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.
Jonathan is an experienced farmer who worked in farming for 10 years in his teens and twenties. He loved the work but wasn’t sure it was sustainable income for his family so he decided to go on to college and enter the corporate world. He started his own small farm at his home raising chickens and vegetables for his family and friends. He left the corporate world about a year ago when he made the decision to homeschool his children. He has decided to take on farming again as his profession at Many Hands Organic Farm with the thoughts of maybe some consulting on the side. He is a tall, strong and soft spoken man who is highly competent and positive spirited. He is at present farming part of the day and managing the garage upgrade part of the day. Additionally, he will be a site coordinator for our CSA in Sutton MA.
Director of Communications
Christy is a homesteader with a love of nature, livestock and local food. She is a co-owner of Barefoot All Natural Farm in Barre, MA, and also the Communications Director for NOFA/Mass (Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter). Christy’s family has a small herd of Mini Saanen dairy goats that they use for milk and as a foundation of her goat milk soap business. Julie and Christy first met when Christy interviewed for the NOFA/Mass Membership Coordinator position in 2017. After several years of working with Julie at NOFA and being a Many Hands Organic Farm CSA shareholder, she is excited to join the staff and share the beauty and excitement of MHOF’s lovingly grown food with the local community.
Volunteer & Part-time Farm Staff
Paula’s first weeks on the farm were filled with sub freezing temps and snowy conditions, yet she fell in love immediately! Paula has always been a serious organic consumer since the early 1970’s when she learned the importance (and benefits) of eating organically. Having been a shareholder for three years, she suspected MHOF would be a great place to work. That combined with the confining and restrictive living conditions imposed on us these previous two years, she knew she had to get out into the world of soil, fresh air, healthy food, and–most importantly–a community of people who shared her values and beliefs. Paula is beyond grateful for the opportunity that Many Hands has given to her, where she’s been able to not only give back but also to learn about the intricacies (and challenges) of farming, nurturing animals, partaking in healthy meals, meeting and conversing with new people, and most of all, being a responsible and contributing steward of the earth.
Laurie, a Bio-Chemist for 35 years, describes herself as an “overly extroverted and curious person”. She loves to learn and is an avid reader. She believes “variety is the spice of life.” She came to us as a volunteer last April when she was looking to get out of the isolation that COVID created. Working on the farm has granted her the opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, and be out in nature. Lauri loves that every day brings new chores and activities. She has especially enjoyed the opportunity to learn to cook with fresh organic produce.
Leslie started working on the farm in February 2021 to get outside and as a sort of respite from life challenges. Shortly after, she brought along a few friends who continue to volunteer on the farm; and she also became a pick up location for the CSA. Good health and wellness is important to her and the work on the farm gives her physical exercise outside that she enjoys. “Working on the farm is my therapy, I feel part of the family and inspired by Julie to be more creative.” Leslie explains.
Kerrie started on the farm in September 2021 after a friend sparked her interest while talking about her volunteer experience at MHOF. She was looking to get involved with a volunteer project and this opportunity was fitting for her. Working on the farm has become her highlight of the week. She loves to interact with the chickens and pigs during chores. She also has a love for plants and recognizes how much better the food tastes. She feels blessed to come to the farm every week, being out in nature and being a part of helping to create great food. In her home/work life she is a distributor and educator of essential oils, she and her husband spend their summers in Maine camping and at the ocean, and loves the piano and saxophone.
Jhoanne is a wife and a mom. She finds peace in nature and loves volunteer work. She believes we are put on this earth to love and serve others, so always looks for opportunities to help in any small ways that she can.
Jhoanne started volunteering at the farm in April of 2022. She says that she still has much to learn, but is enjoying it.
Peter is new to MHOF for the 2022 growing season. He and a couple of friends are working towards opening their own mixed vegetable farm in Princeton, MA–Rattleroot Farm–which he hopes will open for business in the spring of 2023. While Peter and his partners are busy opening up land and getting set up at their new site, he wanted to sharpen his production skills by working with an experienced no-till farmer in the area. Julie is a great mentor and Peter is looking forward to learning from her, and the rest of the MHOF farmers, during his time in the field alongside the crew.
Scott was looking to spend time doing something physical, outdoors, different, productive, and fun–and was eager to eat good veggies. So he searched online for CSA farms near Worcester and MHOF popped up. The rest is history. Scott enjoys doing pretty much anything he turns his mind and hands to on the farm– hoeing, planting, mulching, chickening, harvesting, talking, talking, talking, laughing, eating, caring and more. At home Scott is negligent about almost anything to do with gardening, plants, food production, lawn mowing, etc., so the farm is a great way to commit to practicing those skills. It’s a weekly 4-hour experience wrestling with the life-sustaining forces of nature (and other people), enmeshed in what it takes to assure we have something to eat, after which I can be blissfully free from all of the ongoing daily discipline needed to keep that effort going until I arrive back a week later and plug back in. In the meanwhile he can be confident that Julie, Clare, Jonathan and a cast of thousands (or at least dozens) will have kept the whole operation going.