New Board Member Spotlight: Katie Bekel

image of Katie Bekel with a black dog on a hilltop overlook; image of the farm in midsummer

At Gaining Ground, we are grateful for the diverse, insightful, and compassionate voices and perspectives that support and guide the farm. We are thrilled to welcome Katie Bekel to our board of directors and to take this opportunity to learn a bit more about the newest member of the Gaining Ground team.

How did you first learn about Gaining Ground and what made you want to get involved in what the farm does?

I first learned about Gaining Ground as a farmworker while looking for work in the Greater Boston area. In one of my first years farming, I also attended a training workshop at the farm focused on no-till and I became more familiar with the organization as some of my friends and farming colleagues began working at Gaining Ground.

As an experienced farmer, what insights will you bring to your work serving on the farm’s board of directors?

I am really excited to help share the farmworker perspective as the board tackles important decisions for Gaining Ground’s future. I think that I can help the board understand what attracts and retains farmworkers and how to provide fulfilling, long term career opportunities for our farmers. 

Outside of your work on Gaining Ground’s board, where have your professional interests and experiences taken you?

After working on farms for nearly a decade in Massachusetts, I found myself interested in being able to impact policy on a larger scale and I decided to pursue law school. In the US food system, a huge percentage of food is planted and harvested by migrant farmworkers who receive little compensation, despite the fact that their work is so essential. This doesn’t just happen in California and Florida, it also happens in Western Massachusetts and many other places. I am now in my second year at Boston College Law School and I hope in my future work to be an advocate for low wage workers and find greater justice for these workers. 

Where do you call home and what do you enjoy doing with your free time?

I live in Brighton and I am originally from the North Shore of Massachusetts. In my free time I love going for walks and runs along the Charles River, hiking in the White Mountains, and spending time with my family, especially my adorable niece and nephew. 

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