Gaining Ground’s Star Farm Staff
Our 2018 farm staff includes the familiar faces of Doug Wolcik, Hannah Lawson, and Paula Jordan from last year, along with the new additions of Jared Kimler and Kim Schmidt. Our market intern in Lowell is Wellinton Lantigua. We are so fortunate to have this team growing food, growing community in such an exceptional way this year.
Farm Manager Doug has been building Gaining Ground’s no-till sustainable farming program since 2013. Previously, he spent time farming in Massachusetts and South America after earning a degree in sustainable agriculture and community food systems from the University of Massachusetts-Stockbridge School of Agriculture. Doug has led workshops at the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA) bi-annual conferences, hosted tours for the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) in eastern Massachusetts, and participated as a key panelist on our Hunger Relief from the Ground Up event in March.
Returning for her second season, Hannah has been a tremendous asset as assistant farm manager and volunteer coordinator. She brings experience farming at Appleton Farms and Apple Street Farm on the North Shore of Massachusetts, as well as extensive environmental education work. She is a determined farmer and patient, gifted educator who shares her love of farming with all who volunteer. Be sure to read her insights in her article.
As market manager, Paula works steadily in the fields, at the wash station, and at the Head Start and Food for Families free markets. Paula’s experiences teaching youth and adults of diverse backgrounds makes her the ideal person to liaise with our Gaining Ground communities. She is greeted with large smiles as she engages wholeheartedly with volunteers, partners, and food recipients.
Last summer Jared was farming at Powisset Farm in Dover when he attended the CRAFT tour at Gaining Ground led by Doug and Hannah. He instantly felt at home—and applied for a job that day. He likes the intensive and responsible growing techniques. Soil life and beneficial fungi interest him and he’s overjoyed to know that we foster a healthy environment for these crucial organisms in our permanent beds. In his free time, Jared likes to play music and sing songs about the different herbs and critters of the garden.
Kim has been farming almost eight years while also working at several nonprofits and public service agencies. She moved to New England last July and was pleased to find a place where she could farm and give back in ways that care for and preserve both people and the land.
Kim has enjoyed the range of volunteers and all the large and small ways they contribute, from washing veggies to mowing and maintaining the cleanliness of the farm to working alongside the farmers in daily labor to making snacks for the crew. She has appreciated the collective drive as a team to learn something new either through new varieties or in ways of doing something. And she truly values the work to feed our local communities.
A native of Kansas and Missouri, with no coast in sight, Kim is visiting as many beaches as possible while also exploring parks and green spaces around New England. And as time allows, she enjoys baking and cooking with the seasons, playing with clay, and finding other creative outlets throughout the year.
Wellinton Lantigua, is a sophomore at Lowell Technical High School and our market intern for 2018. His easy and helpful manner with families and young children, interest in learning about vegetables, and ability to multi-task in a sometimes fast paced environment has been a great asset. Wellinton is also bilingual and Spanish-speaking families are happy to converse fluently with him. When not at the market, Wellinton is working at the Lowell Boys and Girls Club as an assistant counselor this summer, riding his bike around town, or playing basketball with friends. His favorite fruit is an apple and he has recently enjoyed our pea pods.
What an inspiring staff!