Liz coakley


Liz ​oversees the Incubator Farm Program, which includes site management, recruitment, ​coordinating mentorship and trainings, and meeting with farmer​s​. 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.

(email Liz)


Interim EXecutive Director

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)

(email Natalie)


Zian Bustamante,
Communications Intern

Born and raised in Seattle, Zian currently attends the University of Washington where she will graduate in June 2021 with a degree in Health Education and Promotion and a minor in Human Rights. Throughout her time at UW, she’s had the opportunity to apply her education by working with organizations such as the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) and the Vulnerable Populations Strategic Initiatives (VPSI) for King County in Seattle. These experiences have given her a passion to continuously shed light on the lack of equitable access to healthcare for BIPOC individuals and how to promote, provide education and create access to appropriate resources. Zian was recognized as one of UW’s Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMAD) scholars of the year in 2019. She hopes to further her education in getting her MPH or MSW and continue to do community health work.

Letterhead headshot


Many years ago Stephen 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.

Holly Stein

Holly Stein,
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.

(email Holly)


Giavanna Townsend,
Programs MANAGER

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.

(email Giavanna)


JOANna Green, Founding Director (REtired)

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 and thus founded Groundswell in 2009. She left Groundswell in 2015 to return to her small farmstead and B&B called Owl Moon Cottage with her husband, Art and is active with the Enfield Valley Grange.