Board of Directors
- Ellen Thomas – President
- Sarah Bantz – President Elect
- Lisa Guillory – Secretary
- Jim Carrel – Treasurer
- Jill Lucht
- John Emery
- Robbie Price
- Robert Battle
- Jeff Chinn
- Sarah Rainey
- Jenny Young
Billy Polansky (firstname.lastname@example.org, Ext. 811) works as the Executive Director of Columbia’s Center for Urban Agriculture, leading the day-to-day operations. He moved to Columbia in 2008 to be with his now-wife and fellow CCUA team member, Carrie Hargrove. Before coming to Columbia, Billy spent time working at the Heifer Ranch educating people about agriculture and global poverty. He also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Missouri River Communities Network, where he worked on local foods projects. Billy holds a bachelor’s degree in Geographic Science from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA and is now enrolled at Columbia College, in their MBA program. When Billy isn’t working, you can find him at home reading, petting kitty cats or working in his garden.
Carrie Hargrove (email@example.com, Ext. 803) is CCUA’s Director of Urban Farming. She has worked with CCUA first as a volunteer in 2009 and 2010, and later as an employee since 2011. Carrie manages all aspects of commercial food production for the organization with help from participants in the Garden Greenhorn Program, with whom she shares the intricacies and techniques of small scale food production via hands-on experience. She loves being outside, and wishes she could spend most of her time identifying the myriad of insects found at the farm. In addition to bugs and the outdoors, Carrie loves her husband, Billy, and Martin Scorsese movies.
Tony Minnick (firstname.lastname@example.org, Ext. 812) is the Urban Farms Manager for CCUA and is a recent transplant to the city of Columbia. With several seasons of diversified farming experience in rural Missouri, Illinois, and New Hampshire, and a BS in Environmental Science from Loyola University Chicago, Tony facilitates volunteers in implementing the crop plan for the Urban Farm, Kilgore’s Community Garden, and Lucky’s Crates to Plates milk crate garden. From perennial fruit care to rotational livestock grazing and beekeeping, Tony is interested in producing all sorts of colorful, quality food and hopes to continue his path in outdoor educating. When his hands aren’t deep in the soil, he enjoys playing music, cooking with his wok, and watching films featuring morally ambiguous detectives.
Adam Saunders, (email@example.com, Ext. 806) as the Development Director, conducts outreach and promotional talks with local social groups, businesses, and potential partners. He also helps coordinate CCUA’s online outreach presence, strategic planning, and fundraising efforts. Adam has been involved in community, agriculture and environmental organizing in Columbia, MO, since 2005 as a student with Sustain Mizzou. He has been gardening since a young age, and, being the son of two teachers, Adam has considered himself an informal teacher his whole life. Within the CCUA, Adam is able to combine these passions to connect the dots within the local food system – an exciting place to be working!
Trish Woolbright (firstname.lastname@example.org, Ext. 804) is CCUA’s Opportunity Gardens Manager. Trish has always had a love for growing her own food and being an environmental steward while also helping people live happily with the natural world. Trish’s previous experience includes serving as a social worker and conservation biologist in many different areas such as Namibia in sub-Saharan Africa; Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti, Michigan; Chattanooga, TN. She has spent time in the Peace Corps and worked for a few other non-profit organizations. Trish received her bachelor’s in psychology from Washburn University; she is a Master Gardener and will be pursuing her Master Preserver and Master Naturalist certificates in the next two years. In her free time, she likes to garden, draw, cook, and read.
Heather Gillich (email@example.com, Ext. 805) is the Programs Director for CCUA. In this role, Heather organizes field trips and farm tours, provides structure for potlucks and workshops, and recruits and trains our volunteers and interns. Heather graduated with a BA in Psychology from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland and completed graduated work in Ancient History and Cultural Sustainability. Her previous work includes working with adults and youth in Frederick, MD and Nashville, TN on community development projects before she accepted an AmeriCorps VISTA position with CCUA. Since moving to Columbia in March, 2012, Heather has worked to create space for genuine learning experiences at the Urban Farm. She is proud of the partnership in education that CCUA is forming in the community and looks forward to many awesome projects to come! If you catch Heather in her free time, she will likely be enjoying the produce from her neighborhood community garden, biking on the Katy Trail, or spending some quality time outside with her dog.
