Chris Mancini, Executive Director
Chris began his environmental career working on board the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater teaching environmental sustainability and marine ecology, and has made a gradual transition from pure environmental conservation to a social justice-based healthy communities and equity focus. Prior to joining Groundwork, he ran programs for Sailors for the Sea, a nonprofit organization based in Newport, RI that educates and engages boaters in the worldwide protection of the oceans. While getting his masters at Tufts University in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, he stewarded the Maple Syrup Project, which Groundwork later adopted as a tent-pole program. He is a member of the Shape Up Somerville and Mystic River Steering Committees, serves on the Somerville Food Security Coalition and is a founding member of the New England Racial Justice Collaborative. He plays banjo and drums, enjoys commuting bike rides with his wife Abigail and daughter, Mae, and wishes he knew as much about gardening as his amazing staff.
Jess Bloomer, Program Director and Farm Manager
Jess joined Groundwork Somerville in January of 2015. A native of Colorado, Jess has spent more than a decade finding ways to grow food in a variety of inspiring settings. As the Program Director and Garden Educator with Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, she honed her skills and passion for hands-on teaching, urban gardening, and nonprofit visioning. That work, along with work at the Cultiva Youth Project, Farm and Wilderness Camp, and the Thorne Natural Science School cemented her belief that food connects us all, and the process of growing and eating fresh local food can be an entrance point for teaching just about anything. Jess holds a Permaculture Design Certificate and a BA in International Development Studies, with a focus on community development. In free moments, she likes to explore near and far by foot, boat, ski, and train. She is excited to expand her love of urban farming within the vibrant Somerville community.
Kalimah Mustafa, Community Organizer
Kalimah first joined the Groundwork Somerville circle in the summer of 2011 when she volunteered as the Garden Youth Crew Leader. She came back the summer of 2013 for an Administrative Internship and has been here ever since! Prior to Groundwork Somerville, she’s had experience with non-profits when she worked for Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts, The Welcome Project, and theMove. She is currently pursuing a degree in English from UMass Boston. In her spare time, Kalimah enjoys reading, writing, buskers, drawing comics, and cheese.
Eli Bloch, MassLIFT Americorps Youth Education Coordinator
Eli joined Groundwork Somerville as a Masslift-Americorps member in September 2016. Eli grew up in the Boston area, and is a recent graduate of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMass Amherst. Before coming to Groundwork, Eli has worked as a camp counselor at Farm and Wilderness, as a farmer in New Hampshire, and at the UMASS Student Farm. In his spare time Eli enjoys playing basketball, hiking, gardening, and most of all eating something good.
Devin Powers, Americorps-VISTA, Community Outreach
Devin joined Groundwork Somerville as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in February of 2015. Devin, a Massachusetts native, recently graduated from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island with a degree in both Anthropology and Sociology. Before starting at Groundwork Somerville, Devin has worked in several community outreach positions within the non-profit sector. In his spare time, Devin enjoys reading, hiking, traveling, and checking out the local comedy scene.
Gayathri Arumugham, Grant Writer
Gaya joined Groundwork Somerville in September of 2015. She has a deep passion for working with small, community based organizations. Her work experience includes grant writing, developing educational programs for youth and adults, teaching and performing Bharatha Natyam dance, and being a Park Ranger on the Boston Harbor Islands. She has a BA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an MPA from NYU. Gaya loves spending time on the beach year round, collecting sea glass, and going hiking with her dog!
Clay Larsen, Project Manager & Landscape Design
Clay is a landscape designer, builder, project manager and teacher who brings over 30 years experience to his work. Working within the cities of Malden, Somerville and Lawrence for the Groundwork organization, Clay has both lead and been part of a team in developing cutting edge urban agriculture projects in Eastern Mass. Clay lead the development of Malden’s first community garden along Malden’s segment of the “Northern Strand.” He is the project manager for “Bike to the Sea,” a nonprofit advocacy group, working to develop the Northern Strand Community Trail and promote bicycle&pedestrian safety, as well as alternative transportation opportunities north of Boston. Clay enjoys cooking, biking, and cross country skiing!