Meet Our TeamPlant the Seed employs fun and accessible facilitators to coordinate our garden programs!
Susannah Fotopulos, Founder & Director
Susannah sees sowing, preparing and sharing food as a powerful tool for starting cross-cultural conversations and growing together in community. Susannah grew up on a 72-acre farm in rural Tennessee, where her family raised a 3-acre vegetable garden and shared bountiful harvests with neighbors, learning early the important role fresh food plays in building community. She entered the nonprofit world as an AmeriCorps member and started an award-winning service-learning program for children ages 4-12 at Hands On Nashville. She believes everyone has a right to fresh, affordable, culturally-relevant foods and that young people are capable of effecting meaningful change in their diet, their lives and their communities.
Sarah Voter, Operations Manager
Sarah has lived in the 12 South neighborhood for nearly twenty years. Growing up in a rural area, she had the opportunity to learn about growing her own food from an early age. She has owned several businesses in the food industry over the years, in addition to her work for local and corporate natural foods stores. She has also served as the Operations Manager for a number of local businesses. Sarah’s guiding passion in her work is to bring safe, sustainable, natural foods to her local communities. Her favorite thing about working with Plant the Seed is the opportunity to help children connect to their food and its origins.
Kaitlyn Payne, Garden Programs Facilitator at Explore Community School
In her previous position as a Garden Program Manager with FoodCorps, she worked through the nonprofit Down East Partnership for Children. At this nonprofit, she helped maintain five community gardens and regularly scheduled volunteer days for those gardens. She was also a part of a team that facilitated professional development workshops, family involvement nights, and support nights for families with kids that have disabilities. Gardening has been a passion for most of Kaitlyn’s life, and teaching students about the importance of knowing where their food comes from has been a newfound passion over the past three years.
Kim Newbould, Garden Programs Facilitator at Rosebank Elementary
Kim received her Bachelors of Science degree in Integrated Studies with concentrations in both Agribusiness and Administration. In joining Plant the Seed, she is committed to finding ways that will help people in need within her community, and to do what is within my reach to make things better in the world around us. Kim has worked various seasonal gardening jobs over the years, and has always had a passion for plants, including having her own personal gardens and greenhouse at home. She has been teaching her young son how to garden since he was a baby.
Melia Arnold, Garden Programs Facilitator at Ross Early Learning Center
Melia has been an advocate and supporter of Plant the Seed since it’s seedling days, serving on the founding board through 2018. She has a long history as a trainer and facilitator, as well as extensive experience in program development and management with non-profit and national service organizations. Her work with diverse teams of youth and adults in service-learning and leadership development led her back to this hands on role in the garden. Melia believes that when kids are encouraged to dig in the dirt, experience the natural magic of growing a plant by hand and nurturing it into an edible product ensures their connection to the land and their learning, while better connecting them with one another. She is reminded daily, of the joys and wonders of the outdoor world through the eyes and hands of her 5 and 7 year old.
Avi Katzmann, Program Manager
Avi found her way to Nashville after living on the east coast for many years where she honed her skills as an artist, farmer, and experiential educator. Her background in the visual arts led her to a love of working with plants and helping others connect to themselves, their community, and the earth. She worked for many years as lead farmer and program director at the first Jewish farm-to-table summer camp located in upstate New York. It was there she got to dive deep into her roles as steward, facilitator, and space holder.
She truly believes that all people can benefit from the power of learning through play and exploring and nurturing their own unique creativity.
She is excited to be in the role of Program Manager where she can support a team of skilled facilitators and help the dynamic programs of Plant the Seed flourish!