Catherine (Kate) Morrison joins City Fruit as its second executive director. Her ten-year career in public health has focused on creating social and physical environments that build healthy communities. She is passionate about ensuring access to nutritious food as part of the foundation of a healthy, productive community.
Kate has been involved in efforts to build community markets in low-access areas, to promote awareness of food deserts, to address senior hunger issues, and to create safe neighborhood parks. In other experience, she has traveled to nearly all 50 states working with local coalitions and organizations to create public health policy focused on health education, healthcare distribution, and Alzheimer’s disease. She is an experienced political organizer, having worked on ten campaigns through four states.
Kate has a master degree in public health policy from Saint Louis University School of Public Health and Social Justice where she graduated with Great Distinction. Along with her fiancé Andrew, she is enjoying Seattle’s neighborhoods and just planted a plum tree at her home in Greenwood.
FOUNDER & SENIOR ADVISOR
Gail grew up picking apples in the ‘Apple Capital of the World’ and, after a hiatus of 40 years, returned to coordinate fruit harvests throughout Seattle. She has organized neighborhood and community harvest groups and is the author of Gather It: How to Organize an Urban Fruit Harvest. Gail’s background includes serving as a communications specialist with King County environmental programs, working as a public health educator, and overseas stints in the Philippines and Ghana. She has masters degrees in anthropology and public health. Photo courtesy of urbanfarmhub.org
BOARD of DIRECTORS
Morgan Larsen, Treasurer
Morgan most recently hails from Chicago where she survived the winters by spending long hours crunching numbers first for Ernst & Young in their audit practice and then Citadel Investment Group working in Accounting Policy and Financial Reporting. She now has her own accounting consulting practice helping local nonprofits and small businesses develop and understand accounting systems. She also loves to explore Seattle’s urban parks with her two children, especially when they find fresh fruit to enjoy! Morgan holds a Masters in Accountancy from Arizona State University and is a CPA.
Larry Liang, President
Larry grew up on east coast and has called Seattle home since 1998. At Microsoft he focuses on online marketing communications and operations working with internal and external partners. In addition to his day job Larry also runs the Visiting Chefs Series, which brings renowned chefs and cookbook authors to Microsoft. In his free time he is very active in the Seattle food community and loves spending time and cooking with his family.
For five years Matt has been a lead at Bradner Gardens Park, caring for the fruit trees with the CF orchard stewards. An advocate for environmental education, he has developed urban agriculture policy for the City of Seattle, analyzed local “foodsheds” for the American Farmland Trust, and led both policy and restoration teams with People for Puget Sound. Matt worked in agriculture and community resource management in Peace Corps Tanzania and The Gambia. He earned an MS studying agroecology from the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences and works in systems operations for the Dept. of Laboratory Medicine. He is driven, by the cultural resonance and fantastical wilderness of Cascadia, to improve the relationship between people and their environments.
Betsy has always wanted to make a positive difference in the world by using her expertise and talents for the greater good. Since opening her consulting firm, Betsy has used her experience to help her nonprofit and business clients grow and contribute to the world. Betsy holds an MBA from Bainbridge Graduate Institute. She grew up in rural Pennsylvania where the art of preserving fresh produce for the winter was common and spent countless hours as a child picking wild berries. A few years ago, she and her husband bought a house with an ancient apple tree needing lots of love and care, which began her involvement with City Fruit.
Kimberly has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 2004. Originally from Chicago, Kimberly has spent over 14 years in the investment profession and is currently a Relationship Manager at Halbert Hargrove, a boutique wealth manager. She works with clients on their wealth planning and investment portfolios and is a Certified Financial Planer. In her free time, Kimberly can be found spending time with her husband and two young boys exploring Seattle neighborhoods.
Melissa has been gleaning fruit and foraging wild foods in the Seattle region for over 25 years. Melissa earned a PhD in Environmental Anthropology from the University of Washington. Currently, she serves as the joint social scientist for Washington Sea Grant (UW) and NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center to improve understanding of the sociocultural dimensions of ecosystem management. Whether it’s facilitating a workshop on cultural food practices, speaking about access to nature as a social justice issue, or linking cultural values to ecosystem restoration, Melissa is passionate about strengthening ties between people and the environments in which they live. Melissa and her partner love to garden, forage, make medicinal salves, homebrew and botanical art.
