Sierra Harvest is delighted to welcome Edy Cassell, who is replacing Farmer Leo as our new Sierra Gardens Coordinator.
What is your role at Sierra Harvest?
I get to install gardens for lots of people! I’m also working with a lot of different institutions like Utah’s Place to see if we can work together to create community gardens.
What kind of experience do you have with gardening/farming?
I have a background in organic farming and gardening and horticulture. I was an apprentice and instructor at the UC Santa Cruz farm, and I was the Horticultural Director at Hidden Villa in Los Altos, where I did all the garden restoration there, digging out the vinca and discovering all sorts of interesting plants from around the world. I also taught school and ran a LifeLab program in Santa Cruz. I currently have a homestead with goats and fruit trees.
What do you hope to accomplish?
I hope to get lots of new gardens installed this year and get more and more people growing food. I look forward to sustaining the gardens and figuring out how to support people after they term out so I can continue to help them grow healthy food. I’ve been working as a volunteer director at KVMR, and will be still be working there part time, so I’m excited to work with volunteers in this new position and keep this program going.
Why did you want to work for Sierra Harvest?
It spoke to all of my loves – education and horticulture and project coordination. It’s the perfect job! And it’s a fun way to get out in the community and make a difference.
There are no words to describe the enormous contribution Leo Chapman has made to this organization. We are incredibly grateful for everything he has done to make Sierra Harvest what it is today. Leo would like to share a few words with our community:
“It has been my pleasure to be part of the Sierra Harvest team and watch such remarkable growth. Working with the SH team inspires me; they are truly dedicated to educating, inspiring and connecting Nevada County families to fresh, seasonal local food. We are so lucky to have this organization in our community.
Being the Sierra Gardens Coordinator allowed me to make dreams come true. The scholarship program reduced the out of pocket expenses associated with building a new garden to almost nothing. Working with these new gardeners has given me a greater appreciation for growing our own food. I did enjoy meeting families who wanted to grow more of their own food.
In the future I see Nevada County eating 25% of their food grown by local farms. I see being able to go out to dinner in Grass Valley and Nevada City, and ordering locally grown menu items. I see local farm and ranch foods being sold in all the area grocery stores. I see many value added products, produced using local foods available at lots of locations. I see a thriving garden and orchard in all the county schools who want one. I see SH with a strong farmer incubator program, pumping out micro farmers/ranchers who have successful businesses. I see school kids who know the name of a farmer and have been out to their farm in the last year. I see the development of an agrarian institute innovatively combining farmer training, agricultural policy, and applied agrarian research. That would build strong connections between farmers, policy makers and scholars, improving the viability of small and medium scale farming as a livelihood, and in doing so creating healthier food systems, ecosystems and communities. In ten years I see Nevada County celebrating their local food movement, honoring the farmers who have changed the health and well-being of our community.”
What’s next for Leo? A hip replacement and a speedy recovery!! He is also aspiring to be the next Sierra Harvest volunteer of the year.