As the child of refugees growing up in Alabama, Annie Nguyen's passion for human rights started early. She has been working with nonprofit organizations in education, conservation, and social justice on the local, state, national, and international level for more than 20 years. After graduating from the George Washington University with a BA in Political Communication, Annie started her career in teaching, fundraising, and management. She has served as an afterschool writing/soccer coach for America Scores (DC), a Program Coordinator for the International Visitor Program (DC) and National 4-H Council (DC), a grant writer for the National Forest Foundation (MT) and Refugee Women's Alliance (WA), the Maryland Branch Manager for BPSOS (MD), the Director of Grant Funding for St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore (MD), and the Grants Manager for Seattle Jobs Initiative (WA).
Annie fell in love with the Northwest while earning her MFA at the University of Montana and moved to Seattle in 2015. She believes a more just world begins on the local level, by valuing diverse voices among stakeholders. As she has furthered her career, she has kept true to her belief in service as an active volunteer. She has volunteered as an Americorps Literacy Corps member, as a mentor for Asian American LEAD, a teacher trainer in Thailand, and most recently, as a moms group facilitator for PEPS and as a mural artist with Friends of Little Saigon. Annie joins City Fruit excited to increase access for all to Seattle's urban fruit orchards, reducing food waste, and creating more community one fruit tree at a time. She would love to hear from you at [email protected].
Latest blog post: Sharing Community Through Figs
Jordyn Egbert grew up in Leavenworth and Seattle, Washington. After earning a degree in Environmental Studies from Western Washington University in June of 2019, she returned to Leavenworth for the summer to pursue a position as an AmeriCorps Vista Summer Associate. Jordyn worked for the gleaning program of the Leavenworth non-profit, Upper Valley MEND. She spent her time leading volunteer groups to glean thousands of pounds of produce from local orchards and farms, delivering the produce to food banks in the Leavenworth area. This experience sparked Jordyn’s interest to work with organizations dedicated to addressing food insecurity and reducing food waste. She believes access to healthy food is a human right and should be available to every member of our community. Jordyn is currently pursuing a certificate in Fundraising Management from the University of Washington. She is very excited to bring her passion for gleaning and knowledge of sustainable fundraising to her position at City Fruit. To get information about our special events and fundraising efforts, contact Jordyn at [email protected].
Julian is originally from San Antonio, Texas, where he spent many of his early days out at his grandparents’ house among fig, citrus, peach, and loquat trees. He moved to upstate New York to study International Agriculture & Rural Development at Cornell University, and worked on an apple orchard during his time there. Upon graduation, he joined the Peace Corps in Panamá working with smallholder farmers to improve the sustainability of their agro-forestry systems and home gardens. In his third year as a regional coordinator, Julian trained and supported volunteers in their own community projects, as well as collaborated closely with Panamanian ministries and Peace Corps office staff.
He recently joined City Fruit and is excited to help to improve our urban food system for all of Seattle through connecting communities of diverse backgrounds. He believes that a love of learning from others and an emphasis on teaching by doing are essential for community engagement. In his free time, Julian enjoys hiking, foraging, learning new recipes, and spending time with his puppy. For information about fruit tree care or to register your fruit tree and schedule a harvest, contact Julian at [email protected].
Latest blog post: Tree Care Services for Spring 2021
Tiare was born and raised on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, but Washington has been an important home-away-from-home for the past 6 years. She originally moved to Tacoma, WA to pursue a bachelors in Biology and Environmental Policy & Decision Making from the University of Puget Sound. Following graduation, she spent two years as an educator and volunteer mentor at the Slater Museum of Natural History, where her love for inquiry-based learning, natural history, and community building took flight. She is now enrolled as an Urban Environmental Education masters student at Antioch University Seattle, where she is hoping to learn how to be a more equity-minded and community-rooted educator. She comes to City Fruit with the knowledge that food is not only a vital component of individual identity, but also community identity, and hopes to be able to contribute to food sovereignty efforts in the community. For information about our volunteer events and educational programming, you can reach Tiare at [email protected].
Latest blog post: Volunteers Make the Mulch Possible at Piper's
A life long Washingtonian from the foothills of Mount Rainier, Travis developed his passion of the natural world, growing up on properties surrounded with dense tree cover and natural waterways. Visits to the food bank gave Travis an early look at a local food system, and how it can directly impact people’s lives. He studied at Lake Washington Technical College in the Environmental Horticulture program – a place that honed and grew his love of plants, and wove diversity, connection and scientific knowledge together.
