Our Team

 
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FARM EDUCATOR, Kate bilezikian

Kate Bilezikian is a Norwell Schools alumna and graduated from Eugene Lang College, The New School of Liberal Arts, with a degree in Environmental Studies. Kate found her love of learning through farming at the age of 8 when she joined her local 4H club. As a 4H’er Kate pursued the organization's motto of 'making the best better', including collecting food for the food drive, acting as an ambassador at the Marshfield Fair, and working with the summer campers as a CIT. More recently, Kate worked on a 1-acre farm in Red Hook, Brooklyn where she harvested for their CSA and connected with local schools to teach students about their local food landscape. Kate was previously the farm director at a summer camp on Cape Cod where she maintained a small field of organic crops and acted as steward to sheep, chickens, goats, and ducks. Kate also educated campers about the sustainable aspects of the farm like beekeeping and composting food from the dining hall. Kate completed her thesis paper on how to encourage schools to integrate gardens and an environmentally conscious theme into their daily curriculum. In her free time, Kate enjoys knitting, she is currently working on a sweater made from local Massachusetts yarn!


BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Board acts as liaison with the Town of Norwell for the overall operation of the Farm, most recently working to hire a new farmer educator and raise funding to continue our mission. The Board also secured non-profit status to enable our community to make tax-deductible contributions in support of the Farm. 

People always ask our Board members how we got involved in the farm and what we do here. Many of us began as volunteers in the fields or signed on to launch the non-profit after the Town Meeting vote. It has been exciting to watch the farm grow from its original 1.6 acres. We are proud to work alongside our farmers, our fellow board members and volunteers. It is inspiring to watch that ah-ha moment that happens on the farm - when suddenly dirt under your fingernails starts to feel like a badge of honor or a freshly picked carrot can take your breath away.

We love to instill that same excitement and see it come to light when a member of the community embraces the farm as much as we do. Norwell Farms, at our core, brings these two things together - food and community - and we celebrate both!

  • Jess Chase

  • Chris Garofalo

  • Kirk Ryan

  • Kate Jardim

  • Co-Chairs:

    • Mari Bell

    • DeeDee Tobias

  • Sue Kirby, Treasurer

Mari Creatini Bell
Co-Chair - NF Board since 2016

Back in 2009, in an effort to “become healthier,” she was introduced to gardening and eventually to permaculture, a process of designing and growing like nature. In 2016, she received her Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) and in 2017 her Advanced PDC. Mari joined the nonprofit Board in December 2016 and became one on the co-Chairs a year later. Mari has a B.S. in Architecture and is currently a Senior Estimator at Shawmut Construction working on hospitality projects on a national basis with over 12 years of experience in the construction industry. She also founded in 2014 and presently runs the separate nonprofit, North East Premier League, which provides competitive field hockey opportunities for adults in the Boston area.

DeeDee Tobias
Co-Chair - NF Board since 2016

DeeDee is passionate about local history and food, and when she was looking for ways to be involved in the community, Norwell Farms located at the historic Jacobs Farm was the perfect fit. She has her doctorate in nutrition epidemiology from Harvard, where she is now a professor, and conducts research on the benefits of healthy eating at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. DeeDee and her family are active around the South Shore, and enjoy kayaking the North River, going to the beach, hockey, and lacrosse. She is excited about what Norwell Farms brings to the community, particularly related to access of healthy food for all.

Jessica Chase
NF Board, since 2014 (previous Chair, 2015-17)

She has always strived to live a healthy lifestyle with a long history of sports and outdoor activity.  This desire for healthy living only became magnified when she had her first child in 2005 and wanted to provide him with the healthiest food options she could and learn more about where the food she was feeding her family came from.  This led her to take a Northwest Earth Institute course offered at Weir River Farm called Menu for the Future.  This class opened her eyes to how much she did not know about the world’s food system and the importance of local, organic food sources.  This new information and the knowledge that not everyone in the South Shore community has access to local food and/or an understanding of where their food truly comes from made the decision to join the Norwell Farms Board in the winter of 2014 an easy one.

Chris Garofalo
NF Board, since 2018

Chris has always been interested in science, agriculture, conservation and hands on STEM education. He graduated from UNH with a B.S. in Biology and has worked in the Biotechnology and Gene Therapy industry for 10 years in multiple roles from scientist to Quality Assurance Program Management. Chris joined the board in July 2018 and strongly feels the farm can act as both an educational center bringing both kids and families outdoors to learn to live with and respect the land. 

Kate Jardin
NF Board, since 2019

Kate works in Norwell and for restaurants around the South Shore for Eat Local. She is a new and welcome addition to the Board and contributes significantly to the event planning, fundraising strategies, and community engagement of Norwell Farms. 

Kirk Ryan
NF Board, since 2019

Kirk Ryan is the Executive Director of the Cordelia Family Foundation, a Norwell-based philanthropic organization. Through this work, she holds committee and board positions at many local and international non-profit organizations; and in 2019 she became a Board Member of Norwell Farms.  Prior to her work with CFF, she was Associate Development Director at Medicines for Humanity where her efforts contributed directly to the growth of the organization. Preceding her position at MFH, she worked for a non-profit where she specialized in development and organizational systems management. Kirk has a bachelors degree in Sociology from Elon University.


TOWN ADVISORS

  • Norwell Board of Selectmen

  • Norwell Historical Commission

  • Norwell Conservation Commission

  • Historic New England