Jeff Carpenter, President and Founding Grower Member
Jeff and Melanie Carpenter have been organically farming medicinal plants since 1999 on a 10-acre farm in central Vermont. We began our farm with two clear missions and they continue to be our guiding principles today. Our first priority is to be good stewards of the land: to not only protect the medicinal plants that we cherish, but to help them flourish. Our second commitment is to strive to produce the highest quality live, fresh and dried botanicals and herb teas for our local community. To this end, we work collaboratively with other herbalists, farmers and researchers in our field to help advance the cultivation and conservation of medicinal plants. We grow over 50 species of medicinal herbs, and will be selling many of these through the Cooperative. It is our hope that people throughout the country will begin to grow local medicine and we are very excited to be founding members of the Vermont Growers Herb Cooperative.
Aaron Locker, Vice President and Founding Grower Member
Kingsbury Market Garden has been owned and operated by Aaron Locker since 2010. The farm consists of 19 acres nestled along the Mad River in the heart of the Green Mountains. In addition to medicinal herbs, we grow organic produce for local restaurants, stores and two collective CSAs. We also keep 10 brood sows and raise piglets for a local farmer. Aaron has 20 years of farming experience and loves that he has just as many questions today as he had when he started.
Molly Willard, Treasurer and Founding Grower Member
Willow Brook Farm is a family operated business, run by Nattie Emmons and Molly Willard. Our mission is to produce the highest quality fruits, vegetables, and herbs for the local and surrounding communities. We are organically certified by the state of Vermont. Molly Willard grew up in Peacham, Vt. She is a botanist and teaches vegetable production at Vermont Technical College. Nattie Emmons grew up on his family’s black angus farm in Pomfret, Vt. He studied vegetable production in Vermont for 6 years prior to Willow Brook Farm.
Jeremy Gildrien, Member-at-Large and Founding Grower Member
Gildrien Farm is a small, solar-powered, organic vegetable farm in Leicester, Vermont, run by husband-and-wife team Jeremy and Caitlin Gildrien. We have been organic farmers for seven years. We became farmers out of a love for food, our community, and the natural world. We believe that good food, raised well, can improve personal and environmental health while strengthening the local economy. This belief naturally transitions to growing medicinal herbs, and this year we will be growing a variety of herbs for the Vermont Herb Growers Cooperative.
Richard Wiswall, Founding Grower Member
Cate Farm is a family owned and operated organic farm in Central Vermont. Sally Colman, Richard Wiswall and family cultivate 22 acres and seven 100-foot long greenhouses of organic vegetables, medicinal herbs, and flowers. Everything we sell is certified organic and always our own.
We market our fresh produce to co-ops, restaurants, and stores in Central Vermont. In addition, Cate Farm is a long time member of Deep Root Organic Grower’s Co-op, which markets our produce to stores in Boston, New York, and Washington, DC areas.
In the 1790’s Suzanna and Enoch Cate settled what is now known as the Cate Farm. Their descendants owned the farm until 1901. After that, it was bought and sold a number of times, but continued as a dairy or sheep farm. In 1964, Goddard College purchased Cate Farm and used it for faculty residence. Additionally, Bread and Puppet Theater was housed on the farm in the early 1970’s. We bought the farm in 1981 and have been growing organic vegetables and herbs since then.
Chloe Nathan, Founding Grower Member
I caught the farming bug in 2003 on a diversified organic farm in Massachusetts. Since then I’ve worked on goat, cow and sheep dairies and on vegetable and berry farms. I’ve been growing my own crops since 2011. For a few years I grew just garlic, but when I heard about the Vermont Herb Growers Cooperative on Vermont Public Radio, I jumped at the opportunity to join. I had grown medicinal herbs in the past and was excited to join a group that would share technical knowledge, an eager market, and a love for herbs. This year I am growing nettles and lemon balm in addition to eleven varieties of garlic.
The name for Grasshopper Farm was inspired by a Mary Oliver poem called The Summer Day, which features a grasshopper and a contemplative narrator. The poem ends with the question: "What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" I feel immense gratitude for the opportunity to work alongside other herb farmers in the work of producing high quality medicinals while being careful stewards of the land.
George Gross, Founding Grower Member
Peggy Newfield, Secretary and Founding Member
I moved to Vermont in 2013 with the goal of establishing a small organic herb farm. I am moving toward that goal (that’s a drying shed behind me), but in the meantime I have joined the Vermont Herb Growers Cooperative as a non-grower to contribute my “day-job skills” of documentation and process analysis to the growth of the coop itself. Participating in the development of the coop is a non-stop learning experience filled with good farmers and good herbs and I am very happy to be involved. I am also an active member of the Hardwick Community Gardens and have grown veggies and herbs in two plots there for the last four summers.