Co-Creators

Staff & Co-Creators

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Elizabeth Okero, Co-Director

Elizabeth Okero is an avid activist for human rights and social justice. Originally from Narragansett, Rhode Island her passion for pursuing equality and fighting injustice began at an early age as an intern at The Rhode Island for Community and Justice. A lover of humanity and Mother Nature, Elizabeth has spent extended time in Kenya, her father’s native country, working closely with the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute. This led to her connection and calling for the foundation of a humanitarian aid project supporting an orphanage of HIV positive children living in the rural Nyanza Province.  Fighting for equal access to sustainable resources and clean drinking water has also been a passion of Elizabeth’s while volunteering in Kenya. Since moving to Philadelphia she has joined the Reclaim Philadelphia’s Housing Taskforce, supporting equal housing justice and has fallen in love with the “city of brotherly love”. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Elizabeth has worked to fight food insecurity helping deliver 1,500 meals per week to our community in North Philadelphia. In her spare time she enjoys a sunny day at the beach in Rhode Island, reading non-fiction novels, participating in neighborhood cleanups and a healthy morning run as the sun begins to rise over Philadelphia.

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Taylor Nickens,

Public Curator

Taylor Nickens is a Philly native event curator, social entrepreneur, photographer, and holistic healer. Simply put, Taylor makes things happen. She is a powerhouse of energy, enthusiasm and valor, capped off with an infectious smile. 

Taylor was sent to elevate her community by sharing her story, creating art, curating experiences that evoke universal emotions, and sharing knowledge about healing practices celebrated throughout the world. 

She is a fountain of new ideas, driven by a sense of community and respect for the accomplishments of those who helped pave the way. Everything she does comes from a place of divine feminine energy, genuine intention, and heart. She has experience producing events and programs for Footlocker, Adidas, REC Philly, and several corporate and non-profit partners throughout Philadelphia and Tri-state region, and has worked with industry leaders including DJ Jazzy Jeff, Bri Steeves, Kur, Christian Crosby, Chill Moody, Paris Nicole, and many more. She is also a founder of her own holistic healing and loose-leaf teas companies: Sacred Intentional Sisterhood, and Rise and Ritual.

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Nayanka Paul, Lead Community Organizer

Hey y’all:) I am Nayanka, the Lead Community Organizer here at Life Do Grow Farm. When I’m not at the farm, I’m somewhere else in the neighborhood existing as a Creative, Doula, Educator or Founder of Bloody Btches (a Menstrual Health organization).

I love creating ethereal spaces and realities that others deem impossible. My lifelong dream is to continue finding innovative ways to create spheres of healing & pleasure for Black women & queer folks.

if you’re ever ‘round the corner, stop by and say wassup:)

Shawn, Farm Manager

Shawn is our Farm Manager at Life Do Grow Farm. He joins us as a seasoned farmer with extensive knowledge and experience on the best ways and practices to work with the earth and Mother Nature! In this role, Shawn is in charge of the production of all seasonal crops at Life Do Grow farm, harvesting, sales, and co-leading volunteers in the garden. In his free time he enjoys punk shows, trips to other farms and farmers markets and spending quality time with his other half.

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Nex, Assistant Farmer

HEYOOO the name’s Nex, I go by they/them pronouns. I’m currently 19 years old and am in college and majoring in graphic design. I love being able to work hard for the right causes. Helping and teaching people is something that I strive to do, and as much as I love teaching I LOVE learning. Art is a big part of my life, without it, I don’t think I’d be where I am now, I love drawing, music, poetry, and ANYTHING that involves working with your hands. 

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Roosevelt Davis, Community Advocate

Roosevelt Davis is a North-Central Philly native, entrepreneur, and community organizer. Roosevelt has spent years advocating on behalf of his community, and working across several different neighborhood organizations to make North Philly a cleaner, safer, and more connected place. On any given day, you might find Roosevelt cleaning the avenue, passing out flyers for community meetings/events, distributing fresh produce, selling merchandise, or mentoring local youth. Roosevelt is a “man of many hats”, and someone who is always trying to make connections for the greater good. Roosevelt has helped to build our Mobile Market and community marketplace and, most recently, has taken it upon himself to use the Urban Creators as a platform to beautify his community, and now leads all of our Neighborhood Beautification projects. 

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Isabella Higgins, 

Farmer & Farm Program Coordinator

Isabella (Isa) is from Albany, New York and recently graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a dual degree in English literature and Psychology. Her teaching experience extends from being a preschool teacher to teaching ceramics as part of the Clay Studios’ outreach program, the Clay Mobile. At Urban Creators she started as a fellow and Assistant Farmer, cultivating her love for growing and educating young people about their environment. Currently, she is a Farmer and Farm Program Coordinator at Life Do Grow Farm, helping to maintain the land, curate value added products, and develop and facilitate educational curriculum for people on the farm. She is incredibly passionate about food justice and accessibility, and how best to educate and equip young people to be empowered growers and develop positive relationships with food and land. Isa is moved by the power food has to bring people together and strives to create spaces that foster community where people are nourished-mind, body and soul.

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Rodney Turner, 

Farmer & Firekeeper

Rodney is a 24 year old Philadelphia native, currently working as both an Assistant Farmer and Production Assistant with Urban Creators. Rodney has been a part of the UC family since 2015 and has worn multiple hats during his tenure here.

