Meet the Team: Memphis

Elizabeth Bradford
Garden Educator, Memphis

Elizabeth is a native Memphian, and recently moved back to Memphis after living in Nashville. Elizabeth studied Family and Consumer Science with a focus on Food and Nutrition at Tennessee State University, where she also assisted with YAMS (Youth Active and Media Savvy) to develop community youth health programs focused around nutrition and environmental sustainability.
Prior to working with Big Green, she has been developing and delivering health education programming, building relationships with clients as a health coach, and has organized and led national webinars focused on sustainable communities, and healthy lifestyle behaviors.
Elizabeth has a passion for working with Memphis youth and  promoting health and wellness throughout Memphis communities. In her spare time she enjoys running, hot pilates and making tasty vegan food!

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 The Kitchen Community. Since she started with TKC, 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.

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
Regional Director, Memphis

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 competed her masters project focused on creating a web database of garden-based curricula for North Carolina.

Karen Hess
Garden Educator, Memphis

She graduated in 2015 with a B.S. in Environmental Science after falling in love with the food, music, and people of Memphis. While at Rhodes, Karen was involved with the campus garden and farmers market and worked as a research assistant in the archaeology department. After graduation, she spent a year teaching science and caring for chickens and a small farm at a Montessori school in Knoxville. Karen is thrilled to be back in Memphis and continue her work in education and sustainability with Big Green. In her free time, Karen enjoys singing in choirs and planning trips to visit her eight siblings.

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.

Brooke Ortman
Development Manager, Memphis

Brooke, a proud Memphis native, received her B.A at Indiana University before pursuing a career in development and events. Prior to joining Big Green, Brooke worked as a Development Representative at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and as a Community Relations and Event Manager at Kendra Scott. Brooke has a passion for her community, events and fundraising and is excited to bring that love to Big Green. In her spare time, Brooke enjoys traveling, weekend getaways and spending time with her dogs, friends and family.