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Staff

Jo Barrett, Maine Field Agent
Shemariah Blum-Evitts, Program Director
Tess Brown-Lavoie, Rhode Island Field Agent
Cara Cargill, New Hampshire Field Agent
Cris Coffin, Policy Director
Mike Ghia, Vermont Field Agent
Jim Habana Hafner, Executive Director
Barb Jackson, Operations Manager
Lisa Luciani, Communications Coordinator
Jan Mackey, Business Manager
Kathy Ruhf, Senior Advisor
Abby Sadauckas, Maine Field Agent
Jason Silverman, Massachusetts Field Agent

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Jo Barrett, Maine Field Agent. Jo has been farming and homesteading in Maine since 1983. Jo taught in public and independent schools for over 25 years. She helped host and instruct farming apprentices over a 20 year period at her family’s farm, King Hill Farm in Penobscot, Maine. Jo and her husband transferred ownership of the farm to a young farming family. Read about their creative farm transfer in this January 2016 Portland Press Herald article. Email jo [at] landforgood [dot] org

 

Shemariah Blum-Evitts, Program Director. Shemariah is a farmer, regional planner and project manager. She was the founder and Program Manager of New Lands Farm with Ascentria Care Alliance from 2008-2015. The program, which she initiated and built in collaboration with community partners, offered training and land access to new American farmers in Central and Western Massachusetts seeking community gardens, farming enterprises and technical assistance. Shemariah studied land use and agricultural planning while gaining her Masters in Regional Planning from UMass Amherst. Her thesis developed a foodshed assessment model to map current and potential working farmland and farmland capacity. She believes strongly in the importance of working farms. Since 2004, she has been working on and managing farms in GA, TX, CT and MA. She operates her own small-scale, kosher, pastured poultry operation with her husband on their home farm in South Deerfield MA. Email shemariah [at] landforgood [dot] org

Tess Brown-Lavoie, Rhode Island Field Agent. Tess is a first generation farmer, organizer, and writer. She learned how to grow food in city lots and rooftops in Providence, RI and Brooklyn, NY. After growing up in a city in Massachusetts, working as an urban farmer was an access point to agriculture, laying the foundation for the business she is building with her sisters in Rhode Island. After various on-farm jobs and apprenticeships from the Scottish Highlands to Brooklyn, she moved to Providence and co-founded Sidewalk Ends Farm. Tess co-coordinates the Young Farmer Network of Southeastern New England, which is based in Providence and connects members of the beginning farmer community in Rhode Island and neighboring states with a mission for a just, equitable, and sustainable local food system. She works on regional and national farm policy, serving on the National Young Farmers Coalition Advisory Committee. Tess has also served on the Rhode Island Food Policy Council since the beginning of 2013. Email tess [at] landforgood [dot] org

Cara Cargill, New Hampshire Field Agent. Cara spent 16 years managing large horse farms and teaching lessons to both recreational and competitive riders. With a graduate degree in Mediation and Conflict Studies (Woodbury Institute at Champlain College) and extensive training as a mediator, Cara has worked with the New Hampshire Agricultural Mediation Program (NHAMP) as their Outreach Coordinator since 2013 – and continues in this role. As a service partner, Cara participated in LFG’s series of land access educational events for new and beginner farmers in New Hampshire. Cara fully appreciates the challenges of accessing affordable, quality farmland. She spent several years searching for farmland after deciding to move back home to New Hampshire. Cara is excited to help connect farmers looking for land with landowners that understand the benefits of having their land in agricultural use.  Email cara[at] landforgood [dot] org

Cris Coffin, Policy Director. Cris joined Land For Good as a long-time collaborator while serving as New England Director for American Farmland Trust (AFT) from 2001 to 2015. At AFT she played a key role in building public and political support for state farmland protection programs and policies, helping communities plan proactively for agriculture, and forging multi-state and multi-sector coalitions to address regional food system challenges. Previously Cris served in a variety of positions in the U.S. Senate including: Legislative Assistant to Senator Jim Sasser; Professional Staff Member on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; and Legislative Assistant and Chief of Staff to Senator Herb Kohl. She also served as consultant to both the Vermont and Wisconsin Departments of Agriculture. Cris holds a B.A. in geography from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. She sits on the Network Advisory Council of Farm to Institution New England and is a member of her town’s Agricultural Commission. With her family, she also raises pastured poultry on their farm in western Massachusetts.  Email cris[at] landforgood [dot] org

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Mike Ghia, Vermont Field Agent. Mike was a beginning farmer and land seeker from 1997-2007. Now he farms part-time while working as a farm consultant through University of Vermont Extension and the Women’s Ag Network.  Mike also works through the Vermont Farm Viability Program as a Farm Business Planner. He coaches beginning farmers on farm and tenure issues and financial planning and assists families with inter-generational transfers.  His expertise includes grazing planning and soils. Email mike [at] landforgood [dot] org

 

 

