About Us

We teach, grow and give.

Our Mission

Our mission is to teach and empower people and communities to increase their health, wellbeing, and self-reliance by growing food for themselves and others, organically and sustainably. Produce from our garden is given to local food pantries and partnering organizations across our area to feed the needy. Fertile Groundworks also champions locally grown food and facilitates the creation and sustainable operation of community, school and employee gardens.

What We Do

We are  a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational nonprofit that has sprouted and taken root in Livermore, California. Our principle teaching garden is located in Livermore on land provided for our use by Asbury United Methodist Church.

To date, Fertile Groundworks has harvested over 200,000 pounds to share with our neighbors in need. Working with local community kitchens and food pantries, we operate year-round to provide a continuous stream of produce to help feed the hungry in the Tri-Valley region. 

In 2021, Fertile Groundworks has educated over 1,100 volunteers in the valuable skill of organic gardening. Our volunteers learn sustainable food production techniques such as such as bio-intensive gardening, small-scale organic orchardry, soil fertility, composting and water conservation.

We also provide education and support to local schools, corporations, and other community groups to help them create and sustainably operate their own gardens. 

by the numbers
Grow Food for 
Those in Need
0
Pounds Donated

to our neighbors in need so far in 2023

Educate Garden Volunteers
0
Volunteers Educated

trained in sustainable food techniques so far in 2023

Support School Gardens
0
Seedlings Shared

to support our Sustainable School Garden program in 2023

Plant Sale & You-Pick 
Market Garden
0
Pounds Harvested

for those in need since 2012

Our Partners

Some of our school gardens are branches of the Alameda County Food Bank, so the produce is distributed in the Tri-Valley.

Food Pantries

Fertile GroundWorks also shares its produce with Tri-Valley Haven Food PantryInterfaith Sharing Food Pantry and St. Vincent de Paul to distribute to their clients.

We provide organic, local produce to Culinary Angels who provide nutrient-rich meals to those going through a cancer challenge. 

Many members of the Asbury UMC community and the greater community have made direct donations us. All of these donations are very gratefully acknowledged.

Sandia National Laboratories‘ Community Involvement program financially supports our efforts to provide Healthy food to all our neighbors in need.

The Alameda County Master Gardener Program works to serve the diverse communities within Alameda County. Master Gardeners are people of all ages from all walks of life who want to give back to their communities. We volunteer our time to help people learn about gardening. The Garden of Grace is an approved project for Master Gardeners to earn credit.

Many of the seeds grown by the garden were donated by Renee’s Garden Seeds. Their assistance is gratefully acknowledged. The garden has grown Renee’s varieties of carrot, squash, lettuce, chard, radish, and tomato, and all have performed very well, in many cases exceeding varieties sold by other companies.

Republic Services donated 50 cubic yards of organic compost to the garden, which is being used to amend soil in the beds. This compost will increase the fertility of the soil, allowing for higher-yielding crops and improved soil structure. This compost is also being used as a nutrient-rich layer between hard, untilled soil and wood chips to soften and improve the soil for future cropping.

Our History

Springing from the seed of an idea in June 2010, the Garden of Grace began as a notion to develop unused acreage to serve the hungry in Livermore. A core group of visionary volunteers linked up with Open Heart Kitchen, a nonprofit that has served meals at Asbury UMC weekly since 1995. Preparation and planting in the Garden of Grace began later that year.

Bruce Campbell, an Alameda Master Gardener, was a driving force behind the project, as was fellow Master Gardener Mark Brunell. Together with key volunteers from Asbury, the Master Gardening community and local volunteers, they got Fertile GroundWorks running.

By autumn 2010, the first crops were being harvested and the rotation was up and running. In 2011, we delivered more than 4,000 pounds of organically grown produce to feed the poor and homeless. By 2018, Fertile Groundworks trained over 1,200 volunteers in sustainable food production techniques and harvested over 19,000 pounds of food.

In 2018, lifelong biologist and gardener Brenda Kusler became Executive Director upon Bruce Campbell’s retirement. Under her care, Fertile GroundWorks is continuing to expand its production and outreach within the community.

