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Founder Mel Bartholomew’s legacy continues through the leadership of the Foundation's directors and volunteer board of advisors. We are committed to teach and promote Mel's simple, small-space method of growing sustainable, organic produce and are proud of the millions of gardeners around the world who grow their own food with Square Foot Gardening.

Board of Directors

Steve Bartholomew

President of the Board of Directors

After working in Advertising on Madison Ave., Steve had an opportunity to work alongside his dad producing and directing the highly regarded PBS hit television series “Square Foot Gardening.” That television series launched the best-selling garden book of all time “Square Foot Gardening,” a method of gardening, which is recognized throughout the world.

In 1988, Steve started his own advertising firm whose clientele included prestigious hospitals, and school districts in the New York Metropolitan area.

With Steve’s commitment to excellence along with his entrepreneurial spirit, it has enabled him to be a part of many community organizations. As a board member of South Huntington Educational Foundation (SHEF) for over 5 years, Steve was directly involved in creating successful educational programs throughout the district in conjunction with school boards. SHEF is an independent non-profit foundation committed to enriching and supplementing educational programs.

Steve’s life-long love for nature and gardening brings his prior experience full circle to preserve and continue the mission of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation.

Laura Bartholomew

Board Member

Laura has over 40 years experience in advertising and marketing. Starting her career at Grumman Aerospace Corporation, then in advertising and direct marketing corporations, she earned many awards over the course of her career.

Laura joined Steve in 1990 working and growing Bartholomew Associates Inc. Advertising and Public Relations. While raising four children, Laura managed the day-to-day operations of a growing agency, including the finances, Human Resources, maintaining clients and bringing in new business. Over the years, Steve and Laura saw their business increase to over 1 million dollars in annual billings.

Laura has always loved to cook and feed family and friends. Her love of cooking, nature, and gardening provided a platform for Laura to branch out to help serve those in the community who needed help the most, our senior citizens. Laura not only worked four years at a Senior Center, she has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer for 10 years. The culmination of her prior experience, both corporate and at home, provides a perfect fit for the mission of Square Foot Gardening Foundation.

Charles Schevker

Board Member

Charles met Mel Bartholomew in 2012 in Southern California. As a real estate broker, he assisted Mel in a purchase of a property and they became friends. Charles deeply admired Mel for the passion and commitment Mel had to the cause of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation and Charles believed he could help Mel make a difference in the lives of others.

Born and raised in Maryland, Charles attended Loyola University and has a BA in Accounting. He maintains an active CPA license and worked for over 30 years in various advanced positions including Auditor and CFO/VP of finance for international companies.

As an avid world traveler, a grandfather, and his many years of corporate experience, Charles is an asset to the Square Foot Gardening Foundation. Charles is honored to be serving in Mel’s memory as a member of the Board of Directors.

Kevin Cook

Board Member

Kevin Cook SFG Board MemberWith an impressive career as a residential real estate entrepreneur and sustainable living advocate in his home state of Colorado, Kevin joined the Square Foot Gardening Foundation Board of Directors in 2021.

A founder of both a real estate firm as well as a contracting business, Kevin’s success as a business owner and passion for giving back to his profession is evident. He served as President of the Colorado Association of Realtors and was a co-founder and two-time President of its Housing Opportunity Foundation that champions safe and affordable housing for the state’s residents.

In 2003 Kevin was named Colorado Realtor of the Year, and in 2006 he received the P2 Champion Award from the Environmental Protection Agency for marketing and educating the public of the benefits of sustainable/energy efficient homes.

He earned the National Association of Realtors’ Green Designation in 2009 and continues to be a trusted sustainability resource for homeowners who seek guidance in achieving their green real estate goals. Recently, Kevin was named a Realtor Emeritus by the National Association of Realtors for his 40 years of leadership in the profession.

Kevin will be integral to the future strategy and development of the Foundation. His expertise, and leadership in his community will have a far reaching impact on our mission.

Paige Bartholomew

Board Member

As Mel Bartholomew’s granddaughter, Paige began her Square Foot Gardening journey at a young age, helping her grandfather plant and tend his gardens. She joined the Square Foot Gardening Foundation board in March 2022.

An attorney with Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Paige focuses on business law. She represents corporations and financial institutions in federal and state court, handling complex commercial litigation, arbitration and mediation cases.  Earlier in her career, she was an associate with Farrell Fritz, P.C.

