From The Ground UP celebrates 8 graduates

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From the Ground UP celebrants are, from l.: Georgia McDougall, Emma Fetridge, Spencer Kimble, Cristina Brose, Justine Ginsberg (leader of Resilience Grows Here), Alicia Newton (Nourish My Soul executive director), Chloe Gosselin, Evan Holm, Amber Bourgault, and State Representative Tami Zawistowski. (Not pictured: Caitlin Strzegowski) Submitted photo

This is our future — I have seen it and it is good. Really, really good. The young people pictured (plus one who was unable to join us) have collectively given 1,573 hours of their time in their service years with From the Ground UP. 

They have cleared, planted, and maintained garden beds to supply food for free community meals and veteran families.  They have rehabbed and maintained a community compost to regenerate the soil and reduce food in the waste stream.  They rescued thousands of pounds of food and spent countless hours turning it into incredibly delicious free meals for the community. They have worked with community leaders to develop business plans for school food solutions and community centers. They have studied food systems and how they intersect with other systems.  They learned to think critically about their ideas and how sometimes solutions can have unintended consequences that create other issues. They have met some of the most influential leaders in the food justice movement from around the world, asking them questions to grow their understanding. They have written grants to support their work and held community events to educate and engage others. 

They have big ideas and have made it happen through hard work, passion, and dedication. They show up even when they are feeling overwhelmed by the unrelenting demands on their lives. Sometimes meetings are spent navigating those intense pressures and helping each other through those times. It is our hope that they are leaving our community with the knowledge that they hold the power to change the world, and in fact have already begun to do that. At our celebration, we gave our “pollinators” a send-off I hope they never forget. They were given awards with words of praise from Nourish My Soul, Resilience Grows Here, State Rep. Tami Zawistowski, State Rep. Bill Simanski, and U.S. Congressman John B. Larson (who were unable to attend). Granby Board of Education was there to support them with then-Superintendent Alan Addley, Assistant Superintendent Chris Tranberg, and BOE member Sarah Thrall. We are going to miss this group’s thoughtfulness, kindness, and strong leadership. They have some mighty big shoes to fill! Many new recruits attended with a desire to become our newest leaders.  It truly is because of the reputation and legacy that these seniors have built.

Participants included Georgia McDougall (our moth), Emma Fetridge (our butterfly), Spencer Kimble (our black and white ruffed lemur), Tina Brose (our lady bug), Chloe Gosselin (our rainbow lorikeet), Evan Holm (our bat), Amber Bourgault (our humming bird) and Caitlin Strzegowski (our bee).

If you are a high school student interested in becoming a From The Ground UP leader, please complete this form online or email There is no financial cost to join, only time commitment.