Staff

Elizabeth Smith

Executive Director

Elizabeth is a 2nd generation Tucsonan who is only a few generations removed from Irish potato farmers and has growing in her blood. She has been digging in our desert soils for almost 45 years and one of her first gardens was a plot of cotton in her backyard at age 8. In college, George Brookbank became her Mentor where she learned from his extensive knowledge of growing in dry, hot climates. Since then she has added new (and old) methods of growing to her repertoire such as organic cultivation, permaculture, rainwater conservation, harvesting native foods and vermiculture. Elizabeth is a former Chef and the founder of WeLoveToGrow.org a non-profit focusing on teaching people how to grow in our challenging climate as well as subjects like preparing and cooking foods from the garden and the desert, canning, soap making, vermiculture and more. She also writes gardening articles for The Vail Voice and has been featured in Edible Baja Arizona. Elizabeth’s growing philosophy reflects the adage, “The wisdom of the Ancients patiently waits for the modern world to catch up.”

Jessica Paul

Gardens Manager, Board Member-at-Large

Jessica is a third generation Tucsonan whose love of gardening started when she was a little girl helping her grandmother in the garden. Jessica has been the garden technician for the Community Gardens of Tucson for almost three years. Whether she is fixing leaks, building fences or raised beds, leading volunteers and interns, working with community partners, or teaching classes to children, she facilitates the functioning of the gardens with enthusiasm and joy. If you have a need in the garden, Jessica does her best to fulfill it.

Cara Ryan

Bookkeeper

Cara moved to Tucson from Illinois in 1980. Cara and her husband, Sean, enjoy gardening at their home and spending time with our two granddaughters. She is also active in animal rescue and currently foster dogs for several local rescues.