Who We Are
Green Bridge Growers uses innovative methods to grow sustainable, fresh produce for your table year-round. Our venture is also grounded in a strong social mission - to create jobs that harness the amazing skills of young adults with autism. We grow local, organic vegetables for our community, and those who buy from us help to create jobs and change lives.
Meet Our Team
Co-founder Chris Tidmarsh graduated from Hope College (Holland, MI) with degrees in Chemistry, Environmental Studies, and French. He was an active member of Amnesty International, interned at the Indianapolis Peace Institute, worked extensively with organic farms, and studied abroad in France during his junior year. Despite his impressive resume and former experiences, Chris discovered how difficult it was to enter the postgraduate workforce with all the social challenges of being a young adult with autism. His persistence, combined with his and Jan’s entrepreneurial instincts, gave roots to the idea for Green Bridge Growers.
Chris is happiest digging in the dirt and connecting with the environment. He is a Master Gardener, a student of agroecology, an avid composter, and a skilled organic farmer. Chris also has a history of community activism. He has worked with Unity Gardens, the Logan Center, and was an Americorps volunteer at Hannah and Friends. He brings plenty of zeal and expertise to his role as plant manager.
One last thing- we couldn’t conclude this introduction to Chris without mentioning his undying love for the Green Bay Packers. If he had the chance, he would name all the fish in our aquaponic system after the Packers! But our aquaponic canine mascots, Bay and Starr, were named for Packer greats. They make many appearances in our social media posts, so catch a glimpse of them up there!
Jan is originally from Wisconsin but has been in South Bend longer than any other place she's lived and is very proud of her adopted hometown. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Notre Dame and for a number of years after college worked on renewable energy research and policy issues in Boston and DC. For 15 years she directed the Social Justice Studies Program at Saint Mary's College, helping students engage with the local community and develop leadership skills to make a difference on issues important to them. She's a science geek who loves to cook and has been around farming all her life -- her family's farm was just inside what's now the city of Milwaukee. Jan is delighted that Green Bridge Growers is part of the tremendous wave of innovation and entrepreneurship that's now taking root in South Bend. You can find Jan's Ignite Michiana presentation on Green Bridge Growers' here.
Helios is from Mexico, though he also feels at home in the US, Bolivia, Italy and Germany. He holds an undergraduate degree in Peace Studies and Liberal Studies from the University of Notre Dame, where he became passionate about social change. This path led him to work in education as a teacher and eventually director of a K-12 school in Bolivia. He is currently pursuing an MBA at the University of Notre Dame, with a concentration in entrepreneurship. Helios is passionate about food, studies on the late Roman republic, animals and social ventures.
Janaeé Wallace is an island girl from The Bahamas. Being raised around white sand beaches, blue oceans, and blue skies, Janaeé has a deep-rooted passion for marine ecology, sustainable development and the environment. With these interests in mind, Janaeé pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry and intense coursework in Environmental Science and Policy from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. Janaeé is currently a Master of Science candidate at the University of Notre Dame in the Engineering, Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Masters (ESTEEM) program. Janaeé is completing a founder’s capstone thesis project entitled, “An analysis of the commercialization potential for marine aquaponics (aquaculture and hydroponics) technologies to aid in sustainable food production in island nations”. She is working with the Green Bridge Growers family as a research consultant to aid in the growth and development of the company. She hopes to one day revolutionize the environmental and biotechnology industries.
My name is Henri Chung and I'm a Biological Sciences major at the University of Notre Dame. I am really interested in environmentally sustainable technologies and that's what led to me Aquaponics Agriculture. I love Green Bridge Grower's mission statement as a social enterprise and I enjoy working with them. I work as a student researcher collecting data on aquaponics and work with the local community to spread awareness about environmental sustainability and the aquaponic method. I'm also excited to facilitate and coordinate the Aquaponics Across the Spectrum curriculum, which is a six-week program that will be offered this year at Edison Intermediate Center. Sharing research and topics related to aquaponics with middle-schoolers is an exciting undertaking that I'm happy to develop as part of the Green Bridge Growers' team.
Our Hannah and Friends Partners
Hannah and Friends is an agency devoted to meeting the needs of those with disabilities. Those residing and participating in programs at Hannah and Friends dove head first into learning how to care for our aquaponics system! We’ve worked together to teach about plants, fish, and water – as well as the important chemistry behind this unique system. Our prototype greenhouse is built on Hannah and Friends’ premises and we couldn’t ask for better, more enthusiastic partners!