Meet Our Members | March 2021
Name and Occupation: Emma Dooley, Farmer
Alice Groh is nationally known for being one of the founders of the Temple-Wilton Community Farm in southern New Hampshire, which is the oldest continuously operating CSA in the United States. She and her late husband also ran their own 37-acre farm in Wilton.
Following the death of her husband, Alice took time to grieve and reduced the farm’s activities to sharing greenhouse space with local farmers. Last year she hired Emma Dooley and her partner, Julien Brooks, to help revitalize the farm. Emma and Julien now live on the farm with biodynamic farmer, Matt Pearson.
Emma was born in Paraguay but was adopted as an infant by a couple from Putnam County, New York. Her mother was a nurse, and her father worked for the State Department. Both are now retired.
After graduation, Emma worked in human services for while but grew burned out by the difficulty of the work and its indoor nature. She longed for the outside and fresh air. So she applied and was accepted for an internship on a vegetable farm in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she and Julien met.
“I worked there one season, but I learned a whole lot about myself,” Emma admits. “I liked the hard work, I liked growing plants, and I really enjoyed seeing the fruits of my labor.”
“Then Julien and I applied for a land stewardship opportunity with Alice. We were accepted and moved to Wilton, where we found the local community very welcoming.”
“This is a joint operation where the three of us work together. I will work in the vegetable gardens, where we will produce vegetables for local restaurants and markets. We also planted berry bushes up on the hill last year, and we expect to have raspberries, blueberries and elderberries this season.”
The farm will be selling vegetables through farmers markets in Peterborough and Milford and providing milk to Abbot Hill Creamery for their cheese and yogurt. Julien is currently outfitting a food trailer that will allow them to reach even more local customers.
“I’m learning so much because the farm is a collaborative,” Emma continues. “I look forward to each new season and its work. Now I can’t imagine not farming.”
Emma also works off the farm for The Cornucopia Project setting up mini-gardens at schools to bring nutrition and horticulture-based learning to students in southern New Hampshire.
“I prefer vegetable farming over livestock,” Emma adds. “My favorite vegetable to grow is butterhead lettuce, but my favorite to eat is fresh tomatoes. I also love berries. I like eating seasonally.”
“I’m a movie buff, and I love standup comedy. I sometimes do open-mic Friday nights at Yankee Lanes in Keene. I also like hiking on Mount Monadnock.”
“I’m not sure where this is all headed,” Emma exclaims. “Right now I’m just trying to live in the moment.”
—Interview and Article by Karl Johnson, Board Member
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