Meet the Team

Steering Committee


Lisa Laffin

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.


Erica Emery

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:


Amanda Adams

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 Martin

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.


Kate Ray

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 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.

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Dr. Justus Hillebrand

Justus is an independent research consultant in History and the Digital Humanities. He experienced activism around local food systems during his doctoral studies at the University of Maine in Orono. When he settled down in Farmington with his family, he wanted to get involved and bring his perspective on the history of farming in western Maine to food systems work in the present.



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.