Worker-Owner Bio’s

Cheryl DeSanctis is a founding member of Restoring Roots Cooperative. She has worked as a professional gardener and community-based urban farmer for several years after completing her studies at Hampshire College, where she explored the intersections of social justice, land politics, food sovereignty and the successful models of community organizing that bridge the two. Born and raised in Cambridge, MA she currently lives in Jamaica Plain and devotes her life work to spiritual healing and transformation on an individual and collective level. She is actively involved in a variety of movement building work throughout the Boston area, Bay Area, as well as global solidarity work. She is a member of the Christian Science Society in JP, loves conversing with folks about spirituality and supporting folks that seek healing in their lives.

Noah McKenna is a lifelong JP resident who is passionate about economic democracy and community self-reliance. While working as a molecular biologist, he became an avid gardener and permaculture partisan. He relishes the challenge of creating abundance in small urban spaces, and especially enjoys training trees and vines to unique shapes and trellis structures made of bamboo and recycled materials. Through his involvement in the Occupy movement, Noah was spurred to bring his values, passions, and livelihood into alignment. Together with Cheryl DeSanctis, Noah founded the cooperative in the spring of 2013 to create dignified livelihoods that are socially and ecologically restorative, and which allowed worker-owners to pursue their activism and other projects. When he is not thinking about plants, Noah is volunteering at the Lucy Parsons Center or engaged in various local and global struggles for collective liberation.

Karen Chaffee’s whole career has centered on urban green spaces. She has worked as horticulturist and gardener, educator, ecologist, and community organizer. Karen followed her BA in Environmental and Cultural Studies at Antioch College with a Certificate in Horticulture from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. After working with the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, she took a Master’s degree at the Conway School of Landscape Design. Between 2010 and 2013 Karen served as Stewardship Manager with Boston Natural Areas Network, where she worked closely with community gardeners, food justice advocates, and introduced numerous Boston residents to gardening through the Master Urban Gardeners at Home program. Recently she developed a passion for urban agriculture and increasing access to healthy food. Deeply committed to fostering connections between people and public green spaces, Karen continues to integrate her skills in horticulture and landscape design into all aspects of her work.