Collective Leadership

Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust’s Co-Coordinators, Board of Directors, and fiscal sponsors (Soul Fire Farm Institute and their Board of Directors) bring their diverse skill sets in Cooperative Development, Climate Justice, Food and Land Sovereignty, Farming, Education, Herblism, and Indigenous and Disaporic ways of honoring the land to build a land trust with clarity of focus, intentionality, and lived experience that centers the voices of QTBIPOC Farmers, Land Stewards, and Earth Workers.

Çaca Yvaire (He/Li)    Co-Coordinator   YUK’HITI ISHAK, KRÉYOL LA LWIZYÀN  Sovereign poet, designer, tracker. Sharp and coastal sensibilities applied to systems of climate migration, wild law, environmental security, and more-than-human personhood. Developing strategies for critical planetary action  here .

Çaca Yvaire (He/Li)

Co-Coordinator

YUK’HITI ISHAK, KRÉYOL LA LWIZYÀN

Sovereign poet, designer, tracker. Sharp and coastal sensibilities applied to systems of climate migration, wild law, environmental security, and more-than-human personhood. Developing strategies for critical planetary action here.

Stephanie Morningstar (She/Her, They/Them)    Co-Coordinator   OnΛyota'a:ka – Oneida, Turtle clan. Herbalist, soil and seed steward, scholar, student, and Earth Worker dedicated to decolonizing and liberating minds, hearts, and land- one plant, person, ecosystem, and non-human being at a time. Stephanie grows medicines and food, is the founder of  Sky World Apothecary & Farm ; serves as a Leadership Council member for the  New England Women’s Herbal Conference  and the  International Herb Symposium , and is the Co-Coordinator of the  Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust .

Stephanie Morningstar (She/Her, They/Them)

Co-Coordinator

OnΛyota'a:ka – Oneida, Turtle clan. Herbalist, soil and seed steward, scholar, student, and Earth Worker dedicated to decolonizing and liberating minds, hearts, and land- one plant, person, ecosystem, and non-human being at a time. Stephanie grows medicines and food, is the founder of Sky World Apothecary & Farm; serves as a Leadership Council member for the New England Women’s Herbal Conference and the International Herb Symposium, and is the Co-Coordinator of the Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust.

Rafael Aponte (He/Him)    Member, Board of Directors   Rafael Aponte is an Afro-Puerto Rican farmer born and raised in the Millbrook housing projects of the South Bronx. He holds over fifteen years of experience working as a community activist, advocate, and educator. After graduating from Farm School NYC’s certificate program in urban agriculture in 2011, he relocated to Tompkins County and established Rocky Acres Community Farm in Freeville, NY in 2013. Rocky Acres is a 10-acre farm that focuses on education and the sustainable production of local vegetables, eggs, and meat for low-resourced communities. It combines the knowledge and spirit of social justice with the transformative healing aspects of nature and agriculture to promote equity in both urban and rural food systems. He spearheaded the Harvest Box program, an affordable farmshare to serve the needs of underserved residents of Tompkins County.

Rafael Aponte (He/Him)

Member, Board of Directors

Rafael Aponte is an Afro-Puerto Rican farmer born and raised in the Millbrook housing projects of the South Bronx. He holds over fifteen years of experience working as a community activist, advocate, and educator. After graduating from Farm School NYC’s certificate program in urban agriculture in 2011, he relocated to Tompkins County and established Rocky Acres Community Farm in Freeville, NY in 2013. Rocky Acres is a 10-acre farm that focuses on education and the sustainable production of local vegetables, eggs, and meat for low-resourced communities. It combines the knowledge and spirit of social justice with the transformative healing aspects of nature and agriculture to promote equity in both urban and rural food systems. He spearheaded the Harvest Box program, an affordable farmshare to serve the needs of underserved residents of Tompkins County.

Larisa Jacobson (All pronouns)    Member, Board of Directors   Descended from peasant farmer ancestors who tended mountainsides of maize, millet, and watermelons, Larisa is a land steward, web weaver, herbalist, and story booster tending seeds of transformation in this Upside Down World. With over 20 years of farming experience and training/professional roots in community health, agroecology, and education, Larisa’s current work as Co-Director and Farm Manager of Soul Fire Farm seeks to reclaim Black and Brown people’s connection with land, ancestral practices, and our sacred roles as mediators between soil and sky. Other interwoven threads of experience include a project to amplify the stories shared by Black and Brown youth pushed out of high school and organizing for collective land reclamation and community self-determination by elders and youth living and growing food in public housing. Larisa brings fierce commitment to land rematriation and reparations, an open heart for deep listening and nurturing leadership for collective action, and skills in grappling with the nitty gritty of power structures and sometimes painful challenges of healing history.

