About Hands On Harvests
Hands On Harvests grew out of a community initiative called Grow a Row FC, which was started in May 2020 to provide more fresh produce to food banks in Fairfax County and Falls Church, Virginia. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis, pantries were experiencing a 400% increase in demand. Between May and October 2020, Grow a Row gardeners delivered 2,000 pounds of backyard produce and decided to continue into the next growing season. Hands On Harvests incorporated in July 2021 and received 501(c)(3) status from the IRS in October 2021.
Our twin missions are to boost access to fresh produce and to reduce food waste. We support gardeners with free seeds, plant starts, and mentorship, and make it easy for gardeners and farmers to donate to food banks and other organizations that distribute fresh produce. We also are collaborating with partners to increase the number of community gardens in Northern Virginia, especially in food-insecure neighborhoods.
Our Partners and Supporters
Hands On Harvests is proud to partner with many organizations, including Annandale United Methodist Church, Botanical Interests, Brown's Hardware, the Fairfax County Park Authority and Green Spring Gardens, Fairfax Master Gardeners, Food for Others, Fresh Food Connect, Meadows Farms, MOM's Organic Market, the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, and Virginia Cooperative Extension.
Special thanks to Adria Bordas, senior extension agent with Virginia Cooperative Extension, as well as Kerry and Dan Beck, Chrissy and Mike Boylan, Diane Charles, George Ehrlich, Peggy Riccio, Nancy Roodberg, Sandy Tarpinian, and Grace Boey Taylor. Hats off to Sean Cunniffe for designing the logo, and deep gratitude to our organizational partners, volunteers and funders.
HOH Board of Directors
The Hands On Harvests Board regularly meets online the fourth Tuesday of every month at 6:30 pm Eastern time. Meetings are open to the public; email us to request the meeting link.
Chair and Co-founder
Stacey Evers has centered her professional life around community building, environmental education and sustainable community gardening. She currently supports community gardens as the urban agricultural specialist with the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District. She's seen first-hand how gardening connects children and adults positively to food and the environment, and believes that everyone's pantry should be filled with fresh, affordable food that they want to eat.
Vice Chair and Co-founder
Lisa brings more than 25 years of corporate experience in operations and program management as well as expertise in client services and training. Lisa has also been active in her local community, supporting food pantries and assisting with emergency relief efforts.
Michelle Cabero loves gardening for its nutritional, physical, and mental well-being benefits. Michelle works with youth and community gardeners at varying capacities. Her bilingual skills serve a diverse community of gardeners in Fairfax County. Working with Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services, she enjoys connecting with the kids via gardening and nutrition literacy and facilitates in-the-garden horticulture learning for youth— a worthy investment for healthier lives.
Bridgette Cooper is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Maryland and a Senior Manager in CohnReznick LLP’s DC Metro tax practice. She has over 10 years of public accounting experience and recently has grown her expertise in the areas of tax law and accounting for cannabis businesses to help grow the firm’s practice in this emerging industry.
Bridgette is a newer gardener and enjoys growing all types of fruits, veggies, and herbs. Her grandparents are home gardeners in southern West Virginia. Bridgette spent many summers as a child with her cousins stringing and canning green beans to eat throughout the winters which taught her the importance of growing and preserving food. She became a volunteer grower with the Grow A Row program in 2021 before joining the Hands on Harvests Board of Directors in 2022.
Director, Grow A Row
Terri has over 25 years of experience in Operations in the Financial Services and ECommerce fields. She’s a Fairfax Master Naturalist and environmentalist. She is a longtime gardener and incorporates edibles into her home landscape. (Her grandparents were farmers.) She believes that modern large-scale monoculture farming contributes to the poor health of many in our society and small-scale multi crop farms are one of the solutions. She also believes this country produces enough food for all our residents. We just have to create and support systems that give everyone easy access to nutritious food and prevent food waste.
Joyce Matthews is a "Native Washingtonian" who grew up in Prince George's County, Maryland, and still lives there today with her family. Joyce is a Cum Laude graduate of Bowie State College and also has earned an Educational Leadership Master's Degree from Virginia Tech. She's a retired educator from Fairfax County Public Schools with 37 years of experience with STEAM Education, strongly focusing on environmental science and food sustainability. Joyce enjoys sharing her LOVE of gardening with children and families.
Amanda has over 15 years of experience working with non-profits and specializes in global citizenship education and education for sustainable development. Amanda’s work focuses on building community and partnerships, developing impactful education and training programs, and non-profit management.
Amanda is an avid gardener and spends her free time with her hands in the soil, building her knowledge of regenerative farming, and sharing her passion for growing food with others. She believes that having access to fresh, nutritious food is a human right for every person and can be done through sustainable methods.