Paige earned her law degree from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center on Long Island, NY. There she was selected to join the New York State Pro Bono Scholars Program for high-performing law students. In that program, she finished her coursework early and spent her final semester of law school providing pro bono services to indigent clients. Paige holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Siena College in Loudonville, NY.

She was named to “The Best Lawyers in America, Ones to Watch,” in 2021 and 2022.  In 2019, she was honored by the Long Island Business News as a recipient of its “30 Under 30” Award.  Paige is the author and/or co-author of several published law review and bar association articles.

Advisory Board

Reese Michaels

After a successful career, Reese Michaels decided to return to his “roots”. Having gardened by digging flower beds for his wife and amending soil for decades, Reese decided to start his own vegetable patch. Since he had great success growing, he took his love of gardening to a new level.

Reese became a Master Gardener in 2005 through the Cornell Cooperative Extension, a “Green Guerrilla” (The Lyceum for Organic Horticulture) in 2011, in addition, he is a mentor with the Long Island Community Agriculture Network known as LICAN since 2012, and he topped it all off with becoming a Certified Square Foot Gardening Instructor (CI) in 2012.

He has been instrumental working with the Square Foot Gardening Foundation and our mission of helping to end world hunger by teaching thousands of people how to grow their own food using SFG. He holds workshops and classes with schools, religious institutions, and non-profit organizations aimed at helping underserved communities.

You can find Reese teaching people of all ages through libraries, girl scout troops, schools and summer camps, and has stated “What was once a chore, has become a ‘career’ path.” The Square Foot Gardening Foundation, with Reese’s help, have joined forces with the Cornell Cooperative Extension on Long Island, to foster teaching communities the simplicity of making compost, learning about pollinators, our environment and growing nutritious food using the Square Foot Gardening Method. We are proud to have him serve on the Advisory Board.

Wayne Schirner

Wayne Schirner spent most of his life helping others. With a Master of Sciences degree in Mathematics, Wayne went on to work as a scientist working in the aerospace industry. After 7 years, he decided to attend medical school. He joined the Army and served 25 years on active duty which took him to live in many different states around the country. Upon his retirement, Wayne went on to serve another 10 years in the US Army Medical Command’s Civilian Corps. In addition to patient care, Wayne completed his Army career as the Director of Medical Education at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Hood, TX.

After eventually settling in Texas, Wayne discovered the PBS television series “Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew. Through trial and error and his own experiments with “The All New Square Foot Gardening” method, Wayne knew this was a method of gardening that could be done no matter where in the country he lived or what the soil conditions. After becoming a Master Gardener with advanced training in vegetable gardening, Wayne did a comparison study on 6” depth vs 12” depth of Mel Mix resulting in a 1st place recognition in the research category in the Texas Master Gardener Association’s Search for Excellence Awards Program.

Wayne is currently a top Certified Square Foot Gardening Instructor, an Administrator for the Square Foot Gardening Foundation’s social media groups with over 70,000 active members, and an expert in the Square Foot Gardening Method. With his background in medicine, science and gardening, he is a sought-after speaker for several county Master Gardener Associations in TX, and at the Mother Earth News Fair where his expertise on Square Foot Gardening is well received. Wayne lives in TX with his wife Nancy and continues his experiments in his home garden, and he is ready to help others with their SFG goals.

Rick Bickling

Rick Bickling is a Certified Square Foot Gardening Instructor and Master Gardener in Austin, Texas. He has been practicing The Square Foot Gardening Method since 2011 when he built and installed 12 SFG beds on an old concrete basketball court in his backyard to create his “Court-yard Garden.”

In 2015 Rick was recognized by PBS Television Host P. Allen Smith as one of his top Garden Writers. He has also been featured on the PBS television show Central Texas Gardener.

Rick has been writing about gardening for local newspapers and The How Do Gardener™ website since 2011 and creating YouTube videos about gardening since 2018. In 2020 Rick partnered with The Square Foot Gardening Foundation to create a series of 21 exclusive educational videos about Square Foot Gardening for The Square Foot Gardening Foundation OFFICIAL YouTube Channel and to be used in the SFG Certified Instructor curriculum.

Rick has the unique ability to present research-tested horticultural information in a clear, concise, yet thoroughly engaging manner to audiences around the world.

Rick developed a love of gardening as a boy while planting gardens, trees and shrubs with his father and grandfather. After spending 30 years in the IT industry with companies such as IBM, Price Waterhouse, Applied Materials, and Nielsen Media Research, Rick now enjoys planting, growing, learning, and spending time with his wife in their Square Foot Garden.

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