Larisa Jacobson (All pronouns)

Member, Board of Directors

Descended from peasant farmer ancestors who tended mountainsides of maize, millet, and watermelons, Larisa is a land steward, web weaver, herbalist, and story booster tending seeds of transformation in this Upside Down World. With over 20 years of farming experience and training/professional roots in community health, agroecology, and education, Larisa’s current work as Co-Director and Farm Manager of Soul Fire Farm seeks to reclaim Black and Brown people’s connection with land, ancestral practices, and our sacred roles as mediators between soil and sky. Other interwoven threads of experience include a project to amplify the stories shared by Black and Brown youth pushed out of high school and organizing for collective land reclamation and community self-determination by elders and youth living and growing food in public housing. Larisa brings fierce commitment to land rematriation and reparations, an open heart for deep listening and nurturing leadership for collective action, and skills in grappling with the nitty gritty of power structures and sometimes painful challenges of healing history.

Christine Hutchinson (She/Her)    Member, Board of Directors   I am a veteran teacher in Newburgh NY, graduate of Siena College & NY Institute of Technology. Relocated to the lower Hudson Valley from Long Beach CA, via Brooklyn and Albany, NY. In 2004, started a character education, life-skills, community service program for teen girls. Since 2006, I’ve been involved in food justice & self-sufficiency and then small-scale commercial poultry farming. I am currently the education coordinator for Downing Park Urban Farm. All this work has resulted in youth involvement in gardening and stewardship projects, food security/equity, distribution, and engaging with leaders in the ag/urban ag movements. I started a nonprofit to umbrella old and newer projects. Most recently, we established an internship for youth at the urban farm. I bring with me - in whatever role I occupy, questioning/research, melding of disparate ideas received with an open mind, tenacity toward the mission, clarity, focus, ability to organize around multiple considerations, and the skills from my roles above.

Christine Hutchinson (She/Her)

Member, Board of Directors

I am a veteran teacher in Newburgh NY, graduate of Siena College & NY Institute of Technology. Relocated to the lower Hudson Valley from Long Beach CA, via Brooklyn and Albany, NY. In 2004, started a character education, life-skills, community service program for teen girls. Since 2006, I’ve been involved in food justice & self-sufficiency and then small-scale commercial poultry farming. I am currently the education coordinator for Downing Park Urban Farm. All this work has resulted in youth involvement in gardening and stewardship projects, food security/equity, distribution, and engaging with leaders in the ag/urban ag movements. I started a nonprofit to umbrella old and newer projects. Most recently, we established an internship for youth at the urban farm. I bring with me - in whatever role I occupy, questioning/research, melding of disparate ideas received with an open mind, tenacity toward the mission, clarity, focus, ability to organize around multiple considerations, and the skills from my roles above.

Keely Curliss (She/Her, They/Them)    Member, Board of Directors   Keely is a queer indigenous farmer, youth worker and community organizer who lives in Boston, MA. She is a member of the Nipmuc Nation and has spent the last 12 seasons growing and cultivating food in spaces of all sizes, from her small second floor back porch to 31 acre vegetable farms.  When not tending to plants and land, Keely can be found organizing as a part of the leadership team of Rooted in Community, a national network of youth, food and environmental justice organizations. Keely dreams of a world post capitalism and the exploitation of mother earth where folks honor the land and express gratitude for the abundance. Keely is soon to leave her non-profit job in hopes of reimagining a way to pay the bills while making space to deepen her connection to community, organizing and growing food.

Keely Curliss (She/Her, They/Them)

Member, Board of Directors

Keely is a queer indigenous farmer, youth worker and community organizer who lives in Boston, MA. She is a member of the Nipmuc Nation and has spent the last 12 seasons growing and cultivating food in spaces of all sizes, from her small second floor back porch to 31 acre vegetable farms.

When not tending to plants and land, Keely can be found organizing as a part of the leadership team of Rooted in Community, a national network of youth, food and environmental justice organizations. Keely dreams of a world post capitalism and the exploitation of mother earth where folks honor the land and express gratitude for the abundance. Keely is soon to leave her non-profit job in hopes of reimagining a way to pay the bills while making space to deepen her connection to community, organizing and growing food.

