This month, our Executive Director, Jodi Koeman, stepped down from her position. We are so sad to see her move on, but thankful for all she has offered to CHP in her time here.
Since she started with us last year, Jodi has been a force for change at CHP. She led us through a huge year of expansion, where we hosted 11,000 volunteers, donated 1.2 million servings of produce, and had our first full season at Prospect Hill Farm in Harvard. Jodi was dedicated to honing our organizations visions and goals, strengthening our local partnerships and forging new ones. She applied for and received a record number of grants to assist with CHP’s long-term growth and so we will ultimately be able to donate more fresh, local produce to more people. These grants included one from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, which allowed us to expand acreage in Grafton to support our Farm to Health Initiative, and the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts Activation Fund Grant, which over the next three years will be used to convert part of the orchard to high density planting and greatly increase our season length and the amount of fruit we donate while also conserving resources.
Jodi guided the staff through the visits of many influential community leaders, including Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karen Polito, Representative Jim McGovern and Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Having such prominent leaders on the farm put a state and national spotlight on our work. While she was tirelessly meeting new partners, exploring grant opportunities and managing staff, Jodi constantly kept in mind the difference fresh produce could make to the people we serve and this was the chief motivation for everything she did.
We asked Jodi to share a few words on her experience here: “From the moment I stepped onto the CHP property, I could sense the beauty of the land and the commitment of the people. It has been a privilege to be part of the CHP community. Great things are happening! It is exciting to see the acreage in Grafton grow to almost 20 acres and to see the apple orchard in Harvard in its second year of production. Two highlights were the transition of two acres of apple trees to a high density apple growing system at Harvard and the implementation of pilot farm to health programs in Grafton that integrate volunteerism, produce distribution and nutrition education. I continue to believe that the more we engage with the people we serve, the more we will understand our community and the impact of our work. I am thankful to an amazing staff, dedicated board, unbelievable volunteers, and supportive donors for the time, energy and resources that they have poured into CHP. I’m excited to stay involved in the fundraising work of CHP and volunteering. Wishing you all the best and looking forward to see what this next chapter holds.”
We are thrilled that Jodi will still be staying involved at CHP by helping us write grants and through volunteering. Thank you, Jodi, for all the time you spent working to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for those in need. We will have a greater impact because of your work, and we wish you the very best in your new endeavors beyond CHP.
The end of the season is a fitting time for transition. Next month we’ll be introducing you to our new ED, Cordelia Lyon.