Emily Richey


Emily Richey is the Director of the Duluth Community Garden Program. She has a background in small scale agriculture, environmental education, and non profit administration. Having grown up in Duluth with environmental educators for parents, she has a deep appreciation for the natural world. In college at Hamline University, the connection was made between the destruction of the beloved natural world and our current food system. Having learned this, Emily has dedicated her time, work, and energy to making change in the food system. She has worked on numerous small organic farms across the country, taught oodles of children about food, farming, and food systems, and has worked at the Duluth Community Garden Program since June 2016. She also organizes for the Duluth Young Farmers Coalition, Northland Food Network, and Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association.

Starr Brainard

Land Stewardship Coordinator

Starr Brainard is the Land Stewardship Coordinator of the Duluth Community Garden Program. Starr earned an undergraduate degree in environmental studies in 2014 and since has devoted her career to sustainable small-scale agriculture. In 2015 she worked for the Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. In 2016 she conducted Fulbright research on permaculture food systems in Alberta, Canada. Starr is very happy to be back home in Minnesota to share with and learn from the community here in Duluth. In addition to gardening, Starr loves her dogs, zombie movies, and playing bass.

Barb Parks


Barb Parks has happily served as bookkeeper for the Garden Program since 2009. Don't tell anyone, but she's not a gardener -- except for the 4 pots of tomatoes on her deck. Barb IS a strong supporter of locally grown, organic food, a member of Food Farm for over 2 decades, an avid cook and delighted to be associated with this fine gardening community. And maybe she'll sing for you....

Maris Dishno

AmeriCorps VISTA Garden Education and Volunteer Specialist

Maris Dishno is serving as the Garden Education and Volunteer Specialist at the Duluth Community Gardens Program. Maris is a proud Wisconsinite and graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point in 2017 with a degree in Political Science and minors in Environmental Geography and Spanish. After graduation, she moved to Albany, NY to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Schenectady County Center for Juvenile Justice. Maris found her passion in helping others by following her life motto: making a difference in the world one life at a time. At a young age, she discovered this desire in helping others when she traveled to Mexico and Guatemala on mission trips. Following her aspiration to make a difference, she then traveled to Central America, Europe, and the Northeast Coast of the United States to learn more about different cultures and perspectives. Maris’s excitement to serve with the Duluth Community Garden Programs comes from her passion in protecting the environment. As a minor in Environmental Geography and growing up around nature, she developed a dedication for preserving the thing that matters the most: the environment. Her desire and passion to make a difference in the world is what led her to serve a second year in the AmeriCorps VISTA program. She is excited to continue to make a difference for her communities.