Welcome to Westchester Local Food Project!
Welcome to Westchester Local Food Project, where we're on a mission to create a more sustainable and equitable food system for our community. Our group is made up of passionate individuals, including farmers, garden educators, regenerative agriculture believers, herbalists, holistic practitioners, local chefs, self-taught gardeners, and marketers, all working together towards a common goal. We're committed to empowering and educating our community on how to grow, cook, and preserve their own food, with the hope that everyone in Westchester, NY has access to fresh, healthy, and locally grown produce.
At Westchester Local Food Project, we believe that education is key to building a more sustainable future. That's why we've collaborated with organizations, schools, and the community at large to embed education at every step of the way. Through our educational events and programs, we encourage volunteerism, participation, and engagement to create a thriving and equitable local food system that benefits all in our community.
But our work doesn't stop there. We're also committed to closing the gap on food justice in our own towns. We're determined to reclaim shelf space in food pantries and introduce fresh, locally grown produce and meals made from those ingredients instead of highly processed foods. By doing so, we hope to make a positive impact on our community and create a better future for generations to come.
We're excited to be a part of this movement towards a more sustainable future, and we invite you to join us on this journey. Together, we can make a difference and create a better future for all in Westchester, NY.
The Advisory Board
Lower Westchester Community Engagement/Garden Manager
Marcia Morgan, a passionate gardener and community leader who is making a difference in Westchester County through her work with the First Presbyterian Church Community Garden. As a dedicated member of the First Presbyterian Church, Marcia saw an opportunity to use her gardening expertise to help those in need. She started an initiative to take the bountiful harvest from the community garden and coordinate the preparation of 100 meals each month for the local homeless shelter. Through her tireless efforts and dedication to this cause, Marcia has inspired others to get involved and make a positive impact in their community. Her commitment to sustainable, local food systems and her passion for helping those in need has made her a true leader in the Westchester County area.
Community Facilitator/Healthy Soil Educator
Ellen runs the Westchester Chapter of the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA), organizing workshops and gatherings for local growers. Although she has grown plants most of her adult life, she felt that there was something missing in the life of her garden. The BFA - connecting soil, nutrition, and food - provided the solutions with resources and folks with like-minded values – a soil family that cared about growing good food! After a brief career as a Special Education teacher, she has been a journalist for over 30 years, often weaving her gardening and nature musings into her writing.
Leslie Dock is Katonah-based, farmer, gardener, landscaper, educator and permaculture designer. She formed Leslie Dock - Farms & Gardens after years of working in the arts as an actor, producer and sponsorship manager.
She tends a small roster of private clients in addition to teaching and writing a monthly gardening column for Katonah Connect magazine.
Director of Programming
Janet Donat is a Child Development Specialist with over 15 years working within the social service sector in Westchester County. Her focus is community education, advocacy and collaboration to address issues of restorative justice. In 2017, Janet co-founded the Resilience Coalition, committed to building awareness of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) as a public health concern fostering individual, family and community resilience. Her innovative programs for incarcerated women at the Westchester County Department of Corrections include a gardening program and a re-entry program focusing on restorative practices and the formation of healthy community.
WLFP Director/Dig Farm Founder
Allison Turcan is the founder and farmer at D.I.G. Farm in North Salem, NY. D.I.G. Farm is a registered 501(c)(3) with a mission of "Reconnecting Communities to the Natural Good of the Farm.
After spending a year WWOOFing in France, Allison came back forever changed after seeing the stark differences in the food system between the US and France. It became a mission to create opportunities to "Reconnect" communities to the essential values of a local food system.
Dedication. Expertise. Passion.
Our team of garden educators is dedicated to sharing their knowledge and skills with the community. They possess a wealth of expertise in organic gardening techniques, soil health, pest management, and more. With their friendly and nurturing nature, our educators are here to guide you every step of the way towards creating sustainable gardens and accessing fresh, healthy, locally-grown food
Jessica Colon is an educator at The New York Botanical Garden and founder of For the People and Kids!, an educational website offering STREAM classes, kids, gardening and homeschooling. a bilingual Museum Educator at the Bronx Children Museum and Morris Jumel Mansion Museum. Jessica teaches after school art programs at MKES and BHES.
