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Ep. 006:  Ava Bynum

Show Notes

  • Ava Bynum is the Executive Director of the non-profit Hudson Valley Seed
  • Bynum studied and taught at the Garden Road School in Peekskill New York
  • Bynum worked at the Four Winds Farms
  • Bynum chose not to go to college:
    • It can be an asset to come from a different perspective to work in realm of food and education. Have learned from more experiential perspective
    • Great mentors that have stood in place of professors
  • Peace is a learned/taught skill; schools are a good place for that teaching
  • When kids, for instance, learn different ways of interacting, reduces bullying which in turn, teaches those kids different ways of resolving differences which they can take into their adulthood
  • Raised to learn that peace is active not passive
    • She gained the language and the perspective early, in an informal way
    • Passion and intuitive understanding
    • Bynum is Susan Coleman’s daughter
  • A goal of Hudson Valley Seed is to reduce obesity
    • This can only be done collaboratively with sectors that are not obviously related to food
    • It is important to take a holistic approach to solving problems.
  • Passionate about improving race relations
    • Trained as a trainer
  • Hudson Valley Seed
    • Started a nonprofit to put gardens into schools
    • To empower children, to teach healthy eating, to create environmental stewards
    • 5 years old, staff of 5, reaching 3,000 children a week
    • Time, the common core and funding are the limitations on getting the program into the public school.
    • Funding, grants and foundations support.
  • Translating idealism into action
  • Is peace profitable?
    • The costs of conflict are high
    • Peace’s profits are more equitably distributed


Ava Bynum is a passionate systems thinker and non profit executive, with experience in start-ups, development, non profit management, education, food systems, and community organizing. She discovered her passion for connecting agriculture, education and community at Four Winds Farm, a small organic family farm where she worked for seven seasons. Her commitment to bringing children outside and making experiential education accessible was formed at The Garden Road School in Peekskill, New York. Hudson Valley Seed’s work educating children in school gardens combines her love of food and education and follows her personal values of making both of these human rights accessible to all children.