Meet the Farmers


The Burkhart-Spiegel family The Burkhart-Spiegel family Asher and the big blue tractor Asher and the big blue tractor Wendy picking chard, Astrid eating chard Wendy picking chard, Astrid eating chard Packard Packard

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 excited to be in Central New York, operating a farm that is open to the community and helping 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.   At the PFP, they have managed a 400 member CSA and contributed to education and food justice programs that work towards a just and sustainable food system.  Before the PFP, they managed a CSA in Madbury, NH for two growing seasons.  

Wendy grew up on a dairy farm in New Hampshire and has farmed and gardened in a variety of settings since, 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.  She has a B.S. in Environmental Conservation from the University of New Hampshire.  

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.  He has a degree in Environmental Conservation from the University of New Hampshire. 

Klara is 10 years old and loves dance, reading and spending time with friends.  Astrid is 7 years old and loves making people laugh and playing in the farm fields.


Packard Haynes returns to us this season as Senior Crew Member. He is a graduate from the Science, Technology and Society program at Morrisville State College.  His interest in social and environmental justice issues brought him to Common Thread CSA to build a professional career related to sustainable agriculture.  In the future, he hopes to create spaces for activist education as well as work towards dismantling the prison system using sustainable agriculture.  Packard practices a strict vegan diet and listens to a lot of underground Hip-Hop and Jazz..  In his free time he reads comic books, really dusty books, watches Star Trek, and wrestles with his favorite kitten (Worf).

Apprentices and Interns

John B John B Ellie Ellie John E John E Glenna Glenna Chris Chris




John Bonsted is an upstate New York local, from a family with a passion for gardening and growing their own food.  His main background is in landscaping and his passions are fly fishing and all things outdoors.



Ellie Brown enthusiastically welcomes new experiences.  She has bopped around the USA and abroad since graduating from Syracuse University in 2013 (BFA Art Photography).  She is passionate about art, food, and music.  She dreams of one day having an artist run farm and residency program.



John Edwards is a retired construction laborer who wants to learn about growing vegetables and herbs as well as wild flowers.  He thrives from the positive energy that exists on this farm!



Originally hailing from Laytonsville, Maryland, Glenna Thomas was introduced to the local food movement in her very own backyard, and at the wise age of five, tried to sell produce at the end of her driveway, on a very barren country road.  With little success in the business department of the food industry, she decided to spend more time in the dirt, working on farms.  Finishing up her B.A. in Environmental Geology at Colgate University, Glenna also spends time leading and teaching outdoor trips and activities, with a focus on sea kayaking, Nordic skiing, and winter camping.  She loves oatmeal more than any kind of food, is a tea-fanatic, and treats the Adirondacks as her second home.  Glenna hopes to pursue teaching earth sciences with a focus on land, culture, and tradition as a part of the natural world.



Chris Wentz is a man of few words.  Chris hails from Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains.  When he's not working he can be found hiking, fishing, reading, listening to Justin Beiber or playing disc golf.