Lara Lepionka is an independent consultant with 20+ years of experience working in the nonprofit sector. She offers an array of services to clients, including budget development, grant writing, fundraising, leadership coaching and transition, board development, and strategic planning. In 2010 Lara founded Backyard Growers—a grassroots food justice organization in Gloucester, MA—to help her neighbors increase their access to affordable, healthy food during the recession by providing them with backyard and community gardens and training in how to grow their own food. She later developed a unique, district-wide school garden program for the Gloucester schools that she successfully replicated in school districts throughout Massachusetts. During her 12 years as executive director, Lara grew Backyard Growers into a thriving organization serving over 2,000 public school students and low-income households each year. Prior to Backyard Growers, Lara worked for 10+ years in Chicago and the Greater Boston area in diverse roles at nonprofit organizations with missions focused on the arts, education, human services, and social justice.