Born and raised to age nine on a Colorado farm, Bob Abercrombie brings a strong connection to the earth, plus a wealth of engineering and administrative experience. After finishing Petroleum Engineering study at the Colorado School of Mines, Bob served in the Army Corps of Engineers as Occupational Craftsman School administrator. For 36 years, he worked for Mobil Oil Corporation, both in the United States and abroad. His career in the oil business included reservoir engineering, business planning, and economics. He supervised producing operations and engineering for offshore projects. Bob was instrumental in keeping construction (phase one) of the Common Earth Community Garden on track, and he supervised the relocation of a donated shed. Bob is always a firm voice for financial transparency and accountability.
Ken & Becky Anderson
Ken and Becky Anderson come to Common Earth Community Garden with many years of experience in gardening and community development. They are the proprietors of Pioneer Farmsteaders, an urban agricultural and education endeavor. In their advisory role with this garden, they are excited to see another community take shape, centered on healthy food and fellowship. Their support, advice, and experience have helped Common Earth in numerous ways.
Financial Oversight Liaison
Bob Bunting, an accountant, serves on the Board of Trustees and Financial Oversight Committee at the First United Church of Arvada. He is also the church accountant. Bob communicates regularly with the church trustees on both financial and property issues. He is a garden enthusiast whose specialty is sprinkler systems. He oversaw the irrigation installation for Common Earth Community Garden. Bob also cares for the trees that surround the garden by making sure that the roots are properly watered. As he tends his own garden plot, he gives hands-on assistance to resolve most issues.
A natural communicator with excellent technology skills, Amy Laydon brings many talents to the garden effort. As the 2016 Co-Administrator, Amy demonstrated flexibility and good listening skills. She is an effective consensus builder. Her aesthetic sense of garden design turns vision into reality. Amy has been an art teacher in the public schools for 26 years. Honing her organizational abilities, she served for six years as Coordinator of Education Venue for the Cherry Creek Arts Festival and also coordinated the JeffCo Public Schools Middle School Art Show. She was instrumental in planning the opening Earth Day celebration and the Festival that closed the first season at Common Earth. A gardener for more than 45 years, Amy focuses on herbs, aromatherapy, and landscaping. She’s excited to pass on her passion for gardening to her teenage daughter and other youth.
Support at Large
Maia Longenecker grew up with a garden every year, but community organizing is her forte. While in the Peace Corps for two years in Lesotho, Africa, Maia learned to write grants, secure in-kind donations, and organize communities. She worked with preschools in 25 communities to create playgrounds and educational murals at each school. At Outward Bound, she also focused on service, bridging the divide between adjudicated youth and their communities. Trained as a social worker (MSW), Maia is driven by her passion for social justice. She’s especially drawn to grass-root efforts that build strong communities.
SECRETARY, FUNDRAISING COORDINATOR,
GRANT WRITER, MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR
Lisa Lytle is an accounting technician at the University of Colorado, Denver. She is also pursuing a degree in nonprofit management. Lisa is a visionary who imagined the Common Earth Community Garden years before its existence. She was also the driving force that helped make it a reality. Her avocation is assisting refugees with survival skills as they seek housing, jobs, and transportation. One grateful refugee volunteered his physical labor during the initial construction phase of Common Earth Community Garden. As a musician, she plays piano solos at church. Always a multi-tasker, Lisa even performs as a one-woman bell choir.
Michele Melio is the founder and sole proprietor of Easy To Be Green Consulting. Her two lifelong passions are environmental education and organic farming using permaculture methods. Michele grew up on a farm in central California during severe drought. Her family raised all their own food, including cattle, chickens, and sheep. She has worked as a Zero Waste Consultant, project manager, event planner, technical writer, and public school teacher. Always expanding her skills, she is a certified solar technician and a native plant master. Currently employed by Eco-Cycle, Michele is the Green Star Schools Project Manager of 46 schools. She also manages an EPA grant to make Lyons the first Green Star town. Michele has sales and marketing experience with a number of corporations, including Eco-Cycle.
Sue Norman first gained administrative experience in California, where she was employed at Pioneer Electronics as office assistant to the manager. Upon moving to Colorado, she worked for Lockheed Martin (then Martin Marietta) for 23 years, taking the lead in Human Resource projects relating to the information system. Sue retired to become a caregiver for her in-laws, but she still found time to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity and Health Fair. She worked a small flower bed with her father-in-law at the entrance to his community, feeding her own passion for gardening. When Sue saw the sign announcing the opening of Common Earth Community Garden, she jumped at the chance to get involved at the ground level. During construction, she spent many hours moving dirt and gravel in the hot sun. She encouraged others to replant after their crops were destroyed by hail. Her persistence has been contagious, and she inspires other gardeners with her good ideas.
Community Garden Consultant
Bill Orchard is a recently retired professional engineer who spent the last 44 years working in industrial gas manufacturing, beer production, and computer facilities maintenance. He has been a community gardener for 35 years and a home gardener for 40 years. Bill is a Master Food Safety Advisor through CSU Extension and a Colorado Master Gardener. Bill is active in the Arvada community, including involvement with the Harvest Festival, city parks and trails, Bike Friendly Arvada, farmers market, Arvada Community Garden, Arvada Healthy Places and Olde Town Arvada. Common Earth Community Garden has benefitted greatly from his experience in all aspects of community gardening and his can-do approach to problem-solving.