THE

Farmers

"My grandfather used to say that once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman and a preacher but everyday, three times a day, you need a farmer."

-Brenda Schoepp

Beth Mason
Delivery Driver 
 
Beth grew up helping on her parent’s farm in Smith County, TN. She is the mother of two wonderful kids. She is certified as a CrossFit Level 1 and CrossFit Kids Coach. She enjoys personal training to help others reach their goals and believes nutrition plays an important part in any health routine. Beth likes to spend her free time on the river, hiking, collecting rocks and fossils, and listening to live music. 

Alec Higgins
Field Manager
 

After working as a musician during his twenties, Alec began looking for new challenges in environmental and economic regeneration, and found inspiration in permaculture and organic farming. Starting in New York City with urban agriculture, he soon moved on to a permaculture internship in Spain, followed by a year in Tanzania at a farming project that supported a center for vulnerable women and children. He spent a year in Missouri at Open Source Ecology, working on projects that included open source farm machinery, aquaponic greenhouses and chestnut/hazelnut agroforestry. In 2017, Alec started a small farm in the Nashville area, selling duck and quail products at farmers’ markets and to restaurants, and he also worked for Farm Nashville to assist in starting a cattle operation and market garden. He comes to Caney Fork excited about the breadth of agricultural opportunities here.  

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Dylan Fishbein
Veggie Crew

Dylan grew up on land originally stewarded by the Ramapough Lenape (Northern New Jersey), and recently graduated from the University of Maryland where he studied Environmental Policy and Sustainable Food Systems. After graduation, Dylan participated in the Food Artisan Immersion Program in Spring Green, Wisconsin, where he studied regionally-reliant food systems. Dylan is excited to learn from, and work alongside, the plants, animals, and fellow farmers at Caney Fork. After this long Winter, Dylan is ready to get his hands in the soil!

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Gabrielle Hathaway
Gabrielle Hathaway
Livestock Advisor

Gabrielle Hathaway is an animal scientist with a background in pasture-based livestock systems. She has been building the livestock program on Caney Fork Farms since 2016 with animal welfare, ecological soundness, and meat quality as the central focus. Over the years, she has seen these three pillars become integral to the success of the business as each supports the optimization of the other. Her love of nature and animals brought her to farming at age 15, and the deep meaningful work of regenerative agriculture has been her life’s focus ever since. 

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Natalie Ashker Seevers 
Marketing Manager​


Natalie became passionate about food and farming after reading Michael Pollen’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma her freshman year of college.
She graduated with B.As in Video Production and Philosophy from Belmont University, spent a few years working in the film industry, then quickly realized she would rather be working for the local food movement.  Natalie managed The Barefoot Farmer CSA from 2015-2019 and  coordinated the 2019 and 2020 TN Local Food Summit, an annual conference that promotes a sustainable, community-based food system for Middle Tennessee. Natalie spends her time in the garden, or practicing/teaching Iyengar Yoga in her rural community. 
Jenna Merkell
Livestock Assistant 

 

Jenna grew up in Campbell- a tiny town in upstate NY. As a child she loved helping out on her grandfather’s hobby beef farm, and throughout high school she enjoyed her time working on a dairy farm. Jenna majored in animal science at Cornell University, and eventually added minors in horticulture and in education to her degree to satisfy her diverse interests. After spending a summer interning at The Barefoot Farmer's during college, she fell in love with Tennessee and felt compelled to become involved with local, sustainable food systems. She is eager to get her hands in the dirt, and learn and grow from the rest of the team at Caney Fork Farms!

Shaylan Kolondney 
Research Coordinator ​
Livestock Hand 

Shaylan graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in environmental science. After joining a research team led by Kristofer Covey at Skidmore, she spent the summers of 2019 and 2020 at Caney Fork Farms contributing to the creation of a soil carbon inventory across the farm. During her summers conducting research at the farm, she also participated in farming activities where she fell in love with working the land and tending to the animals. Now, as the research coordinator she is excited to be organizing research while still actively engaging in hands-on farm work!

 

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Tera Ashley
Tera Ashley
Market Garden and Sales Manager

Tera began her farming career as an AmeriCorp*Vista Member, serving for two years as an organic urban farmer five minutes from downtown Nashville. During this time, she participated heavily in the local food and food justice movement, and decided that she would best serve the movement as a career organic farmer. After a four year stint teaching English in S. Korea to save resources for her own farm, she apprenticed here at Caney Fork Farms in 2016 and 2017 before going on to manage vegetable operations across Middle TN, including her own operation, Magpie Farm. Tera has served on the Tennessee Organic Growers Association board and was awarded a SSARE Grant in 2019. In her free time, she enjoys reading, drumming, and cooking meals for friends. 

Zach Wolf
Farm Manager
Zach Wolf grew up in Salisbury, Connecticut, farming at Whippoorwill Farm and learning the ins and outs of pasture management.  After a degree in Biology from Columbia University and research engagements at Aton Forest Ecological Research Station and The Earth Institute, he went on to manage the Field Operations and Direct the Growing Farmers Initiative at Stone Barns Center.  He has facilitated the Farm Beginnings Program at Hawthorne Valley Farm and most recently served as the Director of Farm Operations at Glynwood. Over the past eight years he has engaged as a farm consultant on over 10,000 acres of active farmland throughout the United States.  He currently serves as a board member of Demeter USA and as a Research Fellow at The Nature Institute. 
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