Growing Gardens' Board of Directors

2017 Board of directors
Melissa ArnoldChair
Claudia Bouvier Steen, Vice Chair
Daniel Williams, Secretary
Osman Parvez, Treasurer

Deanna Bratter
Paolo Bonetti
David Cooke
Scott Leach
Carole Martell
Brad McHamer
Juan Montoya
Anna Sonneland
Stewart Ward

Get to know our Board...

Melissa Arnold

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Melissa will never forget the first time she rode her bike through the Hawthorn Community Gardens on a hot summer day. The unexpected feel and smell of the cool earthy air made a powerful impression that eventually led her to joining the Growing Gardens board.  After working in environmental education in the Adirondacks and Yosemite, and earning her masters in environmental law and policy at Vermont Law School, she moved to Boulder in 2005. Over the years, she has worked with Boulder County Parks and Open Space and Tax Credit Connection, Inc., helping to conserve the Colorado landscape and working ranches with conservation easements.  She recently returned to Boulder County as the Conservation Easement Program Manager. Melissa has always had a strong connection to the land, and is excited to watch her own two young daughters discover Growing Gardens through the Children’s Peace Garden.

Claudia Bouvier Steen

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Growing up in chaotic Sao Paulo, Brazil, Claudia’s most cherished memories are of spending weekends on her family’s farm, picking fruits from the orchard, drinking warm raw milk, eating tiny eggs with deep red yolks and enjoying long meals with her large Italian family. Real food and the sense of community (the true meaning of nurturing bodies and souls) have molded the heart of Claudia’s life philosophy. Her two daughters joined the Peace Garden program as soon as the family moved to Boulder in 2012. People’s connection to nature, an understanding and belief in how real food ought to be grown, and the nurturing of a healthy and symbiotic relationship between humans and all life on Earth are values her family deeply believes in. Claudia and her husband Ted led first-hand efforts for the inception and implementation of a new school garden program at their daughters’ school.  Witnessing the amazement of children cherishing the fruits and vegetables they helped grow and loving eating them are her most prized rewards.    

Claudia is a Civil Engineer and runs a design+construction management business in Boulder. She is thrilled to be part of the board at Growing Gardens and excited to contribute her technical skills and passion for food to support our community’s engagement with sustainable urban agriculture.

Dan Williams  

 Dan Williams board member hs

Dan is an attorney who regularly represents natural and organic food companies.  He has always had a passion for the natural and organic foods movement, having supported food coops when they were the primary outlet for natural foods, and now as a lawyer representing emerging and established brands.  At his prior law firm, Dan chaired the firm’s natural and organic industry practice.  Dan recently left that firm to found Williams & Daley LLC.  Growing Gardens affords Dan a powerful way to give back to the community through an organization that shares his values of promoting healthy and sustainable food and enriching the community in which we live.  That Growing Gardens can brighten the lives of blooming gardeners old and young through urban community gardens is something Dan loves to be a part of.


Deanna Bratter

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Deanna has been an advocate for organic and sustainable food since becoming a passionate vegetarian and animal rights advocate at just 14 years old. Her passion drove her work ethic and career evolution as she joined WhiteWave Foods in 2005 and now leads the WhiteWave Foods Social and Environmental Sustainability program with the ultimate goal of helping big food companies make big positive impacts to people and the planet.

Focused on responsible sourcing, sustainable packaging and environmental impacts, Deanna brings a unique ability to understand business needs, consumer trends and a strong vision for sustainability to developing and executing meaningful strategy and program evolution. She loves sharing her strategy skills with Growing Gardens to bring to life this amazing non-profit’s mission of truly cultivating community through sustainable agriculture.

Deanna and her husband Adam fell in love with Colorado back in 2001 on a road trip exploring more than a dozen US National Parks. As a native Floridian she still gets giddy taking in the arrival of the golden leaves in autumn and the first blankets of snow in the winter. She is also a mom of three small humans and a scruffy pup who finds joy in growing and harvesting food, connecting her children with a fundamental love of the earth, and turning her garden goodies into amazing baked treats, gooseberry pies being a family favorite!


Paolo Mario Bonetti - Procurement Director, Made In Nature


Paolo has been gardening (and occasionally beekeeping) in his backyard year after year since 1989. He has been buying and supporting the organic food movement since 1990 starting at the Berkeley Bowl Marketplace and as co-founder of Cafe De La Paz. Living in Boulder since 1996, he joined the organic foods industry in 2004 as an organic wine importer. Paolo was procurement director for Madhava Natural Sweeteners from 2013 to 2016 and is now in the same position at Made In Nature. He believes “All people have the right to healthier and smarter food and nutrition. I am inherently passionate about helping people make conscious, healthy choices about the food they consume by supporting the growth and expansion of food-related companies who provide such choices for individuals.” Stepping into the nonprofit world with Growing Gardens is a good fit with his core values. Paolo and his wife and three kids enjoy backyard kale, chard, and mixed greens almost every day during the growing season. 


Carole Martell - Senior Marketing Manager, Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI)


Carole Martell began her career on the agency side of marketing, working for clients from Reebok footwear and GM automotive to Burt's Bees natural skin care. After experiencing an epiphany that a corporation can impact the greater good, she left agency life to pursue an MBA with an emphasis in Marketing and Sustainability. After graduating, she took a position as Marketing Manager and Sustainability Specialist at B-Corp-certified Door to Door Organics, where she oversaw national field marketing and marketing research efforts while leading sustainability and corporate social responsibility programs. She currently holds a position with CCI as Senior Marketing Manager, where she manages marketing strategy with a special focus on digital marketing. In addition, Carole sits on the board of directors for Growing Gardens. This organization provides a natural fit for her health and wellness experience. As marketing committee chair, Carole works to advise the Growing Gardens team on marketing campaigns to increase awareness in the community.


David Cooke -



David is a comprehensive financial planner who built his practices organically in Boulder. His passion goes beyond helping people create more sustainable financial lifestyles and actively seeks ways to give back to the community. After a traumatic leg injury the importance of diet and nutrition only further perpetuated his ideology around health and food. It was in 2013 that David was first introduced to GG at the Cultiva Dinner and as he learned more about the organization and their mission the more it became a natural fit. As a member of the board his primary functions are to help GG with their long term site planning needs and helps oversee the day to day financials so they can increase their reach throughout our community.

Juan Montoya

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Juan has an expansive culinary background and passion for sustainable agriculture. Juan has spent time helping and working on gardens in private homes setting up everything from irrigation to building fences. Using his knowledge on how to grow and maintain a garden he took an interest in preparing healthy meals, visiting the farmers frequently he eventually met the chef who would take him under his wing and  fine tune his skills in the kitchen as well as learning how to run a staff. Juan got his start with the Growing Gardens at the age of 11 working in the Cultiva youth project. Being shy in nature he took in a lot of social skills from all the other participants his first couple years of work, eventually to become a confident youth leader. he continued to work for a total of 7 years in the Cultiva program as well as learning all the different programs that come with the Growing Gardens. Juan joined the Growing Gardens Board of Directors in order to help the organization that helped shape his life and to complete his circle of knowledge on how Growing Gardens works.


Stewart Ward 

 Stewart Ward


Stewart is a local real estate agent who found his way to Growing Gardens through a deep desire to support sustainable urban farming.  If more people have the direct experience of growing food where they live, they will be less likely to buy the same food that has been packaged and processed thousands of miles away and transported.  Stewart writes about Boulder County real estate and restaurants on his blog and was inspired as a child by his mom who cultivated banana, lychee, mango, avocado and grapefruit trees for recipes in her catering business.