Staff

Cait Caughey, Director of Education
Cait Caughey joined The Big Garden full-time in 2014 after having previously served as a summer intern. Cait currently oversees all educational programs at The Big Garden. Cait first got her start in agriculture by apprenticing in the field and then starting an urban farm with friends in Omaha (Big Muddy Urban Farm) in 2011. Cait then moved to Southwest Iowa to start a family farm business (Botna Burrow) offering a CSA program and sales to local restaurants and grocery stores. Cait is currently imagining a new farming operation with her kids Catalpa and Mira in the Loess Hills of Iowa. Cait is passionate about soil health, food security, protecting native and wild lands, seed saving, rural life, getting children in nature, and most of all being a mama to her two young children.
Contact Cait at ccaughey@biggarden.org.

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Matthew Cronin, Program Coordinator
Matt Cronin joined The Big Garden in January of 2016. In addition to teaching middle school garden education classes, Matt builds and installs all new gardens, and performs various projects around our campus. Matt is a lifelong Omahan, raised in the Cathedral & Gifford Park neighborhoods. Matt holds a B.S. in Urban Studies from the University of Minnesota, with minors in sustainability, social justice, and anthropology. He currently works with the Nebraska Wildlife Rehab, Inc. as a visiting school educator. He is also a founding member of Big Muddy Urban Farm, a one-acre organic urban farm in the Gifford Park neighborhood of Omaha. Matt is excited to get to know the gardeners at The Big Garden sites and build relationships with them. Outside of work, Matt is vice-president of the Nebraska Farmers Union. He is also passionate about music, earthen structures, public power systems, his family, and dogs.
Contact Matthew at mcronin@biggarden.org.

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Kathleen Drury, AmeriCorps VISTA
Born and raised in Chicago Illinois, Kathleen is a new arrival to Omaha. She joined The Big Garden as an Americorps VISTA in the summer of 2018 with degrees in Horticulture and Agronomy.  Kathleen did her graduate work using survey research to collect data on alternative pest management in fresh market vegetable crops.  She is dedicated to reducing hunger and building community through Community Gardens.
kdrury@biggarden.org

 

Stephanie Finklea, Education Coordinator
Stephanie joined The Big Garden in September of 2017. She teaches many of The Big Garden's classes in OPS middle schools. Stephanie has lived most of her life in Bellevue, eventually graduating from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a degree in General Science. She has many passions including comedy and acting, but gardening gives her the most joy. You can find her pondering over the ecology of plant systems, exploring the outdoors, or shopping Farmers Markets with her dog Dash.
Contact Stephanie at sfinklea@biggarden.org.

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Matt Freeman, Director of Operations and Development
An Omaha native, Matt started with The Big Garden as a seasonal intern in 2010. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Matt continued his studies and holds a Certificate in Fundraising Management from his alma mater. He has served as Director of Operations and Development since September of 2015. Outside of work, Matt stays busy with his young family, and he is currently serving as the President of the Board of Directors of The Community Bike Project Omaha.
Contact Matt at mfreeman@biggarden.org.

 

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Nathan Morgan, Executive Director
A native of south Alabama, Nathan has lived in Omaha for nearly 15 years. After learning to drive in snow, he has come to love "The Good Life." He comes to The Big Garden with degrees in Geography and Library Science. His background also includes organizing faith communities around poverty issues and helping rural schools integrate gardens and greenhouses into their science curricula. Nathan, along with his wife and 2 daughters, is a member of First United Methodist Church in Omaha.
Contact Nathan at nmorgan@biggarden.org.

 
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Erin Higgins, Education Assistant
Born in Omaha and raised in Council Bluffs, Erin studied psychology and neuroscience at Grinnell College in Iowa. Erin fell head-first into the world of farming while interning at The Big Garden in 2015. She went on to work on small-scale, diversified vegetable farms in southeast Iowa and near Lincoln, Nebraska, before accepting the position of Education Manager at City Sprouts, one of The Big Garden's main partnering organizations. She rejoined The Big Garden team in 2017, and loves to share her passion for good, healthy, sustainably grown food with youth and adults alike. In 2018, Erin began coordinating The Big Garden's Giving Grove program and is so excited to help partnering organizations all over the city incorporate perennial fruit trees and brambles into their gardens. Outside of work Erin loves to read, make music, work in her own garden, explore the natural world near Omaha, and spend time with her friends and family. 
ehiggins@biggarden.org

 
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Jaimee Trobough, Director of Marketing & Communications
Jaimee began working with United Methodist Ministries/The Big Garden in 2010. She was born and raised in Omaha, where she studied Theology and Justice & Peace Studies at Creighton University. She has participated in many service immersion experiences including work in soup kitchens, food pantries, and homeless shelters across the country. She has worked with migrant farmers in New Mexico and Florida, and has spent significant time in the Dominican Republic as well as short stays in Mali and Haiti. She is married to a United Methodist pastor and has a beautiful 7 year old daughter.
Contact Jaimee at jtrobough@biggarden.org.

 
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Kay Wilwerding, Education Assistant & Volunteer Coordinator
Kay began at The Big Garden as an intern in 2015. She remained on staff, fulfilling various roles, until beginning full time in 2017. She teaches gardening classes, coordinates volunteers, and is production manager of The Big Garden's greenhouses. Kay previously worked in the food service industry while earning her degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The simultaneous immersion into these two fields sparked an ongoing interest in how the current food system affects public and environmental health. Outside of work, Kay enjoys art (she also holds a degree in Studio Art), hiking, baking, and hanging out with her boyfriend and cats. Contact Kay at kwilwerding@biggarden.org.

 

Board of Directors

  • President: Craig Howell, Alliance for a Better Omaha
  • Vice President: Michael McClellan, McClellan Law Office
  • Secretary: Teresa Mardesen, Farm Credit Services of America
  • Treasurer: William Gess, St. Paul United Methodist Church Papillion
  • Dr. Marjorie Shreve, Missouri River District United Methodist Women representative
  • Pat McGill, Secretary of Great Plains Conference United Methodist Women
  • Rev Chad Anglemyer, United Methodist Missouri River District Superintendent
  • Aida Amoura, Teacher at Conestoga Elementary School
  • Marcia Ghali Bergren, LIMHP | MSW
  • Dwayne Brown, Principal Architect at Slate Architecture
  • Amanda Bogner, President at Energy Studio