Program Director - Garden Education
Kari Bersagel Braley is one of the co-founders of GROW. She has worked in education for 12 years as a special education teacher, elementary classroom teacher and a literacy teacher. She is a mother and wife who feels passionately about buying and eating locally grown food. She believes in the benefits of educating her own children and the children in the community about healthy living and working to ensure that all children have access to healthy food. In her free time Kari enjoys hiking in the bluffs with her family, practicing yoga, and eating delicious food around the table with good friends and family.
Before joining GROW La Crosse Jamie O'Neill earned a master's degree in Community Health Education from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. While earning this degree, she created and executed a garden curriculum for the Family and Children’s Center, the YMCA and pre-schools. More than 125 students have tested and helped improve this curriculum. Prior to grad school, Jamie was a teacher in Switzerland. She also went through the Master Gardeners course and Will Allen’s Growing Power workshop. Along with gardening, Jamie enjoys many activities outdoors like biking, skiing and hiking.
She brings skills from past experiences such as: marketing, event planning, volunteer organizing, and graphic design. She is passionate enriching the lives of children through providing hands-on educational activities. As a leader and volunteer in her children’s school PTO and 4-H club Bonnie has been able to help provide enriching events and travel experiences for children. It was through these roles that Bonnie became familiar with GROW. She is excited to be a part of an organization that is making a positive impact on the lives of children.
Linda returned to the La Crosse area after spending 10 years in the pacific northwest. She attended Western Washington University where she received her Bachelor's in Education. Linda comes to GROW with a passion for education, especially hands-on learning. As Maintenance Director she leads after-school programs and supports the school gardens.
Farm Experiences Director
Ana Skemp’s background in biology/ecology allows the farm program participants to experience learning about their food and where it comes from an in depth level. For example children will learn how plants turn sun into energy during photosynthesis. Ana has experience teaching in a school setting and has led cooking classes for youth. She is a farmer and the owner of Deep Roots Community Farm.
Susan helped start the La Crescent-Hokah School Garden in 2012. She has also served as the Program Manager for the La Crescent Community Garden. She grew up on Long Island, NY, and received her BA in Environmental Studies with focus in Biology from Middlebury College in VT. She met her husband in Alaska, and lived there for 10 years. They moved to the Midwest in the late 90's and to La Crescent in 2009. She has a passion for growing preparing, and sharing food, and enjoys sharing that joy with children and adults. Susan enjoys Tai Chi, following her children's activities, world cultures, travel and many outdoor activities.
Farm Camp and Education Leader
Josh is the lead teacher for the School of Technology and Arts II, School District of La Crosse. He is an avid home gardener. Josh has taught GROW cooking classes at the YMCA, summer school classes at GROW school garden sites and leads farm experiences. He also helped build the outdoor pizza oven at the farm.