holds a special place in her heart, and she would like to see a connection made between her high school students and Freedom Gardens. Having seen the positive impact Freedom Gardens has had on the elementary aged students, Julia hopes to have the same outcome with older students. By having the students serve as the integral piece connecting greenhouse to table, students will learn the role a community can play when everyone has the same goal in mind.


Former Board Members

Shanti Johnson

Shanti is passionate about sustainability education initiatives at the community level. She was lucky to grow up getting her hands dirty in the garden; it wasn't until college that she realized most people never get to experience the magic of watching their food grow and develop from a tiny seed into something nourishing and delicious to eat. She's proud to be part of an organization that brings kids into the world of growing food and cares about building a more sustainable future for all. Her focus on the board is communications and volunteer coordination. When she's not working on Freedom Gardens initiatives, you can find her working on communications, outreach and marketing for Mountain Line, Missoula's free public transit system.

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Rob Taylor
Former Chair

Though born and raised in Missoula, Mt, Rob Taylor is a horticultural wanderer by nature. He has grown thousands of tomatoes at the University of Kansas (where he earned his BFA), studied orchard techniques in New Zealand, participated in a census of Alaskan tundra plants, and grown vegetables at McMurdo Station and the South Pole Station in Antarctica as part of the National Science Foundation effort. His loves include art, old dogs, cheese-ball science fiction novels, and he definitely prefers the blissful taste of coffee served in bed as opposed to the more mundane flavor imparted when sitting at a table. He seasonally becomes obsessed with Tall Bearded Iris, heritage apple trees, and wonky tomato varieties. Rob’s involvement in Freedom Gardens stems from his hopes that horticulture becomes part of a state-wide public school curriculum.

Isabella Aaseng

Frenchtown High School student Isabella Aaseng has grown up in the Frenchtown community and has been serving on the Freedom Gardens board since 2016, her eighth-grade year. She is currently a junior and has committed part of her schedule to a Freedom Gardens internship. In this, she implements sustainable practices in the very same classrooms where she learned. Currently, she is interested in pursuing a degree in global sustainability studies and political or social sciences, all of which are fueled by her involvement with Freedom Gardens.  

Mark Estep
Former Secretary/Treasurer

Mark was raised in New York City, where he worked in restaurant management and attended the Parsons School of Design, studying historic restoration. In 1992 Mark moved to Missoula had a small business as a contractor, restoring several historic buildings in Missoula.  Since retiring in 2007, he decided to get back into the food movement.  He has worked on getting a USDA inspected mobile abattoir operating in western Montana to harvest cattle on the ranch.  He has worked with the Fredom Gardens in the design and implementation of the garden plots and serves on the Board.