Meet the Team
Laura Hoeft - School Garden Coach
Laura began her work with the Council in September 2020. As the School Garden Coach, she provides support for four area schools in Franklin County. During her first year she collaborated with staff in two of the schools who had established garden programs to increase their volunteer/staffing capacity. In the remaining schools, she established new garden programs, creatively seeking out new ways to build support and enthusiasm with staff and students. Laura recently managed Sugarloaf’s biggest annual fundraiser, the Sugarloaf Charity Summit. Despite needing to completely reinvent the event due to the onset of COVID, she led the team to raise over 240k to fight cancer in Maine. Laura has worked previously as a Group Sales Manager at Sugarloaf. She has served as a Board member for several organizations, including the Maine Mountain Children’s House, the Kingfield POPS Event Committee, and the Town of Belgrade Parks and Recreation Department. She is a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Human Development. She lives in New Vineyard with her husband and three children.
Erica has been active in the agriculture community since her youth when she participated in 4-H in Franklin County. After years working in youth development, Erica found her way to a vegetable farm in the suburbs of Boston. Erica and her partner, Dave Allen, started Rustic Roots Farm in 2013; providing weekly farm shares to the community and selling directly to the public at the Farmington Farmers’ Market. Erica has participated in the MOFGA Journeyperson program, and served on boards for both Franklin County Cooperative Extension, and Maine Food Strategy. Learn more about Rustic Roots Farm on their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RusticRootsFarm/
As the executive director of the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area since 2008 and a dedicated member of the steering committee, Lisa focuses community-based, collaborative initiatives to improve community connectedness, engaged isolated people in becoming contributing citizens, and improved access to resources. She has served on many community boards throughout her professional life, including GFFC, the University of Maine at Farmington Board of Visitors which she chaired and the RSU 9 school board. Lisa has received a number of awards for her community engagement efforts including the Governor’s service award for Excellence in Volunteer Administration in 2013.
Born and raised in Mobile, AL, Amanda moved to Maine in 2014. She works as an accountant for a small office in Phillips and recently served as a Financial Trustee and Treasurer of Old South Church in Farmington. Amanda is in the process of completing her post-Baccalaureate degree in Accounting through the University of Maine in Augusta. Amanda lives in Farmington with her wife, Mary.
Sarah, her husband Bud, and their son Cole live in Starks on 88 acres they call Martin Woods Farm, with pastures and plenty of woods. It is a diversified farm and equestrian center with 3 miles of wooded trails, an indoor and outdoor arena for events, and a round pen. They raise pigs, cows, and vegetables and herbs, and forest maple syrups and produce apple cider. Sarah keeps busy making jams and other goodies with the produce from their farm when not involved with council related activities. Please check their FB page for updates on the latest happenings - open year round. https://www.facebook.com/martinwoodsfarm/
Kate grew up working at Fiddler’s Green Farm in Buxton and first came to Franklin County to attend the University of Maine at Farmington, graduating in 2004. After time out west and traveling the world, she returned to Maine in 2018 with her husband and two children. Since returning home she and her husband have started Running Wild Farm a livestock farm and orchard www.runningwildfarm.com and their newest venture The Maine Beer Shed a craft beer and farm market. The Maine Beer Shed also offers community gardens and a small greenhouse. While living out west Kate served on the board of Recycle Utah, Leadership Park City (focusing on food waste reduction), and on the board of the Summit County Art Council.
Rosemary moved the New Sharon in 2019 when she married Philip Ripa. They own Five Corners Farm in New Sharon where they raise Katahdin sheep, chickens, hay, vegetables and honey. In addition to farming, she is the horticulturalist for the farm’s large perennial landscape. Rosemary promoted programs that support health and wellness in underserved populations for 25 years. Joining the GFFC steering committee provides an opportunity for her to continue this work because access to nutritious, locally grown food greatly impacts the health and wellness of our community.
Nick works as the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Sustainable Agriculture and Horticulture Professional in Franklin County. Through this work Nick focuses on agricultural outreach and education to support the people of Franklin County and beyond. He specializes in crop production, pest management, soil health and composting. Prior to working in this role Nick worked as a Food and Agriculture Field Specialist for UNH Cooperative Extension in Coös County NH and as a Research Associate at the Maine Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station, Highmoor Farm in Monmouth Maine.
Kaitlyn started farming in Western Massachusetts in 2015. In 2017, she graduated from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture with a degree in Sustainable Food and Farming. Kaitlyn and her husband Matt moved to Franklin County in 2021. Together they started O'Rye Farm with the goals of feeding their neighbors & building community through regenerative farming practices.