Growing Alliances has switched leadership! In November, Heather Tiszai handed her role as Executive Director over to Kali Crow-Liester, a soon-to-be Western graduate with a big vision for the organization. We are currently in the process of revamping our mission and programs, though we plan on continuing with the Cargo Club to deliver produce by bike around Bellingham.

Kali and the new Board of Directors wish to transfer the focus of Growing Alliances from sustainable agriculture in the Bahamas and onto vulnerable populations in Whatcom County. We are specifically interested in working with youth in foster care who are soon to turn 18 and ‘age-out’ of foster care, meaning that they will no longer qualify for any type of support. Our current thought is to create jobs in urban agriculture for this population, in order to make this transition less of a financial challenge.

Over the winter months we will be surveying this potential clientele to assess whether they truly need job assistance and if so, what job programs would be most interesting to them. We will also spend significant time connecting with the community to gain support and foster partnerships to best serve our clientele. Some organizations we are interested in partnering with are Northwest Youth Services, Skookum House, the Restorative Action Coalition, the WSU Whatcom Extension, and others.

One other very important focus of this winter is finding seed money to pay for our start-up costs, such as state fees, marketing materials, and soon our very first employee! The majority of our money will be sought out through grants that Kali will write this winter, which will pay for a bike, its accessories, a stipend for Kali and for our first youth employee! If anyone believes in our new mission and has any ideas of how to get funding, please let us know! If that includes an interest in donating, please feel free to donate anything you can during this holiday season!

Thank you all so much and I look forward to working in this amazing and supportive Bellingham community!

Cheers!

Kali Crow-Liester