Kate joined City Fruit in April 2014 as the organization's second executive director. Her 12 year career in public health has focused on creating social and physical environments that build healthy communities. She is passionate about ensuring access to nutritious food as part of the foundation of a healthy, productive community.
Kate has been involved in efforts to build community markets in low-access areas, to promote awareness of food deserts, to address senior hunger issues, and to create safe neighborhood parks. In other experience, she has traveled to nearly all 50 states working with local coalitions and organizations to create public health policy focused on health education, healthcare distribution, and Alzheimer’s disease. She is an experienced political organizer, having worked on ten campaigns through four states. Kate has been featured on the Seattle Channel, KUOW, Seattle Met Magazine and named a South Seattle Gem by the South Seattle Emerald. She currently serves on Seattle's Pedestrian Advisory Board Committee.
Kate has a masters degree in public health policy from Saint Louis University School of Public Health and Social Justice where she graduated with Great Distinction. She lives with her husband Andrew in the Greenwood neighborhood.
Latest blog post: Vote Yes on Proposition 1, Sound Transit Expansion
Clare is passionate about food and culture and believes every human being deserves food security with access to nutritious food. She studied biology and fine art while attending Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA which she credits with developing her commitment to environmental sustainability. She has worn many environmental hats working for a wetland preserve in Utah, a policy education NGO in D.C. and a special education school and farm in New York.
Clare pursued her Master of Environmental Management at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia where she deepened her passion and knowledge of food waste, sustainable agriculture, and community development.
Since living in Seattle she has spent time selling cheese and yogurt at the Ballard Farmer’s Market and gleaning produce for the Pike Place Food Bank. In her free time, she loves to cook (and eat), dance salsa, and exercise her passport.
Latest blog post: Renee Erickson: 6 Things You Don't Know about Me + My Favorite Fruit
Luke was born and raised in the golden wheat fields of North Dakot. A desire to experience elevation change brought him to pursue his studies in Tacoma at the University of Puget Sound where he graduated with a degree in political science. After returning to the states from teaching middle school math in Juticalpa, Hondura, Luke moved to Whidbey Island to help his sister on her 6 acre, organic produce farm, Deep Harvest Farm. After the 2013 harvest season was complete, Luke moved to Seattle and interned with the Domestic Fair Trade Assocation - an organization committed to working towards a more equitable, diverse, and sustainble food system. Besides playing in the dirt, Luke enjoys cooking, reading, ultimate frisbee, and getting lost in nature. Contact Luke at [email protected].
Latest blog post: Fresh Sheet October 17th through October 21st
Natalie is a fruit enthusiast with degrees from Bastyr University and James Madison University. With her combined education and work in public health and holistic design, she is passionate about healthy environments and happy people. Natalie has a diverse range of experiences from working with volunteers at CrossOver Ministry, an urban public health clinic, to a Seattle coffee shop gardener. In her free time she likes to practice bikram yoga in the U-district and likes to try new dance styles at the Massive Monkees Studio: The Beacon. Her desire to help people improve their quality of life brought her out the Pacific Northwest and she hasn’t looked back. Natalie loves meeting and working with amazing City Fruit volunteers and is also excited because she hasn’t yet met a new fruit she didn’t like! Contact Natalie at [email protected].
Latest blog post: City People's Garden Store- Fruit Tree Pruning
Emelia is a native Kentuckian who has never been too far away from the growing and harvest of food. A recent Centre College grad, she studied environmental science and international development with hopes of finding a way to work for the good of people and their places. This inclination has led to experiences at a community arts organization in Atlanta, an environmental education nonprofit in Central Appalachia and a child sponsorship program in Kampala, Uganda during her time in undergrad. Before moving to the Pacific Northwest, she worked as a writer and copy editor for a small Kentucky newspaper as well as an English teacher in Leon, Nicaragua. She is excited to be a part of the local Seattle food community and equally excited to be in a part of the world that has cool(er) summers. In her free time, she enjoys learning how to climb, reading books out loud, chickens, and David Bowie.
Board of Directors
Morgan most recently hails from Chicago where she survived the winters by spending long hours crunching numbers first for Ernst & Young in their audit practice and then Citadel Investment Group working in Accounting Policy and Financial Reporting. She now has her own accounting consulting practice helping local nonprofits and small businesses develop and understand accounting systems. She also loves to explore Seattle’s urban parks with her two children, especially when they find fresh fruit to enjoy! Morgan holds a Masters in Accountancy from Arizona State University and is a CPA.
Betsy has always wanted to make a positive difference in the world by using her expertise and talents for the greater good. Since opening her consulting firm, Betsy has used her experience to help her nonprofit and business clients grow and contribute to the world. Betsy holds an MBA from Bainbridge Graduate Institute. She grew up in rural Pennsylvania where the art of preserving fresh produce for the winter was common and spent countless hours as a child picking wild berries. A few years ago, she and her husband bought a house with an ancient apple tree needing lots of love and care, which began her involvement with City Fruit.
For five years Matt has been a lead at Bradner Gardens Park, caring for the fruit trees with the City Fruit orchard stewards. An advocate for environmental education, he has developed urban agriculture policy for the City of Seattle, analyzed local “foodsheds” for the American Farmland Trust, and led both policy and restoration teams with People for Puget Sound. Matt worked in agriculture and community resource management in Peace Corps Tanzania and The Gambia. He earned an MS studying agroecology from the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences and works in systems operations for the Deptartment of Laboratory Medicine. He is driven, by the cultural resonance and fantastical wilderness of Cascadia, to improve the relationship between people and their environments.
