The 2016 NCTFA Steering Committee:
Rachel Berg grew up in and around New Haven. Upon graduation from the University of Chicago, she entered the world of agriculture and never left. It started with WWOOFing in Washington State and then managing farmers’ markets in New Haven. She went on to work at Massaro Community Farm where she realized that farming was not a passing phase, but rather her chosen path. Rachel loves farming for its daily puzzles and enhanced connections to people, food, and the earth. In 2013, she headed up to Vermont to attend UVM’s Farmer Training Program before returning to Connecticut to join her current business partnership, which owns and operates Four Root Farm in East Haddam.
Robert Chang is a part time market gardener in Middletown on what remains of a 280 year old farm where he grows vegetables, cut flowers, herbs and tree fruit. Because of the farm’s history, he has developed an affinity for heirloom crops. He will be moving to another antique farm in Woodstock where he hopes to farm full-time. Robert would like to foster cooperation among small farmers to make farming economically more sustainable.
Joey Listro has worked on a variety of non-profit community farms beginning in 2008 while attending the University of Southern Maine. Joey worked building organic farming apprenticeships and curriculum for high school students as an AmeriCorps volunteer. He’s a former Incubator Farmer at the Community Farm of Simsbury where he launched a small-scale potato chip and organic CSA business. He served as Head Teacher and Educational Programs Coordinator at Urban Oaks Organic Farm in New Britain for their after-school garden enrichment programs from 2011-2014. He also spent two years managing a 100+ acre educational farm in New Milford, before returning to New Britain as the founder of ROOTS. In addition to serving on the steering committee of the New CT Farmer Alliance, Joey is an active member of the Coalition for New Britain’s Youth.
Jacqueline Maisonpierre is the farm manager for New Haven Farms, a non-profit farm based in New Haven, CT, dedicated to promoting health and community development through urban agriculture. Jacqueline cultivates New Haven Farms’ nine urban farms, providing organic food and educational opportunities for low-income families suffering from chronic diet-related diseases. She has been farming in New England since 2011, and with New Haven Farms since 2013. Her passion for environmental education, agriculture, food, community organizing, and public health brought her back to the diverse community in New Haven. Jacqueline is excited by her work with NCTFA, thrilled by the opportunity to help build the network of farmers in her home state of Connecticut. She is also bilingual in English and Spanish.
Susan Mitchell is the owner and operator of Cloverleigh Farm, a diversified vegetable farm in Mansfield with a focus on Community Supported Agriculture. Farming on leased land that was once a dairy farm, she is blessed with fertile soil and a large barn complex, though no irrigation. Once a high school earth science teacher, she transitioned into agriculture while living in New York’s Hudson Valley. When she moved to Connecticut to work at Holcomb Farm, she met Shannon Raider and Hannah Gant and they collectively said, “where are all the young farmers?” and, from that conversation, NCTFA was born. Involved in many different facets of agriculture, Susan also sits on the Board of Directors for New London County Farm Bureau as well as the CT Farm Bureau Association where she mingles with all types of farmers.
Steve Munno is the Farm Manager at Massaro Community Farm in Woodbridge, a certified organic non-profit, which operates a CSA, sells to local markets, offers educational programs and events, and donates a portion of its harvest to hunger relief organizations. Steve has been a full-time farmer since 2007. Prior to coming to Connecticut, Steve farmed in both Massachusetts and California. Steve came to farm in CT to be closer to his family and because of the great need and opportunity for new and young farmers to get started here. Steve loves the community that NCTFA brings together, and wants to see CT farmers continue to share their experiences and expertise with each other to help the farm community thrive. Steve also currently serves as Vice President on the CT NOFA Board of Directors.
Charlotte Ross is co-owner/operator of Sweet Acre Farm (est. 2011), producing mixed vegetables for market, CSA & wholesale accounts. She and her husband are CT natives and first-generation farmers, living on their very own 6 acres in Lebanon, CT along with a flock of laying hens, 2 milking goats, 2 farm cats, and the occasional pig. Charlotte grew up in West Hartford and relishes the opportunity to grow good food for the communities that helped raise her in the Greater Hartford area. Being a member of NCTFA has provided Charlotte with a better sense of what’s going on in Ag around the state.
Betsy Robson is NCTFA’s coordinator. She grew up in northwest Connecticut on a small retired apple orchard, repurposed as a permaculture style homestead by her parents. With her love for self-taught sustainability stemming from her childhood, she has spent the last few years working on local farms, and as a landscaper, focusing on native plant species and installing edible gardens. Throughout the season, Betsy spends much of her time in the woods, wild foraging for plants, mushrooms, and berries. She currently lives in Litchfield, CT where she helps to manage a property and grows shiitake and oyster mushrooms. Her love for sustainability is deeply rooted in education, inclusiveness, and social justice. Please contact her and the alliance at newctfarmers[at]gmail[dot]com.