Staff and Interns

Susan Finlayson

Community Gardens Program Director

801-359-2658 ext.12
Susan oversees Wasatch Community Gardens' Community Gardens Program, working directly with community members and partners starting and supporting community gardens across our Network. This includes overseeing our annual Growing Community Gardens training for garden leaders, administering mini-grants to community gardens, and facilitating resources, information and events for gardeners in our Network. Susan earned a masters in Horticulture and Agronomy at the University of California, Davis in 2010, and teaches Organic Gardening at the University of Utah. Her interests include international travel, hiking in Utah wilderness, and experimenting with container gardening on her apartment patio.

Van Hoover

Green City Growers Coordinator

801-359-2658 ext.17
Van was born and raised in the great state of Utah and has a special place in his heart for all things Wasatch. He has a degree in Environmental Studies from the U of U, and managed the Sorenson Unity Garden program for several years before joining WCG where he now coordinates the community gardens in the Green City Growers program. Van is passionate about gardening, cycling, fishing, music, and camping with his wife Katie, and 2 youngsters, Theo and Ruby. He also does stewardship work connected with the Jordan River Parkway.

Emma Kroon Van Diest

Youth Educator

Emma has migrated to SLC from Columbus, Ohio, for a wonderful experience at WCG. She is excited to get her hands dirty and make new friends! When she isn’t teaching youth at WCG's teaching gardens, you may find her on the mountains, in a secret swimming hole, climbing a boulder, roaming the local farmers market, or quietly at home nerding-out with her art supplies. She's also a firm believer that dental hygiene is nothing to laugh about.

Giles Larsen

Parks for Produce Community Garden Coordinator

801-596-0326 ext.16
Giles manages the Parks for Produce Program, a partnership between Salt Lake County's Urban Farming Initiative and Wasatch Community Gardens that provides land, infrastructure, organizing expertise, and administrative assistance to groups interested in starting new community gardens at pre-designated sites in the Salt Lake Valley. Giles first got acquainted with the inequities of the modern food system while rescuing produce that would otherwise have been thrown away, and redistributing it to the low-income and homeless of Salt Lake City. Later, Giles helped develop more ecological and affordable alternatives as a small-scale market gardener, and as a founding staff member of the Community Food Co-op of Utah and the New Roots refugee gardening program.

Mike Lynch

Community Education Program Director

801-359-2658 ext.10
Mike Lynch is thrilled to be a member of the Wasatch Community Gardens' family. He is a Utah transplant, originally from Chicago, and finds the soil here dry, warm, and much to his liking. He has a degree in History from the University of Illinois. After graduating, Mike joined AmeriCorps for a year of national service as a crew leader for the Montana Conservation Corps. There, he engaged in community outreach and education, and discovered his passion for making strong, healthy, and sustainable communities. Most recently, Mike worked as a steward at the University of Utah's Edible Campus Gardens, which was a truly transformational experience. In his free time, Mike can be found cooking and dancing to Otis Redding.

Felecia Maxfield-Barrett

Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator

801-359-2658 ext.11
Felecia's initial experience with Wasatch Community Gardens was documenting our first 25 years through a historical report and an oral history project. Felecia has extensive experience in government and nonprofit administration, primarily working with the refugee community in Utah. She has a B.A in Anthropology and a Masters of Public Administration both from the University of Utah. Felecia is an avid believer that through diverse approaches, collaboration and continual dialogue issues of social injustices are addressed. Her experience in gardening includes participating in the Canyon Rim Community Garden and setting up an aquaponics system in her kitchen.

Ashley Patterson

Executive Director

801-359-2658 ext.15
As Executive Director, Ashley leads the organization in its commitment to promoting youth and community gardening and education. Ashley has twenty years of entrepreneurial, management, and leadership experience in the nonprofit, higher education, and small business sectors. Ashley has been involved with WCG for more than a decade, serving as the organization’s Board Chair from 2005-2008. Before joining the staff as Executive Director in 2012, Ashley was responsible for communicating sustainability initiatives and mentoring students to complete sustainability oriented projects at the University of Utah. She is a graduate of the University of Washington with a Master’s degree in Environmental Health.

Elizabeth Pedersen

School Garden Coordinator

801-359-2658 ext.18
Liz is stoked to be a part of the Wasatch Community Gardens team as the School Gardens Coordinator. As the school gardens coordinator, Liz is excited to bring the magic of food awareness to an often under serviced population of Salt Lake City's youth. She also hopes that these gardens can bring beauty to the schoolyards and communities surrounding the schools. She comes to the Wasatch Community Gardens crew with a degree in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning from Utah State University and an enthusiasm for urban agriculture. Liz is a proud native of Salt Lake City and has a deep commitment to making her hometown a better place for all residents.

Lindsey Smith

Development Director

801-359-2658 ext.13
Lindsey works with Wasatch Community Gardens' individual, foundation, government, and corporate supporters to ensure that the organization has the funds it needs to successfully execute its community gardening and education programs. She has 16 years of fundraising experience and has worked with a variety of local and international nonprofits. She earned a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Women’s Studies at Bowdoin College in Maine. She joined the Wasatch Community Gardens' staff in 2010. As a mother of an active 3-year-old son, she doesn't have any free time - but if she did, she would spend it hiking, skiing, traveling, and working in her organic garden.

Bill Stadwiser

Youth Program Director

801-359-2658 ext.14
Bill oversees all of Wasatch Community Gardens' youth programs, including our City Roots gardening classes, City Sprouts youth summer camps, and Growing Greens field trips. Hailing originally from the flatlands outside of Chicago, Bill now calls Utah's Wasatch Front home. He has extensive experience in youth and environmental education, having served as a classroom teacher in Washington, DC, a wilderness counselor in Utah's west desert, and an adventure guide for teens in the Alaskan backcountry. He has a B.A. in Education and History from the University of Iowa and an M.A. in Environmental Humanities from the University of Utah. Bill is passionate about creating opportunities for students to interact with the biological world, learn where wholesome food comes from, and discover the joys of growing it themselves.

Michelle Thompson

Office Manager

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