Entirely Run by Volunteers


Dr. Jacqueline Ehlert-Mercer

Dr. Jacqueline Ehlert-Mercer is a registered dietitian, nutrition educator, author and researcher who has practiced and taught nutrition for 26 years.

She practiced for most of that time in her native Canada. She taught nutrition in the faculty of dentistry at the University of Western Ontario, the nursing program at Columbia University Teacher’s College, and the master’s of nutrition program at Montclair State University. She is currently a research fellow and an adjunct professor at Ramapo College.

Dr. Ehlert-Mercer is the founder of the Ramapo College’s first edible garden at the Havemeyer House where individuals, K-12, college and university students learn nutrition through a living curriculum. The mission of the sustainable edible garden was enhanced with the introduction of beehives in 2011. Since then, the beehives have richly enhanced the edible garden by increasing the pollination of the garden as well as producing honey used in the many events at the Havemeyer House.

In addition to her research interests of the eating and nutrition behaviors of college students, she is also interested in the world of gastronomy and enology. In the late 90’s, Dr. Ehlert-Mercer worked tirelessly to pioneer the philosophy that “nutrition and gastronomy go hand in hand” and, in recognition of her work, she was inducted into Les Dames d’Escoffier society (http://www.ldei.org/) in 1996. 

Les Dames d’Escoffier is a women’s philanthropic organization of leaders in the fields of food, nutrition, fine beverages and hospitality. It is a by-invitation membership, with 2400 members in 43 chapters in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France and Mexico. Dr. Ehlert-Mercer is currently a member of the Les Dames d’Escoffier New York chapter which hosts several food and wine events yearly.

Edible Garden & Bee Hives Intern:

Lukas Zavlek

Lukas is a full-time Ramapo College student majoring in International Studies. His desire is to become an environmental lawyer. To that end, he chose to volunteer at the edible garden to gain hands-on experience of the impact that an edible garden and bee hives have on the community. His love of nature and gardening was shaped by his early exposure to the outdoors. He grew up next to the New Weiss Center nature preserve where he spent all his free time in the summers. His appreciation for the environment was reinforced by his perpetual role as a helper in his mother’s garden.

Through a combination of academic achievements and volunteer endeavors at the Havemeyer Edible Garden & Bee Hives, he hopes to share his passion with other students as well as achieve his desired goal of becoming an environmental lawyer.

Our Founders are also our most ardent volunteers:

Salma Goldstein and Marina Kunkera are among the various volunteer Havemeyer Edible Garden founders who enjoy teaching students healthy cooking at the Havemeyer Edible Garden & Bee Hives. 

Liz Mastrangelo shows Ramapo College and Mahwah High School students how to make salsa.