I was raised in Bloomfield, NY, a small rural community in the Finger Lakes, a bit over an hour from Ithaca, NY where I now live with my family. I attended Cornell University, class of 2016 where I studied International Agriculture and Rural Development and was a member of the Triphammer housing cooperative. There I was steeped in a co-op culture of local foods, sustainability, community building and regenerative agriculture. Across a long dinner table my friends and I would munch on leftovers at midnight while we mused on how we could reshape the current food system, and puzzled over how to integrate our coursework into real transformational change. My studies at Cornell afforded me a breadth of international agricultural experiences and meaningful relationships that have thoroughly shaped my views on agriculture and development, and for which I am so grateful. This path has led me to India, Ecuador and later Central America, where I lived for about 4 years.
Following graduation, my heart pulled me to Nicaragua. There I continued my collaboration in a local school and family garden project, and explored opportunities in coffee agroforestry. I spent time in the coffee growing region of Matagalpa where I studied local farmers' preferences for tree species, as a part of a carbon insetting reforestation campaign. In seeing and experiencing the multi-faceted benefits of agroforestry systems — not only food and timber, but protection of water and soil resources, valuable shade, habitat and importantly carbon sequestration, I decided to enroll in the Costa Rican University CATIE (Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Center), where I completed a Master’s degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Agroforestry. My research, conducted with the international research collaboration called BIOPASOS (Biodiversity and Sustainable Agro-silvopasture for Livestock Landscapes), examined drivers of land use change and deforestation in cattle ranching landscapes Campeche, Mexico, and the promise of agroforestry practices to provide species habitats and help feed cattle without contributing to pasture expansion (deforestation).
In my work with the Cornell Small Farms Program, I’m focusing on building relationships throughout our local and regional food system, and supporting pathways for Spanish speakers to pursue farming and adopt IPM practices. I’m interested in promoting land access for all people that wish to grow food, and working to make educational and financial resources more accessible in sustainable agriculture.