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Our Team

Marianne Zaugg
Marianne Zaugg

Executive Director

After graduating in business, Marianne continued her educational path, studied psychology and opened a consulting practice for development, assessment and management assisting nonprofits. With more than 30 years of work experience, she consulted for the entertainment industry, worked with the public health sector building innovative programs for environment and education, and developed funding for numerous start-up companies.

Over the past decade, Marianne has been promoting Farm to School programs. She dedicated her time to the initiative of growing organic food locally and preparing healthy meals. As the Director of Development at Earthworks Farm, she began her outreach to connect farms to schools and implemented an extensive education program.

Hence, Eco Urban Gardens was established, and since 2015 Marianne leads the initiative of continued building of Farm Labs at schools and Grow Gardens program throughout communities creating a sustainable environment for all. Her body of work includes a number of published essays, books and multimedia tools supporting health and wellness.

Elizabeth Christy
Elizabeth Christy

Program Manager

Elizabeth graduated in environmental studies from Temple University. She entered an internship under Joanne Donahue, the Manager of Land Restoration at the Schuylkill Center to gain practical skills in horticulture. With the focus of keeping a nursery healthy for the plant sale, she removed invasive plant species from the property, creating an educational sensory garden for school education.

Thereafter, she worked under Harold Taylor, the head of the West End of Outdoor Horticulture, where she oversaw the orchard, Migratory Bird Sanctuary, vegetable garden, idea garden, trial garden, children’s garden, front gate and grass trial garden.

Today, Elizabeth manages farm to table programs and maintains gardens with native and edible plants. She is engaged in working with schools, where she builds the farm to school program advocating agroecology. Through its programs, she designs landscapes and teaches how to bring drought tolerant species into the garden to help reduce water consumption and promote sustainable living.

Alan Melgoza-Calderón

Farm Manager

Alan graduated in Plant Science from Don Hutley College of Agriculture at Cal Poly Pomona. As a student, he helped maintain the Discovery Farm’s educational edible gardens and became involved in various community outreach projects that helped improve awareness of agriculture and entomology.

After graduating, Alan began working for City of Hope National Medical Center in their new urban agriculture project, “Garden of Hope.” During his time, Alan transformed the garden’s landscape and helped introduce agriculture to patients, employees and the City of Duarte community. As City of Hope’s first AmeriCorps Fellow, Alan was also able to shape the garden’s education program and volunteer infrastructure to help address food insecurity and preventable illnesses through agricultural education and recreation.

Today Alan is Eco Urban Gardens’ farm manager and helps with the further development of the edible landscapes and programming at Arroyo and Mountain View High School. Alan hopes to bring his plant science and agriculture background to help fulfill Eco Urban Garden’s mission.

Alessandro Bersanetti
Alessandro Bersanetti

Program Associate

Alessandro is a college student currently working to earn their degree in environmental science at Pasadena City College. Alessandro grew up in Los Angeles and was heavily impacted by the lack of available green spaces in the city. This inadequacy inspired them to want to change the city they live in. In their primary education, they had the privilege of being a part of a science academy that had a large educational garden and working farm that lessons would be based out of. This experience left a deep impression on them for the practical knowledge of plant care and environmental awareness they learned as well as the overall benefits of just getting to learn outside of the classroom.

Now an avid gardener and nature enthusiast, Alessandro brings their own shared experience of growing up in the city and being positively influenced by farm education programs to teaching young students and helping to nurture their prospective interests in the sciences. Today, Alessandro helps to build farm programs within schools and assists students in realizing the necessity for advocating for sustainability and water conservation in their community.