Meet Our Board

Board Officers



Board Member since November 2016

Tabitha is a life-long resident of Newark, where she lives with her husband and three children. She is an Administrative Officer at Park National Bank where she has worked for the past 8 years. She is very active in her church (Christian Apostolic Church) and serves in children’s ministries.  


Vice President

Board Member since January 2016

Kristy Hawthorne, originally from Coshocton, now resides in Hanover. Growing up in rural Appalachia, she has been gardening all her life and is employed by the Licking County Soil & Water Conservation District.  Kristy is a graduate of Otterbein with a BS in Business Administration and Leadership and COTC with an AA in Business Management.  Besides Together We Grow Gardens, she also serves as a Board member for the Licking County Farm Bureau and is involved with the Downtown Newark Association.



Board Member since October 2019

Shane Hancock teaches chemistry and forensic science at Licking Valley High School.  He is a life-long resident of Newark but loves to travel the world with his wife and two daughters at every opportunity.  He is a licensed minister at Christian Apostolic Church and chair of the Youth Boosters Scholarship Committee.  Whenever time affords he enjoys playing the cello.



Board Member since July 2017

Melanie Duggins is retired from Computer Science and Adult Ed teaching careers and hopes to positively impact the lives of the community around her. As a result of switching to a Paleo diet, her health was greatly improved and so she desires to share how food affects our quality of life. Melanie also volunteers with the High School youth group at her church.

Board Members


Board Member since December 2017

Joe Kennedy and his wife Irene have been Newark residents since 1981.  Their three adult children are all graduates of Newark High and Ohio Colleges The Kennedy's have been hobby gardeners for over 40 years and have been growers with 6th Street & Growing for three years.  Joe has been dabbling in vermiculture (feeding worms) for 18+ years and enjoys feeding his "livestock".  Joe's community service has included officer positions with Historic Hudson Community Association, his condo board, Licking Metro Housing, Par Excellence Learning Center and Licking County.


Board Member since October 2016

Steve Duggins works at Boeing in Heath after moving here from California a couple years ago. Steve has been an avid gardener for 30 years and had 3 greenhouses on his property for his carnivorous plant collection. Steve is very interested in helping his new community, so this is a great fit for Steve!


Board Member since July 2018

Charity is currently a Vice President at First Federal Savings in charge of Retail Deposit Operations where she has worked for more than 25 years.  Charity volunteers at Little Arrows Play Café, Marne Church, Engage Newark, United Way and is on the board of the Wyatt Adkins Heart Organization.  She was previously an active member of 20th Century Club and was the treasurer for Licking Valley Athletic Boosters for 14 years.

Charity is happily married to Dirk McFarland and has 2 adult children.   In her free time, she enjoys spoiling her nieces and nephews, vacationing and just plain old having fun!


Board Member since Decemeber 2018

Mary has worked for Newark City Schools for almost 30 years.  She was Secretary at John Clem Elementary for many years and currently enrolls all children in grades K-8 into Newark City Schools.  She is an active member of the 20th Century Club and Camp O’Bannon where she has held many offices over the years.  She is a member of the Licking County Republican Executive Committee and was Executive Secretary for 15 years.  She also served on the Licking County Board of Elections for eight years and has been active in many campaigns over the years. Mary is happily married to Tim Lollo and has one adult daughter.  In her free time she enjoys traveling, gardening, reading and crafting.


Board Member since March 2019

Stephanie is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at The Ohio State University at Newark. Originally a native of Illinois, she moved to central Ohio from Germany 15 years ago to join the faculty at OSU. Although she struggles to keep the deer out of her own garden, she is enthusiastic about partnering with Together We Grow to promote healthy eating and wellness in the university community and beyond.


Board Member since May 2020

Renetta Shaffer is a life-long resident of Utica. Gardening is in her blood, and was instrumental in her family being able to eat abundantly as a child where her family raised about an acre of garden, and NOTHING went to waste.  Restaurant work has aided in Renetta’s love for cooking and experiencing different foods, and thus, leads back to the garden to raise all kinds of healthy foods. Her passion, along with her husband, Dr. Scott Shaffer, is to help people get back to cooking and eating natural foods and getting healthy through what we put in our mouths!! 

Renetta is a house manager for our very generous donors, Shawn and Laura King, who first introduced her to Together We Grow Community Gardens.

and also works with her husband as office manager in Shaffer Chiropractic in Utica. 

Interested in becoming a board member

Fill out the form below and email us at:

777 E Main St

Newark, Oh 43055

740.328.8338 We Grow

Together We Grow is funded in part by:

And a proud member of :