Staff

Jon Previant (Executive Director)

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.

Julie Scott (Farm Manager)

Hi! I'm Julie Olson and I am the Farm Manager here at The FARM Institute. I have been here for awhile now, working with and learning from the animals and people. I have worn many hats here, first joining the farm as the farmhand and moving on to Livestock Coordinator, Farm/Education Liason, program teacher, and have now settled on Farm Manager. I have fallen in love with the island (growing up on Cape Cod, I never thought that would be possible) as well as The FARM Institute and can see myself sticking around for awhile.

My farming career started when I was a wee youngster helping out at a small feed and grain store in Harwich, MA with an attached farm. Although I was 12, I was often left alone to run the store, tend to the animals and give people the wrong change. Living this farm lifestyle thrilled me and I chose to pursue agriculture in college.

So.....I then spent 4 years at Sterling College in Northern Vermont learning and working on the school farm as well as other farms in the area. Nothing says fun like milking cows at 4am before class in minus-20-degree temperatures. I spent my summers on various farms in various states in various time zones hoping to learn lots about farming and sometimes I did. After graduating in May of 2007 with a Bachelors Degree in Sustainable Agriculture, I traveled far and wide from California to Iceland before realizing the Massachusetts coast was where I belonged.

I am excited about building relationships and partnerships with other Island farmers and families and continuing to acquire knowledge and skills from the experts. Some day I will have a small, horse powered dairy farm that makes it's own ice cream and sells it at an on site ice cream parlor. Some day pigs will probably also fly.

My likes include: cheese, eating cheese, making cheese, thinking about cheese, talking about cheese, bowling, swimming, dancing, karaoke, welding, things that are awesome and free, my dogs Usah and Eli, farming with draft horses and oxen, sledding, ice skating, music, and teaching people about agriculture.

My dislikes include: stickers, crabs, ginger, being left out, runny noses, cornish rock chickens and seafood.

Sidney Morris (Ambassador at Large)

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 Sanders (Garden Manager)

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 Miner (Marketing & Special Events Director)

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. 

Elana Baumann-Carbrey (Small Ruminants Manager)
Hi, I'm Elana and I work with the livestock here at The Farm Institute, looking after our flock of sheep in particular. I grew up a city kid in Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Brevard College in the mountains of North Carolina where I studied English and Psychology. I thought I wanted to be a social worker but ended up working on farms after I graduated. I've never looked back. Being outside all day and working with the sheep, cows, chickens and goats is my idea of an ideal lifestyle. 
 
Before moving to the island to work here, I lived on a goat dairy in NC where we made soap and cheese. Prior to that I worked on an another nonprofit, educational farm in Vermont, Farm and Wilderness, where we ran the state's smallest cow dairy. 
 
I have a weak spot for goats (as naughty as they are!) and finally have my own dairy goat, Fern, who I milk twice a day and make all the cheese, caramel, yogurt, and delicious dairy products I could ever eat. Her adorable goat kids make my day too. A few other things that make me happy include mountains, swimming in rivers, eating tasty food, exploring, lambing and kidding time, and keeping a running conversation with the farm animals when no one's around. My big dream is to have my own play-farm-homestead in the Appalachian mountains. 
Tim Connelly (Education Director)
Tim, our resident tall guy with a beard and new Education Coordinator, joins us from Schenectady New York. After attending Union College for a degree in English and Math, Tim decided to pursue his passion for manual labor and being covered in dirt. For the past few years Tim has travelled around the Northeast working on various farms and enjoyed a long stint as an Outdoor Education Teacher in Groton, MA. He has spent the last year on Martha's Vineyard working as a Farm Based Educator with TFI (woohoo!) among jobs on some of the island's many other farms. 
 
One day Tim would like to have a small homestead in a warm place while writing things other people may or may not find interesting. For now, he is happy to spend his time showing kids (and adults) that working for your food and getting dirty are two of the most fulfilling things you can do with your time. When he's not at The Farm, Tim enjoys reading, watching movies, swimming, hiking, cooking, and drawing cartoons in the corners of otherwise important pieces of paper. This summer, however, he plans to spend as much free time as possible at the beach.   

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