Staff & Board
Board of Directors
A significant amount of Common Ground Farm’s activities are driven through our committees which are composed of volunteer members working collaboratively with our board and staff. We welcome new committee members! To join a committee, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Farm Committee is dedicated to supporting the Farm Manager and Farm Crew in their hard work and dedication to growing healthy food with restorative and sustainable practices. We are dedicated to our food justice work of distributing good food throughout the food pantries, soup kitchens, and markets in the greater Beacon community.
The Education Committee is dedicated to supporting the Education Director to put together an exciting line up of programs for children and adults, including after-school and preschool programming for children of various ages, summer camp, school field trips, chef visits to the local elementary schools, and adult workshops.
Development & Communications
The Development & Communications Committee focuses on supporting the organization's fundraising and communications initiatives, including grant writing, securing in-kind and individual donations, coordinating fundraising projects and outreach events, media outreach, and the creation of annual reports and other materials. It also includes our Events Committee, which focuses on the Firefly Feast, the Autumn Harvest Dinner, and the Winter Benefit Auction.
The Finance Committee focuses on the development of the annual budget, while providing guidance to the staff throughout the year, and providing oversight of the general bookkeeping for the organization.
The Farmer's Market Committee is comprised of approximately 1/3 board members and 2/3 Beacon community members, and is designed to support the Farmer's Market Manager in operating robust farmers markets that expand our mission of food justice, access, and education.
Meet the Team
Sarah Simon has been involved with all aspects of Common Ground Farm since starting as a farm apprentice in 2015. After a full season on the farm, she led the relaunch of the Beacon Farmers' Market as a CGF enterprise and initiated food access and education programming at the market, as well as running field trips on the farm as an educator. This year, she is looking forward to stepping into the role of Farm Director, and plans to increase vegetable production efficiencies and overall yields while focusing on CGF's mission-driven aims of donating around half of what is grown and building Farm-to-School partnerships with the Beacon Public Schools.
She is a graduate of Princeton University, where she studied French and Portuguese literature, managed the student-run Princeton Garden Project and received a Davis Project for Peace award to start an urban garden at a public preschool in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the summer of 2012.
Sember oversees educational programs, including Preschool on the Farm, Farm Camp, adult workshops, and Farm to School programming. Sember grew up in Denver, CO, and went to Oberlin College, where she double majored in Environmental Studies and Art. She later moved to New York City to pursue an MFA at Pratt Institute. Out of school, she worked as an art teacher in the South Bronx, and then as Education Coordinator at Lehman College Art Gallery. Sember moved with her family to Beacon in 2011 and was thrilled to become Common Ground Farm's Education Director where she could directly influence positive food choices in kids, in addition to helping people of all ages foster connections to the earth and become more self sufficient.
Sember is very passionate about food--she loves to cook and share good meals with family and friends. This is rooted in her deep interest in supporting sustainable, local food systems. She believes that these food systems must be accessible to all and she is passionate about creating change to make this happen. Sember also loves art and enjoys finding ways to get the participants in her classes messy and creative.
Sara Sylvester joins the Common Ground team as the new Beacon Farmers' Market Manager. A small business owner and Beacon resident since 2008, Sara believes in making the market even more accessible to the community, profitable for vendors and fun for everyone! She'll be working closely with vendors, community members and the market committee to ensure it is meeting Common Ground's food justice mission, while supporting the local farms and businesses that are so vital to the Hudson Valley.
In her free time, Sara enjoys exploring small towns, seeing live music and cooking for friends. Her background in textiles and home furnishings has given her a keen eye for beautiful design, and she loves to throw a good dance party!