The Board, Advisory Committee & Staff

We are seeking hard-working, dedicated individuals that are captivated by our mission and vision and have the time now to invest in making Growing Together blossom!

If you have suggestions for such individuals, please contact us:

GROWING TOGETHER’s Board (as of 1/28/14):

Elysse Helms (President)
Elysse has been a resident of Galesburg for 21 years having moved from Champaign-Urbana. She has 2 adult sons who also live in Illinois. Her passions are good food and gardening.
Her interests in health, organic foods and cooking grew from her childhood when her mother worked for the director of a reconditioning health institute which focused on vegan diet, organic farming, and a healthy lifestyle.
Helms says she likes GTI because “we have an opportunity to introduce the community to producing their own nutritious foods at home to feed their family for a healthier lifestyle”. Helms interest doesn’t stop there, “I believe people have the power to make a change in their community, one person, one family at a time and it starts with teaching your family sustainability and good earth stewardship”.
“What is sustainability?” Helems was asked. “This is how I think of it: growing my own produce without pesticides, raising livestock in a humane environment without the use of drugs and hormones, composting, replenishing the nutrients in the soil without harsh chemicals, recycling, buying locally which promotes community. These are things we all can do. “

Dave Hays (Vice President)
David A. Hays is a graduate of Galesburg High School in 1969, Mr. Hays lived in Tucson, Arizona for 30 years. He is an attorney licensed in both Illinois and Arizona. He holds his law degree and Master of Business Administration (MBA), from Washington University in St. Louis. Mr. Hays currently practices law in Galesburg, specializing in domestic and international commercial collections though his law firm and Collect Worldwide, a licensed collection agency he founded and owns. He has also formed and operated several other businesses, including a real estate brokerage and a securities broker/dealer firm. He has acted as managing general partner in several real estate limited partnerships formed to invest in land in Tucson, Arizona, and he developed and managed Sierra Vista Self-Storage, a 460 unit self-storage facility located in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

Peter Schwartzman (Treasurer)

Peter Schwartzman, a resident of Galesburg since 1998, is chair of the Department of Environmental Studies at Knox College. He is a trained climatologist with sustained interests in energy, food, and environmental justice. He is currently Alderman (5th Ward) in Galesburg and Board Member of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance and the Knox Prairie Community Kitchen. He also founded and operates Mound Farm, a community-based farm in Galesburg as well as oversees the Knox Farm, an educational plot on his college’s campus. Peter’s academic degrees include a BS in physics at Harvey Mudd College, an MS in Science and Technology Studies at Virginia Tech, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia. Over the past ten years, he has published over two hundred articles in newspapers and peer-reviewed journals.

Inez Pena
Inez, born in Houston, Texas, went to DeBakey High School and volunteered at BARC and Target Hunger. For over five years she has been a Houston Preparatory Academy student or U-Prep for short. Now she is an undergraduate student in Knox College. She currently volunteers at KPCK and GTI.

Terry Haywood

Terry Haywood has spent the majority of his professional career as a broadcaster. After graduating from St Ambrose College in 1981, He immediately went to work as an associate producer for the six and ten newscast at WOC Television and Radio. After spending 5 years as a producer and reporter, beginning with WOC Television and ending with WQAD TV, both in the Quad Cities, Terry embarked on a career in radio broadcasting. During the second half of the 1980′s Terry worked as an announcer and was soon promoted to program director. It was the first part of the 1990′s that Terry exited the studio and began selling. It was long before Terry was promoted to sales manager, and then because vice president general manager at Quadcast Broadcasting Company, Inc. Terry’s success in building ratings and revenue became known in the industry, thus, it wasn’t long before he was recruited by Gilmore Broadcasting, Fort Lauderdale, FL, to take over general management of WINE FM. First quarter ratings rose 4.5 points in our targeted market, to show a respectable 12.0 share of the market adults 18 – 55. Revenues increased 35 percent over the same period, which resulted in Terry becoming recognized as an effective general management in the radio business. Terry eventually moved to Dallas, TX where he spent more than 10 years working in the business and eventually landed in Galesburg, IL where he had close ties with his youngest brother. After a few months doing much of nothing, Terry decided to reenter the communications field. He was first hired by the Galesburg Register-Mail as a freelance stringer. He was soon hired as a reporter/photographer by Liberty Group Publishing. Terry soon rose to become the editor-in-chief of the weekly news tabloid entitled The Paper. He wore many hats while working at Liberty. The company was soon purchased by GateHouse Media, Inc., which became the largest newspaper conglomerate in the nation. Terry had a reputation as a top earner by senior management and was soon invited to corporate headquarters and offered a position as national interactive media sales trainer. Terry left Gatehouse to found his own company that offered sales training and advertising consulting.

