Meet Our Team
We are farmers, growers, and healthy food advocates with a passion for our community
Permanent Full-Time, Benefitted
Currently accepting applications
The Education Director oversees all Education operations at Mill City Grows, including our in school, afterschool, adult, and community education programming. The ideal candidate has technical expertise in child and adult education, food systems and/or growing food, and nutrition.
Jessica Moore Wilson (she/her)
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.
Ali Jacobs (she/they)
Director of Programs
Originally from Springfield, MA, Ali has been an operation and project manager for over a decade. She started her career in agriculture in New York City where she lived for many years and helped found and develop community gardens, urban farms, and other food justice projects. She comes to Mill City Grows after managing a large organic farm in Western Mass. Ali can be reached at Ali[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.
Enrique Vargas (he/him/his)
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 led him to join Mill City Grows, first as a member of the Farm and Mobile Market team, then as Gardens Manager, and now as Associate Director. In his spare time, Enrique loves to collect records and books and talk about soccer and baseball stats and watch professional wrestling. You can reach Enrique at Enrique[at]millcitygrows[dot]
Food Access Staff
Maddie Grant (she/her)
Manager, Urban Farm & Mobile Market
Maddie was raised in New York City and went to Williams College in the Berkshires. At Williams, she studied Geosciences and developed a love for science and environmental education. Following her lifelong passion for growing plants and being outdoors, she has spent her summers working in horticultural gardens on community farms where she was exposed to the exciting work of food justice. Maddie is thrilled to combine her passion for science communication, education, and food justice in her position at Mill City Grows. Maddie can be reached at Maddie[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.
Anna Marinescu (she/her)
Assistant Manager, Urban Farm & Mobile Market
A recent graduate from Clark University, Anna has been a market manager at the Regional Environmental Council (REC) farmers and mobile markets in Worcester for the past two years. Working at various farms in Massachusetts and Oregon deepened Anna’s learning about sustainable agricultural practices, brewing biodynamic plant remedies, and supporting local food systems. Besides tending the farm, you can find her biking around Lowell or exploring the surrounding parks. You can reach Anna at Anna[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.
Brian Mariano (he/him)
Grower's Aid Manager
“When I wrote my bio as an apprentice at MCG five years ago, the thought that I could be here long enough to need to update it would have shocked me. Five years ago was my first season farming and I did not know if I was cut out for the work, but since then, the journey has been so good! The experiences of doing a busy summer market at Lucy Larcom Park, feeling a thunderstorm approach the Greenhouse along the Merrimack River or shifting the crop rotation at Fowler so we can have larger windows for growing cover crop to improve our soil, make me realize how grateful I am for the last half decade. Learning all the ways time can be measured on a farm has been one of the most exciting lessons I’ve learned recently because it inspires me to imagine what the next years can look like. Strengthening the local food economy, growing food for our community, and caring for the land that provides it are directions for the path ahead, and I am even more grateful to be able do this work here!” – You can reach Brian at Brian[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.
Grace McKay (she/her)
Urban Farm & Food Access Coordinator
Grace was born and raised in Eastern Massachusetts, and has been farming and gardening in Mass for the past seven years. After beginning her studies in Sustainable Food and Farming at UMass Amherst, Grace began working on a diversified organic veggie farm. Concurrently, she began studying jazz and graduated with a dual degree in Food and Farming and in Music. Grace has experience working with food access organizations and managed a small donation garden at UMass Amherst that centered its work in providing organic vegetables to hunger relief organizations near the college campus. Grace also comes with experience in food service, education, and backyard gardening, and is eager to contribute her passion for food justice to her work at Mill City Grows. Outside of growing food, Grace can be found making music with friends or appreciating a nice cup of tea. Grace can be reached at Grace[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.
