Jacob's Digs leverages restaurant industry knowledge and community engagement to execute projects that enhance our local food system, maintain learning gardens, and foster job creation.
Jacob's Pickles is located next door to a verdant garden on the Upper West Side. In conceptualizing the restaurant, restaurateur Jacob Hadjigeorgis envisioned a holistic approach to building community partnerships. As a longtime neighborhood resident inspired by artisanal movements that increasingly define local economic growth, Jacob rejoiced at landing 509 Amsterdam. To celebrate the homecoming and provide gardening resources, Jacob established a complimentary charity, Jacob's Digs.

Dwight School
Urban Assembly School for Green Careers
Neighborhood Discussions
Urban Farming and Food Access
If it wasn't for these great companies and organizations, we could not do anything. This section is dedicated to you in gratitude for your efforts to help our community.
Jacob Hadjigeorgis
Founder, Chief Executive Officer
The son of a restaurateur, Jacob grew up understanding that restaurants should be community gathering places and forces for good. As he searched for his first location, he fell in love with the garden at the corner of West 84th and Amsterdam. "When I first saw the space for Jacob's Pickles, I was immediately drawn to the garden next door. When I learned that the Urban Assembly School for Green Careers (UAGC) managed the garden, and discovered all the good they do for the kids at this school, it was a no-­brainer, I knew I had to contribute," says Jacob. He immediately started offering students internships to develop their entrepreneurial skills while showing first-hand how small businesses operate. Soon after, Jacob's Digs was born.
Harold Villarosa
Filipino born, and South Bronx raised, Chef Harold Villarosa received his earliest agricultural education in the bukid (rice paddies) of Iloilo. Emigrating to America at nine years old introduced Harold to a brave new world; where progressive ideas flourished, but issues like food injustice remained. Fifteen years later, he found himself with an invitation from Rene Redzepi to work at NOMA ​in Copenhagen. Rigorously trained in farm to table cuisine, he steadily ascended the culinary ladder to work for Thomas Keller's Per Se​. Harold now uses his Insurgo Project to ensure that Jacob's Digs reaches urban youth with opportunities that embody the flavors from an international culinary movement.
Joaquin Elizondo
Chief Strategy Officer
Joaquin is a founding member of Insurgo Project. Originally from Berkeley, California, he attended University of California Santa Cruz to concentrate on the nexus between economics and sustainability. As a middle school student in Chef Alice Waters's inaugural Edible Schoolyard Project​, Joaquin learned early on about bridging divides from classroom academics to urban farming. He reconnected with social entrepreneurialism in New York with Fenton Communications and Insurgo, after migrating databases for actuarial teams in San Francisco, and running trial logistics with one of California's top 25 attorneys. Geared toward financial and environmental sustainability for social change, Joaquin manages business development and educational functions at Jacob's Digs.
Pam Abrams
Program Director
Following a distinguished career in publishing, Pam joined the Insurgo Project in 2015 and Jacob's Digs a year later to develop and implement programs for schools, gardens, and other community organizations. Serving in senior positions at Sesame Workshop, Child Magazine, eToys.com, and Scholastic Publishing, Pam wrote, edited, and curated content for parents, children, and educators for more than two decades. She authored seven children's books, produced more than a dozen cookbooks, and has taught culinary classes for kids. Her combined editorial sensibility and passion for food, children, and social justice has led her happily to the doorstep of Jacob's Pickles Digs NY.
Glenroy Brown
Executive Sous Chef
Glenroy is the Executive Chef and creative muse to Jacob at Jacob's Pickles. ​Born in Jamaica, Glenroy moved to the Bronx as a teenager and experimented with his love for cooking by hosting neighborhood dinners in his apartment building. Glenroy's instinct for capturing the flavors and culture of island cuisine led to culinary school, where he met mentors who took a vested and continuing interest in his career path. After working with several of New York's most venerated chefs, including Bobby Flay at Mesa Grill, ​and Danny Meyer at Blue Smoke, ​he found a community and home at Jacob's Pickles. Glenroy features products from the UAGC garden and mentors students from the school in his kitchen.
