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Our People

Tristan and Melanie Griffin

TRISTAN & MELANIE GRIFFIN

Co-Founder & Executive Director (Tristan)

In 2014, I moved from my home state of Texas to Ohio, and within my first few months in the Buckeye State, I met a beautiful woman from Celina, Ohio. As the story goes, she pursued me until I said yes…couldn’t keep her away from me ;). In May of 2016, we got married and moved into a little one-bedroom apartment in the Akron area. We enjoyed nearly 2 years of peace and quiet, and then our family began to grow. Scout was born in 2018. Tillie and Bingham were born in 2020, and Dawsey was born in 2022. 

 

As for my professional life, I joke about writing a book called, “Climbing Down the Ladder.” I started as an attorney, then became a college football coach, then went into full-time ministry, and now I’m a farmer. I’d say that this was all a part of my plan, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The truth is that I’ve been trying to follow God’s lead since 2015 and that has resulted in an atypical journey.

 

As for Melanie's professional life, she's engaged in the most important profession of all...motherhood! She wrestles and wrangles our four children all day every day and does a darn good job of it. She's also one of the goofiest people you'll ever meet. Oh, and she loves to bake.

 

Everyday is quite an adventure and we’re doing our best to soak it all up. 

ALEX CLAUS

Farm Hand

Alex Claus, age 25, brings a wealth of business education and experience to Farming with Friends. He graduated in December of 2023 with an Associates of Applied Business from Tri-C, where he gained skills in areas of management, marketing, and accounting. He also completed a two-year Business Marketing Technology program through the Medina County Career Center.

 

Alex lives with his parents and has one sister, Natalie. Alex's family is deeply entrenched in their passions. His father manages the engineering department for Systems Seals, while his mother takes care of the home and pursues interests in nature and art.

 

Alex has a wide range of personal interests including global cuisines such as Japanese, Thai, Mexican, and Italian foods. He also loves to travel and has been to Rome and Dublin. Finally, Alex really enjoys are such as pottery and painting.    

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Dillion and Lauren Thompson

DILLON & LAUREN THOMPSON

Board Members

I (Dillon) grew up in Canton, Ohio as the youngest of six children in a homeschooling family. After high school, I attended The University of Akron where I met Lauren, though she made me pursue her for several years before she finally said yes. Today we live in West Akron with our two boys, Noah (2) and Milo (1). After graduating with a degree in Finance, I helped start a small investment holding company. The early years in my career were spent studying for financial exams, but after completing those, I now enjoy spending time reading books, playing board games with Lauren and friends, hunting, and recreating my childhood Lego collection. 

 

I (Lauren) grew up in Bowling Green, Ohio and moved to Akron in 2011 to attend The University of Akron, where I received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work. I am the oldest of nine children, consisting of three biological siblings and five siblings who were adopted through foster care. I am passionate about children and families and started my first dream job out of college at Summit County Children Services. Dillon and I first met when he joined my college small group. I may have said no to him for three years, but after he confessed his love for me on our first date and told me he wanted to marry me, there was no more denying that we were meant to be together! I switched careers to my true dream job and became a stay-at-home mom after the birth of Noah in 2020, shortly followed by Milo in 2022. I love to cook/bake, read books, play board games, and dream about the future with Dillon.

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SAM BRADY

Farm Hand

Hi, I’m Sam! I’m 22 years old. I went to the Medina County Career Center for Animal Care. At home I have a big garden, chickens, and pets. I like how each animal has a different personality. I usually like smaller dogs, but as you can see in the picture, I have a big one! His name is Jeff and he is a Great Dane.

 

I collect crystals and trinkets. Purple crystals, like amethysts or grape agates, are my favorite.

 

I really like working at Farming with Friends, especially packing eggs and learning new things. The people I work with are smart, talkative, and have unique personalities.

GINNETTE SIMKO

Farm Strategist/Farm Hand

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in edible plants. Whether foraging on hikes or growing produce in whatever space is available to me - from potted plants on window sills, to small strips on city lots, to giant suburban backyard gardens - nothing compares to the harvest!

 

I’ve been professionally involved with local agriculture for many years, too, including work with ag-focused nonprofits and adult education programs. Most importantly, I’ve put in time on several local farms, including Black River Organics in Wellington, Second Spring Farm in Grafton, Old Trail School’s learning farm in Bath, and Cody Grey’s operation at York Meadow Farm in Medina. (Thank you to all of my mentor farmers for your tireless work and commitment!)

 

To me, thriving local food systems are the key to individual and community health and resilience, and I’m thrilled to bring my experience to Farming with Friends! As the parent of an adult child with disabilities and a Hinckley resident, the mission and goals of this organization are especially close to home and close to my heart.

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CALEB & KRISTA CLARK

Board Members

I grew up near Columbus, Ohio and Krista grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio. We met at Kent State University through an on-campus ministry called Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru). In 2014 we started dating and got married on the first day of 2016.  We have completely opposite personalities. Krista is a peacemaker, is more outgoing, and loves being around people. I am highly introverted and people drain me.

 

For many years we struggled through infertility and it was tough, especially when we really wanted kids. God used that season in our lives. We bonded, grew close, and got to spend those years getting to know each other (good sides and bad sides). We have mutual hobbies like board games, hiking through nature, sports, gardening, and serving others.

 

Krista and I have a passion for loving children who have no one to love them. In 2022 we became foster parents. Over the past 2 years, we have had 3 kids placed with us at various times. This has been one of the most challenging, growth-inspiring, and rewarding experiences of our marriage. And if life wasn’t crazy enough, in the summer of 2023 God blessed us with a baby boy named Crew!

Caleb and Krista Clark
Tim and Diana Eames

TIM & DIANA EAMES

Board Chair (Tim) & Board Member (Diana)

Tim and Diana live on the west side of Akron with their 4 children. Together they run a business consulting firm, Custom Consulting Group, and a local non-profit organization, Foundation 59, which  provides one-on-one mentoring as well as academic and financial assistance to competitive junior golfers.

GEOFF & STACEY ZION

Board Members

Geoffrey grew up in Independence, OH and Stacey grew up in Tallmadge, OH. After graduating from college in 2011, Stacey moved back to the Akron area, where she met Geoff at Campus Focus, a young adult ministry at the University of Akron. They married in 2018 and currently live in Akron with their two boys, Hayden and Parker, and their cattle dog, Kip. 

 

Geoff earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Science in Accountancy from the University of Akron. Upon graduation, he began his career with a regional public accounting firm in Northeast Ohio. In 2020, he joined the ranks of Zion, Synek & Associates as a Client Service Manager where he serves a varity of clients in diverse industries through assisting with accounting, tax planning, and tax compliance needs. Geoff also works part-time as the Finance Director for Garden City Church, where he and Stacey attend. 

 

Stacey earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from Ashland University. After graduating, she worked for the Governor of Ohio for several years before leaving to return to Ashland to work for the Ashbrook Center of Public Affairs as a Development Manager. In 2020, Stacey switched careers entirely and currently works part-time as the Administrator for Garden City Church and the most important job of them all... full-time stay at home mom. 

 

Together, they are diehard Cleveland fans and enjoy attending Cleveland Guardians and Akron Rubberducks games. They are both homebodies and love to spend time at home, with their boys, trying to live up to the standards that Bandit and Chili Heeler have set for them as parents (any Bluey fans out there?!). 

 

Geoff and Stacey are excited to be a part of the Farming with Friends family and look forward to serving alongside of many new friends for years to come! 

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