Our Staff

ayanfe jamison

Ayanfe Jamison

Farm to Table Educator

Ayanfe is an accidental farmer. She moved to Miami to study midwifery, took a course in Environmental Ethics, and has been farming ever since. Her experience ranges from organic farming to urban farming, having farmed in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and North Carolina. All of us agree that she is the best chef on staff, always teaching recipes and techniques as she cooks. Ayanfe says her greatest accomplishment is being a birth soloist.

ayanfe jamison

Blake McWatters

Farm Coordinator

Blake’s farming experience extends from working as a farmhand in the Grand Rapids area, to farm management at the University of Michigan, where he completed a bachelor’s degree in Conservation Ecology. When he isn’t farming, you can find him outside hiking, foraging, or camping. Blake’s vision is a world in which everyone has equitable access to what they need to succeed. He describes his passions as: people, plants, and the planet.

ayanfe jamison

Sierra West-Smith

Program Assistant

Sierra has been involved with New City Neighbors for many years. She started working with the organization as a youth employee as a freshman in high school. Currently she is in college, earning a degree in Social Work. Sierra has passion for helping others and is excited to continue working toward empowering youth.

lance kraai

Lance Kraai

Social Enterprise Director

Lance loves connecting with others through good work and good food. He has been engaged in social enterprise work for 10+ years including urban farming, café management, and building renovations. He holds a B.A. from Calvin College in Religion and an M.Div from Regent College. He is married to his wife Daina, and has three children–Myakah, Aiven and Syder.

ricardo tavarez

Ricardo Tavárez

Executive Director

Ricardo is passionate about community development, justice work, and equipping the next generation of urban leaders. He earned a dual bachelor’s degree from Kuyper College in Bible, and International Business & Marketing. He later obtained his M.Div from Calvin Theological Seminary. He serves as a local church pastor at En Vivo Church. In his free time you can find him enjoying the arts and spending time outdoors.