Rodney is a fan of music, visual arts, and technology, and is very passionate about bettering himself and others through meaningful conversations and actions. Often known as the Farm’s ‘Wild Card’, Rodney consistently makes the time to flesh out the needs and wants of those around him in order to intentionally accommodate and support whatever he can. 

Urban Creator Board

Jacqueline Wiggins

Jacqueline (Ms. Jackie) is a long-term resident of North Central Philadelphia and now of Germantown, and currently is a retired educator. She has over 40 years of experience as a classroom teacher of English/language arts and social studies in public, parochial, and charter schools. And, she is a retired adjunct instructor of English for Community College of Philadelphia. She has been an administrator at two HBCUs-Historically Black Universities and Colleges, namely, Florida A& M University and Bennett College in institutional advancement. At the University of Massachusetts and Mt. Holyoke College, she worked in residential housing and education. Jacqueline has resource development experience working with many non-profit organizations. In 2014 and 2018, Jacqueline became an elected committee person for the 32nd Ward-11th Division in North Central Philadelphia. She is active with a group called Stadium Stompers that is focused on preventing a 35,000 seat football stadium from being built in a residential neighborhood by Temple University.  As a docent/tour guide, she gives tours of the Johnson House Historic Site and is the founder of her business Wiggins Tours N More

Bridget Palombo

Bridget is a food system consultant. She assists people across the country with identifying gaps and opportunities in their community to effectively solve inequities that lead to hunger. She has a 16-year background working hands-on in the food industry and has garnered accolades for working to increase food security in Philadelphia. She previously was Senior Associate at The Food Trust leading their Community Food Retail program to help launch or grow community-owned and operated food businesses across the country. Before that she was a Community and Economic Development program manager at Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM) where she implemented strategic initiatives to improve quality of life in Lower North Philadelphia including launching APM’s Food Buying Club in 2014. Ms. Palombo obtained her B.A. in Growth and Structure of Cities from Bryn Mawr College.  Currently she is an appointed member of Philadelphia’s Food Policy Advisory Council and a board member for Neighborhood Gardens Trust. When she is not working, you can find Bridget spending time with her family, tending to a garden, or cooking food.

Ebony H. Griffin Guerrier

Ebony H. Griffin-Guerrier (she/her) is an environmental justice attorney focused on eradicating environmental health disparities in black and brown communities. Ebony joined Earthjustice in March of 2022 as Senior Legislative Counsel focused on Cumulative Impacts. Prior to joining Earthjustice, Ebony spent 4.5 years at the Public Interest Law Center and focused on projects that support low-income, historically disinvested communities and communities of color in advocating effectively for sustainable and equitable neighborhoods. Her previous work includes advocacy for legislative reforms such as Philadelphia’s Community Health Act and Pennsylvania’s efforts to preserve community gardens as well as the Eastwick Advocacy and Community Development project, the Garden Justice Legal Initiative, and a lawsuit to preserve the La Finquita Community Farm. She also helped launch Philadelphia’s inaugural Environmental Justice Advisory Commission.

Veronica Ayala Florez

Verónica firmly believes in everyone’s ability to participate in a greater conversation; one that affects the way we live, and the pursuit to improve it. For years, in both volunteer and professional capacities, she has been facilitating collaborations, organizing and developing strategies, leading creative initiatives, and building the skills of leaders to advance social transformation.

 
A native of Puerto Rico, Verónica has made Philadelphia her home over the past 15 years. She currently serves as program manager for the Citizens Planning Institute, the outreach and education arm of the City’s Planning Commission. Previously to CPI, Verónica worked at Philadelphia LISC, where she facilitated the Community Connectors program and the co-facilitated the Experience Eastern North tour program.

Co-Founders

Devon and Alex are two of the Urban Creators’ co-founders, who stewarded the organizations growth from 2010 through the 2021/22 season. For more than a decade, they remained committed to collaborative leadership, to upholding our core values, and to our North Philadelphia community. As Co-Founders and Co-Executive Directors, they played a central role in building the vision, structure, and expression of the Urban Creators, and laid the foundation upon which we continue to grow today. 

Although Devon and Alex have transitioned out of their leadership roles, they remain a part of the Urban Creator family along with so many others who have been a part of building this collective since 2010. As we evolve, so too do our roles and relationships…..we are in motion….. 

Devon Bailey

Devon Bailey is a North Philadelphia native, family man, and green developer who works in carpentry, plumbing, landscaping, mechanics, and home remodeling, doing “everything under the sun except for electric”. Devon holds his family legacy as inspiration for the work he does, using the skills he learned from his grandfather ‘Ike’ to revitalize his neighborhood, and wisdom gained from his lived experience to inspire a younger generation of creators.  As a resident and leader in his community, and developer by trade, Devon represented and literally laid the foundation of the Urban Creators for more than a decade, building all of Life Do Grow’s physical infrastructure and keeping us rooted in his community. 


Alex Epstein

Alex Epstein is an earthling, organizer, artist, farmer, educator, and student of the universe. Since 2005 when he was 15 years old, Alex has been committed to building bridges across differences, organizing radically inclusive communities, and advocating for social & environmental justice. In 2009, Alex moved to North Philadelphia and helped co-found the Urban Creators along with Devon Bailey and 10 other young “Creators”. Since then, Alex has maintained his original commitments to building capacity for Life Do Grow farm’s evolution, honoring the legacy of this community, learning from the ‘medicine of mistakes’, and practicing emergent, adaptive, and collaborative forms of leadership as guiding principles towards building collective liberation.