The most important part of our team is our volunteer force.  Without these amazing, generous people who give their time and energy to our cause, we could not continue our mission, maintain our amazing farms throughout DC or grow to help more of the DC community.  Words cannot express our gratitude for their hard work and passion.  Come join this amazing team and see what a great feeling it is, to help those in need. 

OUR STAFF

Niraj Ray - Founder & CEO - nray@cultivatethecity.com

Niraj is an international pioneer of urban and rural vertical agriculture. From his first backyard garden in Daytona Beach, Florida to vertical gardens for underserved school in Washington, DC and strawberry farms in Maharastra, India, Niraj is intent on finding innovative and sustainable ways to bring fresh produce to communities that need it. He is an educator and agricultural expert with a mission to transform urban food deserts into thriving local food systems. Niraj holds a B.S. in Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology from the Ohio State University and a M.S. in Integrated Environmental Science from Bethune-Cookman University, and is a former National Wildlife Federation Emerging Leader Fellow and used to work with the US EPA - Office of Water.

Victoria Mirowski - Education Coordinator - vmirowski@cultivatethecity.com

Tori started her urban farming journey with an internship at Aquaponics Colorado in Denver, CO. She later spearheaded the design and creation of an aquaponics system at the University of Connecticut, where she received a BS in Environmental science with a concentration in Natural Resources. Upon graduating in 2015, she worked for MetroCrops, an Urban High Density Indoor Farm, in Bridgeport, CT. She coordinated logistics of harvesting, packing, delivering, and selling produce all while conducted research for a Small Business Innovation Research grant. In her current position at CTC, her responsibilities range from coordinating events and crop planning, to grant writing and developing educational curriculum. In her free time, she is outside whenever possible—yoga, kayaking, camping and hiking are some of her favorite things. She is also looking to pursue a Master's degree in the near future.

KATHERINE DONNELLY
Kate found her way to urban food production through her graduate studies in Nutrition Education at American University.  Many years in the bar and restaurant industry led Kate to further her education in the field of nutrition because she believes access to real food is an essential element of building a thriving community. Nutrition education work for CTC is a vehicle to inspire community participation in urban agriculture in order to create a direct bond with growing affordable, nutritious food. Kate has extensive experience in the hospitality industry, international exchanges and served with the Peace Corps in Cameroon.  Kate also holds a BA in history from SUNY Geneseo and has studied abroad in Ireland and Egypt. In addition to her work at CTC, Kate volunteers at Food & Friends, Horace Mann Elementary School, the Habitat for Humanity Global Village. She is currently working toward her Masters Degree in Nutrition and is the National Stadium's Rooftop Garden and Barracks Grow Site Lead. She has developed curriculum for a 10-week/90 hour horticulture training program for at-risk youth, through CCDC. 

Nate Gemmell - After graduating from Montgomery College, Nathan pursued graphic design and IT with local businesses in Silver Spring MD.  When a major health challenge left him without the full use of his body and recovery was a slow and difficult process, he found solace in a wide range of organic gardening books and blogs which ignited a passion for gardening and urban farming and motivated him to get stronger.  With this new passion, he decided to delve deeply into organic growing methods.  Now Nathan is proud to "Boast of his compost". His favorite things to grow currently are indeterminate tomatoes, for their vigor and Russian Red Kale. Most days, he can be found in his natural habitat with a wide brimmed hat and hiking sandals.

Buddy Bernhard - Website Developer, Broken Greenthumb & Product Designer (Please contact Dee Emory at dee@cultivatethecity.com)
Buddy completed his Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science & Environmental Studies at The George Washington University, completing a senior project design in beehive vibrations. Upon graduating he rode a motorcycle around Colombia touring schools with a 3D printer. Later, he made his way to Paris, struggling with his French, enjoying local food, and working with the global startup community. At Cultivate the City, Buddy leads website development and content management.