Lexington Community Farm, a project of Lexington Community Farm Coalition (also known as LexFarm), is a nonprofit working farm at 52 Lowell Street in Lexington, MA, next to the Arlington Reservoir. LexFarm works to connect the community to locally grown food and sustainable farming practices while preserving historic farmland. Our mailing address is P.O. Box 554, Lexington, MA 02420.
LexFarm began in May 2009 as a grassroots organization founded by three neighbors concerned about the fate of the 7.9 acre Busa Farm upon its sale to the Town of Lexington. The Town had initially chosen to use the land for soccer fields and affordable housing, but thanks to tremendous community support, in March 2012, the Lexington Town Selectmen decided most of the land would be dedicated to a community farm, with approximately half an acre devoted to affordable housing. In July 2013, LexFarm’s proposal for a community farm, operated in cooperation with Community Farms Outreach, won the bid for a 10-year lease of the property. LexFarm, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, opened its farm stand on April 19, 2014, and is now a valued part of the fabric of the community.
(Click on a name for a bio)
Susan Schiffer, President
Sue, a Lexington resident since 1993, professionally was a biology researcher in the biotechnology industry for 22 years. Since then, she held leadership positions on Lexington school PTAs, and on the Lexington Education Foundation and LexFarm Boards. Sue became hooked on cooking farm-to-table dinners for her family when the Lexington Farmers’ Market started over 10 years ago. Since summer 2014, Sue has served LexFarm as a Board member and a member of both the Development and the Communications Committees, and served as VP for two years. She looks forward to using her prior non-profit leadership experience, communications skills and connections to other organizations in Lexington to continue to help develop this exciting community resource. When not volunteering for the farm, she creates jewelry at the Lexington Arts and Crafts Society as a member of the Metalworking Guild.
Amanda Maltais, 1st Vice President
Amanda has been living in Arlington since 2012 after calling Somerville home for several years. Somerville’s progressive local food community shaped Amanda’s views on acquiring and cooking food, becoming an avid vegetable gardener and a regular at farmer markets. Since having her two young boys, her love for local food has increased not only for the taste and nutritional value but also the importance of teaching children where their food comes from. Amanda is a preschool teacher at Sunshine Nursery School in Arlington and an active member of the Bishop Elementary School Garden Committee. Amanda was thrilled to join the LexFarm community in February of 2014. As the chair of the Education committee, Amanda looks forward to continuing to bring people of all ages to the farm for hands-on learning.
Mark Gabrenya, 2nd Vice President
Mark has lived in Lexington since 1996. He has been on the board of directors since March, 2015 and a member of the property committee. Much of his work for the farm is focused on improving and repairing the infrastructure and cleaning up the property. His red Prius is always loaded with tools and he’ll never turn down a donation of a straight 2 X 4. When he’s not on the farm he’s an avid cyclist and a tour leader for Adventure Cycling Association. His next big idea is to start a hydroponic farm in a shipping container so he can grow vegetables 12 months a year.
Bill Fiora, Treasurer
Bill and his family have lived in Lexington since 2000, always within walking distance of the farm. He was an early volunteer during LexFarm’s advocacy period, and his wife Kirstie was for several years the lead animal caretaker at neighboring Silk Fields Farm. Bill grew up in a large food-centric household where eating and cooking were the focus of every family event, a tradition that he and his wife are passing on to their children. He is an avid surf fisherman, and tries to get to the ocean as often as he can. On the professional front, Bill has served as Treasurer for a global non-profit membership organization, and has launched and run two small businesses. He currently works within the Commercial Functions division of DXC Technology.
Mary Rose Scozzafava, Clerk
Mary Rose is patent attorney and longtime resident of Lexington since 1993. She is an avid gardener, and works to bring sustainable practices into her home flower and vegetable gardens. She is currently working on a certificate in Sustainable Agriculture through University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Mary Rose also works with the Lexington’s Conservation Commission and Conservation Stewards to maintain and oversee conservation restrictions on town-owned conservation lands. Mary Rose is completing her third year on the LexFarm board, where her principal responsibilities have been on the communication committee helping with CSA sales and marketing and supporting farm events. On the Executive Committee, Mary Rose looks forward to applying her legal, conservation and farm experiences to help LexFarm meet its mission of sustainable agriculture, community involvement and education.
Sue has lived in Lexington since 1993 and is a gardening enthusiast. For the past 25 years, she has developed innovative products and services for the health care industry and currently works for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Sue grew up in the Garden State (NJ) and was used to going to local farms to buy fresh produce throughout the summer and fall.
When Sue became a Lindentree Farm CSA members 10 years ago, she realized how important it was to be involved with locally grown food and flowers and has been an avid CSA supporter ever since.
Ralph is a professor of law at the University of Massachusetts School of Law where he teaches intellectual property and cyber law. He lives a short walk away from the farm and, with his wife (a pediatrician practicing at Pediatric Associates of Medford) and two now adult children, has been eating the farm‘s produce with much pleasure for the last twenty years. He has served on the Board since 2015.
The success of LexFarm is very important to Allison because local farms and sustainably-grown food are a piece of the climate change solution, as well as a way to grow community and help those experiencing food security. Allison joined LexFarm in 2014 as a member of the Education Committee and Clerk. While President from 2015 to spring 2018, she engaged in strategic, organizational, and business planning, overseeing farm staff, and supporting LexFarm’s committees and teams. Allison brings her education and experience in public administration and science education to LexFarm. She is Campus Sustainability Coordinator at Phillips Academy and a former environmental analyst for the Northeast state governments.
