Laura Olive Sackton, C0-Founder and Farm Manager
Laura is a visionary farmer, a community revolutionary, an advocate of radical economics, and a passionate cook. A lifetime New Englander, she is thrilled to be growing food and building community in the place she loves more than anywhere else on earth. She has worked on farms of all sizes in Massachusetts and Vermont, and she is amazed and grateful to finally own and run her own business. When she isn’t out in the fields, she is probably making very large pots of soup, putting up more tomatoes and pickles than she knows what to do with, playing with her nephews, giving away pies, reading novels, making farmy crafts, and attempting to write it all down.
Nina Zinsser Booth, Farm Manager
Nina grew up on a tiny farm in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia, and spent most of her childhood covered in red Virginia clay and poison ivy. Her interests returned to the dirt at Vassar College where she focused her Environmental Studies degree in Geology, Philosophy, and Agriculture, making up independent studies right and left. She came to New England determined to “get a real job” working on climate issues and food justice, but fell in love with farming instead. For the last three seasons she has been an Assistant Grower at Land’s Sake Farm, learning the ins and outs of organic growing, and managing their gorgeous flower garden. She is so excited to have found a kindred-farmer-spirit in Laura and a place at First Root. When she is not farming, Nina is most likely cooking, canning, catching up on old New Yorkers, or working on crafts.
Cheryl’s love affair with food began at a young age when she spent countless family holidays hovering around the potluck table and inadvertently challenging her grandmother to eating contests. Though Cheryl has always been a good eater, she didn’t start growing food for herself and her community until after college when she realized that a windowless office in New York City wasn’t quite for her. Her introduction to agriculture began on an urban farm in Brooklyn, NY, and continued to New Orleans, LA where she grew with a number of community gardeners and local food leaders throughout the city. In 2011, Cheryl participated in the yearlong Learn to Farm Program at the Farm School in Athol, MA, where she spent nearly all of her spare time in the kitchen. These days, Cheryl still spends most of her free time putzing around the kitchen but also enjoys playing soccer, word play and National Geographic. Cheryl is beyond excited to be working at First Root where her fellow farmers value building community around food, balancing work with fun, and eating farm lunches.
Ariel Berman, Co-Founder, Farmer Emeritus, and Volunteer Coordinator
Ariel is a soil-loving, community-organizing, aspiring access nerd. Even though he is no longer a full-time farmer, there is nothing Ariel likes better than getting down in the dirt. Any random weekend you can find him leading a compost-shoveling, weed-picking, stuff-hauling crew of volunteers. The rest of the week he is harder to find – commuting between universities where he does research in neuroscience and psychology.