Staff

Julie Rawson

Co-Owner

After growing up on a conventional farm in Illinois, Julie Rawson spent the first several years of her adulthood doing community organizing in Chicago and Boston where she met her husband Jack Kittredge. Once she and Jack started a family, they moved out to Barre to start Many Hands Organic Farm in 1982. It was important to both Julie and Jack to raise their family in the country and with homegrown food. Julie always says that her most formative moments as a kid were when she “was down at the crick with my sister Sue and brother Tom just playing in the mud.”
Over the past several decades, Julie has continued to be a pioneer in organic farming practices, especially in soil fertility and carbon sequestration. Julie remarked that “It’s not enough just to be organic, we have to really up our game to have organic and high quality food”. Besides raising high quality, organic produce and meat, Julie is committed to living up to the name, Many Hands, through her dedication to working with community members, young adults, and folks looking to connect with the land and food system. “It is very important to me, to be able to share what we have with as many people as possible, so that they can also gain from it,” says Julie. And of course there’s the added bonus of getting to play in the dirt all day long.
Jack Kittredge

Co-Owner

Jack Kittredge has always been interested in a self-sustaining lifestyle. In 1982, he and Julie made the decision to move the family out to the country to raise their kids in connection to the land and grow their own food. Jack believes it is best if: “people raise their own food, raise their kids that way and live closer to nature.” While Jack was never a strong proponent of running a commercial farm and selling raw crops in New England, he was determined to support Julie’s passion and contributed his skills of budget management and machine repair, and labor in construction. Jack was the editor of the NOFA newspaper, The Natural Farmer, from 1987 through 2020, was the policy director of the Massachusetts chapter of NOFA for 28 years, and intermittently continued working with his partners from the 1970s designing board games. He feels fortunate to have been able to develop such opportunities for work at home to support the homestead’s success.

In Jack’s ideal world, more people would be able to pursue a lifestyle such as his and Julie’s. Many people have expressed that desire over the years, he says, but feel that is not possible for them. He thinks it can be done by many more, however. He says, “I think we’re vastly under farmed in terms of the people involved in farming. We need more hands-on people and less machines, diesel fuel, and chemicals.” Jack continues to be constantly aware of environmental impacts and has written a number of papers and articles about carbon sequestration and how it relates to soil building.

Claire Caldwell
Farm Staff
Since leaving Kentucky to go to college in Vermont, Clare Caldwell has been interested in sourcing local food. This passion was reenergized after returning from France where she was first introduced to farming through WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunites on Organic Farms). Although originally she wanted to teach English to ESL students, after working outside in France, it became clear that working in a classroom wasn’t for her.  Clare says that beyond just organic food, she was focused on quality and the nutrition value in food. Since then, Clare says that her interest has grown “more and more on human health, my own health and staying healthy during pregnancies and feeding young kids.” Now well into a farming career (spending the last 13 years at Many Hands) Clare is constantly thinking about what more there is to learn. Currently, she is thinking about how to improve production inside the hoop houses and planning for a significantly larger CSA this coming season.
The community element of farming and growing food is a primary motivator for Clare. She commented that something she loves about working at Many Hands is the daily ritual of meal prep, food preservation, and eating together around one table. “It’s pretty unique— I don’t think there are many places like it,” she says. She wants to pass this on by encouraging customers to cook and preserve their own food to eat throughout the winter. She always enjoys working with volunteers and the working shareholders and finds that Many Hands is more than a place of work— it’s a community.
Jennifer Peck

Director of Communications

Jennifer is no stranger to farming.  She was raised on apple orchards, vegetable and animal farms as a child.  Jennifer started with us this year as a 2021 shareholder.  She had the opportunity to volunteer a couple times during the season this year at Many Hands Organic Farm, which brought her back to her roots.  She has great appreciation for the hard work it takes to farm.

Jennifer has over 30 years’ experience in communications, marketing, fundraising and development for both profit and non-profit businesses.  Her experience has afforded her the opportunity to be in business for herself for the last 5 years as a Yoga Teacher, Ayurveda Health Counselor, and Reiki Master.

“I am excited for the opportunity to utilize my skills for not only my own business but to support the farm in which I receive my CSA share.  From the first day I picked up my share, I felt at home.  I knew this was a special place.”  Jennifer explains.  “My mission is to teach people how to find good health and wellness through lifestyle and diet.  Eating in season and local is a big part of great health.”

When Jennifer is not teaching, you can most often find her cooking up healthy and tasty meals, outside on one of her many yoga rocks, and spending time with family.   Jennifer shares, “Cooking has always been a great passion for me.   The key to healthy meals comes from using fresh organic foods.  I look forward to sharing many healthful recipes and helpful tips on utilizing all your vegetables in your share in the season to come.”

Juan Camilo Saavedra 

Immigrant Farmer Fellow

Juan Camilo Saavedra came to Many Hands Organic Farm in May of this year as a part of the Immigrant Farmer Fellowship. Originally from Colombia, Juan first was introduced to farming from his father and grandfather’s farm. It wasn’t until later in his life that Juan began to understand the unique challenges that farming presents. In graduate school, Juan studied the connections between agriculture, community and culture. There he says he understood that “farming is a way of life that has certain principles of sharing, helping each other, and curiosity.” He appreciates how the agriculture community values land as a precious resource and how farming can allow people to be more connected to land.
In the past couple months, Juan has enjoyed the practical experience of farming after studying and reading about it for many years. At MHOF the practice of sharing food and culture of continual learning and educating is remarkable to Juan. He feels that the folks at the farm are committed to building community. He says that coming to MHOF has allowed him to “get out of my head and into my body”.