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.

Currently, Gaining Ground has five year-round employees—a farm manager and an assistant farm manager, who direct our farm operations and work directly with volunteers; an executive director, who directs the organization and coordinates fundraising; a project manager, who directs community outreach, events, and communications; and a program manager, who handles development, recipient and volunteer programs, as well as general office functions. Four field crew members work seasonally.


Board of Directors

Elisabeth Elden, President
Polly Vanasse, Vice President
Gary Vilchick, Treasurer
Jen Flint, Secretary

Penny Austen
Amy Capofreddi
Theresa Cohen
Christa Collins
Nick Ferbert
Jessica Huddy
Lauren McKown
Sue Mildrum
Gretchen Nelson
Karen Bechtel Perkins
Joe Rigali, Emeritus
Lucy Rosborough, Emeritus
Linda Booth Sweeney
Lisanne Wheeler



Jennifer Johnson, Executive Director

Jennifer joined Gaining Ground as Executive Director in March 2020. She worked previously as Development Director of The Clubhouse Network, and as Director of Development and Outreach at The Nature Connection. She is committed to her community and serves as an Allocations Committee Team Lead for the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest, on the stewardship and planned giving committees at Trinity Church in Concord, and on the development committee for ThinkGive.  Jennifer earned a B.S. degree from Boston University and completed the in-residence Business for Impact program at Georgetown University. She lives with her family in Concord, MA where she enjoys reading and actively exploring the outdoors.

Doug Wolcik, farm manager

“Each spring you have a brand new canvas to paint that picture you’ve been thinking about all winter. You put those pieces together throughout the spring, summer, and fall. As it all comes together, it’s truly an amazing thing.”

Doug has been growing our no-till regenerative farming program since 2013. He also leads workshops at the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA) conference, hosts a farm tour for the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT), and heads a three-year research project on no-till farming practices in conjunction with NOFA and the USDA.

Hannah Lawson, assistant farm manager & volunteer coordinator

“I am honored to be returning for another year; for both the people and the land in which we farm. I am eagerly anticipating the chance to learn about how we can continue to protect and care for the land, and how we can continue to push ourselves to grow food in the most sustainable manner.”

Hannah is a steady, deeply grounded farmer with a love of produce and flowers—and a real gift for scheduling our 2,500 annual volunteers.

Allison Goodwin, program manager

“It’s an honor to work alongside wonderful colleagues in the Gaining Ground office and occasionally to join our talented farmers and volunteers out in the fields. I am excited for another season of growth and giving!”

Allison’s role is critical to all that happens here at the farm. She worked previously at Chelsea Green Publishing in Vermont, has worked on several organic farms in the US and abroad, and holds a degree in environmental studies.

Fan Watkinson, outreach manager

“Each season is an evolving patchwork of vibrant plants and people, where giving and receiving, learning and growing, working and playing are all intertwined. Such joy and wonder.”

An active member of the local agricultural community, Fan has overseen Gaining Ground’s outreach, recipient, and volunteer programs since 2014.