Maria Moreira, Executive Director and Co-Founder
Maria has been mentoring beginning farmers since 1984. She has created several businesses, her first at age 23. She is a former dairy farmer who developed and operated a value-added cheese making business to sustain her family’s dairy operation during its twenty-five year existence. She directed the marketing for the Ethnic Crops Program and the Beginning Farmer program at UMass from 2002 to 2012 and was instrumental in accessing USDA’s “Know Your Farmer Know Your Food” high tunnel pilot program for socially disadvantaged farmers in MA. Maria served as FSA County Committee Advisor for nine years and has been a member of the USDA Beginning Farmers & Ranchers Advisory Committee and the Massachusetts Farm Bureau since 1985. She has also been a 4-H Sponsor, a Steering Committee member for the Worcester Food Hub, a Board Member of both NIFI and Rural Coalition, and a member of NSAC and the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness. Maria’s work with local farmers to access new ethnic marketing opportunities has resulted in over five million dollars of ethnic produce sold over the past 12 years. She lives with her husband at the family farm in Lancaster, Massachusetts.
Jessy Gill, Program Director
Jessy grew up on a family farm in upstate New York, and received her B.A. in Anthropology-Environmental Studies with a minor in African Studies from St. Lawrence University. Prior to joining World Farmers, Jessy worked with a local NGO in the Far North Marsabit region in Kenya, lived and worked on a farm in the Green Mountains of Vermont, and worked on federal, state, and local policy and movement building efforts at the Community Food and Justice Coalition in Oakland, CA. Jessy works closely with the farmers at Flats Mentor Farm to develop and refine all programs and services to fit individual needs as well as support farmers in pursuing new opportunities. Jessy leads World Farmers’ advocacy efforts, manages grants, and coordinates organizational partnerships.
Donna Kennedy, Marketing and Public Affairs Director
Prior to joining World Farmers in 2017, Donna was a food broker and distributor to independent wholesalers, grocers, restaurants, and schools in the Midwest. She serves on food hub steering committees, non-profit boards and holds membership within several trade organizations. She is a USDA GAP/GHP Internal Inspector and a Primus 5 Step Trainer. Donna’s work with National Grocers Association was instrumental in her ability to be a leader on food policy at the local, state and federal level. Donna’s work has been based around building collaboration among business owners, community leaders and farmers. She wants to see communities throughout the U.S. safer, healthier, and supplied with farm fresh food, now and for future generations. She works tirelessly to see healthy, easy-to-trace fresh food reach markets year round.
April Dodd, Food Business Development Specialist
April is a graduate of Middlebury College, where she worked foodservice jobs from dishwashing to managing a gourmet pop-up restaurant. After graduating, she spent a season working in food preservation for the College: her two-person team produced over 3,000 pounds of frozen, dehydrated, and canned local produce. Prior to joining World Farmers, she spent two and a half years in Kenya, where she founded a cooking school that equipped Kenyan women with the culinary skills to get dependable jobs as chefs and housekeepers. The 2017 season brings the exciting challenge of developing World Farmers’ commercial kitchen, expanding farmers’ market sales, and cooperating with farmers to create value-added products that diversify their businesses and extend the season.
Delia Tallent, International Operations Coordinator
Delia holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Delia has experience in both private and public sector business, including relationship marketing for a fortune 500 company, Personnel Systems management for the United States Air Force, and administrative support for the Cheyenne VA Medical Center. The daughter of immigrants, she understands the challenges facing immigrants trying to adapt to a new culture. She has built relationships with the farmers based on a foundation of trust and respect. She enjoys assisting immigrants and refugees farmers with building productive lives through sustainable farming.
Morgan Healey, Communications Coordinator and Video Production Manager
Morgan has double major in computer graphic design and web design. While getting her degree, she designed and developed a brochure for the Ethnic Crops program with UMass Amherst’s Agriculture Department. Prior to joining World Farmers, Morgan was employed for 5 years at the Holden Landmark Corporation, later expanding as Worcester Magazine’s Graphic Online Designer. Morgan also has experience as a freelance designer. Additional expertise includes developing campaign materials for local city councilor, logo design and company branding for CrossFIT EXP and volunteering her time at a local school to raise money for a local animal shelter. At World Farmers, the materials she produces focus on small business marketing, branding, and identity design.
Immaculate Nyaigoti, Outreach Specialist
Immaculate is a native of Kenya and has lived in the United States since 2001. She is currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Political Science degree at UMass Amherst. As a first generation immigrant, daughter of farmers, and someone who has been in the struggle for food justice all her life, she is taking steps towards finding her role in this fight against hunger and for food justice.
Alyssa Valcourt, Program Development
Alyssa graduated from Bridgewater State University with a B.A. in Global Sociology and a Minor in African Studies. During her last semester, she interned with an immigration and refugee resettlement agency in Arlington, Virginia. She is currently a graduate student at The University of Rhode Island for a Masters in Library and Information Studies. She has been at World Farmers each summer since 2015. During the school year, Alyssa is an Instructional Assistant Librarian at Nashoba Regional High School. Prior to World Farmers, Alyssa was a team leader in AmeriCorps NCCC, where she led a group of ten individuals around the Midwest, serving the local community through various service projects. Alyssa enjoys being outside, cooking, researching, and quality time with her cats.
Farmers from any corner of the globe are welcome at Flats Mentor Farm. Most farmers learn about the opportunity to farm at the Flats via word of mouth, which ensures that everyone at the Flats has at least one point of contact with their fellow farmers. Currently, over half of our farmers are from Central and East Africa, while some of the longest-tenure farmers are of Southeast Asian origin. Over two-thirds of our farmers are women.
OUR 2016 INTERNS
Four interns from Nashoba joined the World Farmers staff for the month of July in 2016. They worked on a variety of projects to support the farm during the growing season and continued that support into the school year. They were all chosen for the internship due to their enthusiasm and desire to help others. The interns hope to apply the knowledge and new understanding of the world gained through this opportunity to many endeavors in the future.
Julia Wachtel is a rising senior at Nashoba Regional High School in Bolton Massachusetts. She is hoping to bring awareness to this rewarding organization through marketing and community outreach videos. During the school year Julia teaches a video club at the Center School and loves participating in all theater productions with the high school. She is looking forward to spending time with her friends and family in this last year before college.
Paul Theriault is a rising junior at Nashoba Regional High School. He hopes to take away valuable life lessons from this experience that can be used later in life. One of Paul’s major assignments this summer is to help create marketing and community outreach videos that can bring awareness to this wonderful organization. When Paul is not in the office or on the Flats, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends. In school, Paul is the Producer of Nashoba’s News Station. Paul looks forward to spending his summer with this gratifying experience and meeting a lot of great farmers out on the Flats!
Ihsan Mulyono is a rising junior at Nashoba Regional High School who lives in the beautiful, perfect little town of Stow with his parents and four sisters. He loves to debate, act and play soccer. He also enjoys coaching track at Hale Middle School. He is currently the Secretary-General of Model UN as well as the Vice President of DECA at Nashoba. In the future, he is hoping to start his own nonprofit and one day become president.
Sam Mitchell is a rising senior at Nashoba Regional High School and is from the town of Bolon. In his internship at World Farmers, he hopes to learn more about national and local policy as it relates to small farms. He is editor-in-chief of the Nashoba newspaper and is an active member of the theatre and robotics programs. Sam loves to read the New York Times and learn more about the complex and varied world in which we live, something he hopes will continue throughout his experiences with World Farmers.