Our Board Members are the driving force behind our long-range planning and roots in the community.

Cultivate Charlottesville – Board of Directors

Karen Waters, Board Co-Chair, has strong roots in Charlottesville’s urban agriculture as the executive director of Quality Community Council when Urban Agriculture Collective was launched. Karen graduated from the Sorenson Institute for Political Leadership and was former chair of the Charlottesville Housing Advisory Committee. Karen currently serves as the Albemarle County Public Schools Community Education Coordinator. [Email Karen at]

Matt Darring, Board Co-Chair, grew up in Mobile, Alabama. He fell in love with gardening during a high school field trip to Monticello in the early 1990s. A dozen years later he moved to Charlottesville with his wife Jodi. In December 2012 he started as the garden coordinator at Burnley-Moran Elementary and continued to develop the garden program there for five years. Environmental stewardship, garden-based education, self-reliance, racial equity, and food justice are deep-seated values and beliefs for Matt, and Cultivate helps him act on those values and beliefs. Cultivate is a family affair for Matt. His wife was a Harvest of the Month volunteer for several years. His daughter and son have both benefited from garden-based education throughout elementary, middle, and high school. [Email Matt at]


C.L. Bohannon, PhD, ASLA, Board Secretary- C.L is an Associate Professor in the Landscape Architecture Department and the Associate Dean of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Bohannon is a nationally recognized scholar and educator in the areas of community-engaged design and pedagogy, social and environmental justice, and African American landscapes, especially in the American South. Bohannon’s research examine asymmetrical power relationships and systems that produce social and environmental inequities in marginalized communities that result in health disparities, gentrification, forced migration and displacement.  [Email C.L. at]


Bianca Johnson, is the Family Engagement Coordinator for Charlottesville City Schools and connected with Cultivate Charlottesville during the initial year of COVID when students were learning from home. Cultivate collaborated with Bianca to ensure that students continued to receive meals during times when school was closed.

Jeffrey Gander, MD was born in Tampa, Florida while his father was in the Air Force but he grew up in New Jersey. Dr. Gander graduated medical school from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and completed a general surgery residency and pediatric surgery fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. Jeffrey has been a faculty member in the Division of Pediatric Surgery at UVA Children’s hospital since 2014. Jeffrey is passionate about childhood wellbeing and improving access to healthy fresh food.

Julia Prince, Philanthropy Committee Chair, is the Director of Strategy & Operations at The Ivy Group, a full-service marketing agency and public library consultancy based in Charlottesville. In this role, she leads the agency, conducts community needs assessments, and develops communications strategies for a variety of clients in the public and private sectors. Julia served on the Board of the Central Virginia chapter of the American Marketing Association for five years, including two years as President. A self-proclaimed local foodie, Julia is obsessed with all things delicious and nutritious, and hopes to focus that passion through a food equity lens as part of Cultivate Charlottesville.

Anthony Smith, M.Ed., Governance Chair – Anthony is the Student Support Coordinator at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center where Cultivate Urban Agriculture Collective has a farm site. Anthony raised his family in Charlottesville and is an accomplished educator with over 27 years of experience working with students and faculty to foster high levels of student achievement. 

Deanna MacDonald, Board Treasurer – After a two-decade career in corporate banking and consulting, Deanna left to become a nurse. Her commitment to nurturing health and wellbeing for those in her care tie to Cultivate’s values and she joined the Board to support those efforts. [Email Deanna at]