Meet the Farmers

The Farmers

Wendy and Asher Wendy and Asher Klara and Astrid Klara and Astrid Packard Packard Jae Jae Haley Haley

Wendy and Asher Burkhart-Spiegel purchased Common Thread Farm in 2012 from Chris Babis and Amy Brown, who established Common Thread Community Farm in 2008.   Wendy and Asher and their daughters Klara and Astrid are happy to be in Central New York, operating a farm that is open to the community and helping to increase availability of fresh, local, sustainably grown produce in the region.  Wendy and Asher were the farm managers at the Poughkeepsie Farm Project from 2003-2012.  Before that, they managed a CSA in Madbury, NH for two growing seasons while finishing their degrees in Environmental Conservation at the University of New Hampshire.  Wendy grew up on a dairy farm in New Hampshire and has farmed and gardened in a variety of settings, including a pick-your-own strawberry farm, a garden center, pecan orchards in Georgia, a homestead in Maine, a public flower garden, a 10 acre organic vegetable farm, and in the gardens of herbalist mentors.  Asher grew up in suburban Philadelphia and was pursuing a sociology degree when the organic garden at the community where he was completing a civil rights related internship caught his attention.  He has worked on farms ever since, primarily in vegetable production although he has tried his hand at pruning apples, milking cows, and university based agricultural research. 

Packard Haynes is a crew leader at the farm. He has been here for several years and is hoping to reconnect with his family's history in agriculture. He is a graduate from Morrisville State College with a Bachelor's in Science, Technology, and Society studies. His interest in social and environmental justice brought him here to Common Thread Farm to build a deeper relationship with his community by providing wholesome produce and contributing to an educational space for aspiring farmers. He is dedicated to making produce affordable and accessible, maintaining and caring for the land and local ecosystems, and using his knowledge of food production to aid in the deconstruction of Capitalism.

Jae Friedman is in her third season at Common Thread and is excited to continue the work of growing food and medicine in Madison County. Working in sustainable farming since 2014, Jae believes in the work of feeding our communities, cultivating justice in our food system, as well as (re)connecting land work with queerness and Jewish traditions. In the fall Jae is starting school for Massage Therapy.

This is Haley Tietz's third year at Common Thread. She's excited to learn more about sustainable agriculture and to connect with the people and the land of Central New York. A recent graduate from Hamilton College with a Bachelor's in Literature, she loves to read about, write about, grow, and cook vegetables. She's not sure yet what she wants to do with her life, but she knows that she wants to work with people and plants to make our food system healthier for communities and the Earth. If she were a vegetable she would be baby bok choi because she's quiet, but she's secretly one of the best vegetables on the farm.


More Farmers

Charles Charles Lin Lin

Charles Carrier first got interested in growing food after high school by working at community gardens in his home state of New Jersey. Since then Charles has been continually curious about the food system from the small backyard garden to the multinational food industry. He has worked on a number of farms in the Northeast and will forever continue to grow his knowledge in agriculture. Charles believes the subject of food can be an accessible yet powerful introduction to many of the critically important issues of our time, from social inequality to environmental degradation. He enjoys baking, stand-up comedy, and finding the best slice of pizza in town.

Lin Henke Lin Henke is in her second season at Common Thread. As a Hamiltonian, she was raised running around the farm and Colgate's community garden. She's a rising junior at Georgetown University, studying theology and minoring in Chinese and Philosophy, and leading the Environmental Justice club in her free time. She is always super excited for the opportunity to get out of the classroom and get some hands on learning about farming and local food. 

Sam Genovese  Propelled by a love for fostering community and a passion protecting land, he has found himself studying at ESF in Syracuse. He is researching how social relationships build resilience on community levels.  Lover of camping, hiking, and walking in the rain, he is always finding ways to connect with nature. A Rochester native, he is growing to love the land of CNY and is looking forward to meet the community. When not on the farm, you can find him in Syracuse working at an event venue where he feels at home being hospitable and friendly. Surely, a community person through and through.