From there, Travis spent his years working for local nurseries in Western Washington. Most recently, Travis served as a Team Lead and Nurseryman for the Tree and Shrub department at Swanson's Nursery. With his time at Swanson's, he led the bare root fruit tree seasons consisting of fruit tree selection, care, pollination, pest management and pruning. Travis joined City Fruit to be a part of an organization that helps connect people with food production. It is crucial to build local food systems that bridges the gap between communities and fresh, nutritious food. He views access to healthy food as a human right. In his spare time, Travis enjoys hiking, plant identification, trying new recipes, and playing/ listening to music. He would love to talk fruit trees and landscape design with you at [email protected].
Ife Asabi is an Oakland, California native who has recently relocated to Seattle for a drastic change in scenery. Ife loves nature and all things green. A big motive for their move was to have the opportunity to get more in touch with nature and in exchange, themselves. They have spent a majority of their life competing in sports and learning more about how to better themselves for the growth and development of their own life and the opportunities that are to come. Ife was enrolled in the Social Justice Academy at San Leandro High School and is extremely passionate about bringing to light and educating themselves more on the precious knowledge that has been hidden from us. Joining City Fruit was one way for Ife to get both in touch with nature and give back to those who need it most, fulfilling two very significant aspects in life that they value. When they're not spending time outdoors, Ife enjoys arts and crafts, creating music playlists, and conversing with loved ones.
Kaitlyn is originally from La Crosse, Wisconsin. During her college career at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Kaitlyn decided to pursue a degree in Public Health/Community Health Education. She found that this path aligned well with her broad desire to help communities through the avenues Public Health offered. Once finished with her degree, Kaitlyn decided to join AmeriCorps NCCC as a way to get hands-on experience with communities in need. Here, she served as a Team Leader, traveling across the United States working on a variety of projects from COVID-19 relief, environmental stewardship, urban development, and healthy futures. It was also here that Kaitlyn found her a strong affinity for non-profit work, and fighting food insecurity. After serving several months in Durango, CO working on food security, Kaitlyn found that she would like to help communities create sustainable food systems that provide access to nutritious food for all in socially conscious ways. Toward the end of AmeriCorps, Kaitlyn began searching for positions to match this passion, which is where she found City Fruit. Kaitlyn is incredibly excited to glean and harvest once again and help City Fruit achieve their mission. In her free time, Kaitlyn loves being active and outdoors. She enjoys running, hiking, swimming, and listening to podcasts. She also loves attempting new vegan recipes even if they don’t always turn out as planned.
Matt is a Sacramento, California native, currently studying Environmental Studies at the UW as well as a member of the UW men's rowing team. He has a strong passion for the food systems and grew up picking and enjoying the oranges from his family's orange tree in his backyard. Matt finds food insecurity issues to be among the largest facing our society, and desires to make a change in the local Seattle community with the hopes of providing underprivileged individuals and households with access to fresh produce. City Fruit provides the perfect opportunity to take the first step in this process.
Natalie is currently residing on Duwamish land and joined City Fruit in 2014 with a curiosity about how land, food, and people come together. A fruit enthusiast with degrees from Bastyr University and James Madison University, Natalie has since worked on different projects for sustainability, systems change, and local innovation in the Seattle area. In the future she hopes to learn more about geography, community design, and how we identify our sense of place. She will always be passionate about the City Fruit harvest, a healthy planet, and happy people. 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: Envelope stuffing party
Board of Directors
Raised in the Greater Seattle Area, Patrick grew a fondness for our local environment through enjoying the great outdoors of the region. Working for the U.S. Peace Corps, he learned the value of subsistence farming and food preservation, growing his belief that access to food, despite one’s situation, should be a human right. Returning from abroad and hoping to make a career in the non-profit sector, Patrick attained a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. He discovered City Fruit when his family was looking for a way to donate extra fruit from their small family farm and gardens.
Joining the Board in January 2018, Patrick loves working with City Fruit and is driven largely by the organizations goals of feeding those in need and protecting the Emerald City’s unique urban orchard. He works as a Project Manager at Seattle University and brings his experience in organizational management, process improvement and board staffing to his work with City Fruit. In his spare time, Patrick enjoys making cider from his family’s trees, mountaineering around the Pacific Northwest, and spending time with his family, partner June, and cat Squash.
Lamai has always enjoyed sharing in fruit harvests. Whether enjoying sun-warmed goods in her grandma’s garden or sharing recipes with friends. During travels abroad, she reflected on the uniqueness on her hometown and returned with a renewed vigor to enhance the Pacific Northwest and its spirit from a grassroots approach. She felt City Fruit embodied that mission of grassroots change for good.
