Board of Directors & Staff

Gaining Ground is managed by an active Board of Directors whose members represent diverse backgrounds in the arts, business, law, education, human services, public relations, and community activism.

Board of Directors

Sue Mildrum, President
Lisanne Wheeler, Vice President
Sigmund Correa, Treasurer
Kristen Van Damm, Secretary

Catherine (Katie) Bekel
Amy Capofreddi
Christa Collins
Shilpi Tanden Desai
Laurie Engdahl
Jen Flint
Sam Hiersteiner
Karen Perkins
Ashley Perssico
Yvette Philip
Joe Rigali, Emeritus
Lucy Rosborough, Emeritus
Polly Vanasse


We are fortunate to have talented farm and office staff to manage our day-to-day operations. Currently, we have seven year-round employees including a director of agriculture, two farm co-managers, an executive director, an operations director, a volunteer and outreach manager, and a communications and development manager. For the 2024 growing season we also have three assistant growers, two field crew members, and a groundskeeper.

Kari Bender
Farm Co-Manager

Kari (she/her) loves working in the soil and with plants in all of their forms. She enjoys crafting plants into teas, wreaths, salves, and dyes and bringing the harvest home in all of its diverse forms. Sharing this wonder and magic of plants and the outdoors energizes Kari and drives her belief that green spaces need to be more equitably accessible. Kari is grateful to be working alongside an amazing team, tending land, growing food, and working with partners towards a common vision of a just food system.

Dani Capalbo
Communications & Development Manager

Dani joined Gaining Ground in 2022, having first learned about the farm during an E-Mass CRAFT workshop. At the time, she was enjoying a life-changing harvest apprenticeship at Siena Farms—her first foray into agriculture after more than 10 years in the nonprofit sector. Now she feels exceptionally lucky to combine her passions for capacity-building, storytelling, and growing food into one role at this beautiful farm! Dani’s interest in local food has roots in her childhood, when she helped her grandfather tend his urban garden. Dani is also a chef instructor for Take Back the Kitchen at Haley House. She enjoys baking sourdough, writing songs, and cooking for loved ones.

Mark Congdon
Director of Agriculture

Born and raised in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Mark(he/him) joined Gaining Ground as our first Director of Agriculture in 2023. He received his two years of farmer training as a farmer’s apprentice at Caretaker Farm in Williamstown. Mark continued to grow as a farmer managing Saltbox Farm in Concord for 9 years and then Honey Nut Farm in Hopkinton prior to bringing his experience here to Gaining Ground. He is excited for the opportunity to direct Gaining Ground’s expansion onto newly leased land in the Minuteman National Historical Park. Mark loves to travel and experience unique plant life all over the world. He also enjoys hiking, meditation, supporting local farmer’s markets, and being part of a food movement that brings sustainable agriculture to local communities.

Chrissie Edgeworth
Farm Co-Manager

Chrissie (she/her) enjoys studying the intersections of food, ecology, community, justice, and creativity through farming. Originally from Chicago, she has worked outdoors since 2016 and is grateful for the opportunity to work with the land and the GG team for her fourth season here. Chrissie has learned alongside many skilled farmers, field ecologists, environmental educators, community organizers, and land stewards over the last decade through trail work, outdoor education, farming, and volunteering. When she isn’t on the farm, she loves playing basketball, traveling to friends, seeing live music, hiking, and running her earring shop, Ramblejoy Jewelry Co.

Allison Goodwin
Operations Director 

Allison (she/her) joined Gaining Ground in 2017. A farm field trip in third grade sparked her lifelong passion for sustainable agriculture, connecting to the land, and increasing equitable access to fresh, healthy food. She has worked on organic farms throughout the United States as well as in Wales, Ireland, Thailand and Australia. Allison currently directs Gaining Ground’s operations including partnerships and produce distributions. She worked previously at Chelsea Green Publishing and at several environmental non-profits, and holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Marlboro College in Vermont. In her free time, Allison enjoys gardening, hiking, and spending time with beloved family and friends.

Avery Indermaur
Volunteer and Outreach Manager

Avery is grateful to be returning to Gaining Ground for her fourth season. She joined the field crew in 2021, shortly after graduating from Duke University with a major in environmental science, minor in cultural anthropology, and a certificate in sustainability engagement. Avery is passionate about the connection between wellness and sustainability, particularly through food and farming. She loves sharing this passion with volunteers on the farm, whether it is by doing fieldwork, packing and distributing food at the Food for Families market, or giving educational tours or presentations. Teaching volunteers and visitors about what we do and why we do it and experiencing the joy and excitement of this work alongside them is one of her favorite parts of her job. When she’s not in the field or the office, you can find her doing yoga, walking everywhere, dancing, baking, or tucked in a coffee shop with a good book.

