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Our Team

MOLLY CULVER
Co-
Farm Manager, Director of Adult Education

Molly is thrilled to return for a 7th season at The Youth Farm, as Co-Farm Manager and Director of Adult Education. Molly joined the local farming and food justice movement in 2005, taking an Americorps position to help launch a CSA chapter and farmers market in the South Bronx, NYC. Following formal farm training with the University of California-Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food systems in 2008, Molly polished her growing skills as manager of 2 acres of land and all greenhouses at Live Earth Farm, an 80-acre certified organic mixed vegetable operation in Watsonville, CA. Committed to increasing farm training and food justice in NYC, Molly returned to NYC and worked with many New York City greening organizations, including GreenThumb, Green Guerillas, Earth Matter NY and Just Food. Actively involved in Farm School NYC’s (FSNYC) planning since 2007, Molly has served as an Execuitve Board member and teacher since the school’s opening in 2010. Molly teaches both Propagation and Growing Soils for FSNYC, and also founded Molly Oliver Flowers, a sustainable floral design company. Molly believes in the transformative power of learning to grow your own food as a catalyst for dynamic personal growth and radical and imperative social change.

SAWDAYAH BROWNLEE
Director of Youth Programs + Summer Youth Coordinator

Sawdayah’s curiosity about how things work and love for aesthetics & experiential learning ignited a life-long relationship with education. Upon graduating from Howard University in 2011 with a BA in Africana Studies she discovered a need to cultivate herself in the science & art of growing plants for sustenance. She has worked as a farm intern at Fat Blossom Farm in Allegan, MI & at Brother Nature Produce in Detroit, MI and also served as a lead intern and co-facilitator of D-Town Farm’s first Summer Internship, also in Detroit. Sawdayah participated in NC A&T State University’s Agricultural Education Program as a Masters student. In 2013 she began work as an Environmental Educator for Harlem Seeds’ summer program and worked as  a Pre-K Nutrition Educator at Harlem Children’s Zone. Sawdayah familiarized her students, their families, and staff with the nutritional benefits of fresh produce, grocery shopping strategies, and creating their own garden spaces to grow produce. She also works as a teaching artist at MoCADA, facilitates art projects in the theme of urban agriculture.  She is thrilled to be at The Youth Farm as the youth programs coordinator to encourage curiosity & action in her students’ lives and work with them to create healthy, self sufficient communities!

ERIN MERCIER
Co-Farm Manager, Farmers Market Manager, CSA Coordinator

Erin is returning to the Youth Farm for her third season as Co-Farm Manager, Farmers Market Manager, and CSA Coordinator.  Originally from sunny Southern California, Erin was first introduced to urban agriculture and food justice while pursuing her BA in Environmental Science and Conservation Biology from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR. After graduating, traveling, and catching the farming bug through her work as a WWOOFer in Ecuador and Mexico, she moved to Brooklyn in 2011 to pursue urban agriculture and education in the city. Since then, she has worked in many different areas of the local food system, from managing farmer’s markets with GrowNYC, to community food education work with Just Food, to food justice and garden education programs with the Queens Botanical Garden, Growing Chefs, and Cypress Hills LDC. She is a current certificate student in Urban Agriculture and Social Justice with Farm School NYC, is a Master Composter with Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and completed the Farm Beginnings Whole Farm Planning Course through GrowNYC in 2015. She first came to The Youth Farm as an intern in 2013 and joined the farm as a staff member in 2015.

TOMMY LE
Crew Leader, Farm Intensive Certificate Program

I hail from Los Angeles by way of Oakland, CA. As a grad student in NYU’s Food Studies program, my research interests include globalization, urban agriculture, Vietnamese foodways and fishing narratives. Previously, I worked as a non-profit and labor organizer but fully realized my love for food as a fundamental building block of any social justice movements. I received my certificate in urban agriculture from the Youth Farm in 2016. My favorite vegetable is the su su (Vietnamese for chayote). On my down time, you can try to catch me in and around NYC eating, drinking, and dancing! You can find me on Insta @tovle

BERSABEL MESGNA
Crew Leader, Farm Intensive Certificate Program

Bersi is a UFTP 2015 alum who has spent the last year running youth and adult agricultural education programs in the city with Project EATS. She is so excited to come back to the lovely Youth Farm family as a Crew Leader to continue growing as a farmer-educator. In addition to being a Crew Leader, Bersi will be leading STEM-based workshops on the Youth Farm with Brooklyn Greenhouse. Bersi has always been passionate about youth development, food justice and farm education and is committed to building community around these spaces.

CHLOE HIRSCCHORN
Crew Leader, Farm Intensive Certificate Program

Chloe is a native New Yorker who is settling back home after years of exploration. She has a masters in Public Health and spent nearly 3 years building health systems in Southern Africa. Somewhere between digging backyard gardens in the Kalahari and picking tangerines in Malawi, she realized her public health passions were food and community. She entered the Youth Farm Training Program in 2016, where she discovered a true love for farming and the community it brought together. She is thrilled to return to The Youth Farm for another season!

LIZ MAZZEI
Crew Leader, Farm to Restaurant + Management Focus

Liz Mazzei was an Apprentice at the Youth Farm in 2015. Prior to joining the YF Farm-ily, she graduated from GrowNYC’s FARMBeginnings program and was a Farm Trainee at Brooklyn Grange. Her dream is to develop a series of cultural food centers that highlight plants and food traditions in an effort to help people establish a deeper connection with food and their family heritages. She also runs a boutique marketing firm that works with small businesses in the food and hospitality industries.

JANELLE CARTER-SMALL
Founder, The Brooklyn Greenhouse

Janelle, a proud Brooklynite from East Flatbush, Brooklyn, completed the Urban Farm Training Program at The Youth Farm in 2015. Janelle has a Masters of Science in Education from Brooklyn College and has been an Early Childhood educator for ten years with the NYCDOE and ran an afterschool program . She is an active member of Community Board 17.  Mom to 2 boys, Janelle developed the AgriSTEM Kids curriculum for The Brooklyn Greenhouse, LLC, a business that provides hands-on indoor and outdoor agriculture-based STEM education to groups and classes in order to increase the diversity of children interested in AgriSTEM careers. This growing season her goal is to increase the number of early childhood groups learning STEM outdoors and to successfully grow West Indian Sorrel for the first time.