The People

Meet the A-TEAM!

Lisa Gross
Chairman, Founder

Lisa is the Chairman and Founder of the Boston Tree Party, the Director and Founder of Hybrid Vigor Projects, and the Founder/CEO of the League of Kitchens.  An artist who works in the field of social practice/social sculpture, her cross-disciplinary projects create opportunities for learning, connection, and multi-sensory engagement.  She is the founder and head of the Urban Homesteaders’ League, an advisor for the “Let’s Talk About Food” initiative at the Museum of Science, and a consulting artist for Artists in Context.  She is thrilled that her little seed of an idea has been nurtured by so many stewards and is now blossoming into a luscious orchard of a movement! Her favorite apple is the Golden Russet, though she is also partial to the Rome Beauty.  Lisa has an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts and is a graduate of Yale University. Follow @LisaGross74.

Jeff Kasowitz
Chief Strategist

Jeff is Chief Strategist for the Boston Tree Party and President of the Board of Hybrid Vigor Projects.  He is a Director at City Year, Inc. where he leads the organization’s strategy for strengthening partnerships with school districts across the country. Jeff lives in Jamaica Plain where he frequents the Arnold Arboretum and is a Steering Committee member of Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue.  He has plum and apricot trees growing in his backyard, and he finds himself racing squirrels to the ripe fruit in late summer.  His favorite apple is the New York 315 and not just because he’s from Syracuse.  Jeff was awarded the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Public Service Fellowship at City Year and was a Combined Jewish Philanthropies Presentense social entrepreneurship fellow last year. Jeff is a graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, with an MBA and Masters of Public Health.

Maura Schorr Beaufait
Chief of Operations

Maura is the Chief of Operations for the Boston Tree Party and the Treasurer of Hybrid Vigor Projects. She is the Coordinator of Healthy Food Access Initiatives at the Bowdoin Street Health Center in Dorchester where she works to promote sustainable shifts in the community’s foodscape.  Through her past and present work around the Greater Boston Area at  BSHC, as well as the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, and Groundwork Somerville, Maura has fallen in love with the unique and vibrant communities in and around our bustling city.  She holds a dual-Master’s degree from Tufts University – an MPH in Community Health and MS from the Friedman School’s Agriculture, Food and Environment program. Maura is excited to be part of a blossoming organization built on so many fruitful connections and collaborations.

Beth Nollner
Project Coordinator

Beth is Project Coordinator for the Boston Tree Party. Beth is a passionate home cook and gardener – she even ripped out some of her front lawn to plant a vegetable garden, and rhubarb and herb plants are growing throughout her flowerbeds. Maybe apple trees are next? Beth is a graduate student at Tufts University studying Urban and Environmental Policy, with a concentration in sustainable food and agriculture. Her work has focused on improving access to healthy, delicious local food, especially for children. Beth has contributed to the Inner-City Pesticide Use as an Environmental Injustice report as part of the Neighborhood Pesticide Action Committee (NPAC), and volunteered for the Sierra Club on Cape Cod and World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) in the UK.  Having worked in the conservation department in her local town, and with a background in both farm work and communications, Beth is excited to be part of such a fruitful organization!

John Bunker
Official Pomologist

John grew up in Massachusetts and California, moving to Maine in 1968. He has lived in Palermo on Super Chilly Farm for the past 39 years, where he and Cammy Watts grow vegetables, woody and herbaceous ornamentals, small fruits and tree fruits. (They also spend part of the year in Concord, MA.) He coordinates nursery sales for Fedco, the co-op seed and nursery company in Clinton. His passion is tracking down heirloom fruit varieties, particularly those originating in Maine.  He established the Maine Heirloom Apple Orchard at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association –MOFGA’s- Common Ground in Unity.  He coordinates an annual series of organic orcharding classes at MOFGA, the spring “Seed Swap and Scion Exchange” and the October “Great Maine Apple Day.”  He speaks and teaches in the New England area regularly year round.  He is the author of Not Far From the Tree–a Brief History of the Apples and the Orchards of Palermo Maine 1804-2004.

Michael Phillips
Official Pomologist

Michael Phillips is known across the country for helping people grow healthy apples and understand the healing virtues of plant medicines. The “community orchard movement” he helped found, www.GrowOrganicApples.com, provides a full immersion into the holistic approach to orcharding. His Lost Nation Orchard is part of a diversified medicinal herb farm in northern New Hampshire. Two acres of trees supplies local families with many varieties of organic apples, with a cider mill in the planning stages. Michael’s book,The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist, is available in a revised and expanded edition. Michael teamed up with his wife Nancy to write The Herbalist’s Way: The Art and Practice of Healing with Plant Medicines (Chelsea Green), as well. His newest book is The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way. Michael was honored by Slow Food USA to receive the first Betsy Lydon Ark Award for his work promoting healthy ways to grow fruit.

