Amanda Maria Edmonds believes in living one's beliefs through positive, proactive acts. She was that passionate, directed kid from age 10.
Born and raised in University City, Missouri-- an old part of St. Louis-- to an artist and an architect, she began putting her values into action at a young age. In middle school, she spent her babysitting money to join environmental nonprofits-- excited at that point to receive their (junk) mail because she was so eager to plug into national and world movements .... From recycling campaigns to food drives, sitting on the school board to co-founding a nonprofit while in high school, Amanda heeded early opportunities for leadership and learning about how to affect change. When she moved to Michigan in the mid 1990s to attend the School of Natural Resources & Environment at U-M, she dove into environmental justice and environmental education, involving herself in both campus and community advocacy campaigns. That work led to the development of the Perry Learning Garden in 1999 and the next chapter....
Fast forward a decade-plus, and this now loyal Ypsilantian is the founder and executive director of seven-year-old nonprofit Growing Hope
. An active community member, she serves on the Ypsilanti Parks & Recreation Commission, the MSU-Extension Advisory Council, and the leadership team of the Ypsilanti Health Coalition. She was profiled in the book, Practical Idealists: Changing the World and Getting Paid
. A former board member of the American Community Gardening Association, she facilitates trainings nationally with her peers in organizational development, community organizing, and marketing. She also puts creative energy into running a side business, AMEPIX
, making and selling photography and button-based products.
In the cold months and in spare moments, she travels to warm places to lindy hop-- a form of swing dance-- with friends from across the continent. She sleeps eight hours a night, and does not drink caffeine. She used to be an avid estate sale-r, finding excitement in the treasure hunt among old things of every life, but in more recent years has developed more self-control and rarely attends. She has very strong brand loyalty, to her hometowns and otherwise.See a video featuring Growing Hope here.