Volunteer spotlight: Dean Koyanagi

Dean Koyanagi showing young ones the way.

We give thanks for Dean

Dean has an incredible career background: Navy Veteran, Sustainability Coordinator for Cornell, Co-farmer at Tree Gate Farm, and Groundswell Mentor Farmer, now working closely with our Incubator Farmers. Dean has been involved in Groundswell since our beginnings, and quickly grew to be a major part of our organization, helping organize our first ever Mentor Farmer Training in 2011.

We see Dean as a brilliant and dedicated farmer who is especially excited about innovation and novel, efficient farm systems. We remember the enthusiasm he exuded when he came to share several nifty tools (including an electric tractor model!) at the FarmHack Ithaca event in Fall of 2012, an event he was also deeply involved in at the planning level!

Dean has been mentoring our Incubator Farmers since the inaugural year of the program in 2013, and has been an active voice in shaping the 2014 season.  Dean’s input and advice about the timing of workshops, mentoring sessions, and topics has helped Groundswell develop a timeline that fits with the rhythms of the farming season. Mentoring a new business owner and food producer can be a VERY tricky task, and but Dean’s understanding of the learning process and his patience has made him an invaluable Mentor Farmer.

As Groundswell staff, we feel blessed to be able to work with a Mentor Farmer who has such a commitment to others’ education that he takes the time to be critical of the techniques that are not working, and suggest improved methods.  The efficacy of the Groundswell Incubator Program has been tremendously improved by his voice.

Devon Van Noble, Incubator Development Coordinator, and Groundswell staff