Leaders and Growers
Seed St. Louis isn’t just a non-profit organization; we are a family of planters, growers, and educators. Strength and empowerment are our tools, and our desire to educate the community is our goal. We are friends, neighbors, teachers, and co-workers looking to better our neighborhoods by working hand-in-dirt with people like you.
Chief Operating Officer
A Michigan native, Sara Ashe has worked to make St. Louis a better place for over 10 years. Before joining Seed St. Louis, she earned a master’s degree in Human Resource Management and served as the director of operations for the Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma. While Sara was not hired for her green thumb, she keeps Seed St. Louis growing as the Chief Operating Officer. When she is not busy developing the Land Trust Program, Sara can be found kayaking and camping.
Education: Masters of Arts, Human Resource Management, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
Future Education: Owner of Senior Dog Sanctuary
Garden Program Associate
Jacob Berkowitz, from St. Louis, is an artist, carpenter, and gardener. The tangible world is where his heart and hands lie. He believes that the more we know we can physically change the world, the more we know our own power. Spending most of his early 20’s working as a visual artist, over the past few years he’s shifted his focus to building larger and more functionally. You can find him cooking, swimming in rivers, making all kinds of random stuff, and laughing as much as possible. But at Seed St. Louis it’s mostly building, (and laughing.)
Future Education: Alien Ambassador/River Guide
Director of Education
Dean Gunderson is from Glen Carbon, Illinois about 20 miles east of St. Louis. He attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) where he studied Agricultural and Food Geography. Dean then interned at Cahokia Mounds where he was able to study the prehistoric agriculture practiced at Cahokia. He found his way to Seed St. Louis as a volunteer, then an intern, which led to a seasonal position in the community garden program. He later became the Community Garden Program Manager and started our orchard program, the Giving Grove. He is now the Director of Education, coordinating our adult educational materials and classes, and manages the Giving Grove program. His favorite thing about working at Seed St. Louis is getting to work with and learn from so many different people and getting to help them to grow food for their families and communities.
A few fun facts about Dean, he enjoys doing garden experiments on his family’s property, specifically trialling perennial crops and staple foods like grains and nuts, including almonds. He likes trying unusual edible foods, is a huge fan of Dr. Who, and in 2019 he and his wife welcomed their first child, a baby girl.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Geography. Master of Science in Geographical Studies with a focus on food and agricultural geography.
Future Education: Master of Time from the University of Gallifrey
Director of Administration
Theresa has been with Seed St. Louis since December of 2005. Theresa is a native of St. Louis and went to Saint Francis DeSales grade school before graduating from Roosevelt High School. Theresa has gained her experiences through several of the for-profit jobs that she has worked over the years. Eventually, she started working for 10 years at a religious non-profit before she made the jump to Seed St. Louis and has been managing the office ever since. Her favorite parts of working here are the variety of duties she has, learning new things in the world of computer programs which keeps the job from getting boring, talking to and meeting people when hey call or come to the office. Even though she works in the office, she has the joy of knowing that Seed St. Louis is making a difference in the communities of St. Louis City and County and now in Illinois.
When she is not working, she spends time visiting her children and grandchildren in Chicago, California, and New York, which allows for all sorts of fun road trips and family time. She is most excited to welcome the newest granddaughter in March of 2022.
Future Education: Time Traveling / Teleportation
Director of Engagement
Megan Moncure grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska but has lived in St. Louis since 2001. She has led the Florissant Community Garden, where she was introduced to Seed St. Louis, since 2015. Megan joined Seed St. Louis in 2017 to lead our volunteer program and has since added social media, running our store and events to her resume. She has a life-long passion for gardening, as well as music and animal rescue. (Ask her about the one time she rescued feral kittens at Seed St. Louis’s Carriage House!) Her favorite thing about working at Seed St. Louis is meeting fellow gardeners and learning from their experiences.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in English
Future Education: Animal Hugger with a part-time job of cake tasting
Vivian grew up in central Missouri but made St. Louis her home in 2021. Her year in AmeriCorps NCCC showed her the true impact of volunteer work in supporting and strengthening communities and is excited to work with all of the wonderful Seed St. Louis volunteers. The mission of Seed St. Louis- to empower people and communities to grow food- truly connects with her background in health and community engagement, her love for the outdoors and digging in the dirt, and her beliefs on the power of access and education on building a healthier and happier community. She hopes to learn a lot more about gardening herself along the way! In her free time, Vivian enjoys traveling, hiking, and eating delicious food. She also enjoys working in the restaurant industry and can tell you where to get some amazing tacos.
