Grow Pittsburgh welcomes three new staff members
Raqueeb Bey, Garden Resource Center Coordinator
Raqueeb staffs the Garden Resource Center, a multi-user gardening tool lending library and materials depot. While this is Raqueeb’s second season with Grow Pittsburgh, she has spent considerable time working and volunteering with Grow Pittsburgh projects. She previously served as the community outreach coordinator for the MLK Garden and volunteered at a number of other activities.
Raqueeb is an organizer in her own right and is the founder of two local organizations. She founded Mama Africa’s Green Scouts as a way to “guide African youth in an assembly of awareness in green education, environmental sustainability, and justice.” Scouts learn planting basics, ways to lessen their impact on the earth and engage in cultural activities. Raqueeb also founded the Black Urban Gardeners of Pittsburgh Co-op—”BUGs” for short—a group of committed individuals who created a farmers’ market in Homewood to address the lack of a grocery store in the area. Recently, Raqueeb was recognized for these efforts as a finalist by the UpPrize Healthy Food Access social innovation fund.
In addition to her job and other two ventures, Raqueeb has six awesome children is an avid reader and researcher of African and indigenous cultures. She somehow still finds time to organize for fair, just and equitable land redevelopment. Like many Grow Pittsburgh staffers, she likes dogs and is looking forward to receiving a puppy into her home.
Deirdra Harris Glover, Operations and Communications Coordinator
Deirdra is responsible for internal and external communications at Grow Pittsburgh such as this humble newsletter.
Deirdra is a native southerner who very recently set down roots in Pittsburgh. As a former public affairs specialist for Volunteer Mississippi, Deirdra knows that volunteering in a new city can help you find like-minded people and improves your job prospects. She found Grow Pittsburgh by researching nonprofits in her city-to-be and found a job posting for “a me!” while seeking volunteer opportunities.
While Deirdra maintains a hit-or-miss record of keeping plants alive, her time in Mississippi gave her an opportunity to connect with the food she ate and the land that grew it. She is pleased and deeply honored to support the work of Grow Pittsburgh’s staff as they champion urban food gardening to people of all backgrounds and ages.
Deirdra has a large nontraditional family consisting of thirteen furry and scaly children, her husband and her young adult sibling. She loves indie roleplaying games, diverse comics, creating wirework jewelry, and is impatient to put Pittsburgh-grown produce to good use in her new kitchen.
Redding Jackson, Garden Educator
Redding will be working with educators and students in learning gardens this spring.
A Pittsburgh native, Redding grew up gardening and running around Frick Park, which she thought of as her personal backyard as a child. A lifelong outdoor enthusiast, she moved to Massachusetts after finishing college where she worked on a farm down the street from her grandmother’s house. After several seasons and ending up as the herb garden manager and field trip guide, Redding realized her work dream had been met – the perfect combination of learning with plants and children. After a bad reaction tending the garden, Redding moved back to Pittsburgh to pursue her career in education.
Thinking she could never work with plants again, Redding began teaching as a substitute for Pittsburgh Public Schools. Redding started with a goal of working in all 54 schools in the district but after a dozen schools, she ended up falling in love with the students and staff at Arsenal 6-8. Redding stayed at Arsenal for two years until she saw Grow Pittsburgh’s job posting! During that time, she never stopped testing her new and changing relationship with plants in her own home garden, learning -free (no parsley, parsnips or anything related) she can continue to pursue her passions for both plants and education so long as she steers clear of parsnips, parsley, and other close relatives. Redding is thrilled to meet all the people and projects around the city who work to make outdoor education and beautiful outdoor spaces accessible for all schools and students and people.
Redding still loves nearly any outdoor activity and enjoys chopping fruits and vegetables, and practicing tunes on her old, tiny piano.