Brian Olszak is a Community Planner at the Montgomery County Planning Commission, providing technical assistance and development review for several communities in the County. He has taught Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at Temple University and previously has worked in affordable housing development and at a garden center. Having lived in the Philadelphia region all his life, he began volunteering with POP in 2010, and joined the Board in September, 2011. Brian earned his B.A. in English and Philosophy from Loyola College in Maryland, and his M.S. in Community and Regional Planning from Temple University. He currently lives in Glenside, PA.
In 1981, Bruce Schimmel founded and edited Philadelphia’s leading alternative newsweekly, the Philadelphia City Paper. Since 1996, as the newspaper’s editor emeritus, he wrote “Loose Canon,” a popular and award-winning weekly column on civic issues. For public radio, Schimmel has produced extensive news, features and series. He currently produces public service media -– print, audio and video –for Philadelphia-based community and non-profit groups, and teaches writing, media production, and media/artist ethics.
Kim grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, enjoying fruit grown in her childhood backyard: oranges, mandarins, apricots, apples and almonds! Kim moved to Philadelphia to enroll in a PhD program in Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated in spring of 2010. Kim has been volunteering with the Philadelphia Orchard Project since its inception and attributes the organization with deepening her civic engagement in the city of Philadelphia, as well as a rather dramatic career change.
In her work, Aviva engages high school youth in managing their urban farm as a sustainable, socially responsible business. She has also invited dozens of fruit lovers to taste their first fresh fig from POP’s Teens4Good orchard. Previously, in the role of Program Director at Groundwork Somerville, Aviva managed 9 school gardens and developed and taught hands- on science curriculum to grades k thru 8. Aviva is committed to supporting communities in growing gardens and gaining food sovereignty. Her passion for this work led her to the Miraflor Farming Cooperative in Nicaragua where she aided a local agronomist in implementing a kitchen gardens and nutrition program for 200 families. Aviva studied International Relations at Boston University and holds a BA in Environmental Science, with a focus in Agroecology, from Green Mountain College in Vermont.
Nicole Yarbrough administers programs that support youth and families. She has seven years of nonprofit experience in education, community development and public policy. Her recent experience as a Fellow with the Center for Progressive Leadership renewed her commitment to food security and access for Philadelphia communities. She was also nominated to serve on the Senior Hunger Task Force with the Mayor’s Commission on Aging. She discovered her passion through research to increase opportunities for an under-served farming community that led toward the opening of a regional produce distribution center at the Minnesota Food Association. Nicole holds a Bachelors Degree in Global Studies from the University of Minnesota and practices Mandarin Chinese.
Heather Zimmerman is currently the Director of Education at Awbury Arboretum where she coordinates and teaches environmental, horticultural and homesteading classes for people of all ages.She has worked in urban education for the last 20 years and for the last 7 worked as a horticulture and farmer educator for Penn State Extension and various sites in the neighborhood of historic Germantown where she lives. A graduate of the Barnes Foundation Horticulture Program, Heather is passionate about growing both ornamentals and edibles. She has worked with POP for the last 4 years as a volunteer and orchard liaison.
Martha was instrumental in establishing POP’s flagship orchard in Fairmount Park at Woodford in 2008. She has seen first hand the many positive effects of an orchard in the park for the community nearby and believes in the power of connecting people with nature and fresh produce (and historic sites). She was raised in rural Northeastern Pennsylvania next to a commercial apple orchard. Her love of gardening began at an early age and continues to this day. Martha earned a B.A. in Political Science from Dickinson College and an M.S. in Historic Preservation from Columbia University.
Chloe Cerwinka is a Landscape Planner at the University of Pennsylvania, where she's spearheading efforts to make Penn more sustainable through improved landscape management methods, bicycle infrastructure and increased diverse and productive plantings. She is devoted to her hometown of Philadelphia, returning in 2010 to farm for her childhood food co-op at Weaver's Way Farm, and later co-founded Heritage Farm, a 1.5 acre urban community farm. Chloe is also a member of the Horticulture Committee at Bartram's Gardens. She received her B.A. in Design of the Environment from Penn, and worked as an architectural designer for ten years before seeing the light.
Aron Goldschneider currently serves on the Board of the Philadelphia Orchard Project as a legal advisor and a member of POP’s fundraising committee. Aron earned his undergraduate degree in film studies from New York University and his law degree from Temple University. He is the author of a number of law journal articles and has edited authoritative law treatises including various Restatements of the Law. In a former life, Aron was the editor/co-creator of the million- selling coffee-table book, The Secret Language of Birthdays. He is conversationally fluent in Mandarin Chinese and enjoys playing flute, saxophone, and guitar.
A Philadelphia native, Deanna began volunteering with POP in 2012, when she returned to Philly after completing graduate school in Washington D.C. Deanna earned her B.A. in History from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA in 2007 and her M.S. in Health Systems Administration from Georgetown University in 2012. Deanna is currently a business analyst at Independence Blue Cross in their Government Markets division, focusing on Risk Analytics. In addition to POP, Deanna is an active member of The Junior League of Philadelphia, where she was introduced to POP at a general membership meeting. Deanna currently serves on the Events and Outreach committee.
Daniel Sossaman II has a passion for Social Entrepreneurship and believes in the power of the market to improve our lives and our communities. He has focused his career on finding new ways to encourage the growth of local businesses by connecting those businesses with the community around them. Dan believes that the Philadelphia Orchard project represents an opportunity to both excite and renew communities around the city of Philadelphia.
Motivated by a desire to serve her adopted community, Bertina Whytehead joined The Junior League of Philadelphia in 2003, and has served in various leadership positions in the league. Bertina also volunteers with Girls Inc., Philadelphia & Southeastern New Jersey where she has served in various chairperson positions. She joined POP through their community partnership with the Junior League in 2013 by attending their League Wide Service day and learning about the organization at their membership meeting. She currently serves as Assistant Director of Recreation Therapy at University of Pennsylvania LIFE Center. A native of Miami, Bertina is an alumni of St. Thomas University with a degree in Liberal Arts Studies. She lives in Drexel Hill, and spends her time not only doing community service but also as a performing member with The Savoy Opera Company.