Jennifer Johnson
Executive Director

Jennifer is passionate about equitable access to healthy food and the healing power of nature. She’s found her dream job at Gaining Ground and loves working with Gaining Ground’s staff, board, volunteers, and partners to grow food and grow community. She earned a degree in communications from Boston University and completed the in-residence Business for Impact program at Georgetown University. Jennifer began her career in marketing communications before pivoting to non-profit development and management. Outside of work you’ll most likely find her making soup, sharing her love of Dolly Parton, or sitting around a campfire with friends and family. She lives with her family in Concord and enjoys reading, running, hiking, gardening, and kayaking.

Madison Latiolais
Field Crew Member

Madison is a Louisiana native who grew up tending to gardens with her family in South Louisiana. She is passionate about sustainable agriculture practices and is particularly interested in how local organic gardening can sustain communities. Her time spent volunteering with native plant programs at home sparked her interest in native and sustainable planting, a passion she has carried with her ever since. Madison is excited to share her enthusiasm for organic gardening with volunteers this season and to learn from those around her. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her Labrador retriever, making jewelry, traveling, and cooking with friends.

Ava Lublin
Assistant Grower

Ava began volunteering at Gaining Ground in 2017 and has been in love with farming ever since. This is her fourth season on the farm crew, and she is grateful to return to the vibrant, joyful community here. Ava studied agroecology and food systems at the University of Vermont. She is eager to learn more about how we can build sustainable, reciprocative relationships with the land to promote health and justice for people and the environment. In her free time, Ava loves to dance, hike, read, write, and spend time with her dog and two cats.

Geoff Nelson

Geoff has a long interest in farming and helping those experiencing food insecurity. He works at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln and volunteers at the Acton Food Pantry. He earned a degree in visual communications (photography and graphics) and worked for a small publication firm before shifting his focus to outdoor education. After working at an outdoor education center in Virginia, he worked as an exhibit designer and property manager at Discovery Museum in Acton. He lives in Maynard with his wife and son. When not working, you can find him cooking, taking photos, reading, hiking, surfing, biking, and gardening.

Zoe Tallmadge
Field Crew Member

Zoe (she/they) is excited to be starting her second farming season in the greater Boston area and their first season at Gaining Ground! She learned about Gaining Ground her first week in Boston while visiting with the Boston Area Gleaners, where she was lucky enough to be apprenticing at the time. Zoe was born and raised in North Carolina, and feels that Food  and Water Justice and the way that they have affected the South has always been a big part of her life. She finds joy in connecting with the land and through that finding connection with herself and other people. She has loved the way that farming has expanded her ability to do this since graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2023 with a degree in sustainability and the environment and a minor in Social and Economic Justice. In their free time you can find them biking, reading, practicing yoga, collaging, cooking with friends, or enjoying the sun from the comfort of a hammock.

Rachael Walton
Assistant Grower

Rachael is excited to be starting her sixth season farming and her second season at Gaining Ground. Rachael grew up in Arizona but has lived in Concord since middle school, and feels very lucky to have moved to a place with such a vibrant farming community — which helped her discover her love for farming early on. While gaining her degree in Agroecology at the University of Vermont, she spent her summers working on farms in Concord and learning about local food systems. She is inspired and driven by the belief that our food systems can and must be both environmentally sustainable and also equitable and just for every person involved in that food system. She is excited to continue her work at Gaining Ground and do her part in making sustainable and just food systems possible. When she isn’t farming, Rachael loves to hike, read, crochet, and bake lots and lots of sourdough bread.

Maddie Weikel
Assistant Grower and Education Coordinator

Maddie (she/they) joined the Gaining Ground team in 2023 after three-ish growing seasons learning about organic, no-till systems at a different farm in the area. Maddie finds joy and power in farming and believes that connection to land offers us tools for dismantling systems of harm and for building the world that we want to live in. Maddie believes deeply that we all have a role to play in the work to overturn the current dominant food system, and that it is our duty to take care of each other and of the land. Since graduating from New York University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and environmental studies, Maddie’s farming journey has moved alongside a journey to more deeply connect with Judaism. Maddie is inspired by the many lessons that ever-evolving Jewish tradition has to share about liberatory land stewardship, and vice versa. When not out in the fields, you can find Maddie making to-do lists, crafting, roasting vegetables, yelling, vacuuming, and sharing meals with friends.