As 2017 came to a close, both Francine Royce and Joe Rigali—the vice president and president of the board—approved their final meeting minutes, all-in-favored their last motion, and retired from the board of directors. While these two have been the faces of Gaining Ground to countless volunteers over the years, they have also been the heart and soul of the organization, given the depth of their dedication to the farm and its mission.
We are all excited to welcome Sue Mildrum, senior director of engineering at Constant Contact, as Gaining Ground’s newest board president. Sue’s energy, commitment, and laughter will no doubt lead us to do great things. As a way to introduce Sue to the Gaining Ground community, Executive Director Amy Capofreddi asked Sue a few questions.
I recently attended a lecture at an unnamed old university in Cambridge. (Thoreau dismissed a degree from that school, writing, “Let every sheep keep its skin.”) The professor’s topic was social justice and food activism. One of the messages was that nonprofit hunger relief missions, like ours at Gaining Ground, are misguided and ultimately ineffective. The corollary message was that real change to our agricultural production system and our economic and food inequality will only come from deep policy and structural changes.
On September 24, under sunny skies, 11 cyclists rode for Gaining Ground in the Three Squares New England 6th annual Ride for Food. They raised more than $13,000 to help further Gaining Ground’s mission to grow organic produce and donate it to hunger relief efforts. Five volunteers donated their time by checking in riders, marshaling, and posting on social media.
This fall, we welcome two new youth board members: Matt and Hannah.
This summer the Gaining Ground board welcomed two new talented members, Jen Flint and Polly Vanasse.
Everyone always talks about how high school is such a blur—a crazy, fun, busy blur. Upon graduating, we can confirm this. But there were the days where it all slowed down. On many of these days, we were on the farm.
Join us in welcoming new staff and board members.
For the past six years, Gaining Ground has focused on making our farm more productive. Our efforts have been concentrated on the inputs: soil amendments, a well and irrigation, deer fencing, and a barn. It’s easy to measure the success of those inputs: We have doubled our production to 60,000 pounds of organic produce and welcome over 3,000 volunteers annually to work on the farm.
I hail from the Great American Midwest, near Chicago to be exact, and have always been interested in things agricultural and outdoors, due in part I suppose to having grown up on that rapidly moving boundary between housing and agriculture, as well as having spent summers on my great uncle’s farm in Marengo, Ill. Relocating to New England for college, I continued to be fascinated by gardening. I also made occasional forays into related ventures, such as raising a few turkeys and farming with an antique tractor.
This year Gaining Ground welcomed two talented, hard-working individuals to our Board: Theresa Cohen and Elisabeth Elden.
I have been volunteering at GG for many years with friends and family. This past semester, I attended The High Mountain Institute in Leadville, Colorado, where I learned a lot about sustainability and ways in which one can live a greener life. I hope to bring positive energy to the Board, as well as new ideas on how to integrate the community in Gaining Ground projects. My focus is to involve people my age, and younger, so that the vitality of Gaining Ground will continue as the years go on.