Farm Staff

Julie Rawson

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.”
The most central staff person in the Northeast Organic Farming Association/Mass Chapter for 36
years, she retired to full-time farming in 2020. 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
highest 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.

Jack Kittredge

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.

Clare Caldwell

Clare Caldwell

Lead 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 Opportunities 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

Jonathan Anderson

Lead 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 two years ago when he made the decision to homeschool his children. He took on farming again as his profession at Many Hands Organic Farm and is now in his second year. He takes on major carpentry renovations with the focus project for 2023 being the rebuilding of the permanent chicken house. This year Jonathan has taken on making lactobacillus brews for our spray program. Soil fertility at MHOF is a particular passion for him, as he feels this is real earth healing work. Additionally on his own time, he is doing some consulting with small businesses regarding transitions and carpentry projects for others.

Paula Bowie

Paula Bowie

Part-Time Staff

Paula spent her entire life in Somerville, a city known for, among other things, its high population density (@91000 people living on 4.2 sq. miles of land). Being only minutes away from Cambridge during the seventies and eighties she was fortunate to have access to holistic health practitioners, places to learn about and buy alternatives to medicinals and co-ops that had much healthier foods than the typical supermarket. All of this helped build a foundation for a holistic health consciousness and organic lifestyle that has deepened over the years. In 2018 Paula moved with her husband Danny and their cat Ginger to Gardner, still a city but a far cry from the density of Somerville. Once settled she began to search for an organic farm to buy a CSA. Reading through various websites she quickly realized that Many Hands Organic Farm was the only place she would do a CSA and so her love affair with everything MHOF began. Paula’s first weeks of volunteering on the farm were filled with sub freezing temps and snowy conditions, yet this born and bred city girl fell in love immediately with rural farm life! She counts her farm blessings in many ways - breathing fresh air, getting hands and feet deep into rich, healthy soil, becoming one with animals and plants, honoring and caring especially for those who will later grace her dinner plate. Farm life is romantic and damn hard! There‘s a lesson waiting around every corner and slowness is not a virtue, though amazingly it can feel like time stands still when one’s on their knees weeding the blueberries and grape vines under a blazing July sun. On the other hand, one learns quickly that sharing in tarp duty is colder, wetter, dirtier and heavier than one would imagine. Through it all, the "icing on the cake" is the opportunity to partake in healthy, homemade meals around a big table with folks who seemingly love to be there too and most importantly–a community of people who share her values and beliefs.

Leslie Stambler

Leslie Stambler

Part-Time 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.

Jennifer Peck

Jennifer Peck

Communications Director

Jennifer has been studying food from an Western and Eastern perspective for most her life. She grew up on farms and orchards where she had the pleasure of eating fresh foods daily. She is a Yoga Teacher, Ayurveda Practitioner and Reiki Master. She shares her love for food with her clients. It seems fitting to have the opportunity to work for MHOF as it aligns with her mission to teach people how to eat healthily and locally.

Prior to working in her current profession in holistic arts, she worked in marketing, fundraising and development for over 30 years in various industries. Her experience and love for great health allows being part of the MHOF team fitting.

Working Shareholders

Retired District Chief Stuart Howe

Retired District Chief Stuart Howe

Volunteer Staff

Stu has been with us since 2020 and comes to the farm each week because of the eggs he gets, usually a dozen. He enjoys the people out here – he has met a lot of nice people. Julie doesn’t ask anything of us that she doesn’t do. It is good exercise, sometimes too much. But if you just sit around and do nothing you end up being dead, so he does other volunteer work that also keeps him busy. He enjoys doing carpentry with Jonathan, and what he doesn’t like is making decisions about picking shares. He had to do that all the time with his job. Weeding is fun (Stu is one of our top flight weeders!). He also thinks we made a good choice in hiring Jonathan.

Matthew Kornn

Matthew Kornn

Volunteer Staff

After several years of passively participating in Community Supported Agriculture, Matt decided to take a more active role, and volunteered to be a working shareholder at MHOF in 2022. He has a growing desire to be more self-reliant and self-deterministic concerning the quality and origin of the food he eats. Due to his constraints of time and land, working at MHOF provides him with a “loophole” to achieve this goal. Trying to be a better steward of the land that he inherited from others before him and will someday leave behind, Matt is applying the principles of regenerative agriculture/landscaping he learns, to transform his small, urban “lawnscape” into something more beneficial to the beings with whom he currently shares it. Hopefully his neighbors will be inspired to do the same. His time spent on MHOF has become a therapeutic respite from the challenges that modern life sometimes gives us.

