Brooklyn Grange is operated by a team of hard-working folks committed to realizing a more sustainable and delicious NYC. Yet who we refer to as The Farmily comprises not just a core group of managing partners but a dedicated network of interns; apprentices; investors; landlords; community partners; fellow farmers, and the guy we get coffee from in the morning. Without the support and hard work of our community, Brooklyn Grange could never achieve the reach and growth we have experienced since opening in the spring of 2010.
Here’s a bit of background on our team!
Ben Flanner is a trained Industrial Engineer with a background in business and marketing. In 2009 Ben co-founded Eagle Street Rooftop Farms, the first rooftop soil farm in New York, and is widely recognized as a leader in rooftop urban agriculture. He is currently developing sustainable energy technology fueled by friendly, mid-western charm and the elongated “A” in the Wisconsin accent.
Gwen Schantz is an experienced urban farmer, a long-time sustainable food advocate, and co-founder of the Bushwick Food Cooperative & CSA. She was recently honored with Brooklyn Grange’s 2012 Speedy Chicken Coop Assembly Award.
Anastasia Cole Plakias has worked in some of the city’s finest restaurants and produced countless food-based events. As Director of Sales for the farm, she has finally found professional justification for spending her days salivating over menus and hanging around the back doors of NYC’s best kitchens.
Chase Emmons, a serial entrepreneur, has been farming and beekeeping for over a decade. He currently owns and operates C & C Orchards, a chemical-free orchard and apiary in western Massachusetts. An avid runner, we are placing bets on how quickly he can collect a swarm of feral bees.
Matt Jefferson is an Indianapolis native and stubborn Pacers fan. After receiving his Masters in Public Health in 2007, he spent two years volunteering with the Peace Corps in Botswana working with an HIV/AIDS awareness project and empowering village youth through agricultural training. He continues that work through the Refugee Immigrant Fund’s Urban Farm Recovery Project at Brooklyn Grange. Matt remains the only member of the farm team fast enough to catch a Speckled Sussex hen.
Bradley is a passionate farmer with a deeply rooted commitment to health. Before joining the Brooklyn Grange team, he turned nine acres of Vermont soil into delicious, organic vegetables. His breadth of agricultural knowledge and desire to teach others were outweighed only slightly during his hiring process by his perfect driving record. When he’s not up on the farm staking tomatoes, he can be found listening to 99.5 FM, sipping green juice and studying up on nutrition.
Melissa Kuzoian graduated from Boston University with a degree in finance, in spite of her six-month stint spelunking and bungee jumping across New Zealand. She splits her time between the farm, where she recruits interns and doggedly chases down every last figure until our books are balanced, and Nonprofit Finance Fund where she analyzes internal financials, prepares reports and incites general office envy over her superlative tan.