Summer Staff 2020

Six summer staff on green roof at CSI Regent Park

L to R: Kais Saleh, Christy Sebastian, Ari Wichert, Eden Gepner-Bourgeois, Dev Vyas, Philippa Wood

Welcome 2020 Summer Staff! This rockstar crew were asked to tell us a bit about themselves, why they are excited to be at Green Thumbs, what they hope to work on/learn this summer, lesser known/fun facts about them, their favourite plant, and if they were a garden vegetable, which one would it be…?

Ari Wichert (they, them)

I am going into the fourth year of my undergraduate degree in Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity, with a focus on Global Food Equity and a particular interest in education! I love my cat, fixing bikes, starting way too many projects, and working on my art.

I am excited to be at Green Thumbs and work with my amazing co-workers on projects such as growing rice, lasagna gardening, and planting pollinator species that we can help others learn about. I am also looking forward to digging deeper into the history and origins of plants in our gardens, and learning how to effectively companion and succession plant in order to make the most out of small urban spaces!

What is a fun/lesser-known fact about you? I once played the panther in the Jungle Book, and I don’t like wearing raincoats when it’s warm out because I’d rather have rainwater on me than sweat on me.

Favourite Plant: Right now it is the Kentucky Coffee Tree because I’m very excited to grow it from seed!

If you were a garden vegetable which would it be?: A tomato! They exude great energy. Lots of colours. Very delicious.

Christy Sebastian (she/her)

I went to school for Environmental Science and Sustainability. Some of my interests/hobbies are reading comics, Marie-Condo and playing roller derby.

I am excited to participate in the PollinateTO project this summer and further develop pollinator pathways in Toronto as well as create exciting and educational environments/content for the community to immerse themselves in. This summer I hope to learn more about urban agriculture and develop more skills that will better my own skills when growing food.

I have a collection of 50 cow items with their own designated space.

Poppies are my favorite plant. If I was a garden vegetable I would be a potato, because I often feel like a potato.

Dev Vyas (they/them)

I’m a student at Colorado College studying Organismal Biology and Ecology. I’m a long-distance backpacker, climber, and Wilderness First Responder. In my spare time I love to learn about restorative agriculture and make music with my friends.

I’m excited to be at Green Thumbs because I love growing food and getting my hands in the dirt! I’m working on a pollinator garden project this summer and I can’t wait to learn more about native pollinator plants in Ontario.

Some friends and I designed and built two cabins by hand in 2017!

My favorite plant changes everyday, but I’ve got a soft spot for Aspen trees – the pattern on their bark looks like eyes!

I would be any sort of root vegetable – I like how they’re a secret until you pull them up!

Eden Gepner-Bourgeois (he/him)

I am high schooler going into grade 11. I like to play music, and play basketball.

I hope to learn how to just garden better in general so i can help my mom with her garden next summer.

I play 5 instruments. My favourite plants are anything you can make tea out of. Garden vegetable? Radish, of course.

Kais Saleh (they/them)

I love reading books about a variety of topics. I tend to read more of garden, bird, and mushroom books because of my fascination of the rich history and beauty of them! I will soon be in grade 12 and am contemplating being a humanitarian lawyer or a makeup artist.

I hope to be in an environment where plants are valued as much as I value them:)

I have a dog who is my life and passion!

My favourite plant currently is motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) of the mint family. I am very fascinated by the surprising medicinal abiliites of the plant. What’s super unique is it’s usefulness. It can be used to treat heart conditions and even mood disorders! What’s really intriguing is where it got is name, which was because it is used to treat post-partum depression in mothers.

If I were a garden vegetable, I would be a hot pepper because I love spicy foods! I’m one of those people who have hot sauce with a side of food.

Philippa Wood (she/her)

I am very excited to have work this summer and be back with greenthumbs!

This year I’m hoping to grow mushrooms and build a pergola on the roof.

My go to interesting fact is that I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

My favourite plant is Burdock or Mint.

I would be a mint AND a chili pepper.

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