LIZ COAKLEY, INCUBATOR FARM PROGRAM MANAGER
Liz oversees the Incubator Farm Program, which includes site management, recruitment, coordinating mentorship and trainings, and meeting with farmers. Liz also coordinates Groundswell’s Farm Business Planning Course. Liz moved to Ithaca in 2005, and began working on local vegetable farms. Most recently she managed small vegetable operations at Wood’s Earth Farm and Ithaca Beer Company. You might also recognize her from GreenStar Coop, and the Carriage House Café. Liz is interested in the intersection of organic food grown on financially viable farms, and the accessibility of this high quality produce. When not in the field, Liz can be found hiking with her dogs.
Alexas esposito, Farming & Food Justice Program Coordinator
Alexas develops and coordinates workshop offerings and promotes Groundswell Center's farm and food justice events. Alexas moved to Ithaca in 2008 to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Music Composition at Ithaca College. After graduating, she was quickly absorbed into the community, and embarked on a path of exploration that led her back to the land. For the last few years she has cultivated a deeper relationship with seeds and the land through her traditional indigenous culture. She believes that through a harmonic relationship with nature, we can begin to restore equilibrium, as individuals, and as a human collective. She is also a doula, an herbalism apprentice, and a strong advocate for traditional indigenous culture with her family, who hold workshops and practice traditional indigenous healing modalities through nature, on Connecticut Hill, Newfield, NY.
ELIZABETH GABRIEL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Elizabeth brings experience in nonprofit leadership, sustainable farming and food sovereignty. As founding director of Common Good City Farm, she transformed a baseball field into a productive urban farm and grew the nonprofit from the ground up. Her passion for food production, equitable food access and a collaborative style was seminal to the urban agriculture movement in D.C. Elizabeth holds a dual MA from American University, is a graduate of multiple anti-racism trainings, and serves on the board of the Diversity Consortium of Tompkins County. She can often be found on the small agroforestry farm she runs with her partner Steve, or in the woods with her dogs.
NATALIE HUGHES, FUNDRAISING AND DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
Natalie works to diversify our funding streams through donor management, fundraising events, grant writing, communications, marketing, and exploring new development strategies. Natalie comes to Ithaca from Binghamton, NY where she gained 5 years experience in local food systems development at VINES, managing the city’s network of 10 community gardens, coordinating a teen employment program on an urban farm, and facilitating a gardening workshop series. She graduated from Binghamton University with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. She teaches snowboarding lessons at Greek Peak on weekends through winter, and is a member of Ithaca SURJ and Tompkins County Food Policy Council.
Joanna Green, Founding Director
There would be no Groundswell without Joanna. After over 25 years of working in sustainable agriculture and food systems at Cornell, Joanna recognized an urgent need in the community for beginning farming support that is community-driven, inclusive, and centering of diversity. She took early retirement from Cornell to found Groundswell in 2009, and secured their first multi-year federal funding in 2010 which facilitated curricula creation and establishment of the Incubator Farm. She left Groundswell in 2015 to return to her small farmstead and B&B called Owl Moon Cottage with her husband, Art. She is active with Enfield Valley Grange.