GROW La Crosse is a non-profit organization formed by enthusiastic parents and community members who connect children to health food and nature through school gardens and farm experiences.
These amazing individuals guide our organization.
President - Jenny Klein
Jenny's interest in GROW stems from her roles as an educator and mother. There is a large body of evidence suggesting that kids learn most effectively when immersed in rich environments that stimulate their natural curiosity and encourage learning through play and experimentation. Unfortunately, these environments are scarce in traditional school curricula. With over a decade of experience designing active learning environments and an interest in biology, nature, and gardening, Jenny is able to contribute to building these environments in our elementary schools through GROW.
Vice President - Katie Wagoner
Katie is excited to be a part of GROW because GROW's work aligns well with her professional and personal interests. She has her bachelor's degree in nutrition and a master's degree in public health. Katie has been working in health education and nutrition education since 2004. In addition, Katie is excited to be a part of GROW because as a mom of two, she has seen first-hand the importance of teaching children where food comes from and what it takes for food to get to their plate.
Treasurer - Annie Berendes
Annie loves to garden at home and enjoys working with children. She wants to engage the community and enhance education through GROW. Annie is excited to be apart of this team and for the opportunity to learn from each other.
Secretary - Sarah Pember
Sarah's original career path was in elementary education, and taught in Northern and Central Virginia schools, as well as north of Austin, Texas. Now she is a professor of School Health Education and has experience working with teacher candidates and lesson planning.
Other previous jobs have included working as a “Foodie” in a small grocery store, teaching cooking classes for their plant-based eating program and writing a food blog.
Abby comes with a great passion for connecting children to healthy food and nature. She and her daughter attended GROW's Inspired Little Hands on the Farm. That experience solidified Abby's desire to be involved with GROW on a deeper level. Abby has experience with nonprofits and fundraising.
Grace has always been interested in gardening and food sustainability efforts. During her time as an Environmental Conversation Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay she worked with local high school and middle school classes to establish school gardens and helped start a high school youth group dedicated to training participants to be environmental leaders in their community. She views GROW as an extension of these past passion projects and is excited to be involved.
Adrian comes with a lot of great experience on food and architecture. She has gained momentum in the food movement as she recently was in New York and hosted the James Beard House’s Juneteenth celebration.
Adrian also owns and operates Uptowne Cafe and Bakery on the Northside of La Crosse. She moved here with her family from Austin, Texas in 2017.
Hannah is thrilled to be apart of GROW because of her long career as a child educator, camp counselor, and cashier at People's Food Co-op. Hannah has been also working towards a Human Resources degree since 2018. GROW aligns with her goals in one day creating a nonprofit organization for the children in the inner city working with horse equine husbandry.