The Mission of Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center is to connect and motivate students and families from diverse backgrounds through organic gardening, environmental stewardship, and nutrition education, empowering them to be healthy and active citizens. Our Vision is to reconnect students and families to the natural environment through food, education and community engagement.
Healy Vigderson — Executive Director
Healy Vigderson is the Executive Director of Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center. Healy comes to us from the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County, serving most recently as Assistant Director, where she oversaw education and outreach programs designed to support families with chronic health conditions. She also managed creative fundraising events and led an advocacy team on legislative issues at the State Capitol. Healy has a background in Ecology and worked in North Central Chile on Desertification projects near the Atacama Desert. In the San Diego Unified School District, Healy was a bilingual educator who taught middle school Life Science and developed a hands-on Science lab for a K-6 elementary school. She is excited to bring all of her skills and passions together to serve the community here at Olivewood Gardens. A native San Diegan, Healy enjoys the outdoors and spends her free time in the ocean or mountains.
Diana Bergman – Program Director
Diana Bergman is a former middle school and high school science teacher. After teaching a course in Environmental Science, she made a career move into informal education, determined to focus her efforts on educating young people about critical environmental issues. Over time, her work evolved to support gardening with children as a means to enhance positive eating choices and nature awareness. With a statewide team, Diana facilitated numerous trainings throughout California on the implementation of garden-based nutrition education, farm to school programs, and a return to scratch cooking in schools. In 2008, she was involved in the earliest meetings to create Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center, leading teacher focus groups and persuading future funders. She officially joined the Olivewood Gardens staff in 2012. In her spare time, Diana enjoys going on adventures with her family: from exploring Mission Trails for odd bugs to picking persimmons and strawberries at local farms.
Martha Prusinskas – Head Gardener
Martha Prusinskas, former head gardener for the Walton family, has cultivated food on the property for over twenty years. She enjoys working with young people and transferring her wealth of knowledge to both students and volunteers.
Ally Welborn – Manager of Volunteers and Outreach
Ally Welborn is the Manager of Volunteers and Outreach at Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center. She has a BS in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution from UC San Diego. Before coming to Olivewood, Ally worked as an educator at the San Diego Humane Society and as an improv comedy instructor at UCSD. She is passionate about non-profit organizations and has been involved at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, the YMCA of San Diego County, and the San Diego River Park Foundation. Ally enjoys travelling internationally and exploring natural environments all over the world.
Kati Christensen – Chef Educator
Kati Christensen is the Chef Educator at Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center. She has a BS in both Early Childhood Education and Human Development and Family Studies, as well as an MS in Literacy Education, K-12. After teaching middle school for five years in New York, Kati decided to travel west and make her home in San Diego. After her first volunteer experience at Olivewood Gardens in June 2010, Kati was instantly hooked. She had found a place to integrate her passion for teaching with her love of cooking. When she is not creating recipes highlighting the fruits and vegetables grown at Olivewood Gardens, Kati can be found baking sweets and watching sports.
Adan Teposte – Gardener
Charles Anacker – Garden Instructor
Charles Anacker grew up on farms in rural western Tennessee. He graduated from USC with a BFA and then started a successful career in the furniture industry as a designer and manager for several companies in California, New Orleans, and New York. After 20 years, he made a career change to teach at the San Diego Waldorf School where he taught all subjects in fourth through eighth grade, and successfully graduated the first eighth grade class from the school. While at the Waldorf School, Charles was introduced to Biodynamic Gardening and has since become a Master Gardener (Solana Center), a Master Gardener (UCCE), and Certified Permaculture Designer (San Diego Sustainable Living Institute) and has graduated from the Regional Gardening Education Center Program (San Diego Roots) as well as the Sustainable Urban Agriculture Program at Wild Willow Farm. Today, as an Olivewood Garden Instructor, Charles teaches gardening and composting for children and adult classes.
Claire Groebner – Development Assistant
Claire Groebner is the Development Assistant at Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center. She has a B.A. in Sociology – Social Inequalities and Spanish Literature from UC San Diego. Prior to Olivewood, Claire worked as an administrative assistant at UC San Diego, gaining experience in a number of different departments. Claire’s love for people, nature, and food inspired her to get involved in the food justice and farm-to-table movements, and eventually, with Olivewood Gardens. In her free time, Claire likes to travel (preferably on foot and with a backpack on), garden, and cook homegrown meals.