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Joel began a lifelong love affair with growing food when his parents let him loose as child in the vegetable garden. A graduate of Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, Joel studied Philosophy and Organizational Communication. His background in non-profit work and community development lead Joel into an array of projects ranging from local food, affordable housing policy, the creation of community gardens, patient advocacy, the development of youth programs, sustainable design and international development.
In 2010, Joel and a team of fellow Annapolitans founded Grow Annapolis, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to fostering and sustaining community gardens and urban agriculture programs. While he was Executive Director of Grow Annapolis, Joel oversaw the organization’s day-to-day operations and lead Grow Annapolis as the lead agency in many community projects, including the creation of the City Dock Community Garden, the Annapolis Elementary School Garden and Park Elementary School Garden. Joel’s leadership was also instrumental in the establishment of gardens at Shady Side Elementary School, Bates Middle School and Annapolis High School.
Joel forged strategic partnerships with many community agencies, including the Anne Arundel Board of Education, Anne Arundel County Department of Health, Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation, Anne Arundel Department of Parks & Recreation, the City of Annapolis and the Maryland Extension.
Joel’s work to establish Grow Annapolis provided the organization with a strong foundation to move forward. Although Joel is no longer an active member of Grow Annapolis, he continues to work in the community and teaches at the Phoenix Academy in Annapolis.
You can follow Joel on twitter at: @JoelBunker