Garden Time Staff

Kate Lacouture, Co-founder, Executive Director & Educator. Kate is a landscape architect, licensed arborist, and garden activist in Providence, RI. She has been teaching incarcerated men and women gardening and green industry skills at the RI ACI for twelve years. She developed the Green Reentry Job Training program and curriculum, and has been teaching formerly incarcerated Rhode Islanders for three years.

Vera Bowen, Co-founder, Board President & Educator. Vera is the past president of the Rhode Island Federation of Garden Clubs and is a national accredited flower show judge. She was the New England Region Director of Garden Clubs and a Director of the RI Horticultural Society. She has been a longstanding member of the Bristol Garden Club, a volunteer in Blithewold’s gardens and is a past director of RI Children’s Garden Network.

Emily Cotter, Educator. Emily’s professional background is in organic vegetable farming and drug policy activism. Alongside her work at Garden Time, she organizes with other farmers around food justice issues, writes a cannabis column for Motif Magazine, and is a co-owner and Chief Operating Officer of Lovewell Farms, a local hemp farm and CBD producer. Her passion for social justice, environmental sustainability, and love of plants all come together in the gardens at the ACI, and she is driven to help foster a learning environment that is compassionate, engaging, and inclusive.

Aloysius “Ace” Weah, Green Reentry Coordinator & Canopy Crew Leader. Ace Weah is a graduate of the Garden Time to Work program and the Green Reentry Job Training  program. He brings much to the team, including a passion for working with people, a talent for outreach, and his lived experience.

“I keep coming back to the program because this program and the instructors make me feel human again. Getting dirty, pulling weeds is the next thing to ‘mental freedom’.”

Garden Time Board of Directors

Vera Bowen: Board President & Co-Founder, Garden Time; National Accredited Flower Show Judge; Past Director of New England Region, Past President, National Federation of Garden Clubs; Past Director, RI Horticultural Society; Past Director, Rhode Island Children’s Garden Network. (Board member from Incorporation/2013-present)

Kate Lacouture: Executive Director & Co-Founder, Garden Time; Landscape Architect & Principal, Green Circle Design. (Non-voting Board member from Incorporation/2013-present)

Robert Rafka: Board Vice-President, Garden Time; High School Science Teacher, former Chemist at Pfizer, URI Master Gardener. (Board member from 2016-present)

Gerard Donley: Garden Time Program Graduate; Editor for Boston lawbook publisher and freelance legal web-content writer for U.S. law firms. (Board member from 2016-present)

Stephanie Moniz: Garden Time Program Graduate; Artist, Author & Activist; New Leaders Council, Board member, Co-chair of selections; The Womxn Project Fellow. (Board member from Incorporation/2020-present)

Garden Time Guest Experts & Volunteers (partial list)


Amelia Rose, Groundwork RI


Shannon Brawley, RI Nursery & Landscape Association (RINLA)

Kate Venturini, URI Cooperative Extension

Robert Rafka, (aka Dr. Dirt), Chemist/Master Gardener/Teacher

Mary Blue, Herbalist, Farmacy Herbs

Rich Pederson, Farmer, Southside Community Land Trust

Andy Radin, URI Ag Extension Agent

Thea Upham, Farm Fresh RI

Leo Pollock, The Compost Plant

Matt Gennuso, Chef, Chez Pascal

Katie Miller, Farmer

Emily Leeser, OpenDoors


Eugenie Najjar, Ground Flora


Chris English, Revive the Roots

Tanya Solberg, Dietician

Tony Adams, Beekeeper

Vicki Iannuccillo, Artist

John Campanini, RI Tree Council

Michael Bradlee, Earth Appliance

Elizabeth Truskoski, Herbalist

Catherine Mardosa, Farmer

Esther Solondz, Artist

Sherrie Andre, Fang Collective

Lauri Roberts, Farming Turtles

Nancy Warner, Worm Ladies of Charlestown

Judy Titzel, MVP!