We are excited to introduce new staff that are helping farmer seekers on their path to acquiring farmland and retiring farmers with their transfer planning.
Kali Lucey, our new New Hampshire Field Agent. Kali joined the team in March 2023 as an Administrative Assistant. Her skills quickly proved valuable to the team, and she expanded her role to Operations Coordinator and New Hampshire Field Agent. In her own multi-year search for farmland, Kali spent the better part of the last decade farming for other people in various capacities and locations from the west coast of the U.S. to South America. Kali has experienced first-hand the many hurdles farmers face when trying to start, or transition out of farming.
“I’ve witnessed the struggle for an older generation to exit farming and a next generation to enter farming,” shared Kali. “It constitutes one of the greatest challenges for farming in the region, and I’m passionate about trying to bridge this gap for New Hampshire farmers.”
Kali is excited to be a part of the vibrant agricultural community that exists in New England. She loves making connections with partner organizations, and meeting new people that share her love of local agriculture.
Katie Turcotte, our new Maine Field Agent. Katie’s first experience working on a farm was when she was twelve, growing up in Western Maine. She worked for six summers on a small “pick your own” berry farm and decided that it was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Katie left Maine to pursue a degree in Ecological Agriculture at the University of Vermont where she was immersed in the thriving Vermont food and farming scene. Katie was a part of many initiatives and leadership roles, including serving on the board of directors for the Northeast Organic Farmers Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT). She participated in important discussions that were going on at the time in Vermont around land conversation, farm transition, support for beginning farmers, and more. Over a period of ten years Katie and her partner worked to purchase Orb Weaver Farm, a 100-acre farm that housed a tie-stall barn, cheese house, and aging cave. Katie worked with many Vermont nonprofits and service providers to come up with a transition plan with the previous owners.
“We decided to lease the farm before purchasing it and operated the farm and cheesemaking business for five years,” shared Katie. “In the end, through many hard discussions, we decided not to purchase the farm. This firsthand experience left me with a deeper understanding of the challenges we face in keeping land in agriculture and transitioning to the next generation.”
The experience also left Katie with a lot of hope and appreciation for the support that she had throughout the entire process. Now, eighteen years after she moved away to start her education in agriculture, Katie has returned home to Maine and is excited to transition her career from production, to work that supports working landscapes and keeping land in agriculture.
Deanna Levanti, our new Southeastern New England Field Agent. This is a new role designed to help us reach more farmers and landowners, particularly in southeastern Massachusetts, Eastern Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Deanna is a farmer herself and comes to Land For Good with 17 years of vegetable farming experience. During this time Deanna has interfaced with the question of land access from a wide variety of perspectives, enabling her to build a solid understanding of this dynamic issue.
“I’ve seen the limitations and opportunities for land tenure as a production farmer, both in my own experience and in that of my peers. On the one hand, we struggle to earn livable wages, build equity, and hopefully one day achieve land ownership; on the other, we are privileged when we have secure land access and are able to own our own farm businesses. The barriers to achieving land ownership and secure tenure have driven some farmers away from agriculture and they remain unapproachable for many limited-resource and aspiring farmers. I see Land For Good working on the precipice of this challenging issue and continuing to find solutions that get farmers on the land.”
Deanna believes that bridging the gap between retiring farmers and landless farmers is essential to maintaining agricultural spaces in densely populated New England. These connections pose great opportunities for community building and collaboration which can drive future progress. Deanna is eager to carry out our mission on the ground in southern New England. Her passion for raising awareness about the challenges of farming today, particularly around farmland and long-term farm viability, drives her work and dedication.
Header photo: Katie, pictured right, met with Land For Good’s former Maine Field Agent, Abby Sadauckas (left) on her farm in Bowdoinham Maine, along with Mike Ghia, Vermont Field Agent (center). Abby continues to consult with Land For Good but recently stepped back from her field agent role to work on-farm full time with her partner at Apple Creek Farm.