Tampa Bay Farm2School Executive Board
Elizabeth Leib, Founder/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 leadership baton to Travis Malloy and began work organizing a non-profit to support youth gardens. Temple Terrace Farm 2 School (now Tampa Bay Farm2School), a volunteer driven organization, has operated since 2014 to empower youth for health and success through hands-on agricultural experiences. As Director of the organization, Elizabeth has created partnerships with the Suncoast Chapter of the US Green Building Council, the USF College of Public Health, Patel College of Global Sustainability, and the USF School of Architecture and Community Design and secured funding from the Tampa Garden Club, Sprouts Healthy Community Foundation, Temple Terrace Junior Women’s Club, Ward Mitchell Civil Trial Attorneys and donors Beth and Gerry Curts to build garden programs at Greco Middle School, Turner-Bartels K-8, Cork Elementary and Muller Elementary. 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 by Sprouts Foundation for Healthy Communities. Rolled out at the garden grand opening at Turner-Bartels K-8 school in November 2018, Kids’ Kitchen is a mobile pop-up kitchen to teach kids plant based cooking in their garden. Elizabeth has lived in Temple Terrace for 25 years with her nice husband who teaches English and Creative Writing at USF, writes really good theatre plays and smart theatre reviews and with her son, a junior at King High School who is an avid body builder, wrestler, and jiu-jitsu competitor.Elizabeth is a graduate student at the Patel College of Global Sustainability and has a BA in English and Creative Writing from Eckerd College.
Christiane Barros Adwell, Vice-President & Kids’ Kitchen Team Leader
Christiane was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She received her BS in Veterinary Medicine, MS and PhD in Animal Science at Sao Paulo State University and at Lethbridge Research Center- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Christiane worked as a Research Coordinator and Liaison Officer at the Agriculture and Livestock Research Center as co-head of World Bank Sustainable projects focused on assisting family farmers transition from traditional to organic agriculture through sustainable practices. She also led the Rio de Janeiro contingent for the National Campaign Brazil’s “Organic and Sustainable” initiative launched by the Ministry of Social Development and Fight for Hunger. Christiane is a USF Patel College of Global Sustainability student with concentration in business and food security. She is a member of the Sustainable Food Research Initiatives at USF, Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger and Slow Food USA. She is a founding member of the new Tampa Bay Kids’ Kitchen, a program of Tampa Bay Farm2School.
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”.
Jacques Werleigh, Sustainable Agriculture Advisor
Jean Jacques Werleigh was born and grew up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and graduated high school in Polk County, FL. He received a BS in Biology, a minor in Health Sciences, and did additional course work in Medical Anthropology at the University of Central Florida. Jacques was president of IDEAS for UCF for two years prior to graduating. In this leadership role he learned a great deal about environmental advocacy stewardship, community service, and grassroots movements. Jacques also led the volunteer program and managed the community garden at the UCF Arboretum. Presently he is pursuing a master's degree at USF Patel College for Global Sustainability with a focus on Food Security and Sustainability. Jacques aspires 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 during the 2016/17 school year is made possible by student internship sponsors Beth and Gerry Curts and Ken Ward.
Nicholas Barnes, Program Manager
Nicholas Barnes was born in Kaiserslautern, Germany, but grew up all over. He is currently a graduate student at the University of South Florida’s (USF) Patel College of Global Sustainability. Nick is set to graduate in May of 2019 with an M.A. in Global Sustainability and a concentration in Sustainability Policy, having received his B.A. in International Studies from USF in December of 2017. Even before enrolling at the Patel College, Nick has always had an interest in sustainability and its role not just in environmental welfare, but also its role in social and economic welfare and security.
“My hope is to be able to partake in work that develops communities towards the ideas of sustainability. I learned of Tampa Bay Farm 2 School during my studies at the Patel College where I also developed an increased understanding of the role of food in developing sustainable communities. This is what drew me into TBF2S as the organization’s vision aligns with my interests and passions. I believe that through educating and providing tools to younger generations, TTF2S is able to help push communities toward sustainability.” says Nick.
Nick’s work with Tampa Bay Farm 2 School is made possible by student internship sponsor Ken Ward, Ward Mitchell: Civil Trial Attorneys.