Randy Violette (he/him)
Urban Farm & Food Access Coordinator
Randy’s journey into regenerative agriculture began with his passion for cooking and food politics. After a couple of years working in education and nonprofit, he decided to try a culinary apprenticeship on an organic farm in Michigan. It didn’t take very long for him to realize that he’d rather be out in the fields working with the soil as opposed to the more frenzied environment of the kitchen. Since then, he has worked on organic vegetable farms in Oregon and across Massachusetts. The dynamic and fulfilling work of regenerative agriculture has brought together his interests in environmentalism, science, social justice, community development, cooking, and more. Randy is a strong believer in farms and healthy, accessible food as strong vehicles for healing, and he is excited to support the ways in which Mill City Grows cultivates health and growth in the Lowell community. You can reach Randy at Randy[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.
Giuliana Cappucci (she/her)
Food Is Medicine Manager
Giuliana works with the Lowell community to create access and knowledge around locally grown foods. She began her work with Mill City Grows in 2015 as an after-school educator, served two years as a FoodCorps Team Member, and in 2021 became MCG’s Food Is Medicine Manager. She believes that to suppress the oppressor, communities have to come together to create a way of life where everyone can afford a warm home, nutritious foods, education, and comfort. Food plays a huge role in our physical and mental health as humans – Giuliana wants to connect people who enjoy nutritious food that supports the body and mind, our environment and communities, and even someday, the world. Giuliana can be reached at Giuliana[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.
Macayla Cote (she/her)
Born and raised in Lowell, Macayla is excited to continue her journey in the local food movement on MCG’s Education Team. She started with Mill City Grows as a youth J-Squad member in 2016 where she quickly realized her passion for urban farming. Macayla completed her associate’s degree at Middlesex Community College in 2019 and wishes to continue her dreams of becoming a teacher. Other than being caked in soil, Macayla loves to bike, jam to classic rock, and go hiking. You can reach Macayla at Macayla[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.
Charline Xu - 徐夏临 (she/they)
Food Is Medicine Coordinator
Born and raised in New England, Charline is excited to continue their learning of local food systems throughout the NorthEast at Mill City Grows. Charline started on the MCG farm team and has since transitioned to the education team collaborating across the board to find the best way to support food access and distribution goals in their new position. Having an Education and Sculpture Bachelor’s degree from Massachusetts College of Art, Charline is always looking for ways to connect creatively and educationally while on their journey for Food Justice advocacy. On Charline’s off time, they like to grow and experiment with Plant Medicine, trying to establish a mobile apothecary and resource library. You can reach Charline at charline[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.
Maggie Montoya (she/her)
Community Education Coordinator
As Community Education Coordinator, Maggie searches for ways to educate the people of Lowell about their right to access fresh, healthy foods. Working alongside fellow edcuation team members and the MCG farm team, Maggie assembles CSA bags of fresh produce on a weekly basis. Her passion for social justice leads her to spend most of her time studying the effects of racism within food access. Maggie is currently enrolled at Middlesex Community College pursuing her associates degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences. She hopes to become and English teacher for second language learners. You can reach Mags at mags[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.
Veronique Ok (she/her)
School Garden Coordinator
Vera grew up in Danbury, CT, and received a degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems from the University of New Hampshire. Vera has worked in Rhode Island and New Hampshire striving to solve issues of food security within the New American and refugee communities. She has also been an AmeriCorps FoodCorps Member with Mill City Grows as a nutrition and garden educator. She is very passionate about baking and is currently perfecting her cake decorating skills. Vera can also be found enjoying a nice read or studying for her classes. You can reach out to Vera at Veronique[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.
Community Programs Staff
Chaya Sophon (he/him)
Community Gardens Assistant Manager
Chaya has a degree in anthropology from the University of New Hampshire, where his volunteering at their organic gardening club fostered his interest in food justice. He has had three AmeriCorps service years/terms as a youth worker/woodworker and visual information assistant with UTEC Lowell and the National Park Service respectively. In addition to believing that healthy food is a way to healthy communities, Chaya enjoys watching horror movies, collecting books, and drawing. You can reach Chaya at Chaya[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.