John Braden served as Director of the Seattle Aquarium from January 2005 through its transition to non-profit management in July of 2010. John was a key leader in negotiating the Transition Agreement and its implementation. He continues to serve as an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors, and as Director Emeritus serves of the Public Partnerships, Master Planning and Facilities Committees. Previously, John served as the Deputy Director of the Aquarium from 2002 to 2005, focusing on exhibit development, finance, and personnel management. Prior to that he had served as the principal planner for the Seattle Parks Department’s central waterfront properties. Earlier in his career, John worked in the City’s Office of Economic Development, serving as its Director from 1986 to 1991. His work focused on job creation, redevelopment of distressed communities, and planning for infrastructure improvements. John holds BA and MA degrees in Geography from the University of Washington. John was born and raised in Seattle. He and his wife, Kristin Johnsen, live in the Green Lake area where he grew up. He has two adult children, Will and Anna, who both live and work in the Seattle area.
Grant is currently pursuing his MBA at the University of Washington. Prior to attending school he was a bank auditor for the Farm Credit Administration, where he traveled across the country visiting small agricultural banking institutions. He also spent time as a financial analyst for an oil and gas company in Denver Colorado. He graduated from the University of Colorado with an undergraduate degree in Finance. In his free time he is an avid skier and as a transplant to the Pacific Northwest, has learned to ski in the wet concrete like snow of Washington. He also spends his free time exploring with his golden-doodle named Cooper.
Jeremy Erdman graduated with his Masters in Public Administration at the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, specializing in environmental and energy policy in June 2016. Before coming to Seattle, Jeremy lived in San Antonio, where he studied Engineering Science and Environmental Studies at Trinity University with a keen interest in renewable energy. As a Board Fellow, Jeremy is thankful for the opportunity to work with an organization focused on strengthening Seattle's connection to sustainability.
Joe is a newcomer to Seattle, moving here to pursue his MBA at the University of Washington. He grew up in India where he did his undergraduate in Computer Science and worked in Bangalore's tech space. Joe likes to be outdoors and explores Seattle during his free time. He likes fruits, with Oranges being his favorite. As an MBA board fellow, Joe is excited about City Fruit's mission dedicated to protecting fruit trees.
Brian is a relative newcomer to Seattle, having arrived in 2012 to join Laird Norton Company where he is the Director of Corporate Investments. Brian grew up in South Africa where he studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town. After several years living and working in the UK, he moved to the US to attend business school at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business. Brian is a cider enthusiast and has been a home cider maker for nearly a decade, but what he most enjoys is spending time with his with his wife and two young sons, especially outdoors.
Kimberly has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 2004. Originally from Chicago, Kimberly has spent over 15 years in the investment profession and is currently Senior Vice President at Key Private Bank. She works with clients on their wealth planning and investment portfolios and is a Certified Financial Planer. In her free time, Kimberly can be found spending time with her husband and two young boys exploring Seattle neighborhoods.
Melissa has been gleaning fruit and foraging wild foods in the Seattle region for over 25 years. Melissa earned a PhD in Environmental Anthropology from the University of Washington. Currently, she serves as the joint social scientist for Washington Sea Grant (UW) and NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Centerto improve understanding of the sociocultural dimensions of ecosystem management. Whether it’s facilitating a workshop on cultural food practices, speaking about access to nature as a social justice issue, or linking cultural values to ecosystem restoration, Melissa is passionate about strengthening ties between people and the environments in which they live. Melissa and her partner love to garden, forage, make medicinal salves, homebrew and botanical art.
Hazel’s work experience relates back to and is reinforced by her training in Economic Geography and Urban Planning: understanding how systems (e.g., transportation, social services, manufacturing, health, small and large businesses, communities, government, etc) function in a region; what are the constraints and obstacles to successes and efficiency; and how to increase participation by all citizens in these processes so that they have a stake in positive outcomes. Hazel has worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors and her volunteer work has spanned hands-on work to policy review and budget development. She is one of City Fruit's original founders.
Gail grew up picking apples in the ‘Apple Capital of the World’ and, after a hiatus of 40 years, returned to coordinate fruit harvests throughout Seattle. She has organized neighborhood and community harvest groups and is the author of Gather It: How to Organize an Urban Fruit Harvest. Gail’s background includes serving as a communications specialist with King County environmental programs, working as a public health educator, and overseas stints in the Philippines and Ghana. She has masters degrees in anthropology and public health.
Barb grew up on an apple, pear, and cherry orchard outside Selah, Yakima county, where she learned how to pick fruit, can fruit, and make pies. Years later in Seattle she was compelled to rescue neighborhood fruit trees choked by blackberries and ivy. Barb has been lead steward for the Burke-Gilman Trail Urban Orchard since 2010. She also volunteers in her son’s public schools where she has established “Green Teams” and has led Washington Green Schools certifications. She has an MBA from NYU and a large collection of piano ensemble sheet music just waiting to be played.
Matt was introduced to City Fruit when he joined the Orchard Steward group at Martha Washington Park. He is committed to supporting good local food and is especially interested in getting it to those who need it most and in building knowledge and community around food. Most recently Matt has been applying his experience as a hobby hard cider maker to teaching people how to turn their bounty of apples into delicious cider. Matt works at Fair Trade USA as a web applications developer.