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.

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Jacob Berkowitz

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

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Dean Gunderson

Chief Programs Officer

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 was then the Director of Education, coordinating our adult educational materials and classes while managing the Giving Grove program before taking his current position where he continues to lead our adult educational initiatives while also helping to make sure all of our programs work towards the betterment of our community.  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 trialing 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

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Joe Jovanovich

Chief Operating Officer

Joe joined the Seed St. Louis team in 2024, with a passion to help make St. Louis a more sustainable and resilient region as we adapt to the challenges of climate change. Joe has a diverse background in non-profit management, having worked for national organizations like City Year, and local community development leaders like Beyond Housing. Joe also spent several years as an independent consultant doing project management work for numerous local non-profits. He has served on the board of directors for several organizations, and has ran his own small family business.

Joe grew up in St. Louis, and has spent much of his life in the City’s Dogtown neighborhood where he now lives with his wife and two young children. Joe’s hobbies include walks in the hidden trails of Forest Park, collecting every scrap of food waste for composting, and nerding out over local politics. His family is a big fan of supporting St. Louis Public Schools.

Education: BA in English and History, Webster University; Master’s in Social Work from Brown School – Washington University

Future Education: Chief of Staff for one of the kids when they become Mayor.

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Megan Moncure

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

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Vivian Partridge

Network Relations Coordinator

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

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Tonia Scherer

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

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Matt Schindler

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

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Abbey Schumacher

School Educator

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

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Andrea Simms

Orchard Assistant

Andrea joined Seed St. Louis in 2024. They are dedicated to developing strong relationships centered around land and food accessibility, collective resilience, and shared abundance. Andrea is originally from the Chicagoland area, but moved to St. Louis to study English and Anthropology in 2016. After graduating and leaving St. Louis for a couple of years to explore other parts of the world, they are excited about returning back to the city – a true Midwesterner at heart.

Andrea grew up with gardening in their family – summertime meant tomato-stained fingers, and in early fall you could find all the siblings knees deep in the mud, digging up their Pop Pop’s sweet potatoes. Developing a relationship with the land through food production and sustainable living has been a lifelong interest for Andrea. They have lived and worked on different family owned organic farms in Oregon and Vermont, and also spent time working for different community agriculture projects across Eastern and Western Europe. They love being outside in any capacity; whether that is working in the field, capturing natural wonders through photography, or going on a hiking trip.

Education: Bachelor of Arts in English and Bachelor of Science in Anthropology
Future Education: Master of Disguise

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Jayla Simms

Data & Operations Coordinator

Jayla was born and raised in South City St. Louis. Her interests in community mental wellness and third spaces have led her to join the Seed St. Louis team. Prior to joining as Data and Operations Coordinator, Jayla interned as a couple and family therapist in Kansas where she grasped the critical significance of community resources. She is excited to learn more about community engagement in the city and gardening. In her free time, you can catch Jayla reading or spending time with her friends and family.

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Master of Science in Human Development and Family Science with a concentration in Couple and Family Therapy.

Future Education: Coffee Connoisseur

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Lucy Swan

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

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Howard Warth

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

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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.

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Want to Learn with Us?

Seed St. Louis hosts over 40 free virtual classes throughout the year. Our staff provides a wide variety of classes for all gardening enthusiasts.

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