By Francie Lin, GFN Writer-in-Residence I think everyone would rather forget the early pandemic days…
Grow Food Northampton welcomes three TerraCorps-AmeriCorps members for the 2017-2018 service year. Ellena Baum, Heather Smokler, and Kathryn Holmberg will serve the Northampton community to strengthen the local food system.
Ellena Baum is serving as the Land Stewardship Coordinator. Ellena is from the Catskill Mountains of New York, and she first came to the Pioneer Valley to attend Smith College. Since graduating with a degree in Engineering and Environmental Science, she has traveled near and far to be a part of cooperative land trusts, ecological building projects, and nature immersion programs in the valley and beyond. After teaching last year with a regenerative agriculture initiative in the Peruvian Amazon, and eating all the mangoes she could get her hands on, she is happy to be back in the area growing food, teaching, and contributing to the food access initiatives of Grow Food Northampton. Ellena is busy at work with the community in the Giving Garden.
Heather Smokler is serving as the Youth Education Coordinator. From her first experience working in a community garden in North Philadelphia, she was amazed at the ability of community gardens to bring people together, build community, connect people to the earth and change our relationship to food. She has spent the last four years working at community gardens around the country. As an Oberlin alumna with a degree in Comparative American Studies, she is always looking for different models to empower communities and is so excited to learn and grow with Grow Food Northampton. Heather has been running field trips for local public elementary school students to learn about farms and planning classroom workshops for the winter.
Kathryn Holmberg is serving as the Community Engagement Coordinator. Kathryn received her degree in Environmental Studies focusing on Ecology and Conservation from the University of Vermont. During her time at UVM, she traveled to the Dominican Republic, Oakland, and Ecuador where she learned about and participated in community gardening and agroecology projects. She also apprenticed and worked on small-scale vegetable farms around Vermont. Since college, she has worked in herbal medicine, cooperative business management, and farm education. She is excited to support the mission of Grow Food Northampton to promote food security by advancing sustainable agriculture. Kathryn is currently working on community outreach and the food access program evaluations.
The TerraCorps program works at the intersection of urban agriculture, land conservation and revitalization movements to create a future where land is the foundation of health and well being for all people. We would like to thank last years TerraCorps-AmeriCorps members: Diego Irizarry-Gerould who served as the Land Stewardship Coordinator, Katie Carr who served as the Community Engagement Coordinator, and Caroline Rosa who served as the Youth Engagement Coordinator. We appreciate all their hard work and the foundation they created for this years members. We look forward to continue the good work and for a productive year!