Tampa Bay Farm2School Executive Board
Elizabeth Leib, Director
Elizabeth loves to the challenge of getting start-up projects off the ground. And particularly any project that makes the world a better place. An online conversation in 2011 with Grant Rimbey on a local garden blog led to her to organize a volunteer gardener group to start the Temple Terrace Community Gardens. Three years and two community gardens later in spring, 2013, she passed the community garden baton to Travis and started the Temple Terrace Farm2School program (now Tampa Bay Farm2School). She continues to support community gardening through her work on behalf of the Coalition of Community Gardens. Elizabeth is a graduate student at the Patel College of Global Sustainability. She has lived in Temple Terrace for 24 years with her nice husband who teaches at USF, writes really good plays and smart theatre reviews and with her son, a King HS student who is an avid body builder, wrestler, and jiu-jitsu competitor. Elizabeth was proud to be recognized at the October 16, 2018 Temple City Council meeting for her leadership role for building Tampa Bay Farm2School and the new grant funding for Kids’ Kitchen.
Amanda Corsentino, Vice-President & Media Contact
Amanda Corsentino, a Staff Attorney with the law firm of White & Case, learned about the Farm 2 School project from fellow community activist Jennifer Webb at a civic engagement event they both attended. Amanda holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of South Florida and a Juris Doctorate from Stetson University College of Law. She has 10 years of experience working in and volunteering for governmental and nonprofit organizations. Amanda spent much of her childhood in rural Maryland, surrounded by farmland and woodlands. Her mother, a gardener, and her father, a hunter, eagerly involved their children in the process of growing and preparing food. Amanda attributes her passion and respect for food and land to these very early experiences. She believes that an empowered, educated, and encouraged youth can serve an important role in supporting a healthy, ethical food system. All media inquiries: 813-416-9031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan Bally-Gessman, Treasurer
Close to retiring after a 47 year career in the financial industry; 25 years with Raymond James Financial and 22 years in investment banking prior to that, I was searching for “what’s next”. I have always been a farm girl at heart, hearing stories from my Dad who was raised on a farm in Kansas. Our move to Florida when I was young brought us to the outskirts of Tampa allowing the family to garden, raise chickens and rabbits; the neighbors had horses. As my husband, Milan and I raised our sons in South Tampa, there were always cats, dogs, turtles, snakes and the occasional injured bird to care for. We moved to Temple Terrace four years ago, living just behind Greco Middle School. I learned of the Farm2School program at a TT Garden Show and signed up with the TTF2S Volunteer Animal Care Team to assist in feeding the animals at Greco on weekends and holidays. This has turned out to be an amazing experience for our family. Our family suffered the loss of our daughter-in-law last year and I thought that caring for the animals would be good for our grandsons but it has proven to be a Godsend for us all. Mystic and Rebel, the miniature therapy horses plus Dolly the lamb have stolen our hearts.
We’ve met so many wonderful people through the garden efforts and truly see the opportunity to volunteer with Farm2School as a family activity. Think I’ve found my “what’s next”.
Jean Jacques Werleigh, Sustainable Agriculture Advisor
My name is Jean Jacques Werleigh but most people call me Jacques. I was born and grew up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and graduated high school in Polk County, FL. I received a BS in Biology, a minor in Health Sciences, and additional course work in Medical Anthropology from the University of Central Florida. I was president of IDEAS for UCF for two years prior to graduating, in this role, I learned and experienced a great deal with environmental advocacy and stewardship, community service, and grassroots movements. I then work several years for the UCF Arboretum, responsible for coordinating the volunteer program and my favorite, managing the community garden and greenhouse. I am now pursuing a master's degree at USF Patel College for Global Sustainability with a focus in Food Security and Sustainability. I aspire to work for global organizations such as Oxfam, UN FAO, USAID focusing on Food production, food policy, food waste and the environmental impact associated with food production and consumption.
Li Zhu, Social Media Coordinator
Li Zhu, an international student Shanghai, China, is a Patel College of Global Sustainability MA student with a concentration in Food Security and Sustainability. Zhu obtained a B.A. in English and minor in Economics. Working with Professor Culhane, Zhu has developed expertise in building biodigesters with the goal of integrating the energy, food, water nexus. Currently he is working on developing an approach that combines sustainable tourism and food security to achieve sustainable development goals.
Zhu held the position of "Sustainability Coordinator" during his internship with TTF2S. In that capacity he worked with school partners implement a school cafeteria food waste audit and learn about composting. At the conclusion of his internship, Li transitioned to the role of "Social Media Coordinator." Li's work is made possible by student internship sponsors Beth and Gerry Curts and Ken Ward.