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, utilizing maximization of photosynthesis and planned biodiversity as strategies. 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.
Jonathan Anderson
Farm Staff

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.

Christy Bassett

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.

Paula Bowie

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.

Peter Herceg
Part-Time Staff

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.

Laurie Lentz-Marino

Volunteer Staff

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 Stambler

Volunteer Staff

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 Mahan

Volunteer Staff

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.

Scott Jiusto

Volunteer Staff

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.

John Wilson

Volunteer Staff

This is John’s second year working at MHOF for 4 hours weekly. He’s been around the organic world awhile, having come of age in the sixties, and having joined his first food co-op in 1975. A native of Buffalo, he and his mate moved to Worcester around 1980 where they raised two children as organically as they could, purchasing MHOF produce and eggs at Living Earth in Worcester and by home gardening. Upon retirement, John liked what he saw at Many Hands – a community of people working together to produce nutrient dense produce, eggs, and pork.  Increasingly concerned about the planet’s environmental train wreck, he’s happy to be a part of this ongoing enterprise, helping support an alternative to corporate agriculture as best he can, working with interesting and positive people.

Danny LeBlanc

Volunteer Staff

Danny worked in community organizing and development for his entire full-time career until 2020, in Somerville and other places in Eastern Mass. He met his wife Paula and lived in Somerville from 1976 till 2018.  Danny and Paula owned a 3-family house in Somerville for 35 years and he always enjoyed working around the house and yard – a departure from the work he did for a living. They moved to Gardner in 2018 to get closer to an anticipated grandchild – Zoey, who’s now 2 1/2!  After moving to Gardner, Paula sought out an organic farm to purchase a CSA share from and, lo and behold, landed on Many Hands. Then they realized that Danny had worked briefly with Julie in Somerville back in 1979-80! As Danny and Paula had long committed themselves to good, organic food as much as possible, it was a short road to becoming a working shareholder. Danny continues to enjoy all manner of work he can do with his hands, both around their new home in Gardner and at MHOF. The wonderful community surrounding MHOF is a huge added bonus to the opportunity to work the land.

Jill Woodworth

Volunteer Staff

Jill lives in Rutland, MA and is a mother of 5. Jill was raised by a master gardener, but she never thought she’d have an interest in any type of farming. She came to Many Hands after hearing about it from a friend and thinking it might be an opportunity to work side by side with her son, who is 21 and has an intellectual disability. They enjoyed doing “chicken chores” together from last spring through early fall, along with the incredible farm breakfasts! Shortly after that Jill decided to participate as a working shareholder, enticed by her rediscovered love of the outdoors and hands in the dirt. She loves every minute of her time here.