Meet the Team: Memphis

Sarah Burns
Garden Educator, Memphis

Sarah studied at University of Memphis where she graduated with her BS in Education and went on to teach fourth grade for one year and middle school math and science for five years. Sarah has also been a server at The Kitchen Bistro restaurant in Shelby Farms Park, which is where she first learned about Big Green. Since she started with Big Green, she has applied her new gardening knowledge and become an avid home gardener. She enjoys the outdoors, running, blogging, exercising, being involved in her church, and going to the dog park with her dog Laila.  Her mission in life is to motivate, inspire, instill confidence and positively impact lives.

Evan Davis
Garden Educator, Memphis

A Nashville Native, Evan is thrilled to find herself at Big Green Memphis. Evan received a B.A. in Literature and Theatre from Butler University, where she also kept a family of red wigglers happy with her table scraps. An environmentalist and aspiring naturalist, Evan is particularly interested in the intersection of youth education and the natural world.

After work hours you can find Evan dancing, attempting to bike the city, attending community meetings, and gardening despite living in a rental.

Marie Dennan
Program Manager, Memphis

Marie is originally from New York City, but has lived in Memphis long enough to call it home.

Marie has Masters’ in Public and Nonprofit Administration and Anthropology from the University of Memphis, and a culinary certificate from the California Culinary Academy. She is most passionate about engaging youth through gardening, and networking with food system stakeholders in Memphis. Marie spends her free time backyard gardening, chicken keeping, volunteering at local farmers markets, and dancing with the local company Project: Motion Modern Dance Collective.

Lisa Ellis
National Director of Development

Lisa Ellis, a native Memphian and Memphis Grizzlies fan, is proud to call Memphis home.

Lisa Ellis was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee and is proud to call it home.

Before joining Big Green, Lisa was a fundraiser at ALSAC / St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. She brings a passion for youth along with donor development and events knowledge to Big Green. She is also involved locally with The Junior League of Memphis, AutoZone Liberty Bowl, and St. Jude. Lisa holds an MBA in Management and a BBA in Marketing from The University of Mississippi. When she isn't at Big Green, you can find her gardening, playing tennis or entertaining family and friends with her husband Scott and their dogs Birdie and Brick.

Erika Hansen
Garden Educator, Memphis

Hailing from Virginia, Erika received her B.S. from Virginia Tech in Environmental Policy & Planning, and graduated from Duke with a Masters of Environmental Management. Erika has a strong interest in environmental education through place-based, experiential, and service-learning opportunities. In the past, she managed the Virginia Tech Sustainable Food Corps Student Garden, and was a volunteer through the WWOOF program in Italy and at the Durham Public Schools Hub Farm. Additionally, Erika completed  her masters project focused on creating a web database of garden-based curricula for North Carolina.

J.P. Miller
Garden Educator, Memphis

J.P. is a West Tennessee native who is thrilled to call Memphis home. He has worked on CSA farms in Virginia and Tennessee and was manager of a community garden in New Orleans. He earned a B.A. from University of Memphis in History and English. He is also an avid backyard gardener with a keen interest in biointensive practices and permaculture design. Aside from gardening, J.P. also enjoys art museums, live music, hiking, camping, dancing, and spending quality time with family and friends.

Jenny Tokheim
Garden Educator, Memphis

Jenny Tokheim was born a farm-kid in Iowa, but became a Memphian in 2013. She studied English Literature at the University of Iowa, and has tended a garden as long as she can remember. During her time in Memphis, she's worked in Shelby County Schools in the Coordinated School Health Department, as well as in the greenhouses of a local nursery. In Big Green, she loves the merger of education and health and the joy of harvesting something planted with one's own hands. In her free-time, you can find her gardening, flower-arranging, or working on one of her many home-improvement projects.