The current members of SFFC’s Board of Directors are:
Joanna and Zachary are introduced under the “About” page. Brief introductory articles by the three non-resident Directors follow.
Andy Nelson joined the Board in 2012. He wrote the following for our December 2016 newsletter:
I was first introduced to St. Francis Farm by friends of my wife, Mary Anne Hogan. Mary Anne was a long time friend of Mary Maples and had also become acquainted with Barbara Steinkraus as a result of work with international students at SUNY Oswego. On one early visit to the Farm, I believe in the fall of 2009, Lorraine, Joanna, and Zach queried me about the names of fall blooming wildflowers. They expressed an interest in knowing the plants and animals they share the land with and in passing this knowledge and an appreciation of nature on to people visiting the Farm. A similar interest has guided and sustained me through an education in forestry and botany, a career in and out of academic biology, and into my retirement years.
My offer to explore and document the flora of the Farm was eagerly accepted. I made numerous visits to the Farm over the next few years and put together a collection of photos and information about the plants I found. As we got to know each other in the course of these visits I experienced increasing admiration and respect for the Hoyts and the life they have chosen at St. Francis Farm. When I was offered a position on the Farm’s Board of Directors I found it easy to accept.
The off-site Board Members meet annually with the core members to evaluate and review the performance of the Farm. We hear reports on the year’s activities, finances, and plans for the coming year. Consensus comes easily at our meetings. The focus is on the overall goal of sustainability and material self sufficiency.
As an off-site Board Member I visit the Farm as frequently as I can (though less often than I’d like) and share any of my own knowledge and life experience that seems relevant. There is usually some discussion of current concerns and participation in the day’s activities. St. Francis Farm is a comfortable place to be. I’m grateful to be included as part of the St. Francis community.
Sarah VanNorstrand joined the board in 2017 and wrote the following for our March newsletter that year:
My name is Sarah VanNorstrand, and I live just outside of Cazenovia, NY. I’m 30 years old, married to a wonderful person, and I make a living through a combination of traveling to call for contra dances and working on two different local farms. I grew up in an evangelical Christian household and attended church regularly. About a year ago, my husband, Andrew, and I decided to follow a friend to a new church in Syracuse. We’ve found a wonderful new place to worship and explore our faith and the nature of the world at Plymouth Congregational Church, which is part of the United Church of Christ. I’ve always been very interested in social justice and have been trying to determine how I can work to promote equality and compassion within the Church and the broader culture. I believe in the work that Lorraine, Joanna and Zach are doing at St. Francis farm. I think that in this moment, there is little that is more important than valuing simplicity, connecting with the natural world, and caring for our brothers and sisters no matter where they are from, what they do, how they look, how they identify, or even what they think (which for me is the hardest one of all). I’m excited to be a part of the workings of the farm, even if I’m not able to be involved in a day-to-day manner.
Jill Hurst-Wahl joined the board in 2020 and wrote the following for our March newsletter:
My name is Jill Hurst-Wahl. I’m at a transition point in my life, as I move towards retirement from my full-time position as faculty at Syracuse University and into more volunteer work and consulting. My volunteer work currently includes the Poor People’s Campaign, Alden Street Foundation, Onondaga County Public Library Board of Trustees, and now St. Francis Farm. I learned about the farm soon after moving to Syracuse in 2001 and have enjoyed interacting with the Hoyts over the years, including sharing gardening tips. Joanna, Lorraine, and Zach’s work intersects with the work of the Poor People’s Campaign and St. Lucy’s Church in Syracuse, where I worship. They believe in respecting the divine in each person; changing the narrative around poverty; honoring the land beneath our feet; and confronting militarism. They recognize that small steps forward can be important and that is a lesson I need to remember. Changes can take time and persistence. Like others on the St. Francis Farm board, I am excited to be more involved in the farm, even though I do not live there. I hope my new ‘free time” will allow me to visit more and soak in its tranquility.