6.15.2021 New Executive Director Named

GROW Announces New Executive Director

Kari Bersagel Braley has accepted the role as the Executive Director of GROW. Bersagel Braley or Ms. Kari, as students know her, has been with GROW since the organization’s  inception in 2012.  As an educator and parent, Braley along with a few other motivated parents proposed the idea that school gardens along with garden education would make a positive impact on the wellbeing of students, their ability to learn and their understanding of where their food comes from.  

Over the years Braley has held the roles of volunteer, board member, parent, Program Director, Interim Executive Director and now Executive Director.  

“Kari was one of the founders of GROW Your Brain, a community effort to install gardens at State Road and Hamilton/SOTA I elementary schools, which began over 9 years ago.  As GROW’s programming expanded within and outside of the La Crosse area, Kari continued to serve as a beloved instructor and program director who demonstrated extraordinary passion for education and commitment to kid’s health.  When it was time to choose a new Executive Director mid-pandemic, we knew that Kari would lead us brilliantly into a new phase of development that will include urban agriculture at Western Technical College’s greenhouse, expanded programming at middle schools, and collaborations with new community partners.  We are overjoyed that Kari has accepted our offer to lead GROW into this new territory and are looking forward to what we might create together,” stated Jennifer Klein, President of the GROW Board of Directors.    

Braley’s passion for providing children with innovative, hands-on learning opportunities to improve their health has been instrumental in moving the organization forward through the years.  In her new leadership role she is looking forward to maintaining the outstanding programming the organization has become regionally known for, in addition to developing new opportunities for youth and families to be engaged in the process of seed to table learning.

“I am honored to lead GROW into this next chapter.  It is exciting to continue to work with an amazing team of creative professionals and to collaborate with a dedicated and visionary board of directors as we bring meaningful, hands-on experiences to youth in our region,” shared Braley. 
Join Us For a Summer of
School Garden Exploration

NEW!  This summer GROW will be hosting twice weekly open garden events.  This week’s Open Garden Event information:
Activity: “Room to GROW”
Tuesday, June 15th
4:30 – 6:30 pm
North Woods International & Hintgen Elementary School Gardens

Thursday, June 17th
8:30 – 10:30 am
North Woods International & Hintgen Elementary School Gardens

Get your own garden passport to bring to the Open Garden events.  Your passport book along with GROW staff will help you complete garden “challenges.” You will get a GROW stamp of approval for every Open Garden “visit” or “challenge” you complete.  On September 10, 2021 bring your passport to the Great GROW Get Together at Pearl Street Brewery to get your own GROW t-shirt and entries into a GRAND PRIZE Drawing.  Earn one GRAND PRIZE entry for every stamp of approval in your passport!

Each passport has a coupon for one GROW t-shirt and 2 adult tickets to the Great GROW Get Together to be redeemed on Sept. 10th, a $30 value for a cost of only $10 per passport!     Go to for details.

All are welcome to the Open Garden events.  You do not have to have a passport to attend.  If you decide you’d like a passport they will be for sale at each Open Garden event throughout the summer.
Empowered Girls Farm Camp
Registration is open with limited space available!

Our Empowered Girls camp strives to empower youth who identify as a girl or under the non-binary umbrella in a supportive environment to help them realize they are brilliant, creative, and fully capable of being the next generation of PhD students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. The scientific method, experimental design, and data analysis will be explored.  Each day at camp, the students will be exposed to science, in particular biology, and how fun it can be.

Cost: Free!  
Ages: Grades 3-12 for the 2021-2022 school year
Session: August 2 – 4 (Monday-Wednesday)
Time: 9-1pm
Open to: 18 registrants
Thank you to the Women’s Fund for funding this program.

Women's Fund

This funding makes this program possible free of charge to participants.
Looking for Garden Volunteers
Are you looking for a safe activity for your family to do this summer?  We are looking for volunteers to help care for our school gardens.  No matter your gardening background or availability we have opportunities for you to get involved.  Go to our website to fill out the volunteer interest