WV School Garden Toolkit

written for and by west virginia school gardeners

Toolkit Authors

Mary Beth Bennett has been the Agriculture and Natural Resource Extension Agent in Berkeley County, West Virginia for 19 years.  She works in all areas of agriculture including the Master Gardener program. But her love is agricultural literacy, helping people understand where their food and fiber come from. She taught the first group of West Virginia teachers about Agriculture in the Classroom.  Mary Beth also enjoys working with people and traveled as a Peace Corps Volunteer to Brazil and with the Agency for International Development in Africa.  She grew up on a dairy farm, helping raise calve and in the family garden.

Adrienne Cedarleaf served as an AmeriCorps volunteer for two years in Pocahontas County implementing a Farm to School program and working to develop family gardens through Grow Appalachia.  She is now starting a market garden at Briar Patch Farm where she hopes to sell to local schools, restaurants and families.

Katie Commender attended Arcadia University and obtained her B.A. in International Studies with a concentration in Globalization, Development, and Human Rights and a minor in Political Science. After interning for the Office of Surface Mining as a policy and research intern in 2011, Katie decided to join the OSM/VISTA team. Placed with Appalachian Sustainable Development, she began working on obtaining funding for school gardens located along the Panicello Memorial Trail.

Amy Gannon is a registered dietitian and youth specialist with the Family Nutrition Programs in Charleston. She coordinates curriculum and nutrition education activities for youth nutrition outreach instructors across the state. She has a Master’s Degree in Dietetics and has worked in the field of nutrition education for seven years.

Angela Kraus is a nutrition outreach instructor with the Family Nutrition Programs in Clay and Braxton counties. She teaches children in grades 3-5 during the school year and coordinates nutrition camps during the summer. She has a Master’s Degree in special education and has been a classroom teacher for 17 years. She has worked as an NOI for five years.

Bette O’Steen is a WVU Certified Master Gardener and lecturer who enjoys sharing a deep love of tasty fresh food and beautiful landscapes with her community.  She holds a Master of Business Administration and has vast experience in working with volunteers of all ages.  She is the author of a homespun gardening column “Bette’s Beds” in the Nicholas Chronicle.  Bette and her husband own and operate Grassy Creek Farms in Leivasy where they specialize in growing perennial flowers, herbs, and heirloom vegetables.

Jessica Pollitt is a licensed special education teacher who is passionate about food production and nutrition education in public schools.  She is currently working as an Americorps/Vista with school, youth, and community gardens in Kanawha County, WV.

David Seay, a retired Marine Corps Food Service Officer, loves his job feeding Fayette County Students healthy and Nutritious meals. The Farm to School projects are his favorite part of the child nutrition program.  Farm to school is a win for the community, a win for the students and a win for the school system.  David has a BS Degree from the University of Maryland, a Masters Degree from Troy State University, a Teaching Certification from Marshall University Graduate College and Bible Training at Appalachian Bible College.

Leah Smith is an AmeriCorps*VISTA working to improve food access and to increase the local food economy with the WV Food & Farm Coalition.  After graduating with a Sociology degree from UNC Asheville, she brought her love for Appalachia to Charleston, WV, where she worked as an AmeriCorps with the Covenant House, a low income resource center.


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