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 a number of Lexington non-profit boards. Sue became hooked on cooking farm-to-table dinners for her family when the Lexington Farmers’ Market started over 13 years ago. Since summer 2014, Sue has served LexFarm as a Board member and a member of both the Development and the Communications Committees, served as VP for two years and as President for one year. 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 LexArtas a member of the Metalworking Guild.
Mark Gabrenya, 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. He is also the owner of Brite Harvest Farm — a controlled environment agriculture hydroponic farm inside a shipping container. It’s the big green and white box located behind LexFarm. When he’s not at the farm he’s an avid cyclist and a tour leader for Adventure Cycling Association
Patrick Johnson, Treasurer
Pat and his family moved to the Mt. Gilboa neighborhood in Arlington in the Summer of 2018 and quickly fell in love with the farm. Pat is passionate about the natural world and conservation. He worked as a field biologist studying songbirds for 5+ years before receiving a MS in wildlife management. He now works for National Grid Ventures where he is helping to develop projects that deliver reliable, clean, and affordable energy for consumers. He is a CFA Charterholder and an MBA graduate.
Mary Rose Scozzafava, Clerk
Mary Rose is an attorney and longtime resident of Lexington since 1993. She is an avid gardener, and works to bring sustainable practices into her own gardens. She is currently a Senior Fellow at The Conservation Law Foundation, where she works to support New England farmers and the local food system. 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 fourth year on the LexFarmboard, 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 LexFarmmeet 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.
Heather and her family have been in Lexington since 2012. She is passionate about health and the environment and values how organic food is an important component to both. Heather’s family was an early LexFarmCSA member and she loves all aspects of the farm, from PYO to the farm events. Professionally, Heather has 20+ years of experience in research, consulting, and information technology and received an MS in Environmental Sciences and Engineering and an MBA. She is looking forward to bringing her passion and experience together to support the farm in its ongoing success.
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 “farm founder,” gardening teacher for Arlington Community Education, and board member of SeedMoney.org. He’s also a regional grain and artisan bread enthusiast, and mills his own flour at home – including some wheat he grew last year in his front yard. Eric provides technology and digital marketing support for the LexFarm website and other online platforms. He is active in Arlington town government as the chair of the Community Preservation Act Committee and Town Meeting member. Professionally, he is a program director and consultant for technology-focused efforts in the nonprofit, health and public sectors. He lives in Arlington Heights with his husband and about 100 pounds of unmilled whole grain.
Sheila Chen Lawrence
Sheila, her husband and two young children are Lexington residents and neighbors to the farm. Sheila and her family are passionate about environmental conservation and sustainable agriculture: taking action by reducing their personal carbon footprint, and participating in charitable activities in support of climate change mitigation. 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 be a part of LexFarm, and have her children grow up in such proximity to where their food is grown. Previously, Sheila had been a long-time Waltham resident, and a member of the Waltham Fields Community Farm. Sheila is Partner and Senior Client Advisor at Ballentine Partners, LLC, a wealth-management firm in Waltham. Sheila provides strategic advice to clients on philanthropy, estate planning, investments, estate planning, tax, and risk management.
Mark and his family have lived in Lexington since 2005. As a mechanical engineer he led teams developing novel medical devices. His love for tinkering, and of all things mechanical, brought him to volunteering for maintenance and building projects on the farm. His favorite task is keeping the vintage Farmall Super A tractor running and out in the fields. The LexFarm seedling sale has been inspirational in expanding the crops in his family’s backyard garden!
A Lexington resident since 2006, Tharshini’s interest in farming started when she began visiting the farm for dirt play, and other activities with her son. Her passion developed and she and her son started a small backyard vegetable garden which they manage together during the summer. Increased interest in farming and living healthy led her to join the CSA and they have been enjoying the fresh produce for the past 4 years. Pick your own is one of their favorite parts of the CSA. By profession she is an accountant and manages her husband’s company along with her own clients. She is also committee co-chair of the Science Fair at Maria Hastings Elementary School and a Room parent for her son’s class. She also volunteers at Lexington Kids PMC ride which is another noble cause she and her family support.
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.
Pam and her family have lived in Lexington since 1998. She enjoys her backyard garden, growing vegetables, herbs, flowering plants and even a peach tree. Pam has been a member of LexFarm’sCSA since its founding. She marvels at the possibilities and challenges that come with organic farming, and appreciates the local food source and preservation of historic farmland. Pam helped LexFarmbecome a SNAP-authorized retailer, increasing access to organic produce for people of all income levels. Advocacy is at the heart of Pam’s professional life. She has more than 20 years’ experience developing and leading programs for vulnerable individuals and families—across the nonprofit, health, legal, and human services sectors. Currently, Pam is the executive director of PLAN of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Inc., a nonprofit organization that administers special needs trusts for people with the disabilities.
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.
Allison Ostrowski, CSA Manager
Allison in grew up in rural Vermont. An aunt and uncle lived down the road on “the old family farm.” Early spring meant gathering sap during sugar season and summer meant haying and picking wildflowers and raspberries. Farming as a career began for Allison after experiencing joy in harvesting crops and being physically challenged to get a job done while volunteering with the Boston Area Gleaners. The following summer she continued pursuing her dreams at Waltham Fields Community Farm.
In 2018, Allison joined the team at LexFarm as an Apprentice under the tutelage of Elena Colman. Allison is looking forward to growing healthy food for the LexFarm community and is interested in expanding the food access program so that it reaches more households as CSA Manager.
Emmy Smela, Field Manager
Emmy started her farming journey in 2012 with a permaculture apprenticeship in Loveland Colorado. After her first season, she was hooked and dove head first into her study of agriculture and land restoration. Emmy moved to Boston in 2016 and spent the next two years running the Roslindale Farmers’ Market and farming in Belmont. In 2018, Emmy joined the LexFarm team as Assistant Grower, where she got a crash course in running a fully operational non-profit farm under the wings of LexFarm’s gifted farmers.
Looking to the future, Emmy will focus on expanding LexFarm’s low-till practices as well as mastering weed suppression. Her favorite part of the week at LexFarm are pick-your-own days, when the fields come alive with people and conversation. Emmy believes LexFarm not only provides access to fresh local vegetables, but is also a meeting place for community to grow and thrive for future generations.
Amanda Munsie, Education Director
Amanda grew up in CA in the agriculture valley of Bakersfield, where her family had a small family farm with chickens. “BTW I go crazy for anything that has to do with chickens.” She graduated Tufts University, New Entry Farm Program in 2010. Amanda started and ran Bountiful Basket Farm and was co-founder of Wilmington Farmers Market in 2011. Amanda then changed farming career paths five years ago to agriculture education. While teaching classes, she noticed how people loved learning about where their food comes from and how they, too, can grow and process their own food. This made educating all ages about farming and food systems her life passion. When she is not in the fields, Amanda likes to spend time hiking with her family.