This is (most of) our awesome 2018 team!
Back, L to R: Hope, Jacqueline, Neil, Devin, Joseph, Lena
Front, L to R: Paige, Kevin, Hannah, Josh
Not pictured: Farmers Lisa and Ike, and our great (and very important!) part-time helpers: Allison, Ezra, Jason, Laura, Laurie, Kelly, Shannon, Deb, and Kate.
Ike grew up gardening, and at a young age was selling his vegetables at a tailgate market near his home. As a teen, he worked for a small local orchard that grew dwarf trellised trees. That experience inspired his goal to have his own orchard someday.
Ike graduated from Penn State and has become well known in this area for his expertise in growing vinifera wine grapes on innovative trellis systems and for his knowledge and experience growing and breeding unique fruits and vegetables. He has taught classes at Longwood Gardens, and is a speaker at various seminars and conferences. He has hosted several large grower meetings at the farm.
Ike spends his "leisure" time reading, cooking, and learning more about the fruit and vegetable growing industry. His "hobby" is developing new varieties of fruits and vegetables - they are his babies!
From fellow orchardist Ed Fackler: "You're the only person I've ever met who had apples shooting out of your fingertips like fireballs."
Jacqueline is joining the NSO crew after several years of working as a barista in Baltimore and Philly.
She has a degree in Anthropology from the University of North Texas where she focused her studies on how people utilize their environment for food systems, global commodities, and the possibilities for sustainable agriculture.
Jacqueline came to NSO hoping to get hands-on experience in order to continue working in agriculture. She enjoys learning about all kinds of plants, especially the ones you can eat, and wants to make sure everyone gets the nutritious food they truly deserve.
Laura has been helping at NSO part-time for several years, and is our Marketing Coordinator for the farm store.
You'll find Laura at farmers' markets (Emmaus Farmers' Market and/or the West Chester Growers' Market), as well as at the farm store, where she happily guides customers to the best varieties of the day and loves to talk cooking tips, tricks, and recipes.
Laura's energy and enthusiasm are invaluable in developing the farm store's product line, cooking classes, and marketing outreach.
The mother of two, Laura spends her time away from the farm knitting, cooking, gardening, and participating in the Society of Creative Anachronisms.
Laurie will be with us for a fourth season in 2018 as a part-time helper, focusing her efforts to clean the farm's veggies so they're beautifully ready for the CSA and at farmers' markets.
A homeschooling mom of three avid baseball/softball players, Laurie spends most of her farm time in the washroom, where she helps to make the veggies picture-perfect for the CSA and markets. She is also an experienced biologist and educator, and is focused on development and operation of the farm's educational programming for children.
In her free time, Laurie enjoys reading, cooking, hiking, and spending time up at her cabin in the mountains of central PA.
Lena continues for her third season as a full-time helper in 2018. She is a self-taught avid home gardener and seed saving enthusiast who has great interests in self-sufficiency, horticulture/agriculture/botany, sustainability, permaculture, plant propagation, breeding/genetics, and animal husbandry.
Lena plans to "learn everything I possibly can while working for NSO. I'd like have a career in agriculture. Eventually, I hope to start a farm-based business on my own homestead."
When she's not farming, Lena enjoys rockhounding/geology (collecting gemstones and minerals,) foraging, hiking, reading, cooking, raising chickens, plus making art & music.
Lisa had no farming background other than helping in her parent's garden (which she did not enjoy so much), but discovered she enjoyed working on the student farm at Penn State, after which she decided to pursue a degree in agriculture.
Lisa keeps busy marketing the farm's products, and facilitating other helpers' efforts of managing the CSA, website/email activities, and the other 'back-end' more invisible work of making a business run.
She homeschooled her son Jay from k through 12, and is now homeschooling herself in more artistic pursuits. In her time off, you'll find her up to her elbows in messy and colorful acrylics and other gooey mediums.
I started working at NSO because I felt like I was going to get stuck working factory production jobs for the rest of my life, so I decided to try to change my life and become a farmer, which I think I will enjoy and derive more satisfaction from. I've been a home gardener for almost 10 years so I already have a love of growing vegetables. And I like to try cooking all different kinds of recipes from whatever type of produce I can grow or get at the farmers market or now get from work! I really like old and foreign movies(anything on the filmstruck app) and reading about history and class struggle.
My favorite job on the farm so far has been harvesting veggies and I've been learning how to drive a tractor.
Sarah has joined NSO part-time as our Social Media Manager. She has a degree in Psychology with a minor in Biology, and has worked for various search engines fine-tuning advertisements. Sarah plans to utilize her social media knowledge with her years of online advertising experience to help keep NSO up to date on all of the major social networks.
Growing food in an earth friendly manner, and sharing that experience with her children, is one of Sarah's passions. She loves starting plants from seed and watching them grow and produce food for her family.
When Sarah isn't working, she can be found volunteering at her children's schools or transporting them to a wide variety of sports. She and her family love to travel and experience nature in as many place as possible. Sarah also enjoys cooking vegan and food-allergy friendly meals, reading, crafting,listening to music and being obsessed with her cats.
Shannon has been a helper at NSO for many years. Starting out for several years as a full-time farm helper, she is now a part-time farmers' market helper.
Shannon's training as a food anthropologist has taken her on travels throughout Europe and the US on the quest for good food. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Food Culture and Communications at L'Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche in Colorno in Italy.
In her spare time, Shannon enjoys crochet, bargain-shopping at second-hand stores, and watching and listening to pretty much any and all musicals!