GROWING TOGETHER’s Advisory Committee

Doug Ball
Douglas Ball is a graduate of California State University.  He came to Galesburg 2 years ago  to develop The Village on 5th, a residential community designed to help low income students, veterans and other challenged individuals. His background includes 35 years in business development  and currently has a successful career as a business consultant.  Known for out of the box thinking, he has worked in numerous industries as a marketing and sales executive. He has also been involved in the music industry both as a performer and businessman creating programs for Universities and Colleges nationwide.  His interest in urban farms, and controlled environmental agriculture started numerous years ago as he pioneered research in the CEA movement near San Francisco.

Cheryl Colclasure

Nicole Collins

Nicole Collins is a Carpenter, Farmer, and Artist. She lives on an 80-acre farm in rural Knoxville. For 10 years, based in Urbana, IL, she specialized in historic restorationand traditionalplasteringmethods and materials.Her extensive experience in traditional plasters and masonry led to one of the most successful full restorations of a stuccobuilding in North America, the Bishop Hill Steeple Building. Nicole co-operates Trillium Dell Timberworks, a 20 employee home based business, with her husband Rick Collins, and together they also operate Trillium Dell Farm. An early interest in agriculture, food production methods and cooperative business models has propelled her into the management, expansion, and operation of Trillium Dell Farm. The farm has been growing steadily to include up to 5 acres of diverse market vegetables and fruit trees as well as bees and heritage breed livestock and poultry. This year they will offer a full time intern position to assist in farm management.
Nicole grew up in rural northeastern Illinois and is a graduate of the University of Illinois, with a BFA. Nicole served on the board of directors for the Common Ground Food Co-op, in Urbana. Her time on the Food Co-op board occurred during a critical and successful expansion of the organization. She worked and studied with some of the country’s foremost experts in organizational development. She has also been an active member of multiple preservation organizations and NGOs such as: the Citizens Committee for Clock Tower Reconstruction (Urbana, IL), Amnesty International, the East Central Illinois Refugee Center; and been an active member of PACA (Preservation and Conservation Association) in salvaging critical and irreplaceable architectural elements of landmarks across Illinois that were being razed.

Matt and Sarah Rozny



Matt Wallen (Farm Manager)

Grew up just outside of Good Hope, IL and has lived in Western Illinois his entire life. Agronomy and Environmental Economic professors, International alternative Ag educators and producers, all played a vital role in his current understanding of our food system and future paths (receiving a Bachelors of Science from Western Illinois University in Interdisciplinary Studies, with an emphasis on Environmental Farming Systems, in 2012).  During the latter stages of his undergraduate studies, founded a small farm growing produce for the local Farmers’ Market in Macomb, Illinois. During the early winter of 2013, travelled to Hawaii where he spent two months working on an organically certified aquaponics farm. While outside the contiguous United States, received a fair bit of hands-on experience in micro-dairy systems, chicken husbandry, and other small scale business incubator projects, such as intensively planted moringa. In January 2013, became the Farm Manager at Growing Together Inc., located on 820 East 5th Street in Galesburg, Illinois. As the Farm Manager of this Urban Educational Farm, oversees its 50+ volunteers, produces fresh vegetables on one acre of land, speaks out on current food system issues in the community, and staffs a Farmers’ Market stand in Galesburg. Hopes to contribute to a strong locally grown, healthful food community and ultimately develop a sustainable food system.