John Ameroso, Volunteer Farm Manager and Founding Board Member

John has been working in the fields of horticulture and agricultural production since 1964.  He received a degree in Agronomy from the University of Georgia in 1968. From there he volunteered with International Voluntary Services and went on to study tropical agriculture at the University of the Philippines. He then spent 4 years in South Vietnam working with agricultural projects involved in small scale vegetable and animal production, and establish farmer’s buying and selling cooperatives. In 1976, he piloted the Urban Gardening Program with Cornell University Cooperative Extension, and through his efforts successfully set the ground work for Extension education in urban agriculture and food production for New York City. Retired since 2010, he currently sits on the Boards of Directors of Just Food, Added Value, and Bissel Gardens, non-profits involved in urban agriculture. He also performs farm inspections for GrowNYC, sponsor of the GreenMarkets program in NYC. 

Corey Blant, Education & Market Manager

Corey has been working in the fields of youth development and food sovereignty for much of his adult life. He earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Michigan, in Brain Behavior & Cognitive Science and Latin American Studies. He has facilitated theater workshops at a juvenile detention facility and taught English as well as Spanish. From 2012-2013, Corey ran a service-learning program in Managua, Nicaragua and helped create 'El Vivero' - a community garden in one of the most underserved neighborhoods in the city. He is also very involved with Food First - The Institute for Food and Development Policy, facilitating their Oaxaca Food and Sovereignty Tours. Corey was born and raised in Manhattan, and now happily lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn. 

corey (at) added-value (dot) org


Jayquan Burch, Community Chef

Jay graduated from culinary school at Kingsborough Community College and worked as an assistant baker, head baker, and a line cook. Realizing his passion is to help others find their passion, Jay left the kitchens and went back to the classroom - working with KCC's and the Sylvia Center's education programs. He is a Brooklyn native with roots in the Carolinas and Jamaica, where he spent much of his childhood.






Nefratia Coleman, NYCHA Farmer

Nefratia started her journey in 2015 while serving a 11-month AmeriCorps term with Green City Force on the Urban Farm Corps team. There she assisted with the management and operations of the NYCHA Red Hook Farm - the first farm ever constructed on NYC public housing land. Nefratia then completed a 6-month internship at Added Value, preparing and teaching science-based lessons for K-8 student groups as well as assisting with the CSA and compost programs. She later managed the Pink Houses NYCHA farm for 2 seasons through East New York Farms. Nefratia was born and raised in Brooklyn and is a passionate farmer and educator.

nefratia (at) added-value (dot) org

Souhair Kenas, YEP Educator

Souhair is a budding urban farmer with a background in youth education. She spent a summer building community gardens in under-served communities while also teaching the beauty and liberating activity of gardening through comprehensive STEM programming in group homes and juvenile detention centers. One project was leading youth from three NYC detention centers in growing and harvesting peppers for the award-winning Bronx Hot Sauce. A Brooklyn College graduate of International Business and Philosophy, Souhair approaches her home borough of Brooklyn with a universal philosophy: that growing food and sharing both the experience and the (literal) fruits of your labor is one of the most powerful things we as humans can do for each other, connecting us not only to each other but also to nature. Passionate about plants, she continues to learn and teach about the healing power of plants for both the body and the community. 

souhair (at) added-value (dot) org


Rebecca Maldonado, CSA Coordinator

Rebecca has been a part of the Added Value family since the spring of 2013 when she joined as an apprentice in the Youth Empowerment Program. Everyone on the farm knows her as Becky. YEP introduced her to urban farming and food justice. This experience solidified her love of fresh produce, plant care, and being a part of a bigger movement. As she continued YEP throughout high school, she earned other titles such as Crew Leader and Farmers Market Manager. Becky finished the program in September 2016 and started her education at Parsons School of Design. Becky has returned to Added Value for another year to continue doing what she enjoys most, taking care of the blueberry bushes.  

veggies (at) added-value (dot) org

Saara Nafici, Executive Director

Saara joined the Added Value team in May 2015, bringing over fifteen years of experience in inquiry-based, experiential environmental education with youth. She worked in teen garden and bicycle-based programs in Berkeley, San Francisco and Boston and ran the Garden Apprentice Program at Brooklyn Botanic Garden for seven years. Saara holds a Bachelors of Science in Conservation and Resources Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a longtime activist, feminist, bicyclist, botanist, and youth educator. 

saara (at) added-value (dot) org


Board of Directors

  Back row, L to R: Jeff, Eri, Maura, John, Fa-Tai    Front row, L to R: Phil and Pete

Back row, L to R: Jeff, Eri, Maura, John, Fa-Tai

Front row, L to R: Phil and Pete

John Ameroso, Cornell Cooperative Extension (ret.)

Eri Iwasaki, Nobu Restaurant (formerly), JPMorgan Chase

Maura Lout (Secretary), Central Park Conservancy

Peter McGowan, Sidley Austin LLP

Carmine Rivetti, Department of Citywide Administrative Services

Jeffrey Sandgrund (Treasurer), Brooklyn Bridge Park

Fa-Tai Shieh (President), NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services

Philip Silva, Nature Conservancy

Affiliations listed for identification purposes only.