ELIZABETH GABRIEL, 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, Wellspring Forest Farm, or in the woods with her dogs.
Adriana Pickett-Becerra, Business Development & ESL Program Coordinator
Adriana is developing a new ESL and business program component for local aspiring farmers in refugee and immigrant communities. She has several decades of experience working at the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn- the only remaining fully Member owned and operated Coop in the country. She left Brooklyn a year ago with an enlivened belief in the power of relationships, and the ability of diverse communities to achieve common ground through food, and working together side by side. She is recently arrived here to Ithaca with a heart full of appreciation, and a full basket of passion for food and desire to share with this community she now calls home.
KATE CARDONA, OUTREACH AND EQUITY COORDINATOR
Kate works to connect Groundswell with community partners, coordinates and develops our educational programs and curriculum, and supports Groundswell in our commitment to the creation of an equitable local food system. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Kate has been a part of various organizations working for food justice in NYC such as Corbin Hill Farm, Just Food, and the Community/Farmworker Alliance. She earned her BA in Latin American and Caribbean Area Studies from SUNY Binghamton and has worked on numerous small organic farms. Kate loves social movement building, food growing, book reading, creek walking, and lots of dancing.
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.
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.