Who We Are
Jessica L. Weiss Founder & Executive Director growingSOUL
A 29-year resident of the DC metropolitan region, Jessica returned to her NY roots in 2019. She is a UC Berkeley graduate, with a Space Planning degree from FIDM and combined Montessori/Loyola University Masters in Education and Curriculum Development. She was a wellness instructor for Holy Cross Hospital for 20 years and has worked in the food industry for over 40 years.
Jessica was looking for a way to combine her love of food, educational expertise, desire to do community service, passion to live sustainably and the urgency she feels to connect people.
Jessica created food justice non-profit, growingSOUL — Sustainable Opportunities for Universal Learning - in 2009 as a manifestation of her life’s passions. Comprised of leaders and educators in the local food movement, growingSOUL created a self-reliant, urban farm-to-table, economically sustainable food system. This included fresh food production, processing, preservation, distribution and nutrient recycling through composting.
Moving to Queens NYC in the fall of 2019, soon to become the epicenter of Covid-19, Jessica combined her decades of experience and fresh food provider connections as she pivoted to manifest The growingSOUL Collaborative Network. The Collaborative continues their work distributing food to neighbors in need in the Mid-Atlantic and New York City while Jessica is busy in upstate New York starting a new partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County to expand and demonstrate our entire Zero Waste Demonstration Model including a horticulture plan to build and maintain a wheelchair accessible kitchen garden for food production; a zero waste community kitchen at The Catskills Kitchen; Hybrid and Electric Vehicle food distribution; and community vermicomposting, hoop house insulating windrows and an anaerobic digester where we make our Soil with SOUL compost and our Second Helpings Plant Food Solution Fertilizer.
growingSOUL and our collaborative partners are dedicated to Putting Stock in Our Community!