As a longtime member and former board president of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, Karen has fought for justice and fostered resilience in her borough and beyond through the power of organized community. And she brings her fierce, compassionate leadership—as well as her commitment to develop others—everywhere she goes.
As a community gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens, she works with Bronx neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens. As an advocate and former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, she stands up and speaks out for garden protection and preservation. And as a co-founder of the La Familia Verde Garden Coalition, she helped launch a City Farms Market, bringing fresh vegetables to the Bronx community.
In 2010, she co-founded Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization supporting Black growers in both urban and rural settings. she is a board member of Why Hunger, a grassroots support organization, and Farm School NYC, which leads workshops on growing food and food justice across the country. she is also board president of Greenworker Cooperatives, which builds and sustains worker-owned green businesses to create a strong, local, and democratic economy rooted in racial and gender equity. Additionally, she is on the Board of Directors of Soul Fire Farm.
In 2012, Ebony magazine voted her one of their 100 most influential African-Americans in the country. And in 2014, she was the recipient of the James Beard Leadership Award.
Since retiring from physical therapy in 2014, she has been a co-owner and organic grower at Rise & Root Farm in Chester, New York. She stands on the shoulders of her ancestors and sows seeds of love, healing, and liberation for future generations.