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5444 E Indiana Street, #353
Evansville, IN 47715
Maria Marton is honored to serve as Executive Director and further the mission of developing an equitable local food system in Evansville and Southwest Indiana. Originally from Illinois, Maria’s interest in cooking and agriculture grew from her experience helping her family’s small business. She sold and promoted locally grown garlic while learning retail and wholesale operations. Maria studied Marketing at Depaul University and served as an AmeriCorps member with the NE Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative, coordinating school gardens and classroom nutrition lessons while building her knowledge of the complex food system. Additionally, Maria has held positions in sales, marketing and hospitality for several food and beverage companies. Prior to joining Urban Seeds, Maria’s passion for supporting small farms and businesses led her to the Nashville Farmers’ Market. She coordinated programs and special events for the vendor and customer community. As Operations and Finance Manager, she implemented best practices for budgeting, financial projections and reporting. Maria believes food is a catalyst for improving our health and cultivating a stronger local economy and community. Maria lives with her boyfriend Matt and their energetic pup, Ava.
Tom grew up in Evansville and has recently returned with his wife after living in Bloomington for many years. He is excited and honored to be a part of the Urban Seeds team and to become more involved with the community. Tom’s professional background is largely in the retail world, including working as Store Manager of Bloomingfoods Co-op and Deli for 7 years, but he has long desired to serve others in a deeper and more meaningful way. The opportunity as Nourish Coordinator will allow him to do just that while returning home to be closer to family and old friends. He is a decent cook and due to some recent changes in his health, has become much more aware of the importance of the healing potential of food. He is also an artist (University of Evansville BFA class of 1990) and works in a variety of media, these days focusing primarily on ceramics and drawing. Tom lives with his wife and, currently, no dog, but he hopes to change that once they become more settled. He looks forward to working with and getting to know Nourish members, local food suppliers, and Urban Seeds’ partner organizations in order to help build the bridge to good nutrition and a sustainable and healthy life for all.
Lauren Kuester is a passionate advocate for local food systems and community care. She has a diverse background in the food industry, program management, and community building. Having worked at Local Source, an online local farmers market here in Evansville, she has valuable experience in supporting local farmers and producers. Lauren’s role will involve strengthening relationships between local farmers, producers, and residents in Southwestern Indiana, and increasing awareness of our local food system through community building, programming and educational outreach.
Heidi returned to her home state of Indiana in 1997 after living and playing in the great state of Maine and serving as the Education Coordinator for Acadia National Park. She now lives in a 150 year old farm house in northern Vanderburgh county where she and her family tend to an organic garden, a flock of chickens and host concerts in their barn. After graduating from Northland College, in northern Wisconsin, with a degree in Outdoor Education and Biology, Heidi traveled the country working for the National Park Service in Indiana Dunes, Acadia, Everglades, and Yellowstone National Parks. Her years at Northland and with the NPS fostered an intense interest in the natural world and desire to do what is needed to protect the only Earth we will ever have. After the move to Evansville, she worked at Wesselman Woods and Audubon State Park, homeschooled her son and continues today as an Interpreter for Historic New Harmony. She is excited for the opportunity to be involved with Urban Seeds and manage Market on Main.
Casey serves as a Community Wellness Coordinator for the Purdue Extension Nutrition Education Program, working to improve food access for low income families in Vanderburgh and Warrick County, as well as working to create policy, systems, and environmental change in a variety of healthy eating and active living initiatives. Casey previously worked in tobacco prevention and control with the non-profit Smokefree Communities, working to create smoke-free air policies and educating youth on various tobacco related issues. Casey has lived in Evansville for ten years and holds a B.S. degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Southern Indiana and a Masters degree in Public Service Administration from the University of Evansville.
Tommy is a freelance Visual Communications Specialist and Artist at Tommy Art & Design. He is also the Student Media Advisor for the Crescent Magazine at the University of Evansville, as well as an adjunct Instructor at UE and Ivy Tech. He is passionate about using art and design to make a difference in our community. Evansville has been home his whole life. While attending the University of Evansville he became aware of how serious of an issue access to fresh and healthy food is to some that live in our area. This is also when he discovered the unsustainability of our current food system which inspired him to become vegan in an effort to be more environmentally conscious. Tommy aspires to bring about positive change towards a more sustainable and inclusive food system. “My vision is to project balance, inclusion, social responsibility, empathy, and compassion into the world around me.”
Kathy works part-time as an accountant at the Welborn Baptist Foundation. She is also a very active volunteer in the Evansville, Indiana community. She became acquainted with Urban Seeds through her work at Welborn and thoroughly supports its mission. She loves to plant flowers and was a Master Gardener. Kathy has lived in Evansville for 19 years, and resides on the North side with her husband, son, dog and cat. Kathy is excited to work with the Urban Seeds organization.
Lori was born and raised in Evansville, IN. She is passionate about quality of food, and health and wellness, believing that being in control of one’s health is achieved by being in control of the type and quality of the food we eat. Lori is dedicated to educating the community about food, nutrition, health and wellness, and she is just as passionate about feeding people as she is about education — a goal she successfully accomplished as the Family & Community Outreach Coordinator at Lincoln School until May, 2021. Lori is currently the Administrative Assistant at the Evansville African American Museum. As an avid gardener, she enjoys cooking and sharing her harvest with family and neighbors.
Blythe is a lifelong Evansville resident who currently lives with her husband and house full of rescued dogs and cats. Blythe is a freelance digital storyteller, assisting local businesses and nonprofits in creating their voice through social media, videos, and print graphics. Blythe’s interest in Urban Seeds evolved from her experiences living below the poverty line with a disability; and her calling to turn her past into a way of helping others in similar circumstances.
Serah is an Associate Professor of Nutrition in the Food and Nutrition Program at University of Southern Indiana. She is a Registered Dietitian and a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is also a member of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior. Her research focuses on food access, chronic disease, nutrition assessment and interventions among underserved populations.
Jennifer holds the position of Major Gifts/Planned Giving Officer at WNIN, our local Public Radio and Television station. She has more than 20 years’ experience in nonprofit, community, and leadership development, successfully collaborating for community projects such as the Mickey’s Kingdom Riverfront Playground, the Evansville Promise Zone, and the Kinney Family Penguins of Patagonia. As well, she has vast experience with event planning. Jennifer believes that food quality, access, and equity are not only a basic need, but a human right, and as such are a vital requirement to the success of individuals, their relationships, and communities.