About Our Founder,
Sonya Harris is a former Teacher of Special Education to which she dedicated over 20 years, helping children turn their “I can’t” into “I can do anything!”. She received her BSEd in Special Education at West Chester University of Pennsylvania and is known as the “Garden Teacher” for her role in bringing an organic edible garden to her former school, Dorothy L. Bullock Elementary School, in Glassboro, NJ.
In the fall of 2013, Sonya gathered a group of teachers together to plan a garden at the Bullock School, which could be used as a space to teach students across the curriculum through gardening. She contacted celebrity landscaper Ahmed Hassan via social media for advice. Not only did he respond to her message a few hours later, but he also advised her and her Bullock Garden Team on what was needed to establish a sustainable school garden. Ahmed connected Sonya with local South Jersey landscape designer, Mike Pasquarello of Elite Landscaping in Berlin, NJ. Together, after almost a year of planning and partnerships with landscape and horticultural experts from across the country, as well as sponsored donations and fundraising efforts, the Bullock Elementary Children's Garden became a reality the weekend of May 2-3, 2015.
In October 2016, Sonya was awarded the very first “Best in New Jersey” Jersey Fresh Farm-to-School Award by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture for her drive in ensuring that the Bullock Children’s Garden serves as a tool for assisting teachers in teaching children across the curriculum through garden education, provides free, fresh, organic produce to the local low-income community, where the school is located (helping to eliminate a food desert) and for partnering with several organizations and green industry leaders to ensure successful learning opportunities for the Bullock Elementary students. Soon after, many educators began reaching out to her for assistance on starting gardens at their schools. This led her to found a nonprofit to assist them. In 2017 Sonya established the nonprofit The Bullock Garden Project, Inc. The role of this nonprofit is to assist schools and community organizations serving large populations of children/youth who are at-risk, receiving special education services, and/or low-income and food insecurity with establishing and implementing gardens to not only teach across the curriculum but to also inspire careers as future green industry leaders.
She has won several awards, including South Jersey Magazine’s One to Watch, New Jersey Agricultural Society’s Learning Through Gardening Teacher of the Year, and Project Green Schools Outstanding Green Education Program Director.