Douglas Fawcett

Founder/President of the Board

Douglas Fawcett has been farming since he was 10 years old when his family moved to a farm. He and his father, a businessman by day, learned to grow a variety of vegetables and fruits and care for a small menagerie of domestic livestock. In addition, Doug learned beekeeping and has kept successful hives for many years.

Doug is an entrepreneur who, at the age of 25, started his first company in Cleveland — a small marketing and design firm. After 10 successful years in advertising, Doug joined two friends in establishing Kellex Corporation, which today owns and operates two furniture manufacturing facilities in the southeastern United States. He is the company’s chief operating officer.

Doug is also the managing partner of The Rally Group, a real estate holding company that owns and manages residential rental units in the greater Cleveland area. Doug has extensive experience with all aspects of running a business. With partners Anne Melfo and Joe Saponaro, Doug applies his extensive business experience to Cleveland Roots, providing strategic oversight and managing its day-to-day operations.

Doug earned his Bachelor’s of Business from Cleveland State University.

You can reach Doug at

Anne Melfo

Board Member

Anne Melfo has worked in social service and educational roles since 1985. With a Master of Education from Kent State University and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from John Carroll University, she has sought to apply her knowledge to serving those who are most in need in the Greater Cleveland area.

Anne has empowered homeless women and their children by connecting them with counseling, housing and employment resources. She has represented the uninsured and disabled, helping them secure medical coverage and disability benefits. She has also taught computer literacy courses to the elderly, and provided software instruction to county employees, including public school teachers, probation officers and engineers.

Since 2011, Anne has held a seasonal position at a local grower’s farm. She has hands-on experience sorting and preparing seasonal produce — including a variety of tree fruits, tomatoes, green peppers, green beans and potatoes — for market. She also maintains a small flock of laying hens, and is steadily building a customer base for Cleveland Roots products.

You can reach Anne at

Maria Livers

Executive Director

Maria Livers brings more than 20 years of diverse professional corporate and nonprofit experience to Cleveland Roots. She has a consistent track record of utilizing a “Yes, and…” mindset to connect and motivate individuals and organizations in collaborations to achieve positive change. Recognized by others as a person who honors the voice and opinion of all, Maria is most interested in working with partners in service. She looks forward to utilizing these relationships through Cleveland Roots to honor its vision of providing access to healthy food and building a supportive and stronger community for all who live here.

Prior to coming to Cleveland Roots, Maria served as the Executive Director of Lutheran Family Services, a behavioral health agency and subsidiary of Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry. Maria has most recently worked independently as a grant writer and nonprofit and marketing consultant for organizations including LEAD Vision, LLC, World Health Ambassador-USA, Stoffiel Aerospace and others. She also served on the Development team for Cleveland Christian Home and Bridgeway, Inc., nonprofit agencies in support of Cleveland area adults, children and families dealing with mental illness, abuse and neglect. In addition, Ms. Livers is a video production professional and editor, having worked with Gateway Communications Group to create educational, corporate and industrial communications and marketing tools for clients such as GE Lighting, Sherwin-Williams, MetroHealth and many more.

Additionally, she has a passion for and extensive experience in the arts and in events management, having worked in administration and as a performer with The Second City Cleveland, Playhouse Square, Something Dada Improv Comedy Company and The Breen Center for the Performing Arts at St. Ignatius High School.

You can reach Maria at

Jim Vandertill

Greenhouse Educator

Jim is currently a student at Cleveland State University studying in the Levin College of Urban Affairs and The Monte Ahuja College of Business.  He is pursuing a Bachelors of Arts with majors in Environmental Studies and minors in Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development.  In pursuit of collegiate accreditation, Jim has studied the topics of economics, environmental science, public policy, community engagement, grant writing and business operations.  He will be graduating in the spring of 2018 with a degree in Environmental Studies and minors in Sustainable Development and Entrepreneurship.

As a volunteer, Jim has had had the opportunity to observe the application of studies on multiple platforms.  First, he has worked with the national parks and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to restore habitat.  Second, his membership in the American Planning Association (APA) has allowed him to create a broad network in Cleveland.  And, in his second year, he was elected Treasurer of the Cleveland State APA chapter.  Additionally, Jim was selected to represent CSU as one of a five-member team in the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium.  This is an annual regional competition where schools create a business and then have to pitch to investment board.  Finally, Jim interned with the Cleveland Kraut Co. to learn small business marketing and sales.

Jim believes in the values of Cleveland Roots and is looking forward to the opportunity to learn more skills.  He believes his drive to learn and passion for engaging with people will help to offer value to the Greater Cleveland area and beyond. He is eager to bring his expertise to residents in the areas of growing food and hydroponic gardening.

You can reach Jim at

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