Lamai is pursuing a Master’s in environmental studies, specializing in geography at Western Washington University. During her studies Lamai is driven to build data visualizations across geographies so that all may better understand and interact with their environments for long-term conservation. She holds a BA in environmental studies from the University of Washington with a minor in anthropology and believes that human culture and the natural environment must be addressed in tandem for a resilient and sustainable future.
Most recently she was the Manager of Community and Giving at PCC Community Markets, bringing to City Fruit insight on grocery retail through the lens of a cooperative business model and perspective on business philanthropy.
At home, Lamai finds peace anywhere outside, getting her hands in the soil, and – of course – foraging!
Lamai aims to add diversity in City Fruit’s guidance that can incorporate all communities of Seattle.
James Lenihan III
James joined City Fruit because it bonds our environment with our community in a way that everyone benefits. He believes City Fruit is uniquely positioned to steward our urban orchard in a dynamic, changing landscape while responsibly leveraging our natural resources to ensure our neighbors thrive.
James is a Senior Manager of Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) at Tableau Software and has prior experience in public accounting at KPMG LLP. James holds Bachelors of Science degrees in Accountancy and Finance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Washington Foster School of Business, and is a licensed CPA in the State of Washington.
James aims to leverage his professional experience and academic background to ensure City Fruit’s resources are put to their best and fullest use as the organization advances its community impact.
Michael joined City Fruit because it empowers Seattle's community to nurture two of Seattle's most neglected natural resources -- its landscape and its people. He hopes to challenge our community's standards for inclusive and active engagement and to further enrich our city's urban landscape through thoughtful planting of edible resources, including the cultivation of existing and new fruit trees.
Michael was born and raised in Los Angeles (i.e., the San Fernando Valley) and moved to Seattle in 2009 to attend the UW's law school. Currently, he works with Amazon's state income tax reporting and compliance team. He's the husband of a budding chef (@mextizopnw) and the father of a terrier mix named Remy. In his free time, he's a muddled mix of an amateur ceramicist, vegetable gardener, aquaponics experimenter, casual gamer, and aspiring bike commuter. His favorite fruit, if he had to choose, is Korean pear.
Growing up in Wisconsin, Andrew always had an association with fresh fruit and vegetables, from his parent’s garden to his uncle’s much larger farm. Upon arriving in Seattle in 2016, Andrew was impressed with the overall greenness of the city and was excited for the opportunity to revive family traditions in an urban setting. He was excited to join City Fruit because of the wonderful simplicity of its mission.
In addition to being a City Fruit board member, Andrew is a director who democratizes data at Starbucks. He lives with his wife and young son in West Seattle. Andrew’s goal is to leave a legacy of data literacy & growth that allows City Fruit to flourish and become a sustainable non-profit in the city of Seattle for years to come.
Leslie moved from Austin, Texas to Seattle several years ago in search of cooler climates and higher-altitude adventures. Her interest in local food systems began while studying regenerative agriculture in graduate school. Since then, she has fueled this passion by volunteering at farmer’s markets, supporting harvests at local farms, and cultivating her community garden. Leslie is passionate about City Fruit’s mission to support Seattle’s urban fruit orchards and promote local food justice and looks forward to helping achieve these goals as a board member.
Leslie comes to City Fruit with over 10 years of experience creating and executing strategic initiatives in Africa, Asia, Central America and the United States for corporate, non-profit, and government organizations. Currently she leads infrastructure and social enterprise activities for Splash, a Seattle-based non-profit focused on improved water, sanitation, hygiene, and menstrual health for kids in Africa and Asia. She brings skills in non-profit program management, social enterprise development, and environmental sustainability to her work at City Fruit.
In 2018, Rivers' career in technology brought him to Seattle from Charleston, South Carolina. And more recently, his love of nonprofits and passion for social justice brought him to City Fruit. Rivers is inspired by the community that food (and in our case, fruit) brings together. Rivers' appreciation of local fruit was inherited from his role model and grandfather, who made his own wine using South Carolina-grown Fredonia grapes and emphasized the importance of using fruit that shared the same sunlight and rain as his family and community.
By day, Rivers works as an Account Executive with Salesforce.org, partnering with changemakers who are building a more just and equitable world. He brings with him 4 years of experience in nonprofit technology and a unique perspective on how solutions and data can be leveraged to drive social impact. Through City Fruit's mission to promote Seattle's urban fruit, it's Rivers aspiration that we also promote the wonderful diversity of our urban neighborhoods, and strive towards a happier, healthier, and more inclusive community.
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.
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.