Staff

Mill City Grows is a small organization starting its 6th year of operation. Meet our team!

 

Francey Slater

Francey Slater, Founding Co-Director
Francey is a seasoned educator and gardener. Francey has focused on garden education program development; designing, building and coordinating physical gardens; cultivating volunteer participation; and establishing partnerships to leverage resources to support community health and wellness.  You can reach Francey at Francey[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

 

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Lydia SissonLydia Sisson, Founding Co-Director
Lydia is an experienced commercial farmer and small business owner, and holds a Masters degree in Economic and Social Development of Regions.  Before starting Mill City Grows, Lydia ran a CSA farm for 4 years.  You can reach Lydia at Lydia[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

 

 


FOOD ACCESS TEAM


Dai KimDai Kim, Mobile Market Manager
Dai is a cultured Lowellian through and through. His life long love affair with culinary arts and all things food makes him an enthusiast on the subject. Seven years of his career has been devoted to meat retail and his studies include hospitality management and business. Dai’s tenacity for service has brought him back home to Lowell where he now gives back to the community by continually improving access to food grown locally and in Lowell. If you see Dai, say HI! Dai can be reached at dai[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

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Karl Goethert, Urban Farm Manager
After five years of co-managing a 3 acre vegetable farm with his partner, Karl is excited to return his focus to vegetable production with Mill City Grows.  Karl has also piloted a beekeeping program with local farmers in rural Uganda, spent time W.W.O.O.F.-ing in Hawaii and New Zealand, and has a BA in Animation with a minor in Storyboarding. You can reach Karl at Karl[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

 

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Alexandra Greene, Farm & Market Apprentice
Alex has lived in Lowell since moving from New Jersey to go to school. She is a recent UMass Lowell graduate with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with concentrations in Management and Marketing. Having worked outside her whole life, she is excited to move away from office positions and gain valuable knowledge and experience while giving back to her community. Alex can be reached at Alex[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

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Joe Kapusanksy, TerraCorps Service Member 
Joe is a Mississippi native, now hardening through the Mass experience for over a decade now. His love for movement, food and community rooted him to Lowell where he seasoned his skills in the food industry and obtained a license in massage therapy. Joe started volunteering with Mill City Grows in 2013 and is ecstatic to join the team in a more immersive role. He hopes to one day run a farm-to-table operation near his family in Batangas, Philippines devoted to sustainable agriculture and living. In his spare time, Joe likes stretching on a yoga mat, cooking, and looking at pictures of bonsai trees. You can reach Joe at Joe[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

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Brian Mariano, Season Extension Coordinator
Originally from Massachusetts, Brian began his career working in television, film, and video after graduating from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He worked on the soap opera Guiding Light and most recently, as a Visual Effects Editor at Zero VFX here in Boston. Reading book after book about food and farms, it became clear a career shift was in order. He is brand new to farm work but is thrilled to learn the ropes from MCG, a company that shares his passion that good, local food is the best way to positively effect our health and community. Outside of work, Brian loves running, climbing, skiing, cooking and singing karaoke, especially oldies. You can reach Brian at Brian[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

 


EDUCATION TEAM


Val Snowdon, Director of EducationIMG_0080
Val comes to Mill City Grows after spending a season managing two vegetable gardens in downtown Boston with a crew of urban youth through Boston Natural Areas Network. Val holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Education from Antioch University New England, where she focused in community and school food systems. You can reach Val at Val[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

 

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Maggie Notopoulos, School Garden Program Coordinator
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Maggie’s passion for food education, advocacy and justice came from growing up in a household where dinners were cooked and shared together. Those roots led her to a lifelong cooking and tasting passion and a desire to share that love and knowledge with others, especially youth. After getting her bachelor’s in Biology, she spent years in the marine and food education fields at non-profits in the Boston area. She’s excited to be new to the Lowell community! Maggie can be reached at Maggie[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

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Felicia PintoFelicia Pinto, Community Food Educator
Felicia’s first love of food came from scratch cooking and gardening with her mother.  She then went on to get a bachelor’s in Food and Dietetics from Framingham State University. From there her love of community work really took off while serving with Americorps and FoodCorps where she supported schools in establishing school gardens, helped coordinate farm to school projects, as well as delivered nutrition education in classrooms.  Felicia can be reached at felicia[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

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Giuliana CappucciGiuliana Cappucci, FoodCorps Service Member
Giuliana Cappucci has worked in the food justice system in Lowell for about three years and is very excited to continue her work as a Mill City Grows Americorps/Foodcorps Service Member! She believes that children should have access to nutritious, locally grown food, and get their hands dirty. Giuliana can be reached at Giuliana[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

 

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Zoe Flavin, FoodCorps Service Member
Zoe is so excited to join the food justice movement in Lowell as a FoodCorps service member. Zoe is a graduate of Pomona College where she majored in Politics. During college, she was involved in community-based research projects in California, Chile, Cuba and India regarding how political systems can best support equitable urban agriculture. She has worked as an educator and on field crews at several urban farms. Zoe loves eating food fresh from the ground and writing fiction. You can reach Zoe at Zoe[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

