The Founders Group serves as a steering committee for Neighborhood Foods, making strategic decisions as to the future of the organization. The Group has been meeting regularly since September 2010 and makes all decisions regarding the organization’s mission and its core values. Currently, they are faced with the challenge of structuring Neighborhood Foods to meet the needs of the community while still striving for economic independence. The Founders Group members also work at the Neighborhood Foods Community Market on a weekly basis, doing everything from harvesting and packaging vegetables to serving customers at the farm stand.
Joann Manuel: Joann is the block captain of the 5200 block of Pennsgrove St. She grew up in Wynnefield and is a long time resident of Philadelphia. In addition to her work at CATCH, a Community Mental Health Center, she is also a committee person for the 44th Ward, 18th Division, and a neighborhood representative for the Philadelphia Fire Department and the 19th Police District. She has helped start a kids program on her block as well as seen the creation of the Pennsgrove garden, a small children’s garden.
Shamara Lee: Shamara, a trained paralegal, is a loving mother of three and has been living in West Philadelphia for 20 years. She served as the PTA President of Daroff Elementary School, sat on the School Advisory Council (SAC), and has been very involved in the Pearl St. Garden Club. Gardening has always been in her family, starting with her Grandmother Earlybird Mobley, down to her son Kalib, who is one of the youngest members of Neighborhood Foods and is often found doing PR work at the Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market.
Anita Harris-Dunbar: Anita is the block captain of 5300 Wyalusing Avenue and the co-founder of Neighborhood Foods Farm and Annex. She grew up in the Haddington Community and has been a long time resident. Along with her many years of working as a state employee, she also worked with Urban Tree Connection for 10 years on beautification projects and helped petition and support Neighborhood Foods to get up and running in the community. She serves as Epic Stakeholder for SCOP (Support Community Outreach Programs/DHS) to help provide recreational activities for youths and seniors in the community.
Lisa Barkley: Lisa is a founder of the Pearl St. Garden Club and has been working with Urban Tree Connection for over eight years. She has lived in Haddingoton her entire life and serves the informal mayor of her housing complex. She works with young women through her job with the Girls Scouts of America and also works at the Urban Tree Connection office as a database operator. She is also the featured artist at the Community Market, so come check out her work every Saturday at the farm stand!
Woody Fletcher: Woody grew up farming in Georgia and has been living on the 5300 block of Wyalusing for over 30 years. He has been a strong supporter of the Neighborhood Foods Farm since its beginnings, allowing his backyard to be converted into a Neighborhood Foods workspace, including access to water from his backyard and storage space for tools. Woody sees the farm as a way for kids to get back outside and learn from the outdoors, the same way he did when he was young in Georgia. He also makes the best mint tea in Haddington and brings it to the farm stand.