Nia Holley (She/Her)    Member, Board of Directors   Nia Holley is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is deeply influenced by what survival and healing look like within Black and Indigenous communities. Her work ranges from printmaking, ceramics, metalsmithing, and traditional arts to bringing tribal communities together around food justice, agroecology, land, & history. She strives to cultivate relationships across tribal borders to rebuild a more inclusive and historical process of kinship and survival. She has worked as an outreach and project coordinator with Gedakina, a Native-led grassroots organization, and has been actively involved in Nipmuc programs since she could walk and talk. Nia is a co-founder of the Eastern Woodlands Rematriation collective. She currently works transcribing Native American petitions at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University.

Nia Holley (She/Her)

Member, Board of Directors

Nia Holley is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is deeply influenced by what survival and healing look like within Black and Indigenous communities. Her work ranges from printmaking, ceramics, metalsmithing, and traditional arts to bringing tribal communities together around food justice, agroecology, land, & history. She strives to cultivate relationships across tribal borders to rebuild a more inclusive and historical process of kinship and survival. She has worked as an outreach and project coordinator with Gedakina, a Native-led grassroots organization, and has been actively involved in Nipmuc programs since she could walk and talk. Nia is a co-founder of the Eastern Woodlands Rematriation collective. She currently works transcribing Native American petitions at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University.

John Steven Deloatch Giraldo (JD) (He/Him, She/Her, They/Them)    Member, Board of Directors   I am an Earthworker that focuses on connection to the land, healing with the land and education of how different natural systems work. I am guided by Freedom Loving Plants ("weeds") and the stories of ancestral plants. My dream is to have have growing/green spaces where people can pass on family and cultural traditions as well as create new experiences.  I know the joy of being on the land where a person can truly be themselves and I would love to help people achieve the same by helping with the Land Trust. The first time I felt this was the 2017 Northeast Queer & Trans People of Color Conference and experiencing land and space in camaraderie is something I believe everyone should experience in their heart and bones. It's also important to me to have a space where people can pass on their stories and ways of being in respect to Mother Nature, especially for people who are migrating from different Mother Lands to those who are being raised here so they can maintain a sense of culture, tradition and sovereignty.

John Steven Deloatch Giraldo (JD) (He/Him, She/Her, They/Them)

Member, Board of Directors

I am an Earthworker that focuses on connection to the land, healing with the land and education of how different natural systems work. I am guided by Freedom Loving Plants ("weeds") and the stories of ancestral plants. My dream is to have have growing/green spaces where people can pass on family and cultural traditions as well as create new experiences.

I know the joy of being on the land where a person can truly be themselves and I would love to help people achieve the same by helping with the Land Trust. The first time I felt this was the 2017 Northeast Queer & Trans People of Color Conference and experiencing land and space in camaraderie is something I believe everyone should experience in their heart and bones. It's also important to me to have a space where people can pass on their stories and ways of being in respect to Mother Nature, especially for people who are migrating from different Mother Lands to those who are being raised here so they can maintain a sense of culture, tradition and sovereignty.

Carmen Mouzon (They/Them)    Member, Board of Directors   This opportunity is a gift, confirmation that the dreams of my ancestors are coming to be! Bringing the land home again, coming home to the land again, that is what my heart beats for. As a Black Queer descendant of ancestors forced into bondage, to labor for free in fields, day after day for multiple generations, who survived the brutal and oppressive systems of North and South Carolina, I feel very connected to my culture, to my ancestors and I carry stories of grief and triumph which connect me to other survivors/fighters of oppression and drive me to action, celebration and preservation. I am the 1st in my family to live in connection to the land again in a way of tending, keeping, growing and healing with it, offering it to those I love and preserving it for my future loved ones. I bring an open heart, focus, willingness to work, time to meet, I am a deep thinker, compassionate, loyal and committed to goals of the NEFOC Land Trust.

Carmen Mouzon (They/Them)

Member, Board of Directors

This opportunity is a gift, confirmation that the dreams of my ancestors are coming to be! Bringing the land home again, coming home to the land again, that is what my heart beats for. As a Black Queer descendant of ancestors forced into bondage, to labor for free in fields, day after day for multiple generations, who survived the brutal and oppressive systems of North and South Carolina, I feel very connected to my culture, to my ancestors and I carry stories of grief and triumph which connect me to other survivors/fighters of oppression and drive me to action, celebration and preservation. I am the 1st in my family to live in connection to the land again in a way of tending, keeping, growing and healing with it, offering it to those I love and preserving it for my future loved ones. I bring an open heart, focus, willingness to work, time to meet, I am a deep thinker, compassionate, loyal and committed to goals of the NEFOC Land Trust.