Tali’s love for food systems and the environment began at a young age while working in her family garden, visiting local farms, and exploring national parks. She dabbled in landscape architecture and urban planning while at the University of Delaware and completed her B.S. in Agriculture and Natural Resources in 2019. While in school, she worked at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., researching the relationship between urban gardens and gentrification.
After graduating Tali entered the solar industry as an installer for GRID Alternatives, working as a roof lead and preparing trainees for job placement at other solar companies. She later began working as a project coordinator, designing systems and managing the field crews and O&M.
Working from home during COVID, Tali found herself craving outdoor work. She began exploring regenerative agriculture programs, an interest of hers for a while, and found Wolfe’s Neck Center. The rest is history!
When she’s not at the farm, you can find Tali exploring her new home state of Maine, cooking, working on my Permaculture Design Certificate, and training her pup Kirby.
Lucas grew up in Hopkins, Minnesota, a suburb just outside of Minneapolis. Throughout his childhood, Lucas spent a lot of time outdoors, sometimes doing chores like mowing and helping his dad plant trees, but mostly just finding any excuse he could to spend some time outside. Whether playing games in the woods with his siblings, canoeing and kayaking with friends, rock climbing, hanging out on the beach, or just getting his hands dirty, Lucas always loved connecting with nature and sharing that with others.
In college, Lucas scrapped plans to attend medical school and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in English Literature. He then stumbled upon the world of marketing and advertising, and after a few internships, finally got his foot in the door at a small independent ad agency in Minneapolis. He started as a social media intern, and eventually worked there as a digital strategist for four years, helping a variety of clients across the finance, healthcare, and agriculture industries.
After a growing discontent with advertising, Lucas embarked on a two-week trip to Panama and Colombia, determined to do some career soul-seeking. A chance encounter in Medellín with a woman walking her dog led to a bit of an “awakening” and helped him connect the dots of my lifelong passion for nature and education.
When he got home, Lucas went down to part-time at the agency so that he could take an environmental science course at the University of Minnesota. He also started volunteering at the College of Biological Sciences Conservatory & Botanical Collections every week to build upon the volunteer experience he had in education and horticulture.
A mid-pandemic move across the country to Portland in the summer of 2020 led Lucas to start volunteering at WNC on the Fruit & Vegetable team, and the rest is history. Words cannot describe how excited he is to now be joining the team full-time as an apprentice and absorbing as much knowledge as he can this season.
When he’s not at the farm, Lucas is usually cooking and/or baking, playing games of all kinds, and trying to keep his passion for writing and film photography alive.
Wolfe’s Neck Center’s Fruit & Vegetable Farmer Training Program is a unique apprenticeship program that covers all aspects of organic fruit & vegetable crop production with a focus on regenerative agriculture techniques.
Our fruit and vegetable production includes four acres of diverse production, year-round high-tunnel greenhouses, small orchards, perennials, educational raised beds, and a community garden, all of which the apprentices oversee during their time here. Crop rotation, integrated pest management, cover cropping, soil science, irrigation, and general problem solving are among the many lessons taught in the fields and in the classroom.
Fruit & Vegetable apprentices simultaneously hone their skills as agricultural educators as they plan workshops and interact with adults and children of all ages who visit the farm on a daily basis. They are also involved in Wolfe’s Neck Center’s charitable giving initiatives, which include both hands-on volunteer work and the donation of at least 6,000 pounds of produce each year to local food pantries. Additionally, they spend time in our commercial kitchen converting the team’s farm-grown fruits and vegetables into an array of value-added shelf-stable products such as jams, sauces, salsas, and pickles. A well-rounded, diversified education is ensured with visits to other local farms and inclusion in meetings with local restaurant partners.
When not in the fields running the tractors, harvesting fresh produce, and connecting with the community, Fruit & Vegetable apprentices learn to run a small business enterprise and master the economics of small-scale organic crop production as they conceive their own plans for the future. As a whole, this dynamic program is providing invaluable instruction, experience, and resources to a new generation of farmers.