Shea Cadrin
Designer

Shea is a graphic designer living and making cool things in Austin, TX. She graduated from American University in Washington, DC, but her roots are in the Bay State, where she grew up on Cape Cod. She has an obsession for apples that would be considered unhealthy, if that were possible, and a love for trees that has, at times, led to some hugging. Shea’s work with the Boston Tree Party is an opportunity for her to use her design skillz to spread some good. Check out her portfolio for more of her work.

Jennifer Kelley
Documentarian

Originally from Maine, Jen is a freelance documentary filmmaker and editor based in Brighton. She earned her undergraduate degree in Film and Television from Boston University and recently finished a Masters in Nonfiction Video Production at Emerson College. Since graduating, she has been fortunate to work with such organizations as the Urban Homesteaders’ League, the MSPCA, French Oak Television, IriScape Productions and Principle Pictures.

ALUMNI:
Larry Galante
Communications and Volunteer Manager

Larry served as the Communications and Volunteer Manager for the Boston Tree Party in 2012. Larry is a southerner at heart, but a Jersey boy by birth. Having earned his bachelor’s degree in Architecture at the University of Virginia, he deemed it necessary to journey to the deep south (and a little south-west) as he served two years of AmeriCorps with Habitat for Humanity in Americus, GA and Austin, TX.  Larry coordinated volunteers for Austin Habitat before returning to the northeast where he has been working as a Buzz Builder for Likeable Media, a social media marketing firm. He honed his professional social media skills at Likeable, and aced a crash-course in volunteer management during his time with Habitat. Larry loves anything tart (grapefruits, plums, sweet-tarts), so naturally his favorite apple is the classic Granny Smith. His true claim to fame resides in the fact that he once rode his bicycle from Boston to Santa Barbara, California through Bike & Build. Follow @larryjgalante on twitter.

Amory Sivertson
Community Outreach Manager

Amory Sivertson, Community Outreach ManagerAmory served as the Community Outreach Manager for the Boston Tree Party in 2012. She was raised as an avid recycler, and she is dedicated to spreading awareness about sustainable living. Amory completed her bachelor’s degree in Acting at Emerson College, where she served as a Resident Assistant and the leader of the Living Green and Local Action learning communities. Her work with these groups involved developing projects and events to engage the Emerson community in green practices and service learning.   In addition to spreading the good fruit word, Amory is a Planetarium Presenter at the Museum of Science,  the Membership and Program Coordinator for MassRecycle, and a freelance producer for WBUR’s Radio Boston. She is also a singer/songwriter and has completed two national tours and released three full-length albums.  Fruit is Amory’s favorite food group, and she is thrilled and proud to be helping the Boston Tree Party branch out (pun intended).  Follow @amorymusic on twitter.

Grace Twesigye
Production and Communications Manager

Grace served as the Program and Event Manager and thrilled to be a part of the Boston Tree Party in 2011.  After graduating from Boston College Law School and passing the bar in Massachusetts, Grace worked at the Boston College Legal Assistance Bureau, providing free legal assistance to non-profit organizations and medium to low-income clients in the Greater Boston area.  Grace’s work accomplishments include being a founding coordinator of the Hospital Accountability Project through Health Law Advocates and working at the Environmental Protection Agency in Boston.  Before coming to Massachusetts, Grace spent her formative years in Johnny Appleseed’s Midwestern stomping grounds and graduated from Kenyon College with a History major and Religious Studies minor.  Grace is also a dancer, photographer and violinist who is partial to Macouns and Empires and eats homemade applesauce like it’s her job.

Alli Axelrod
Outreach and Community Relations Manager

Alli served as the Outreach and Communications Manager for the Boston Tree Party in 2011.   She is an earth and tree enthusiast, and she sees planting trees as a supreme form of art and community building.  Prior to moving to Cambridge, she was involved in garden builds and fruit tree planting in the Bay Area.  She organized the ABCO artspace garden party and fundraiser.  She has also coordinated community outreach projects in the Bay Area for Katahdin Productions, a documentary film company, and Streetside Stories, an arts-in-education non-profit.   Alli is also a practicing yoga teacher and birth doula, a writer, artist, and filmmaker.   She is currently earning her M.A. at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is focusing her study on community building and development.

Laura Smith-Gary
Outreach and Development Manager

Laura served as the Outreach and Development Manager for the Boston Tree Party in 2011. She grew up on a northeastern Pennsylvania dairy farm, which means she loves farming with a fiery passion and has a stupendous apple pie recipe. After studying Religion and Women’s Studies at Princeton University — and spending most of her spare time in dance classes and play rehearsals — she came to Boston as a High Meadows Fellow at The Food Project. Two years working in development at The Food Project sparked her passion for positive youth development, and convinced her that sustainable rural and urban agriculture is the solution to almost every one of the world’s problems. Laura writes about women’s rights, human rights, and real food for the website Care2.com.