Sunday, January 27, 2013

New Farm Education Coordinator, and an Invitation to You, the Members, from Joanne

[The "backstory," from Melinda:  the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, who own our Farm, see the Farm as fulfilling part of their environmental goal of shepherding the land, which it does admirably. But  among their other goals are outreach and education. This led to the idea of finding someone already conversant in the hands-on life of the Farm, as well as versed in food science and the health sciences in general, who could guide and coordinate the Farm's educational mission(s). As is so often the case, the person we sought was right under our nose:  Joanne Rosenbaum! Many of you know her as a long-time workshare, but you may not realize that she has extensive professional experience in life sciences (biology and chemistry), health sciences, health administration--particularly but not exclusively in women's health--conference and workshop organizing, and new-program development in those areas. We're thrilled to welcome her as our new Farm Education Coordinator!  Below is Joanne's story in her own words.]

Joanne's Story

Joanne, photo by Melinda
"Back in the day when I was working full-time and had five weeks' vacation, I spent Fridays at the Farm doing my workshare. I came home sweaty, smelling of the earth and whatever veggies I harvested that day. Since then, Red Hill has become my sanctuary for peace, relaxation, introspection, and meeting new and like-minded friends.  Oh, and how could I forget?--the most beautiful, luscious veggies ever! (See my essay on why I love my CSA on the Sisters' site--click here.)

So, one might ask, how and why did I end up taking the Red Hill Farm Education-Coordinator position?

I loved my previous job:  working in women's health had always been my dream. But after sixteen years and many difficult life events, I started thinking that I wanted to work in the community where I live and try to make a difference there in people's lives. I am passionate about "health promotion and disease prevention," especially the importance of good nutrition and the prevention of childhood obesity.

Angela Kidder, our Farm Manager, mentioned that the Sisters wanted to get back to one of the core missions of the Farm, "education."  To make a long story short (as I usually do), I quit my job and here I am!

The Invitation

Part of my charge is planning events and programs for our CSA members and community. I also want to build on the existing farm tour and develop at least two further age-appropriate tours.  Please let me know as soon as possible if you are interested in joining a "working committee" to plan the two tours.  Now please don't be frightened by the term "working!" I will do the leg-work for support materials, contacts, or other things that need to be done during the working day. Ideally, we'd have a group working on each topic of the tour:  e.g., bees, soil health, compost tea, weeds, etc. I'd like to have our first meeting at the beginning of February.

It is also very important to the Sisters, to Angela, and to me to develop relationships with local schools, including Drexel Neumann Academy (see here). I will be planning interactive lectures to take into the schools, in turn supporting them with tours of the Farm.

The most important part of this plan is to include as many members of the community as possible:  school students and teachers, dietitians, clinicians, farmers, Sisters, and of course, YOU, the CSA members!  You can call me at 610-558-5396; or email at Looking forward to seeing you all again!"


  1. Jo, good luck in your new venture. You are perfect for this work. I think our community is ready and waiting. Back to nature and living off the land is making a comeback. Everyone has become more health conscious and the best place to start is with our food.


  2. That is so awesome!! Good luck!! - Chris

  3. How about extending the education program to those who have disabilities?

    1. hi, good idea, will look into it. We should talk, Joanne