Interim EXecutive Director
As Interim Exectuive Director, Natalie (she/they) manages organizational finances and operations, funding development, and supports the staff team. 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 advocates for gender justice, trans/non-binary rights, racial equity, and radical food system change.
Many years ago Stephen (he/him) sidestepped a career as a junior high math teacher to become a modern dancer. Over the years he danced with a variety of companies and choreographers around the world, most notably with Rachel Lampert & Dancers during the 80's and early 90's, and Jane Comfort & Company from 1995 thru 2004. He arrived in Ithaca in 2004, serving as the the Managing Director of the Kitchen Theatre Company thru 2020. He has been working as the bookkeeper for Groundswell Center since January 2021.
SEA NEE SOW,
Incuabtor Farm Maintainence Worker
Sea Nee Sow (he/him) keeps the farm freshly mowed and in good working order. He is fluent with machinery and familiar with the farm as he and his wife Gaw Paw have been growing food at the Incubator Farm for over 4 years. Sea Nee Sow grew up in a farming family growing rice, beans, vegetables, fruit, peanuts, sesame seeds, and raising cows and chickens. He worked in sawmills while in refugee camps in Thailand and now works in an Ithaca sawmill.
manager of Farmer Training
Holly recently moved to the Finger Lakes Region from Rhode Island. 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). 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.
Giavanna Townsend (She/Her) coordinates and develops Groundswell’s farmer and food justice workshops as well as the Groundswell Farmer Training program. Giavanna began her agricultural career in her hometown of Binghamton, NY after working on the VINES urban farm in 2013. She discovered 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 several urban gardening and farming 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. Since joining the Groundswell Staff in February of 2020 Giavanna has brought together her mix of farming and programming experience to support and bring education to aspiring farmers in the Finger Lakes region.
Juliana Quaresma, INCUBATOR FARM and Aggregation Manager
Juliana is from Northeastern Brazil, land from the Cariri People. She is motivated to help connect people with the environment and food. With almost ten years of teaching, developing, and implementing a diversity of educational programs in colleges and non-profit organizations in Recife, Brazil and New York, she has worked to support farmers by coordinating, training, and managing programs with environmental and food justice.