Taproot Collective is made up of a diverse team of teachers, urban farmers, youth leaders, designers, managers, and activists with a unique combination of expertise needed to make sustainable change in Rochester.
We are currently looking to expand our nonprofit board. If you are interested in joining our team, please contact us at email@example.com.
Leslie Knox is an alumna of the Simon Graduate School of Business with over a decade long background in varied social work areas. She is currently working with Americorp through Connected Communities in the Beechwood neighborhood to enhance the community and urban farm outreach services of St. Mark's and St John's Church. With her creative approach to resource use, development and problem solving she is continuing to make the world a better place, little by little.
Chris is active on many levels in the arts and nonprofit community. Her first passion was the theater and writing became a natural companion. Her second passion was realized after undergrad; helping nonprofits reach their maximum potential and impact through dedicated business development. She has a process approach to her work and looks to use this to compel the next generation to make meaningful changes in their community. She is a self- published author, has an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Rochester Institute of Technology and is additionally on the Board of Directors at the Flower City Arts Center. On a personal level, her hobbies include good coffee, yoga and short fiction. She and her daughter spend the summers going on ‘bear hunts’, swimming and soaking in all the events Rochester has to offer.
Stephanie Benway is an ecological landscape designer and educator. She earned a degree in Anthropology from SUNY Geneseo and developed her passion for the environment while doing archaeology fieldwork from 2007-2014. After completing a Permaculture Design Certification from Permaculture Kauai in 2014 she returned to her hometown of Rochester, NY to add her efforts to the fight for a sustainable future.
Lauren Caruso is an educator, community activist, and urban homesteader in the 19th Ward neighborhood. She facilitates community-engaged teaching and learning with faculty, students, and partners at the University of Rochester. She holds degrees in sociology, organizational management, and public policy. Lauren enjoys making things and giving thanks with friends, neighbors, and family.
Lisa Zeller is a Rochester City School District middle school science teacher who co-facilitates a student-run community school garden in the Marketview Heights neighborhood. An advocate for young people, she works on our team as an educational consultant in multiple settings. She is also currently working towards her doctoral degree in education at the University of Rochester and hopes to conduct research and program evaluation work for various urban agriculture projects in the Rochester community in the future.
Amber Powers is a passionate supporter of the environmental justice movement in Rochester, NY. She holds degrees in Urban Planning from the University at Buffalo and Teaching English as a New Language (ENL) from Nazareth and received a Fulbright Scholarship to work in Nepal from 2011-2012. She works as an ENL teacher and registrar for the Rochester City School District. At home, she is an avid gardener and composter.
Our team also includes:
Nannett Cepero, Adviser & Core Volunteer
Seyvion Scott, Adviser & Core Volunteer
Maya Waller, Youth Leader