I grew up just outside of Ithaca in a local rural community. When I was little you could find me playing with our many animals, riding horses, or tending to my modest vegetable garden. My maternal grandparents were dairy farmers, and I have many fond memories of being on their farm.
After high school, I left my rural home to be an exchange student in another rural community on the island of Sardinia, Italy. Here, instead of cows, there were more sheep than people. Being exposed to a new culture, learning a new language, and of course, trying a variety of new foods was transformative. Searching for wild asparagus in the spring and eating fresh-picked figs in late summer was a real treat. We ate seasonally in Sardinia, and no surprise, the produce was much more flavorful. In contrast, I noted that in the U.S. we have access to many different varieties of produce year-round, though not necessarily grown here. Seeing these two different approaches to agriculture piqued my interest, and it has only progressed through the years.
I graduated from Cornell with a degree in Italian Language and Literature with a concentration in International Relations. Soon after, I decided I wanted to teach and pursued a Master of Science in Teaching degree from SUNY Cortland. Education and program facilitation have been my professional focuses.
Being a military wife, I have a fond appreciation for the sacrifices that our veterans, active-duty military members, and families make for our country. My husband and I met right after he returned from his deployment in Afghanistan, and I witnessed the many hurdles to reintegrate with purpose back home.
With the Farm Ops project, my primary goal is to get to know our veterans, their backgrounds, and what transferable skills they carry from their military careers. With this, I can effectively support the lifestyle change they are seeking. The education, training, and resources we provide afford our veterans many opportunities to explore their interests with purposeful connections to their communities through agriculture and farming.
My husband and our daughter, Cecilia, are very active and enjoy hiking, vegetable, and perennial gardening, spending time outdoors, and beagles. We are also self-proclaimed foodies and love cooking and baking.