Leslie Dock is Katonah-based, farmer, gardener, landscaper, educator and permaculture designer. She formed Leslie Dock - Farms & Gardens after years of working in the arts as an actor, producer and sponsorship manager. She tends a small roster of private clients in addition to teaching and writing a monthly gardening column for Katonah Connect magazine.
Livia Fleming, a biotechnology and food/cosmetic science expert, grew up foraging in Slovakian forests, inspiring her passion for wild medicinal plants. She helped launch the ‘Fairy Forest’ and sits on a BH sustainability committee. She aims to connect students with community service and nature to help those in need.
Heather Flournoy grew up on ranches and farms, where her grandmothers taught her to forage wild plants and make remedies. She aspires to connect with nature and share her knowledge of wild foods and medicines. Her love for natural remedies led her to educate others on the benefits of foraging.
Iwona Pilarska's love for gardening has only grown stronger over the years, and she has dedicated herself to helping others learn and grow through hands-on experiences. As a Garden Manager and Vice President of the D.I.G. Farm's board of directors, Iwona shares her knowledge and expertise with others to help promote sustainable, local food systems in Westchester County.
Chris Provetto's journey from teaching music in the KLSD school system to becoming a market gardener and garden educator is a testament to his passion for education and growing. Starting with a small garden box, he and his family now run a 3000+ sqft market garden growing seasonal veggies, herbs, flowers, microgreens, and mushrooms. Chris combines his years of teaching experience with his love of gardening to inspire and educate others as part of the D.I.G. team.
Shoshanna Rome, with a background of foraging wild foods and herbs in Japan, pursued her interest in alternative medicine through an intensive herbal internship in Oregon. She attends conferences and workshops across America, advocating for the incorporation of plant medicine into daily life and making herbal knowledge accessible to all.
Kendra Serbro (she/they) is a farmer, educator, and community organizer in Brooklyn, NY.
After 10 years doing marketing on Broadway, Kendra landed the ultimate dream job: Horticultural Apprentice to Leslie Dock Farms and Gardens in Katonah, NY.
They are a member of the Brooklyn-based, mermaid-themed dance group The Tailshakers. You can see them in various parades in NYC.
Courtney Steininger, Program Manager at Nativity Farm, connects Bedford Presbyterian Church with food justice. As Director of Christian Education and Youth, she loves bringing young people into the garden. With a Master of Divinity from Princeton, Courtney makes theological connections between God, our gardens, and the world we inhabit.
Deb Taft, owner of Mobius Fields, has farmed in Westchester County for 15 years. She has served on the boards of various organizations, including Slow Food Metro North and Westchester Growers Alliance. Deb is a board member of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County and Unbroken Acres. Her favorite crops are radishes and peppers, and she enjoys pruning and tying up tomatoes.
Passionate. Talented. Resourful.
Our talented chefs are passionate about teaching others how to cook with local, sustainable, and seasonal produce from our farm. They believe that cooking with fresh ingredients not only tastes better but also supports our local economy and protects our environment.
Welcome to Cucina alla Fra, where we cook Italian food "Fran's way"! Francesca Albanese, is a seasoned chef with over 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry. She is excited to share her passion for cooking with the community, using locally grown produce to create delicious and authentic Italian dishes. Join her in the kitchen and let's explore the flavors of Italy together!
Elisa Bremner, RDN, is a food justice and sustainability advocate who teaches culinary and nutrition classes to intellectually and developmentally disabled high school students. She is the Campus Nutritionist for JCCA/Pleasantville Cottage School and founder of plant-forward nutrition business, Green Bites. Elisa helps make vegetables quick, easy, and delicious for everyone!
Suzy Chin, a retired investment banker, is an avid cook and biodynamic gardener. With a focus on Farm to Table cooking, Suzy shares her passion for Burmese and Chinese cuisines, while also volunteering to cook for the community in need and sharing her knowledge of gardening through demonstrations and classes.
Leslie Lampert, founder of Ladle of Love, created the first consciously-sourced take-out food shop in Westchester. Her healthful and delicious food, no-waste philosophies, and passion for education on healthful eating have spread through the Ladle of Love Company, resulting in thousands of donated meals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chrys Napolitano owns Two Wrasslin' Dogs Farms, where she grows food and teaches cooking workshops focused on socializing and experimentation. Her holistic approach to cooking starts with planning a garden and teaching how to use seasonal, local, and fresh ingredients to create healthier, sustainable meals.