Matt Pope, Secretary
Matt was introduced to City Fruit when he joined the Orchard Steward group at Martha Washington Park. He is committed to supporting good local food and is especially interested in getting it to those who need it most and in building knowledge and community around food. Most recently Matt has been applying his experience as a hobby hard cider maker to teaching people how to turn their bounty of apples into delicious cider. Matt works at Parallel Public Works as a technical project manager.
Kristen Ramer Liang
Kristen has been singing and teaching in Seattle since 2001. She is a core member of the internationally recognized Fisher Ensemble and serves as the ensemble’s Director of Education and Outreach. Kristen has also performed in the chorus of Seattle Opera and with the Esoterics. When she’s not singing, Kristen loves to spend time with her family in the garden and around the dining table.
Hazel Singer, Vice President
Hazel’s work experience relates back to and is reinforced by her training in Economic Geography and Urban Planning: understanding how systems (e.g., transportation, social services, manufacturing, health, small and large businesses, communities, government, etc) function in a region; what are the constraints and obstacles to successes and efficiency; and how to increase participation by all citizens in these processes so that they have a stake in positive outcomes. Photo courtesy of urbanfarmhub.org
Barb Burrill, Orchard Stewards Coordinator
Barb grew up on an apple, pear, and cherry orchard outside Selah, Yakima county where she learned how to pick fruit, can fruit, and make pies. Years later in Seattle she was compelled to rescue neighborhood fruit trees choked by blackberries and ivy. Barb has been lead steward for the Burke-Gilman Trail Urban Orchard since 2010. She also volunteers in her son’s public schools where she has established “Green Teams” and has led Washington Green Schools certifications. She has an MBA from NYU and a large collection of piano ensemble sheet music just waiting to be played. Contact Barb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Luke Jesperson, Harvest Coordinator
Luke was born and raised in the golden wheat fields of North Dakota. A desire to experience elevation change brought him to pursue his studies in Tacoma at the University of Puget Sound where he graduated with a degree in Political Science. After returning to the states from teaching middle school math in Juticalpa, Honduras, Luke moved to Whidbey Island to help his sister on her 6 acre, organic produce farm named Deep Harvest. Since the end of the summer harvest season, Luke moved to Seattle and interned at the Domestic Fair Trade Association- an organization committed to working towards a more equitable, diverse, and sustainable food system. Besides playing in the dirt, Luke enjoys cooking, reading, frisbee, and getting lost in nature. Contact Luke at email@example.com.
Brian hails from the suburbs of central Connecticut, where he enjoyed many early morning skates at the local hockey rink. After studying English and History at Boston College, he spent far too much time in academic publishing and eventually joined the Environmental Defense Fund as a development coordinator. A recent transplant from New York City, Brian is pursuing a Master’s degree in public policy from the University of Washington with a focus on Environmental Management. In his spare time, Brian enjoys live music and exploring the great outdoors. He looks forward to learning all there is to know about Seattle’s fruit trees, and has already discovered two untended apple trees he hopes can join the City Fruit family. Contact Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melanie Peters, Community Outreach Coordinator
Melanie grew up twenty minutes from Chicago, spending summers with her dad harvesting their small rhubarb crop and figuring out how to keep the pesky birds from stealing their Concord grapes. In college she minored in Sustainability and developed a passion for food justice and food access for all people, regardless of income. During her first year as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Indy Hunger Network, she developed a double-up SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) incentive program similar to Seattle’s Fresh Bucks that doubled SNAP recipient’s fruit and vegetable purchases at area farmers’ markets up to $20. She is thrilled to be joining City Fruit as an AmeriCorps VISTA during this exciting time of growth, during which she’ll be spearheading a robust volunteer program, alongside other projects. Contact Melanie at email@example.com.
Natalie Place, Community Outreach Coordinator
Natalie is a fruit enthusiast graduated from Bastyr and James Madison U. With her combined education and work in public health and holistic design, she is passionate about healthy environments and happy people. Natalie has a diverse range of experiences from working with volunteers at CrossOver Ministry, an urban public health clinic, to a Seattle coffee shop gardener. In her free time she likes to practice bikram yoga in the U-district and likes to try new dance styles at the Massive Monkees Studio: The Beacon. Her desire to help people improve their quality of life brought her out the Pacific Northwest and she hasn’t looked back. Natalie loves meeting and working with amazing City Fruit volunteers and is also excited because she hasn’t yet met a new fruit she didn’t like!
While there are too many to name, we couldn’t do what we do without them. Thank you Volunteers!