By Christy Bassett, Caro Roszell and Jason Valcourt
This month we welcomed Pampi, Ashley Kenney and Nora Weaver to the NOFA/Mass team.
Pampi, Public Relations Coordinator
Pampi joins the NOFA/Mass communications team with 20 years of experience in publications, social media and event management.
A 20+ year newcomer-settler of Turtle Island (currently in residency on Pennacook / Sokoki territory), Pampi is a nonbinary second-genx casteD-Bengali culture worker who plays at the intersection of healing and popular education. As an expressive artist and dedicated community worker, they use poetry, dance and community gardening to encourage people to shift the way that they look at the earth, and the soil, and how it holds us.
Pampi is a founding member of Neighborhood Grow Plan, established in the spring of 2020. The program supports families who rent property in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan to grow food where they live. With a special focus on supporting immigrant families, Neighborhood Grow Plan helps renters understand their rights regarding land use and builds a sustainable liberatory future through community building and growing food.
Publications that Pampi has contributed to for Neighborhood Grow Plan include “Never Too Late to Grow: Late Season Growing: Intro to Container Gardening,” part of a zine teaching tool for their “Grow or Die” series, and also published in Plants and Poetry Journal (link to chapbook at bottom of page. Print, slit and fold.)
They are dedicated to the great work of liberation through food sovereignty and the struggle for living wage by reclamation of unskilled work as in fact so very skilled and essential.
The following poem is from Spring 2016 after they began (finally) putting their hands into the earth through landscaping:
It’s only been a few months
Only really a month since I could smell the soil I’m working
and already I’m looking at people differently
now I see every person as a fruiting tree walking about
Our veins our roots
Our skin the earth
Our eyes flowers
Our noses the fruits
Our mouth our ears foliage
hair as blossoming vines
some of us are most definitely sick
most in fact
because too many of us are removed somehow
no longer close enough to the salty earth
the place where our meadow feet used to ground
You can join Pampi at their upcoming virtual workshop at the 2021 NOFA/Mass Winter Conference titled “We Come Together,” Diasporic Herbal Transmission Workshop, a reclamation of food medicine as diasporic people through research, practice and togetherness.
Look for Pampi’s strong and kind presence behind our social media pages and community outreach work, beginning this month.
Ashley Kenney, Conference Workshop Coordinator
Ashley Kenney comes to NOFA/Mass with nearly a decade of experience in produce management, food justice education, and sustainability. As the Garden Manager and Sustainability Coordinator at Grace Farms in New Canaan, Connecticut, she led the Living Sustainably and Growing Community programs and helped put together the Regional Convening for Sustainable Development in 2018. Her energy and organizing skills are just what the doctor ordered for our conference workshop programs.
Prior to Grace Farms, she was the consultant for the Jane Goodall Permaculture Garden at Western Connecticut State University and led a four-part female farmer lecture series “Farm for Yourself.”
For the past two years, Ashley has been the Winter Conference Coordinator for CT NOFA. She and her family run Little Spring Farm in Northwest Connecticut. We are excited to have her farming and organizing experience as part of our team. The Winter Conference planning is well underway and Ashley is already putting the pieces together for our first virtual Winter Conference in January.
Ashley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries about presenting at the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference and NOFA Summer Conference.
Nora Weaver, NOFA Tri-State Bulk Order Coordinator
NOFA/Mass is thrilled to welcome Nora Weaver to our staff!
Nora brings extensive administrative, marketing, agriculture and customer service experience to the Bulk Order. In addition to this role, Nora currently works at Many Hands Organic Farm as a Marketing Hand (where she writes newsletters and manages the farm’s social media) and manages sponsorships for The Natural Farmer. In addition to all those roles, Nora and her husband Jesse are parents to their daughter Hazel, who is turning six this December.
Nora is originally from the east end of Long Island where she “grew up surrounded by potato farms” but she received her education in the UK; she holds a Master’s of Science in Cities, Space and Society from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts from the University College Dublin. In 2012, she attended the Learn to Farm Program at The Farm School in Athol, MA. The Farm School team was “looking for someone to stay on after graduation to help out with the last few weeks of the CSA and Farmer’s Market season,” and Nora was selected. But a few weeks turned into seven years, and to a variety of marketing and programmatic duties. “The days were on the long side, but I looked forward to each one,” she says.
Nora is excited about helping to address the current need for agricultural and gardening supplies as growers—from new gardeners to experienced farmers—increase their production to meet rising interest in demand in local, distributed food systems and products. Nora hopes that the Bulk Order will help with the accessibility of supplies for all scales of growers in the three states we serve.
“Having managed the washing and packing side of a veggie operation, I have Very Strong Feelings about packaging materials and crates,” she says, smiling. “What I’m most excited about for this coming season is trying out some of the AEA (Advancing Eco Agriculture) products on my home garden. I have been really blown away by the veggies that Julie grows at Many Hands Organic Farm, and knowing that she is a dedicated user of their products is inspiring me to see what impact they have on my modest garden.”
Right now, Nora is busy soliciting price lists and firming up next year’s distribution site details, and also planting her favorite crop to grow: “Garlic. The end of the season is always so bittersweet, and I like the hopeful feeling of planting it in October when so much else in my garden has been laid to rest. I also really enjoy thinking about it from time to time over the long, cold, dark days of winter, how it’s biding its time out there under the mulch, tucked in and cozy, waiting until the time is right to start growing in earnest again.”
We hope that you’ll spend your winter happily reflecting on the cloves you’ve planted this fall—whether literally or metaphorically— to set you up for springtime, and that you come see what Nora has in store for you at the nofabulkorder.org this January to get the most out of your 2021 growing season!