Rob Reiman, Executive Director
Rob is a devoted environmentalist and serves as the Executive Director for the Giving Grove. He retired from Deloitte Consulting after nearly 30 years of implementing technology systems and associated organizational improvements. After having provided consulting services to many of the largest companies in the world, Rob is now engaging in environmental policy, social justice programs and projects that support a more ecological, healthy, equitable and sustainable world.
Matt Bunch, Horticulturist
As the horticulturist for the Giving Grove, Matt selects the fruit and nut varieties, consults with new sites, and advises Giving Grove site stewards on the best practices for growing fruits and nuts biologically in the Kansas City area. Matt has been in the horticulture profession since 1994, but his love for plants and gardening grew from the gardens of his parents and grandparents. Schooled as a history major, Matt has worked in horticulture in retail, municipal, and public garden capacities. From 2004 to 2013 Matt was with Powell Gardens (Kansas City's Botanical Garden), first as a Native Plant Landscape Specialist, and later as the Horticulturist for The Heartland Harvest Garden. Over the years Matt has written for The Best Times and the Missouri Gardener and has spoken at many Master Gardener gatherings, the Great Plains Growers Conference, Growing Power, The National Green Centre, Grow Native Workshops and more. Work follows him home where he grows mainly natives and edibles with his wife and two children in Kansas City, Missouri.
Amanda Lindahl, Community Engagement Coordinator
Amanda joined the Giving Grove team in the fall of 2015 as the Community Engagement Coordinator. Her role is to assist sites in bringing together the neighborhood around the edible tree garden harvest. Previously she has worked with the Kansas City Community Gardens in the Schoolyard Gardens Program. In addition to growing vegetables at schools, Amanda has worked in nutrition education with K-State Research & Extension and Harvesters. Amanda graduated with her Masters of Horticulture degree with a specialization in Urban Food Systems at K-State Olathe in December 2016. Amanda gets excited about fermented foods, preserving the garden’s harvest, baking sourdough bread in many forms, exploring the city on her bicycle, and sitting around campfires with friends.
Courtney Foy, Director of Development and Marketing
Courtney Foy joined the Kansas City Community Gardens team in 2016 as the Grants Manager, and has since graduated to Director of Development and Marketing. Courtney is responsible for overseeing the organization’s fundraising and stewardship activities, as well as managing the KCCG’s face to the community and building awareness. Courtney loves the inclusive environment at KCCG and that any individual, regardless of income, can be served by KCCG programs. Courtney received her bachelor’s degree in sociology and women’s studies before earning a graduate certificate in grantsmanship from the University of Missouri. Although she doesn’t have a backyard garden, she has turned her apartment balcony into a garden filled with herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and strawberries.
Erin Besson, Grant Writer
Erin Besson’s passion for growing food inspired her to help start a garden program at her daughters’ elementary school in Lawrence, Kansas. It was that same passion that brought Erin to Kansas City Community Gardens in early 2017 as part-time Grants Writer. Erin received her bachelor's in organismal biology, as well as her J.D. from the University of Kansas, and her master’s degree in environmental policy from the University of Denver; she is a licensed attorney in Kansas. In her free time, Erin enjoys volunteering, coaching soccer, and growing food with her daughters.
Tracy Flowers, Horticulture Assistant
Tracy joined the Giving Grove team as Horticulture Assistant in the fall of 2018. After earning her B.S. in Horticulture at Penn State she worked in the green industry in the Pittsburgh area, most notably at the Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden. Tracy’s move to Kansas City in 2005 brought her to Powell Gardens and the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden where she found a love of connecting with the community through gardening lectures, writing botanical articles for local publications, social media and volunteering. At home, Tracy loves to garden and was awarded the Garden Club of Kansas City’s 2009 Horticultural Excellence Award. When she isn’t pulling weeds, Tracy enjoys performing in musical groups around Kansas City and traveling with her husband Charles.
Carter Oberheu, AmeriCorps Assistant
Carter has joined the Giving Grove team for a year as an AmeriCorps volunteer. AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs working to improve lives and foster civic engagement. Carter recently graduated from The University of Arkansas where he studied International Relations and the Middle East as well as Spanish and Arabic. During his time at the university he was inspired by professors to explore the world of sustainable agriculture and ways to improve food security. Carter has a hunger for learning languages, understanding cultures, and gaining international experience. In his time with the Giving Grove, he hopes to learn how to get an orchard running on his own and how to better engage his community. When not trying to learn every step in creating an urban orchard you can find him playing tennis, cheering on the Chiefs and Sporting KC, testing new recipes, or searching for the world’s greatest barbecue.