Education: Bachelors of Science in Health Science, Minor in Communication
Future Education: Juggling Extraordinaire
Director of Schools
Tonia has always had a passion for education, beginning her career as an English teacher. Eventually, however, she found herself feeling limited teaching in an indoor classroom setting. Tonia felt inspired to take the school curriculum outdoors and foster stronger connections between her students and the natural world around them.
Tonia joined the Seed St. Louis team in 2017 as an Educator where she provided direct garden-based education to youth in St. Louis school districts. Since 2020, Tonia has worked as the Director of Schools, providing professional development and support to teachers and garden leaders in areas such as capacity-building, garden maintenance, and academic engagement. Through Seed St. Louis, she has found that giving a child the responsibility to nurture living plants in the garden has numerous academic, physical, and socioemotional benefits, which in return has the potential to improve the overall health of a community.
When not working, you can find Tonia getting lost in nature, going to concerts, upcycling thrifted finds, and dabbling in different forms of art.
Education: Bachelor of Sciences in Secondary Education, Missouri Master Naturalist Certified
Future Education: Professional Air Guitarist
Chief Executive Officer
A native of St. Louis, Matt Schindler has been with Seed St. Louis since 2015. Through meaningful partnerships, creative programming, and educational opportunities, Matt has successfully led the organization in support of sustainable community development through community gardens, school gardens, urban orchards, and urban farms.
Throughout his career, Matt has worked to support and create a better community in both St. Louis and internationally. His experience in St. Louis includes Downtown STL, Inc. and the International Institute of St. Louis. During this time, he initiated various programs that included public improvements, transportation studies, as well as business consulting and development. Internationally, Matt volunteered with the US Peace Corp in Armenia as the Advanced Business Development Volunteer. In 2018, Matt was elected to the Parkway School Board and is on his second term.
Education: Master of Arts in International Relations, Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, and German
Future Education: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: Flying class
Born and raised in St. Louis, Abbey recently moved back from the Chicago area where she worked as the “Garden to Table” instructor for the Ridgeville Park District. Abbey first fell in love with gardening as a college student when she tended a community garden plot for a friend and discovered the joys of pulling carrots, making salsa, and digging in the dirt surrounded by flowers. Since then, Abbey has tended a number of community garden plots, worked with a variety of food distribution and food salvage operations, and volunteered with gardens at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation in Chicago, the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, and her son’s preschool. Abbey received her Master Gardener Certification through the University of Illinois Extension in 2018, and is passionate about environmental justice, food sovereignty, and community-based, experiential education. She loves that Seed St. Louis exists to encourage and support the creative energy around urban agriculture already thriving in St. Louis and looks forward to building that energy among our youngest citizens in school communities. When she’s not in a garden, you can find her in the kitchen, woods, or with family and friends.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Spanish, Master of Arts in Theology, Illinois Master Gardener Certified
Future Education: Professional Folk Singer
Director of Projects
Lucy Swan is originally from the Boston area, but has lived in St. Louis for 10 years now. She attended Washington University in St. Louis for an undergraduate degree and a masters degree in social work. Lucy has been consistently trying to find a way to merge her belief in the power of community building with a personal love for working outside and growing food. She started at Seed St. Louis as a summer intern at the urban farm in 2015 and came back this year as a Community Projects Associate and now as Director of Projects.
Lucy strongly believes that growing your own food and making use of otherwise vacant or capitalized properties are both effective ways of redistributing power into the hands of the people who live in the greater St. Louis area. What Lucy loves about working at Seed St. Louis is being able to provide this city’s community members with some of the resources and information to start, strengthen, and continue their own projects. In her spare time, Lucy enjoys cooking, being in the park, and spending time with close friends.
Education: Bachelor of Science in English Literature and Writing, Master’s in Social Work
Future Education: Master Chef
Community Projects Associate
Howard grew up in St Louis. He taught math in Rolla and returned to St Louis in 2011. Since then he has been involved with several volunteer organizations including the Audubon Society removing invasives and planting trees and Forest ReLeaf helping to pot up and care for trees grown to be provided to parks and schools throughout the Missouri area.
Howard was hired in 2020 as an AARP intern for one year and then hired in 2022 as a Community project associate helping build and install hardscaping materials and installing them in local community gardens. When he is not working or volunteering he enjoys spending time with his children and grandchildren including the newest baby girl born 2021.
Future Education: Lunar landscaper
Volunteer at a Garden or Orchard
Are you ready to volunteer at a Seed St. Louis garden? Volunteering with Seed St. Louis is a great hands-on way for individuals and groups to support their community.