Lori McCurdy (firstname.lastname@example.org, Ext. 807) currently serves as the Outdoor Classroom Manager, helping schools and agencies plan their location’s outdoor learning space, and collaborating with community members and educators at various elementary schools on ways to better integrate nature into the curriculum, into the school yard, and into the daily experience of today’s nature-starved kids. She previously worked with CCUA’s edible landscaping program, consulting clients on ways to improve their landscapes by integrating native plants as well as edibles. Throughout her career, she has had a strong interest in connecting others to the natural world around them, because she believes understanding the ways in which we are interconnected to the earth is imperative to our success as a society. Lori acquired her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies at Colorado State University, and in 2009, was certified as a Missouri Master Naturalist. When she’s not working, she can be found playing outside with her husband and their two kids.
Justin Gregory, (email@example.com, Ext. 802) as the Office/Volunteer Manager, Justin manages the general office operations, public relations, visual presence and CCUA’s volunteer coordination. Previously Justin was the Membership Coordinator at Columbia Access Television where he worked with non-profits and community members to help share their voice through digital media. His interest in the community has led to volunteering for Columbia Access Television, True/False Film Festival, Clean Up Columbia, Friends of the Library, KOPN and helping to form a local moped club. Outside of CCUA Justin enjoys music, watching and creating films, painting, disc golf and spending time outdoors morel hunting and hiking with his dog Martha. Justin looks forward to working with CCUA’s staff and volunteers in helping CCUA grow in the future.
Kyle Holland (firstname.lastname@example.org, Ext. 808) is joining the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture with a diverse background in teaching and a passion for sustainable urban agriculture. After traveling the world, volunteering on multiple sustainable farms and teaching English abroad, he decided to give the Midwest a try and has found his niche as the Urban Farm Associate. Originally from upstate New York, he has spent the last five years living in different countries and learning various farming techniques. He looks forward to this year with AmeriCorps and hopes to help increase others’ interests in urban farming.
Raleigh Taylor (email@example.com, Ext. 810) currently serves with AmeriCorps as CCUA’s Opportunity Gardens Associate. She moved to Columbia in 2010 to attend the University of Missouri. Through work on her Minor in Leadership and Public Service, Raleigh discovered CCUA and began volunteering with them. After graduating from Mizzou with a BA in Communication, she worked at the Truman School of Public Affairs in their newly established Career & Alumni Services Office until receiving her current position with CCUA. Raleigh is beyond excited to share her passion of gardening and the great outdoors with the community.
Clint Brinkley (firstname.lastname@example.org, Ext. 809) is a third year AmeriCorps member, formerly serving with the National Civilian Community Corps as well as Southern Boone Learning Garden. He is excited that his adventures have led him to CCUA as the Outdoor Classroom Associate! Clint is a Missouri native hailing from the northern half of the state, and loves his Missouri roots. He moved to Columbia in 2015 to pursue a career in outdoor education and to attend college. His goal is to complete a Natural Resource Management degree and use that to educate people on the plight of the prairie, a rapidly disappearing ecosystem native to Missouri. Clint is a lover of food, dusty books, and autumn.
Rachel Simms (email@example.com) first started gardening with CCUA in the spring of 2014. She wanted more information on sustainable agriculture and organic gardening, so she became a volunteer. She worked with CCUA for the whole growing season in 2014 and then went on to pursue an internship on a small organic vegetable farm in northern New Mexico. Rachel eventually found her way back to Columbia and now serves as the Urban Farm Hand. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and baking, as well as hiking, music, cartoons and horseback riding. She looks forward to the new experiences and knowledge this year’s growing season has to offer.