Board of Directors

Teresa Win

Teresa Win, President

Alameda County Master Gardener
Retired Software Entrepreneur

Teresa.Win@fertilegroundworks.org

I am an enthusiastic student of all things gardening. Seed germination and stuff becoming compost are magic. Growing plants is so familiar and commonplace yet so complex and variable. Each year, the Fertile Groundworks garden tells a new and unique story of the seasons. We – staff, volunteers, friends – listen and learn. 

Of course there are twists and turns, mistakes and successes, and so far bountiful endings too. And what could be better than a bountiful harvest? It is sharing our good fortune with the community.

Fertile Groundworks is a beautiful endeavor worth every effort to make flourish.

Brenda Kusler

Brenda Kusler, Executive Director

Brenda.Kusler@fertilegroundworks.org

As a lifelong biologist and gardener, volunteering with Fertile GroundWorks allows me to pursue the central aspects of my being. I get to play in the soil, watch things grow, and learn new things every day, all while helping my fellow human beings. I truly believe Fertile GroundWorks is one of the most important things I do with my life.

Angela Ko

Angela Ko, Vice President

Head of Strategic Finance & Analytics, Fremont Group

Angela.Ko@fertilegroundworks.org

I am passionate about educating and inspiring the next generation. 

I love witnessing kids actively participate in growing their own food from seed to harvest and seeing that lasting impression it has on them. It allows them to fully appreciate where their food comes from and shows them how to embrace a no food waste philosophy.

When our children see for themselves that tomatoes grow on vines, carrots grow in the ground, and broccoli does not grow in supermarkets, what a wonderful lesson to learn from a young age. I hope to see more junior gardeners in our future!

Bob Cowgill, Director | Fertile GroundWorks

Bob Cowgill, Treasurer
Retired AT&T Executive with 40+ years experience in Finance,
Information Technology, Strategic Planning, Business
Process Improvement, and Business Leadership

Bob.Cowgill@fertilegroundworks.org
 My grandfather was a small farmer from North Carolina who taught me the importance of growing food to feed the family. Today, most children believe that food comes from a grocery store. I like the idea of being able to provide a learning environment where children, you people and adults can work and learn side-by-side. 


This is a place where we not only talk about the hunger issue of the world, but we offer a place to do learn and do positive work to actually help feed people. This garden is a place where words turn into action. I’m so proud to be part of this effort in humanity where people are fed. 

Brooke Breyer

Brooke Beyer, Director

Brooke.Beyer@fertilegroundworks.org

When I first learned about carbon sequestration and the ability to care for our planet by caring for the soil, I immediately began searching for a farm where I could learn more. I was shocked to find a teaching garden just a few blocks from my home!

I began volunteering at Fertile GroundWorks with my toddler in 2016, and within weeks was handed the keys to the abandoned garden at Jackson Avenue Elementary School. It has been a wild ride of learning and growing, community and collaboration ever since! To have such an open, generous community hub in our backyard is truly a gift, and one I’m grateful to be a part of. 

Dick Crawford, Director

Former Analytical Chemist and Manager, Lawrence Livermore National Lab

Richard.Crawford@fertilegroundworks.org

As a long time and active member of Asbury United Methodist Church, it has brought me so much joy to see Fertile Groundworks become the remarkable ”farm” on what was unused land. I am not much of a farmer, more of an infrastructure guy. If it involves water lines, electricity or buildings, I am ready to help! 

With the frightening cost of housing and the grinding economic reality faced by many of our fellow citizens of the Tri-Valley, it is exciting to be part of an organization that is dedicated to providing free, healthy food. I look forward to playing a useful part of this organization.

Barbara

Barbara Kraybill, Director

Barbara.Kraybill@fertilegroundworks.org
As a local business owner, I am always looking for ways to better serve my community. My extensive network of local business people enables me to help Fertile GroundWorks and working with the garden allows me to serve all members of our local community.

Olivia Angus, Director

Olivia.Angus@fertilegroundworks.org

As an activist, engineer, and mom, I want to build a gathering place where people of all ages can be nourished not just by the food we grow and lessons we teach, but by nature itself.