Marketing & Communications Intern
Jade is the Marketing & Communications Intern this semester, managing Groundswell’s social media presence and writing blog posts to tap into a growing global dialogue about local and sustainable farming. Pursuing his Masters in Industrial & Labor Relations at Cornell, Jade is deeply invested in the fight for equity. After harvesting leeks on the incubator farm at one of Groundswell’s periodic volunteer days, he fell in love with the land and discovered a passion for agricultural and ecological justice. When he isn’t on campus or at the office, you can find him hiking amongst the trees or baking vegan treats.
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, Equity & Outreach 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 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.
As Development Manager at Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming, Natalie coordinates fundraising operations and communications, and supports grant-writing and food justice program development. Natalie spent the first five years of her career with VINES in Binghamton, NY where she managed a youth employment program on an urban farm and transformed vacant lots into vibrant community gardens. She holds a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science from Binghamton University. She is an activist and a member of Ithaca's chapter of SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice), a network that organizes white people to undermine white supremacy and to work toward racial justice. (Photo credit: Penelope Campos)
Joanna retired from Groundswell in 2016. 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.
manager of Farmer Training
Holly recently moved to the Finger Lakes Region from Rhode Island. She will be developing programs and training new farmers. This past year she supported the formation of the Tooth and Nail Collective Farm, where Black, Indigenous & People Of Color (BIPOC) can connect to land and grow plants. Holly has been involved in multiple organizing efforts over the years, supporting the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Campaign for Fair Food and AMOR the Alliance to Mobilize our Resistance. Holly got interested in farming as an adult living in New York City working as a Youth Programs Coordinator at Project Morry. In 2011, she moved onto a small family farm in Southern Massachusetts, where her love of growing food flourished. Holly pursued a certificate in Ecological Horticulture at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS). Seeing the barriers that race and class played at CASFS, Holly participated in the Social Justice Action Committee, focused on trying to address these issues. As the Assistant Farm Manager at Fresh Start Farm in Lisbon, ME, Holly had the privilege of learning from immigrants and refugee farmers and supporting their farming aspirations. Holly is looking forward to building new relationships in the region and continuing to work towards a more just food system.
Giavanna Townsend coordinates and develops Groundswell’s farmer and food justice workshops. Giavanna began her agricultural career in Binghamton, NY after working on the VINES urban farm in 2013 as a youth employee. She quickly realized a passion for growing food and striving towards an equitable food system, and went on to participate in various farm apprenticeships throughout New York State. Giavanna rejoined the VINES staff in 2017 as the Program Assistant where she supported various gardening programs and taught workshops on growing and preparing food. In 2019 Giavanna took on the role of Assistant Farm Manager at Wild Hill Farm in Ionia, NY. Giavanna is eager to bring together her mix of farming and programming experience to support and educate farmers in the Finger Lakes.