Farmer Spotlight: Sarah Lichtman

Image of Sarah harvesting chard

Our July newsletter offers us a great opportunity to check in with Field Crew Member Sarah Lichtman, who now has a couple months with us under her belt this summer. We’re grateful to have Sarah with us for the 2022 season, and to introduce her to the whole Gaining Ground community.

Where is home? How did you find your way to Gaining Ground?

I grew up in Midland, Michigan. I have always loved being outdoors; I spent much of my youth gallivanting around a horse farm and its surrounding woods, and my college years involved a lot of hiking. When I moved to the Boston area for work in 2014, my search for outdoor activities and ways to give back to my community led me to the volunteer program at Waltham Fields Community Farm. I enjoyed many Saturdays there—planting and weeding and learning—and I missed it greatly when the program took a pause in 2020-2021. 

Then Anna, who previously worked with me at Waltham, sealed my fate by encouraging me to come check out Gaining Ground last year. It felt so wonderful to have my hands in the dirt again and to feel a sense of purpose and impact in the midst of a particularly chaotic time in my work life.

Where did your interest in farming come from?

I started with an interest in growing my own food, a few library books, and a small apartment garden plot. That led me to an interest in food systems, a lot more library books, and volunteering at farms. Electrical engineering is the field I studied in college and practiced at work for eight years, but food and farming has struck a chord in me. After a lot of soul-searching and decision matrices, I decided to make the leap into full-time farming. Having hands-in-the-soil experience with different farm tasks sparks my curiosity and deepens my enjoyment in learning about the related ecology, biology, and economics of food production—and vice-versa!

Image of Sarah washing greens and of Sarah hauling buckets of compost

What is a favorite dish that you like to make or eat?  

I love making (and eating!) strawberry freezer jam. I fondly remember making it with my mom and grandma as a child, and the distance between us feels a little shorter through this shared ritual.

What is the strangest farm job you’ve ever had to do?

I think that “braiding” remay is a weird one. I do a lot of fiber crafts, and I’ve been knitting really fine lace lately, so it feels funny and fun to make a crochet chain that is as thick as my torso.

Do you have a favorite farm project/task/duty? What do you like about it?

I really enjoy trellising cucumbers and tomatoes. It’s an almost meditative task. It’s a nice opportunity to observe how these plants grow, and to notice the changes as the season and pest situation progresses.

Any hobbies or interests outside of work that you’d care to share? 

I am a woman of many hobbies. Lately, I’ve been especially enjoying reading, knitting, and playing my ukulele. In different seasons, I also enjoy sewing, weaving, hiking, baking, and fixing broken electronics. The song “Sun, Flood, or Drought” from the Avett Brothers has been sticking in my head recently.