Bio for Marlene van Es

Name: Marlene van Es

Area: 10th Ward

How long have you lived in Lawrenceville? 4 years.

Why did you move to/ stay in Lawrenceville? Drawn to the sense of community, small town feel, number of local businesses, and walkability.

Current Employer/ Job Title: Principal Attorney, Trellis Legal, LLC.

Please list Community Service, Non-Profit, or Board Experience: Current board member of Pennsylvania Farmers Union, helped found a school to school partnership group between school in upstate NY and school in Kenya, agricultural and environmental volunteer projects in Western Kenya, worked for PennFuture for 2 years as law clerk doing environmental litigation work, member of Pittsburgh Food Policy Council (PFPC) and PFPC Urban Agriculture Working Group Subcommittee, Alternate member of Allegheny County Health Department Food Safety Advisory Committee.

What makes Lawrenceville unique? Why? Lawrenceville is a small town within a city. It has a wonderful mix of neighbors born and raised here, small business owners, people moving here, and those who have left and come back. It has a strong sense of community and people dedicated to helping grow the neighborhood and work together. As a small business owner in the neighborhood as well, it has a great network of small businesses and organizations that work to not only grow the local economy but help support each other and the community.

What is was one thing you would like to work on within the neighborhood? Why? I think we need to increase and protect our small business community and community spaces. I would like to work with the community to find ways to have more family friendly and community focused gathering and recreational spaces. These could be both small or large (such as small parklets, social centers, meeting places whether indoor or outdoor) that fosters a safe place and interaction between neighbors. We do not have any sort of community center or public pool in Lawrenceville and providing more opportunities and spaces for community gatherings is an important part of a vibrant community. This is also why I think it goes hand in hand with finding ways to help keep small businesses in lawrenceville as development increases along with rents since small businesses often help support the community as opposed to big box stores.

What LU program or project most interests you? Why? The lawrenceville farmers market because I think connecting to where our food comes from, local farmers, and healthy eating. Because Lawrenceville currently does not have as many healthy fresh food options, it is important that we find ways to best increase access to healthy foods and provide ways for Lawrenceville members to meet and support the people who grow our food.

What is one fun fact that others might be surprised to know about you? I was my high school mascot at basketball and football games and was known for busting a move during half time. Go Bobcats!