Trang Dong (she/her)
Community Gardens Assistant Manager
Born and raised in Vietnam, Trang moved to Lowell in 2021 from New York City, where she received her Graduate Degree in Sustainable Environmental Systems at Pratt Institute. During her time at Pratt, she developed her passion for urban farming and food justice, and evolved her consciousness of climate change. During her 10 years living in NYC, Trang engaged with diverse neighborhoods throughout the city and was involved with community projects related to sustainable practices,green infrastructure, and food justice. Trang is excited to contribute her passion and experience to write her new chapter with Mill City Grows. Trang can be reached at Trang[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.
Kerri Keeler (she/her)
A current resident of Lowell, Kerri’s volunteer work both here in the U.S. and for a children’s home in Honduras sparked a love of working in the nonprofit world. After years of diverse experience in a corporate career, she is putting her expertise and passion to work for Mill City Grows. Drawing on her talents in marketing and connecting with donors, along with gardening, beekeeping, and working with children, Kerri is thrilled to give back to her community through MCG. Her hobbies include travel, hiking, gardening, and working on DIY projects in her bungalow home. Kerri can be reached at Kerri[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.
Suzzanne Cromwell (she/her)
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 and cinephile, Suzzanne co-founded The Lowell Film Collaborative with her movie-loving husband, Brett. You can reach Suzzanne at Suzz[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.
Solimar Berrios (she/her)
Head of Office Operations
As Mill City Grows’ Head of Office Operations, Solimar touches all aspects of programming and administration at MCG headquarters. Though she grew up in Lowell, Solimar spent much of her adult life living, studying, and working in Puerto Rico, where she acquired a wealth of human resource, administration, and office management experience. Solimar has an identical twin sister, is passionate about chocolate, and is mother to two beautiful daughters. You can reach Solimar at Solimar[at]millcitygrows[dot]
Dai Kim (he/him)
Born in North Carolina, Dai (dye) has called Lowell home for the past 25+ years. His humble beginnings with Mill City Grows started with the management of their Mobile Market Program from 2016-2018. After exploring opportunities in corporate philanthropy and corporate marketing, he rejoined MCG with a new sense of duty. He is bound by the idea that we all have a commitment to community, and believes that advocating for a socially just food system starts with your village, and for him, that’s Lowell. Dai can be reached at Dai[at]millcitygrows[dot]org.
2022 Seasonal Field Crew
Gabby Batista Olivera (she/her)
Urban Farm & Food Access Field Crew
Gabby is a student at Brandeis University studying Environmental Studies and Public Health. As a former farm intern at Community Harvest Project and a former apprentice at the Boston Area Gleaners, she has seen first hand, at these hunger relief organizations, the impact of people power and what can be achieved once a community joins together to care for one another. This season at MCG, she is excited to continue learning more about farming, and she sees the valuable perspectives and wisdom her teammates and coworkers carry and is equally excited to glean all that knowledge from them as well! Gabby strongly believes that collective compassion is necessary for collective liberation. She is inspired to continue working towards food justice, food sovereignty, and collective liberation for all. In her free time, Gabby enjoys playing and watching rugby, spending time with her puppy, Luka, and discovering new spots to hike and hammock. You can reach Gabby at Gabby[at]millcitygrows[dot]
Jaspa Urena (they/them)
Urban Farm & Food Access Field Crew
Born and raised in Lawrence, MA, Jaspa is a queer trans-nonbinary Dominican multi-media artist and community-building facilitator. Over the years, they have developed a deep sense of awareness and personal responsibility for themselves and others while navigating neocolonial social and institutional settings. Their passions and interests are diverse and they range from anti-racist education and transformative justice, to healing arts like farming and visual poetry. Jaspa believes humans need to work hard, not for capitalism, but rather to remember their soul purpose so that they may effectively express themselves in this world. They are really excited to be cultivating the land with Mill City Grows this season because it means they are planting new skills into their tool box that will inform their creative future! Siempre en coro. Jaspa can be reached at Jaspa[at]millcitygrows[dot]
Mill City Grows Co-Founders
Francey Slater and Lydia Sisson
Francey is a seasoned educator and gardener who 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.
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.
Mill City Grows Board of Directors
President • John Wooding
Vice President • Emma Campbell
Treasurer • Craig Thomas
Jamie Klufts, MPH