How did you get into farming?
It started off by applying to a seasonal position at a nonprofit out of college, I loved it and ended up staying there for nine seasons. That was my real start to it, I just sort of got hooked after that.
Where was that?
That place was called The Food Project, at their location in Lincoln, Massachusetts, and then I did a bunch of things between then and going back to Food Project at another of their farms on the North Shore. That’s where I was before The Trustees, I was managing the vegetable operations there, having spent years working at and managing other farms around Massachusetts and New England. While I was managing the vegetable farm, I also worked with teenagers in their youth development program.
In terms of your work on the farm, what are you most passionate about?
I personally am passionate about food and healthy food. That’s the end point of it, so I love growing food, it’s an amazing thing and it’s essential. I love the idea of, at the end of the day, being able to eat a meal that has food that I have helped to grow.
What is your area of expertise?
I’ve worked at farms that really incorporate volunteers and youth, so involving other people in the farm practice who might not be farmers is something that I really enjoy. I feel like I can really engage them and get things done that need to happen with them. Engaging with people in farm work is something that I enjoy.
What is your typical day?
Everything right now is different because I am actually farming. Last year, I wasn’t really farming as much, I was working with the farmers, supporting them, maybe stepping in as needed. This season is different because I am managing land and planting and growing. At this point, about half of my week is either managing land or distribution or setting up for the CSA at Chestnut Hill Farm, and the rest of my time is spent doing everything related to supporting the farm managers at the other five properties, the vegetable managers as well as the livestock managers, making sure things are on track with them, everything is going well with their crews, making sure they are all supported. Next year will be different, we’ll have a farm manager at Chestnut Hill.
What will your job be like then? How do you envision it?
I think it’s evolving, there’s always different projects, different things coming up. We are focusing on soil health and starting to explore regenerative agriculture and now have an agroecologist on our team, so there are a lot of possibilities to think about. As a team, we are thinking about what we can be doing, what are the next steps and other projects and interests we can start to explore.
In those projects, you’re involved both at the property level but also with the bigger picture statewide agriculture initiatives and projects?
All of the farm managers oversee the details of each farm and the CSAs, and the mobile market manager does that for the mobile market. My role is in between those folks working on the ground and Jennifer Core, Director of Agriculture, who is driving the overall vision of the program for the organization. I am in both of those worlds.
What’s the most challenging or exciting part of that role?
I love going to the different properties on a regular basis. Our team right now is so dedicated and skilled and to be able to see that, being able to see the changes that are physically happening on the farm week to week, I love that piece of my work. It’s really about connections and realizing that all of these farms are part of the same organization. It’s rare for an organization to have this many farms. I’ve never seen or heard of it anywhere else.