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Mia Carriuolo, After School Educator
Mia is has been a part of the Lowell community for four years. She is a passionate music education student at UMass Lowell who has had a growing love for the richness of the Lowell community since her first day in the city. Her curiosity and admiration for community-based education started in her classes and has only expanded since her discovery of Mill City Grows. She is excited to teach students about how to grow and cook their own food to sustain themselves, their community, and their environment. Mia can be reached at Mia[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

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Bethany Bellingham, After School Educator
After 2 years growing at the Eagle Park Community Garden, Bethany is thrilled to join the Mill City Grows Education Team as an After School Educator. She is passionate about growing food and gets very excited seeing home and community gardens spread around Lowell. A parent of a child in the Lowell Public Schools, she is excited about helping families enjoy the empowerment that comes from growing the fresh, healthy food they wish to eat. Prior to coming to Mill City Grows, Bethany worked in sustainable agriculture, and CSA management. In addition to gardening, she loves swimming, lifting weights, and reading seed catalogs. Bethany can be reached at Bethany[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

 


COMMUNITY PROGRAMS TEAM


Laura Santiago, Community Program Manager
Originally from Mexico, Laura comes to Lowell and Mill City Grows after working for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for six years. She worked with community members and corporations in healthcare reform and unemployment assistance. She developed a love for the outdoors and the environment at a young age and spent the last four years caring for her little garden in Cambridge. A novice beekeeper, she started her first hive last year when she left her career with the Commonwealth to pursue her passion for sustainability and social justice. Laura can be reached at Laura[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

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Enrique VargasEnrique Vargas, Community Program Coordinator
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Enrique first came to Lowell in 2001 because of his passion for music, which led him to earn a degree in Sound Recording Technology from UMass Lowell. His passion for community and social justice lead him to Mill City Grows, first as a member of the farm team and Mobile Market, and more recently as a member of the Community Program.  In his spare time, Enrique loves to collect records and books and talk about soccer and baseball stats. You can reach Enrique at Enrique[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

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Katie Irwin, TerraCorps Community Engagement Coordinator
Katie grew up in New Hampshire and studied public health at college in rural Maine. After spending Maine’s blueberry harvest season with Mano en Mano, a non-profit that runs a migrant education school, Katie is excited to join the Mill City Grows team as the TerraCorps Community Engagement Coordinator! Katie hopes to learn from all of the amazing gardeners of Lowell. You can reach Katie at katie[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

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Yenny Martin, Volunteer Engagement & Evaluation AmeriCorps VISTA 
Yenny grew up in Northern California and went to Bennington College in Vermont, where she studied printmaking and film. Vermont is where she realized her love of being outdoors and working in agriculture. Her keenness for the environment grew after she graduated, as she became passionate about food recovery—for its ability to assist both people in need of healthy food, and the environment. In the past year, Yenny took documentary film projects to Southeast Asia where she focused on environmental and animal conservation. Yenny is now extremely excited to join the team at Mill City Grows to increase food justice in local communities! You can reach Yenny at Yenny[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

 


ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM



Wael (Lilo) Altali, Director of Administration
Lilo was born in Syria, and later raised in Lowell. Growing up in such a culturally diverse city, he grew passionate about social justice and equality. Lilo loves using innovation techniques to solve major social and organizational problems. He is active in the local nonprofit and start-up communities and serves as a volunteer at Rosie’s Place (a homeless shelter for women). Lilo holds a Master of Public Administration degree with a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management from Newbury College. You can reach Lilo at Lilo[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

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Gallagher Hannan, Operations & Project Manager
Gallagher is an innovative and creative design professional, who combines her background in organic agriculture and local food systems with her practical design/build training and experience in order to create attractive, functional and productive spaces. Before coming to Mill City Grows she worked as an Associate Landscape Designer with the Regenerative Design Group in Greenfield, MA. Gallagher holds a Masters of Science in Ecological Design from the Conway School. You can reach Gallagher at Gallagher[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

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Jessica WilsonJessica Moore Wilson, Development Manager
Jessica has worked in non-profit administration and fundraising for over 15 years, with a strong focus on writing and communications. Jessica holds a BA in Communications from UMass Amherst and an MA in Media Studies from The New School. She loves gardening with her husband Peter, and is particularly proud of her swiss chard. She is also the loving mom of her daughter River, who’s being raised on local veggies. You can reach Jessica at Jessica[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

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Suzzanne Cromwell, Marketing & Publicity Coordinator
Originally from Houston, Texas, Suzzanne’s work experience includes over 20 years at the Boston Museum of Science and 15 years with The Walt Disney Company.  She worked 8 years at the Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL) and was a founding member of Mill City Grows’ Board of Directors before joining the MCG team. An avid foodie, music hound, and rabid cinephile, Suzz co-founded The Lowell Film Collaborative with her movie-loving husband, Brett. You can reach Suzzanne at Suzz[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.

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Erin Johnson, Marketing & Development AmeriCorps VISTA
After four years of studying Russian and Spanish in the Midwest, Erin is thrilled to return home to Massachusetts and serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA Member!  Minoring in Women’s & Gender Studies encouraged Erin to think critically about community engagement and her role in social justice movements, and living in Minnesota’s farmland sparked a desire to learn more about food justice in particular.  She loves yoga, hiking, and spending time with her rescue dog, Mischa. Erin can be reached at Erin[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.