We are so excited to welcome our new Executive Director, Cordelia Lyon! Cordie joined CHP in time to see harvest in full swing in Grafton and the apple season get underway in Harvard. Now that she’s had some time to get settled, she answered a few questions for us to get to know her better.
Why did you choose to come to CHP?
I grew up in rural Vermont and learned early in my professional career that I wanted to be involved in farming and the outdoors. I’m not a grower (I don’t think I can keep a cactus alive) but I do have a number of skills that fit very well in nonprofit agriculture. I was really impressed with CHP in particular not only because of how much food CHP produces for donation, but that we do so using volunteer power. Having a community that strong and that dedicated is unique, and I immediately wanted to be a part of it. When I then volunteered at CHP over the summer, and had a fantastic morning picking blueberries, I was sold – CHP was where I wanted to be. And now I am!
What are you tackling in your first weeks here?
I’ve had a busy few weeks really diving into anything and everything CHP. Of course I’m getting to know the fantastic staff and Board here at CHP and meeting as many community members as I can. I recently completed my Team Leader training, so I can learn more about our volunteer program, farming practices, and keep my hands dirty. Fundraising is an important piece of my work, and I’ve of course dived right in there. And since I arrived as the season begins to wind down I’m also tackling our planning for 2017.
What skills and experiences are you bringing to CHP that will help in your position?
I have a varied background that will serve me well at CHP. I previously worked on a similarly sized nonprofit farm, and that experience really prepared me for becoming the Executive Director at CHP. I’m used to going from the fields to a desk to an event and more! Additionally, I have experience in development work, marketing and communications, strategic planning, operations, and financial management.
What are you most excited to do as Executive Director?
CHP has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years. What I’m most excited about is charting CHP’s course for the future; taking that growth and refining it, sustaining it, and building upon it. With a community this engaged and vibrant, there are endless possibilities. It’s a strategic planner’s dream!
What is your favorite farm task?
I really like transplanting in the spring. Getting into a rhythm, planting seedling after seedling, while it’s not hot out yet? That to me makes a great morning. I also really enjoy seeding, and being sure to get the precise number of seeds in each tray. Can you tell I like the details?
When you’re not at the barn, what activities do you enjoy?
Like most of the team at CHP, I love to spend time in the kitchen, baking savory goodies. I recently bought a 101-year old farmhouse that I’ve slowly been renovating with my partner. I love to read, paint ceramics, and spend as much time as possible with animals!
What’s your favorite vegetable? How do you like to cook it?
Cabbage! It’s underrated, so delicious, and endlessly usable. My two favorite ways to prepare it are in a nice big pot of colcannon in the winter, or sauteed with kohlrabi in the summer.