Originally from Pittsfield, MA, Matt now lives in Worcester and works for the city as a firefighter. He makes a home with his wife, Meghan, and their two Shar Pei’s, Saki and Mo’i.

Laurie Lentz-Marino

Laurie Lentz-Marino

Volunteer Staff

Laurie, a biochemist for 35 years, describes herself as an “overly extroverted and curious person”. She loves to learn and is an omnivorous reader. She came as a volunteer in April ‘21 when she was looking to get out of isolation. Working on the farm has granted her the opportunity to meet new people, learn copious novel things, and be out in Nature. Working with invisible molecules and teaching indoors for so many decades, she needed the OUTSIDE!. Laurie loves that every day brings new chores and activities. She has especially enjoyed the opportunity to learn to cook with fresh organic produce and to witness Julie’s magnificent talent and power to manage so many folks at once, capitalize seemingly magically on any resources and that she tailors her job selection to each person. Laurie‘s mom grew up on a farm in Missouri. Her mom said she loved it and Laurie feels (knows) there is a kind of spiritual Mom-guidance that led her to find the absolutely astonishing and the ’ambrosial’, wondrous MHOF.

John Wilson

John Wilson

Volunteer Staff

John is looking forward to being a board member at the Many Hands Sustainability Center, expecting to contribute to its mission in various ways. He’s been around the organic world since 1975 when he joined his first food coop in central New York. A native of Buffalo, he and his mate moved to Worcester around 1980 where they raised two children as organically as they could, via home gardening and purchasing MHOF produce and eggs at Living Earth in Worcester. Upon retirement, John liked what he saw at Many Hands – a community of people working to produce nutrient dense vegetables, eggs, and meat. Increasingly concerned about the planet’s environmental train wreck, he’s happy to be a part of the farm and the sustainability center, helping support alternatives to corporate agriculture.

Scott Jiusto

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.

Danny LeBlanc

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

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.

Marissa Gabriel

Marissa Gabriel

Volunteer Staff

Marissa recently moved to Barre to care for a herd of Nigerian Dwarf Goats on a farmstead called Red Goat Farm. She loves to work outside with people and plants. This is her fourth season working on Massachusetts farms.

She was first introduced to farming through the Urban Agriculture program in Gloucester and has been a gardener for some years. She has a degree in environmental science/engineering and has done a lot of field work and analysis including in an experimental forest and an arboretum.

Marissa is seeking tangible life skills such as food growing, preserving, fermenting, bee keeping, construction, repairs, communication, building thriving community. She is excited to work alongside talented, open, honest people who start new things and engage with life.

Marissa finished hiking the 48 4,000-foot-mountains in the White Mountains last year and looking to explore the Green Mountains this season.

Marcia Gusha with grandson Lucas

Marcia Gusha with grandson Lucas

Volunteer Staff

Marcia grew up in Worcester, the youngest of three children. As a senior in high school, she chose her career because of her best friend’s sister. So, she started the Radiologic technology program at Quinsigamond Community College at age 17. Graduating from the Radiology program in 1975, she then furthered her career in the brand-new field of ultrasound. Her official title is Registered Medical Diagnostic Sonographer (RDMS).
One doctor she worked with joked that she had more initials after her name than he did!

Marcia spent 45 years working in the field of ultrasound, mostly in obstetrics and gynecology. She performed ultrasounds on countless patients through the years including herself and all her children when they were having our 7 grandchildren.

Marcia has always enjoyed the outdoors and on occasion would think what would it be like to own a farm? Her father always had a beautiful backyard garden when I was growing up. Fast forward, she sold to their daughter in 2020 and moved into a 55-year-old condo complex also in Rutland. She retired in January of 2022 and has stayed busy helping with all the grandchildren.

Marcia was introduced to MHOF by a neighbor who is a shareholder and decided she wanted to eat a healthier and more organic diet. She checked out Julie’s website a saw the information about working shareholders and thought “this is my chance in life to experience working on a real farm. So, here I am!”

She joked with her husband after her first morning at MHOF that she could have performed a 12-patient morning easier than keeping up with everybody at the farm! A normal ultrasound morning is around 8 patients.

Marcia is thoroughly enjoying all that she is learning on the farm and all the beautiful people she has met. She is grateful for this wonderful life experience.