George Hadjigeorgis
Board Member
George first entered the environmentally conscious business world while harvesting for his grandfather's olive oil press in Cyprus. Generations old, the family brand stood in operation since the late 1800's and continuously supported economic development in the community. The young Hadjigeorgis next transitioned into service and hospitality at a local family coffee shop, before studying hotel and restaurant management in college. Years later, when he arrived in New York, George opened a community style restaurant and stayed committed to service and hospitality by paving the way for his son, Jacob Hadjigeorgis. Today, George is the wise and loving advisor to Jacob's Pickles ​and Jacob's Digs.
Michelle Lawton
Marketing Director and Public Relations
Michelle has lived on the Upper West Side since 1998. She appreciates the history, beauty, parks, and gardens but most of all the people. After a career managing well known food and wine brands, Michelle established a boutique brand consultancy, Joyful Plate. A year later, she met Jacob through the West Side Campaign Against Hunger and was brought on to consult for Jacob's Pickles in 2013. Jacob's vision from the beginning has been to support the garden next to the restaurant. Together, Jacob and Michelle made this dream a reality by creating the Jacob's Pickles Digs NY charity.
Arsham Kamali
Director of Event Operations
Committed to offering a great guest experience at Jacob's Pickles, Arsham's rich history in the service industry inspires every gathering for Jacob's Digs. After working in restaurants as a teenager, and then pursuing a law degree, Arsham realized he wanted to focus his career on a neighborhood business whose management saw the value of being a hub for social good. With a well developed ability to build long term career opportunities for his crew, he excels at identifying talent from the surrounding community. Arsham showcases the team's expertise for hospitality with outstanding events both inside and out of the restaurant.
Emilia Aghamirzai
Creative Media
Emilia is an entrepreneur and video producer who captures every moment of Jacob's Dig's community service with love and care. She quickly realized the growing positive impact that Jacob's Pickles was having on the Upper West Side upon her first introduction to the group, and immediately got involved. In launching her independent film company, FatChix Films, she turned her lense to the vibrant way in which the UAGC garden was coming back to life. Emilia grew up with a family rooted in agriculture and believes that growing crops in the garden helps children live in the moment while decompressing in the midst of our crowded city.
Aphroditi Hadjigeorgis
Director of Community Development
Aphroditi naturally gravitates to the outdoors and connecting with the community. Shortly after Jacob's Pickles opened, she started volunteering in the garden next door to engage with her new neighbors, and quickly became a liaison between the restaurant and students. As a role model for young women seeking to harvest social good, Aphroditi instills every Digs project with positive energy and hope.
Josiph Suero
Head of House Finances
Gleaning her financial and operational efficiency from hedge fund management, it was fate that brought Josiph to the growing Jacob's Pickles team. She not only administers practical business compliance and procedures, but also drives to foster culturally appropriate cooking and healthy eating habits for under served neighborhoods. Josiph is the anchor for the Jacob's Pickles family's values and heart, and works to ensure that we run sustainably.
Seth Borus
Lead Growth Advisor
While strolling through the neighborhood with his wife, Shara, Seth was drawn to the garden next to Jacob's Pickles. Seth is a native New Yorker and entrepreneur at heart who honed his skills for creative business leadership in both tech start-ups and well-established enterprise software companies. Seth specializes in go-to-market business development and sales strategy. He managed global enterprise accounts for Salesforce.com and Oracle. At Oracle specifically, Seth oversaw sales teams for the strategic enterprise accounts under Marketing and Social Cloud based offerings. With strong problem-solving and communication skills, and a proven ability to create and manage revenue, Seth provides insight and guidance to the Jacob's Digs business and fundraising processes.
Shara Perlman Borus
Program Manager
Shara works at the nexus of youth led projects and the natural world. Her practice, Mindful Consulting LLC, specializes in programming, staffing, and community engagement for not-for-profits and youth organizations throughout North America. She is an Upper West Side resident who takes a hands-on approach to facilitating the evolution of local education through programs like: UJA Federation of New York, Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds, and Bronx is Blooming. As a licensed social worker, outdoors enthusiast, and yoga instructor, she has worked with and mentored hundreds of professionals at camps and Jewish Community Centers. Shara leverages her expertise in youth program design and passion for community involvement to continuously refine the Jacob's Digs curriculum and implementation.
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