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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 has 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. As Executive Director of Grow Annapolis, Joel oversees the organization’s day-to-day operations and has 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 has also been instrumental in the establishment of gardens at Shady Side Elementary School, Bates Middle School and Annapolis High School.
As Grow Annapolis’s Executive Director, Joel has created 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. As a result, Grow Annapolis and our partners have expand our capacity to meet our community’s needs.
Actively engaged in creating community, Joel can be found volunteering with other organizations, some of his favorite being the Master Gardeners, Younglife and the Ulman Cancer Fund. He is also a volunteer with Friends of El Salvador and on the board of Love Coffee a non-profit seeking to better the lives of coffee growing communities. Joel attends Revolution Church of Annapolis.
You can follow Joel on twitter at: @JoelBunker