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Jim Habana Hafner, Executive Director. Jim assumed overall management of Land For Good (LFG) in 2015 as part of a planned succession strategy and after serving as Deputy Director (2013-14). Jim is thrilled to be leading and growing such an outstanding team – and working to strengthen agriculture and food systems in New England. A native of western Massachusetts, Jim worked summers on local farms and farm stands. He has over 20 years experience in program and fund development, outreach and research in the fields of international agriculture, community development, and public health. He has worked with farmers, NGOs and researchers on land tenure, conservation farming, agro-forestry and watershed management, especially in the Global South. Jim has graduate degrees in International Agriculture (M.S.) from UC Davis and Natural Resources (Ph.D.) from Cornell University. His doctoral field work was supported by a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant. For three years he taught and advised graduate and undergraduate students in environmental studies, soil science, and geography at universities in California and New England. He and his family enjoy their local asparagus, glass bottled milk, and CSA shares in Hadley, Mass. Connect with Jim on LinkedIn. Email jim [at] landforgood [dot] org 

Barb Jackson, Operations Manager. Barb grew up in the Western New York State farming and fruit growing region surrounding Lake Ontario.  She has lived in New Hampshire over 30 years and is excited to be involved with Land For Good. Barb feels that the services and programs offered by Land For Good not only help small farms and farmers in New England, but inspire similar organizations all over the country. Barb’s background in project coordination and data management help her juggle the various requirements of a growing non-profit. Email info[at] landforgood [dot] org

Lisa

Lisa Luciani, Communications Coordinator. Lisa brings over 25 years of marketing communications experience in the nonprofit sector. From outreach marketing to graphic design and digital media, Lisa enjoys the creative elements of her role. Her innovative outside web design work has received national recognition and honors. Her passion for nonprofits is evident in her professional life and private volunteer work, helping nonprofits fulfill their goals and realize the benefits of sound marketing strategy. A New Hampshire native, Lisa recognizes the value and beauty of our natural landscapes while supporting local food sources and healthy eating with her family. Lisa’s skills are instrumental for building an emerging communications program in order to promote Land For Good’s unique brand and to widen its visibility. Email lisa [at] landforgood [dot] org

Jan Mackey, Business Manager. Jan’s keen interest in nutrition and its effect on health began as a teenager. Her concern with the impact of chemicals used to maintain freshness during food shipment underscores the importance of locally produced food. Being a part of Land For Good gives Jan the opportunity to have a small part in keeping food sources close to home and her community healthier. She is a Certified QuickBooks Pro-Advisor and has worked in bookkeeping for 15 years. Email businessmanager [at] landforgood [dot] org

Kathy Ruhf, Senior Advisor. Kathy began LFG’s work on farmland access, tenure and transfer in 2004, when there was scarcely any recognition or regional resources on these topics. Over the ensuing decade, land access became an issue of priority concern among all farm and food system stakeholders in New England and nationally. Kathy most recently served as Executive Director (2013-14). Kathy is a nationally recognized leader in farm entry, succession and tenure. She has co-authored guidebooks, managed projects, led workshops and worked closely with farm families on these topics. She served as co-director of the New England Small Farm Institute for 17 years, and on the USDA Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers for six years, and chair for two. Kathy coordinated a regional network, the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) from its founding in 1992 until late 2012. She continues to work and write on farm and food policy as a NESAWG Senior Fellow. Kathy has Masters degrees in Administration (University of Massachusetts) and in Natural Resource Management (Antioch/New England). She lives and works in Belchertown, Mass. Email kathy [at] landforgood [dot] org

 

Abby Sadauckas, Maine Field Agent. Abby is a farmer and agricultural service provider. She and her fiancé, Jake Galle met at Vermont College of the Fine Arts where Abby earned an MFA. Abby and Jake run Apple Creek Farm. The farm produces MOFGA certified organic, grass-fed beef, goat and lamb, as well as certified organic eggs and poultry (broilers, geese and turkeys). They market their products year-round in nearby Brunswick at farmers’ markets. Abby is a long-time collaborator of Land For Good, as well as a former organizational and farmer-client. Her professional work combines her experiences as a new farmer with her work as an agricultural service provider. Abby acts as the course facilitator for MOFGA’s Farm Beginnings, a farmer-led, community-based whole farm planning course. She has worked for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension as the manager for a project focused on improving relationships for farm success. Abby is a board member of Bowdoinham Community Development Initiative (BCDI) and serves on the steering committee of Slow Money Maine. Email abby [at] landforgood [dot] org


Jason Silverman, Massachusetts Field Agent. Jason has had a lifelong passion for agriculture, particularly surrounding forage production and equipment operation. He owns and operates Windrow Farm in his hometown of Conway MA, producing hay and focusing on grass-based farming systems. A UMass Amherst graduate, he was formerly the farm manager of the UMass Student Farm, and has a strong commitment to agricultural education. As a first-generation farmer, Jason has witnessed the struggles of land access and farm succession first-hand and is eager to contribute to Land For Good’s mission while serving both the farmers and land of Massachusetts. Email jason [at] landforgood [dot] org