The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

Growing Organically Since 1982

2015 Mentorship Profiles

Seven beginning farmers are participating in the 2015 NOFA/Mass Beginning Farmer Mentorship Program.  Below you can learn more about their backgrounds, their farms and their experiences in the Mentorship Program.

elena coleman 2015 menteeElena Colman
Farm Name:
Crooked Row Fields
Farm Location:
Concord, MA
Years Farming:
9
Mentor:
Tim Laird of the Food Project, Lincoln, MA
About:
Elena has been farming veggies since 2006. She is currently in her third year of managing and co-owning Crooked Row Fields, a 4 acre farm in Concord, MA. She and her partner grow a wide variety of vegetables and cut flowers during the summer, but her true passion is season extension. Last winter she crawled through low tunnels harvesting greens in January, and this year she hopes to grow year-round by using 2 high tunnels and low tunnels. If she could get away from the farm, she would like very much to be hiking.

 

anna kelchin 2015 menteeAnna Kelchin
Farm Name: Waltham Fields Community Farm, Assistant Grower
Farm Location:
Anna and her husband are currently looking for farm land in Eastern Mass/South Shore
Years Farming:
5
Mentor: Chris Kantlehner of White Barn Farm, Wrentham, MA
About:
  Anna Kelchlin is an organic vegetable farmer, youth educator, and environmentalist advocating for whole health for all beings.  She grew up in Minnesota on a hobby farm and has always been deeply interested in preserving the natural world.  Anna spent one year at Gaining Ground in Concord growing vegetables for donation and learning maple sugaring.  She is now in her third season farming at Waltham Fields Community Farm as an assistant grower.  She has worked with Groundwork Somerville, teaching in their Schoolyard Garden Programs and recently finished her Masters in Education studying farm-based education through the arts with a focus on food justice.  She also studies Iyengar yoga with the intention to teach and help prevent future health issues for lower income communities and to heal others who are suffering from various illnesses and injuries.  Anna loves to work with people from all walks of life.  She wants to work toward food justice and promote heart healthy living!

 

peter wackernagel 2015 menteePeter Wackernagel
Farm Name:
Pineapple Island Experiment Station
Farm Location:
Turners Falls, Gill and Greenfield
Years Farming:
4
Mentor:
Daneil Botkin, Laughing Dog Farm, Gill, MA
About: Pete was raised in Vermont where the Green Mountain State's working landscape had a huge affect on his aesthetic sense and creative drive. Pete developed an interest in organic agriculture while at Clark University. During a year's leave from school he spent part of the time volunteering on farms in Hawaii where he could not have avoided falling in love with the island agrarian lifestyle. Since then he has spent time working in a reforestation project in South India, maintaining Boston's Olmsted-designed park system, and for the last four years has been dedicated to farming. Pete's farm, Pineapple Island Experiment Station, is an exploded hobby farm with sites in Turners Falls, Gill, and Greenfield. It was started with the support and enthusiasm of the Five Eyed Fox, the Turners Falls cafe where Pete sometimes works as a barista. The project is based on idealistic beliefs and its goals are to recover lost land, to improve it without the use of industrially processed products, and to create good will. Pete farms in order to have lunch and can reliably be found unconscious beneath the soft pines for 30 minutes thereafter.

 

anna muhammad 2015 menteeAnna Muhammad
Farm Name:
SEED
Farm Location:
Springfield, MA
Years Farming:
6
Mentor: Kristen Brennen and Daniel Staub of Marlborough Street Farm, Springfield, MA
About:
Anna manages a 1/4 acre urban garden that she has been growing over the past 6 yeras.  Right now she grows enough to feed her household and sell what is left over.  Anna also works with a youth organization in Springfield, MA that specializes in urban agriculture.  Annas long term goal is the farm full time. 


Sara Tower
Farm Name:
New Lands Farm, Farm Manager
Farm Location:
Westfield, MA
Years Farming:
6
Mentor:
Daniel Botkin, Laughing Dog Farm, Gill, MA
About:
Sara interned for several seasons part time from 2088-2011 on a small 3-acre homestead farm and other small vegetable farms.  She managed the student garden at Gettysburg College (PA).  She worked a full season on a 1 acre CSA farm in Pennsylvania in 2012 then began working full time at New Lands Farm in WEst Springfield, MA as the market coordinator, training new and experienced refugee and immigrant farmers on growing and marketing vegetables in MA.  Sara assisted farmers in launching a new farmstand and CSA which reached 25 members in 2014.  Her responsibilities at New Lands Farm include program coordination, farm management, crop planning, soil building, post harvest handling and accounting/market management.


Robert Friedman
Farm Name:
Robariah Farm
Farm Location:
South Deerfield, MA
Years Farming:
10
Mentor:
Julie Rawson, Many Hands Organic Farm, Barre, MA
About:
For the past three years Robert has owned and operated a small-scale poultry farm. He and his partner specialize in pastured, kosher chicken for meat. In 2014 they raised and sold about 1,000 chickens to retail and wholesale customers.  Prior to this, Robert worked on several livestock farms, especially goat dairies, ranging from 10-200 head operations. In 2004 I attended Adamah, an organic farming fellowship in Connecticut at the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center. From there I worked at Serenbe Farms Organics in Georgia and in Israel at kibbutz's large goat dairy.


Giulio Caperchi
Farm Name:
TBD
Farm Location:
Rutland, MA
Years Farming:
1
Mentor:
Liz Joseph, Heifer International, Rutland, MA
About:
Whilst growing up in Italy, Guilio helped both his Grandmother and his father tend their 1 acre respective parcels.  They grew mostly vegetables.  He recently purchased a 5 acre farm in Rutland, MA which he hopes to culitave into a healthy, productive, organic farm.  He plans to grow and sell fruits and vegetables, and produce value added products inspired by Italy.

 


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