There are many wonderful people who help out to make the farm work. Helpers work in the fields on the farm, in the barn cleaning and packaging produce or CSA shares, and helping out at farmers' markets. Many of our helpers are young people who want to learn, hands-on, about sustainable farming before they go off to start their own projects. Below is info about our current helpers. For info about the farm owners, Click here.
To the left is a slideshow of some of the people who have helped us over the past several years. All of these folks are important to the farm, whether they work 2 hours a week or 50. We appreciate them all!
Do you want to get your hands dirty? Check here for staff openings.
Kelly, originally from the Carolinas, is the farm's Vegetable Manager, and is with us for her second year. She has several years of organic vegetable growing experience from the lower Hudson Valley of New York and the suburbs of New York City. Over the years, she has developed a strong interest in soil science, fertility management and heirloom vegetable varieties. In addition to her farming activities, she was also a community compost educator in New York City helping community gardeners and individual residents learn the ins and outs of composting. Kelly is excited to finally be growing for a CSA operation and enjoys learning more about plant breeding and seed saving on the farm.
Rachel, is with us for her third year this year, and is starting her own farming project at home as well. "Although I grew up on a small farm in Cecil County, it wasn't until the last few years that I considered that agriculture would be my life's passion. I finished my Elementary Education degree from Towson in 2005 but quickly found that teaching in a "traditional" setting wasn't for me.
I'm thinking of this time at North Star as my graduate program - with classes in the garden and greenhouse on topics like "How to Deal with Harlequin Beetles in the Brussels Sprout Patch" and "Developing a Consistent Seeding/Harvesting Schedule for the Home Garden and Field". Through these first few years in "Grad School" I've learned that I love the feeling of being exhausted at the end of a long day in the field and sitting down to a salad made from things exclusively from our garden and farm."
Wahi is a Seasonal Helper who is returning for a third year: "I've lived in southeastern Pennsylvania my entire life. My interests have always been plants, reading, and animals. At college I was a creative writing/fine arts major, but after four years working at a bookstore and only gardening for fun, I came to the conclusion that I would much rather work with plants for a living and keep the reading and writing to a hobby. I currently have a flock of ten chickens who are awesome and have some quirky personalities. I also have a cat and two rabbits, one of whom is an English Angora whose wool I am (slowly!) learning to spin with a drop spindle. I've learned a huge amount already at North Star and hope to learn much more!"
Shannon is returning for a second year as a Seasonal Helper. As a Food Anthropologist, she has travelled throughout Europe on the quest for good food. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Food Culture and Communications at L'Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche in Colorno in Italy. During her time at the University, she travelled to various farms (producing anything from bergamot to elder flowers to mussels), salumeria, vineyards, breweries, chocolatiers, and to many more producers throughout Italy, Crete, Andalucía and Belgium; she completed her degree by conducting thesis research in Cracow, Poland. Now that she has returned to Cochranville, where she was raised, she is happy to have the chance to learn more about food production on her home soil.
Peter is a year-round helper who is returning for a second year at the farm. Peter spends a lot of time in the orchard helping Ike prune, fruit thin, and harvest all of the various tree fruits. He and his wife Maria have a cat "Sir Loin" (although here is is pictured with farm dog Sophie), and plan to have their own farm one day where they hope to raise chickens and other meat animals as well as some amount of produce.
Maria is coming on board as our Orchard Assistant after graduating from Delaware Valley College with a degree in Horticulture (Commercial Crop Production). She is very excited about fruit trees, fruit breeding, and beekeeping. She says cooking is one of her favorite activities, along with brewing beer and making cider and cheese.
Derek and Brittany are Seasonal Helpers this year, and both are keenly interested in learning how to raise sustainably-grown food. Having no background in agriculture (both majored in French), they were inspired a few years ago, after watching "Food, Inc.", to learn while doing. They have spent time since then reading about farming and having long talks with farmer mentors they met at a local farmers' market. They are now more than ready to get their hands dirty!
Ian, trained in game art and design, joins us as a Seasonal Helper this year. He has been a customer at the Emmaus Farmers' Market, where he has always been fascinated by the vast array of fruit varieties we offer. He enjoys cooking and is looking forward to spending time outdoors and doing manual labor with a crew of other good people.
Andy is coming on board as a Seasonal Helper after graduating this spring from West Chester University, where he'll earn a degree in Political Science. He strongly feels that growing sustainably-raised food is the most important thing we can do to serve communities right now, and is looking forward to building on some of the skills and knowledge he picked up working at another farm between his junior and senior year of college.
Shelby is joining us as a Seasonal Helper. "I’m a Pennsylvania native with a background in fine art and photography. Agriculture has consistently been the background and stable base of my life. Since I was young, I've had my hands in dirt and an interest in my food. From helping my parents tend the family garden and assisting with canning and freezing local fruits and veggies, I was taught the value of good, real food. One hard-won degree, four tedious jobs, seven significant relocations and ten years later, I've found stability and home in a local, rural life with my partner and our dog. After picking up our CSA share every week last year from North Star and seeing the quality and variety of produce, I knew I wanted to work here."
Tony is joining us as a Seasonal Helper after graduating from Ursinus college this spring with a major in Environmental Studies, and minors in Education and Business Management. A former country club cook, he enjoys working with his hands, and is strongly interested in the farm-to-table concept.
Jessica, who avidly loves all things outdoors, joins us as a Seasonal Helper. Her interest in sustainability was piqued during her studies at West Chester University, where she majored in Environmental Geography. She feels working here will help her validate that sustainable agriculture has a positive impact on local communities.
Alexandra is joining us as a Seasonal Helper. She took classes in Food Systems and sustainability, has helped at the Landis Valley Museum's Heritage Seed Project, and is very interested in food as it relates to politics and international relations. She wants to learn-by-doing before going on to working on a Masters in horticulture or working with a food-related non-profit organization.