Jon arrived at The FARM Institute with a long agricultural career that began on a subsistence farm in northern British Columbia. Coming back to the United States in the early 80’s, he owned and operated a 500 acre diversified farming operation, which included grain and a variety of livestock. For the past 20 years he has worked in the animal nutrition businesses in the Midwest, California, and internationally.
Jon’s wife, Barbara "Sundy" Smith is a lifelong summer resident and graduated from the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. They recently rebuilt a family camp on Seth’s Pond, making the island their permanent home. The Previant-Smiths have six grown children between them and five grandchildren.
Jon looks forward to building on The FARM Institute's success as a pioneer in farm-based education and to being a part of the Island's growing group of local farmers.
Sidney Morris spent the first six years of his life on a farm in Pennsylvania. He is now spending his sixties as our Farm Ambassador on Martha's Vineyard. In between, he ate sheep in Russia, rescued a chimpanzee in the Congo, taught sailing in Zambia, learned Spanish in Mexico, made a movie in Ecuador, meditated in India, and started two schools on the Vineyard. He has lived on Chappaquiddick for 34 years, raising a family and working as carpenter, photographer, coffee house manager, tractor driver, film editor, community center coordinator, sailboat captain and teacher. As Ambassador at Large of the FARM Institute, he is devoted to helping people figure out how to grow good food - happily, efficiently and sustainably.
Rebecca joins the FARM as the new Garden Manager and is grateful to have the opportunity to be farming and gardening on the Vineyard once again!
Rebecca grew up on a small farm in rural N.H. and first came to the island in 1990 working at both Hillside Farm and the Solviva organic greenhouse in West Tisbury before heading to western Mass. in 1995. After earning a degree in plant and soil science at UMass Amherst, she spent 7 years working as a science instructor at Hampshire Educational Collaborative in Northampton where she shared a community garden plot with her students.
Sharing her love of plants and animals with children is a passion and getting kids out of the classroom and into the garden is the most rewarding part of her work.
In addition to her experiences in teaching and farming, Rebecca has been self-employed as a landscape gardener for many years and has most recently served as a volunteer with the Leverett Elementary School Greenhouse program. Her areas of interest include growing heirloom, open-pollinated varieties, seed saving, and culinary and medicinal herbs. She also enjoys flipping compost piles, getting to know the FARM's pair of Jersey steers and watching the spectacular sunsets that stretch across the Katama plains at the end of the workday!
Lindsay joins the farm as Marketing and Special Events Director. Lindsay is originally from mainland Massachusetts but has been coming to the Vineyard for the summers since her father opened his store in 1995. She graduated from UMass Boston with a double major in marketing and finance in 2010 and decided to return to the Vineyard for another summer (it always starts this way, doesn’t it?) and has been living here year round ever since.
Lindsay spends her free time in the garden and turning that work into a beautiful year round pantry (jams, pickles, and canned everything!). She also loves experimenting in the kitchen and hanging out with her hound dog rescue, Stella.
Sundy Smith has been working as the Grant Writer at the Farm Institute since 2010, and along with most TFI staff fills in on chores, helps run the farmstand, is a substitute teacher and promotes Farm programs and products. Sundy grew up in the Midwest, but is a lifelong summer Island resident with deep family ties here and has always considered the Vineyard her real home. Working at the Farm Institute has brought together her two major professional interests, education and agriculture. In Iowa, she worked for many years in programs for children with disabilities and also had a small sheep farm outside of Iowa City. She remembers the days when there were many more sheep on the Island and she loves that the Farm Institute is using the beautiful Katama Farm grassland to help bring back the numbers of this historical…and very useful, gentle and admirable animal.