Eric converted his sunny Arlington front yard into a three-season vegetable garden several years ago and hasn’t looked back. His passion for local, sustainably grown food led to his becoming a LexFarm founding member, gardening teacher for Arlington Community Education, and board member of the international nonprofit SeedMoney.org. Eric is active in Arlington town government as the chair of the CPA Committee, a Town Meeting member, member of the Information Technology Advisory Committee. Professionally, he directs websites and digital marketing campaigns at Boston University and as a private consultant to political campaigns and nonprofit organizations. He’s lived in Arlington Heights with his husband since 2007.
Sheila Chen Lawrence
Sheila, her husband and two pre-school aged children are new Lexington residents and new neighbors to the farm. Sheila had been a long-time Waltham resident; and a member of the Waltham Fields Community Farm, and its summer and winter CSAs, for the past 8 years. Sheila is passionate about environmental conservation and sustainable agriculture. Some of her most vivid childhood memories involve hiking the mountains in her native Taiwan with her family, participating in the clean up of trails and public lands. She is excited to become a part of LexFarm, and have her children grow up in such proximity to where their food is grown.
Sheila is a Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Ballentine Partners, LLC, a wealth-management firm, in Waltham. Sheila provides strategic advice to clients on investments, estate planning, tax, risk management, and philanthropy.
Kimberly Hensle Lowrance
Kimberly moved to Lexington with her family in 2011. An avid supporter of eating organic and local, Kimberly has been a member of LexFarm and a LexFarm CSA holder since its founding. She is interested in the connection between the environment and personal health, and is committed to raising her two young children to make informed choices about the food they eat. Kimberly’s professional background is in nonprofit management, and she is experienced in all aspects of running mission-driven organizations, from finance to program development to strategic planning. She also is a freelance writer and publisher of the Red Shutters blog. By serving on the Board of LexFarm, Kimberly hopes to contribute to LexFarm’s continued growth and success and to learn some tips for her own backyard garden.
The love for land comes to Ashka as a treasured inheritance. Her family is from a farming community in Western India, home to the famous Alphonso mangoes. She grew up watching her grandmothers revere the healing properties of native plants, while seamlessly integrating this wisdom into their professions as doctors of medicine. Her education in an institution that espoused Gandhian philosophy taught her about Gandhi’s love for self-reliance at a tender age. Ashka has led efforts on climate change, clean energy and sustainable design for over a decade. She has recently served as the Executive Director of HEET, a nonprofit providing clean energy solutions to local communities. For many years she has directed programs to help higher education institutions achieve climate neutrality. As a LEED accredited professional, she has also acted as the sustainability coordinator for Harvard University. She is currently expanding her own sustainable design consultancy into an international organization. Ashka lives in Arlington with her husband, their infant son and daughter, whose favorite pastime is to find bugs, worms and anything squiggly, and whose love for “dirt play” first brought the family to the LexFarm community.
Ping, a Lexington resident since 2000, is a software engineer and an avid gardener, gardening in her backyard for more than ten years and in the Lexington community garden for the past four years. She is passionate about organic and heirloom gardening. During Lexington’s 300th anniversary celebration, she won first prize for the tastiest slicing tomato in the vegetable growing competition. She cares deeply about the environment and sustainability. She has helped high school students participate in the annual Charles River clean up and volunteers at the Lexington seed library where she got connected to LexFarm.
Raised in China, Ping missed lots of the Asian vegetables she grew up with which motivated her to start her own vegetable garden after moving to Lexington. While gardening, she also learned a lot about ecosystem and environmental issues. She believes that we need to return to the basics, get connected with nature, and take care of our environment before it is too late.
Tim Hines, Executive Director
Tim joined Lexington Community Farm for the 2015 growing season. Tim comes from a background of land stewardship, environmental restoration, and horticulture. Before LexFarm, he worked as a member of the farm team at The Trustees of Reservation’s Moraine Farm in Beverly. After working with organizations like the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, the National Park Service, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service on various ecological restoration projects, Tim became deeply interested in the social, economic, and environmental forces governing resource management, land use, and food systems.
LexFarm’s use of land that has been in agriculture for over 100 years and the challenge of transition to organic methods has been extremely interesting work. Gradually increasing production, improving infrastructure, creating management strategies and farm systems– all while trying to remain available to customers and neighbors to answer questions and build community has been a fun balancing act. The overwhelming community support makes it all possible and adds meaning for Tim, who enjoys the interactions and cares significantly about honoring the longstanding agricultural history of the farm and making LexFarm an inclusive resource for the community.
Elena Colman, Farm Manager
Elena started farming in 2006 as a summer job at Brigham Farm in Concord, MA. It didn’t take long before she fell in love with farming and began her never-ending quest for “the perfect season.”
After realizing this was the career for her, in 2013, Elena and her partner started Crooked Row Fields, a three-season vegetable farm in Concord. In the spring of 2016 Elena joined LexFarm as the Assistant Farm Manager, excited to learn about growing on a larger scale with bigger infrastructure as part of a wider community.
Since 2016 she has focused on improving soil health and yields at LexFarm, diversifying the farm’s revenue streams, improving infrastructure, and battling the never-ending “junk piles.” Her favorite parts of farming at LexFarm include teaching employees and volunteers every aspect of farm production possible, sharing recipes, and eating watermelon for lunch.
Having taken for granted growing up in a town with twenty diverse farms, Elena greatly appreciates LexFarm’s mission to preserve a working farm in an otherwise suburban area.