Monday, July 7, 2014

Meet The Farmers: Farmer Bio- Hannah Slipakoff, Field Manager, Mort Brooks Farm

What is your background in farming? One of the reasons I am most excited about farming at Awbury is that my farming background begins there. In highschool I started volunteering with several urban farming groups, including weavers way. After finding such passion in working for people-powered food systems, I went off to college in Oberlin, OH and apprenticed for summer and school year at the George Jones Memorial Farm. I then ventured to make community food systems a part of my academic work, and spent a summer studying Agroecology at the University of California Santa Cruz. Establishing Community Food Systems as an independent concentration allowed me to "study away" back here in Philadelphia, interning with the Seeds for Learning Farm at MLK High School in 2011 and I followed that year by apprenticing at Mort Brooks for the summer. Upon graduating I returned to Philadelphia, worked as a garden educator for the East Park Revitalization Alliance, and then took the role of training coordinator for the Phildelphia Community Farming Collaborative's (which weaver's way is a part of) beginner farming training program that ran last year. Now I'm back once again, and thrilled to be working with an amazing group of people.
What is your background in any other area of interest that you want people to know about? Farming to me is just one way that we can go about laboring for justice and finding freedom, which I consider to be my life's work. Other ways I like to go about doing that are making art, practicing yoga, being involved with community organizing around racial and economic justice, cooking, riding my bike, and spending time with my loved ones.
What is your connection to Philly? I grew up in Wyncote and my family has roots in Philly for 4 generations. I love this city and it's people!
What turned you on to farming? As a teenager I realized that farming could be an act of unity. Since we all eat, and growing food takes a lot of effort, I saw farming as a way of connecting to others, supporting each other in fostering lifestyles that feel healthy to us, and of course, overthrowing our capitalist food system that's governed by oppression!
What are you most excited about for this season? As you've read, the farms are restructuring this year. I am most excited about working with Nina, Emma, Nancy, and Chris (and hopefully you readers as our faithful volunteers) to establish a operating model that really speaks to our values as a co-op and as individuals. I look forward to working hard and using our collective smarts to make sure we are centering all that we do around the notion of not just sustaining ourselves through the season, but thriving!

What do you want the shareholders to know about the farms? I want the shareholders to know that these are your farms! Weaver's Way has set up an amazing oppertunity for members to become fully engaged in a participatory food system, and we farmers certainly can't create a just food system without you. I would love members to spend time on the farms, whether for volunteering or just dropping by to say hi... interacting with members helps us farmers feel like we are connected to something larger than the fields. Feel free to contact me about any and all things farm related!

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