Meet the Co-directors

Josh Singer

Executive Director and Co-Founder

395993_371509636253019_1829344293_nJosh Singer is working with DC Parks and Recreation as the Community Garden Specialist.  He was previously working in Urban Forestry at Casey Trees, where he developed their urban fruit orchard program that planted over 30 small fruit orchards around DC by partnering with community and school gardens.  Through the outreach of this program Josh discovered DC’s urban agriculture movement and was inspired to help create Wangari Gardens.  Josh’s main focus with urban agriculture is finding a balance between sustainability and gentrification through inclusive community development practices with community gardens. Wangari Gardens was Josh’s first attempt at responsible community development through outreaching and including the long-term and often lower-income local communities in every aspect of the community garden development.

Angela Swayze

Director of Communications

a_swayzeAngela comes to Wangari from a unique perspective.  With a background in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, Angela has worked for the United Nations in both Washington, DC and the United Arab Emirates.  She has studied as an academic in London and South Africa, and has worked in the field in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Zambia.  She has studied on the graduate level at American University School for International Service and the New York University Wagner School of Public Service.  She was a Community Organizer in Bronx, New York and has training in non-profit management and policy, international policy, and conflict mediation.

Angela’s involvement in Wangari Gardens stems, in part, from an understanding that conflict politics begin at home.  A battle for resources abroad can only be countered by a plethora of resources at home.

Lyssa Houser

Director of Education

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Lyssa is working as the Garden Manager for Brainfood, a youth development non-profit that uses food as a tool for teaching teenagers leadership and life skills. Her work is driven by the belief that food education cultivates community empowerment.

Her past work has also supported local urban ag projects including Common Good City Farm, Old City Farm and Guild, Solar Household Energy, Inc, and Love&Carrots.

Lyssa has farmed in rural/urban/suburban/small/medium/for-profit/non-profit/personal/temporary/international and local situations. Her experience is that cultural exchange and cross-cultural connections occur easily over food. Her involvement with Wangari is motivated by the belief that where food, culture and community intersect, neighborhoods can be revived and thrive.

Gabriel Bandele

Director of Garden and Community Development

Gabriel Bandele is a sustainable designer whose main goals are to help restore native ecosystems and to grow food. He takes action by speaking with the public to help heighten their awareness of environmental issues and by working on regenerative sustainable landscape, organic food production, and low-impact development projects. Gabriel is particularly interested in reaching minorities who suffer most from environmental injustice as they also face racial, social and economic injustice. Gabriel believes that community gardens can help those who have been marginalized to reconnect to their own humanity, foster hope and inspire.

His landscape designs seek to minimize their impact on native ecology and incorporate the land’s existing flora, fauna and contour. By using low input native plants and trees to promote biodiversity and minimize runoff, his landscapes begin to heal themselves and provide food for us. Gabriel has experience as a business owner, manager, marketer, creator, distributor, graphic designer, writer, salesman, estimator, supervisor, customer relations person, truck driver, contractor and landscaper. He is an ISA Certified Arborist, ASHS Certified Horticulturalist, VNLA Certified Horticulturalist, and MLNA Certified Horticulturalist.