Meet the Farmers

Wendy and Asher Burkhart-Spiegel 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 and Asher purchased Common Thread Farm in 2012 from Chris Babis and Amy Brown, who established Common Thread Community Farm in 2008.

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.

Klara helps on the farm at CSA distribution as well as in the wash and pack.  She is a junior in high school and loves to play clarinet and saxophone, dance and spend time with friends.  Astrid also helps out sometimes on the farm in greenhouse or the fields.  She is in eighth grade and loves piano, singing, dance, and chatting with friends.

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Packard Haynes

Packard Haynes is crew leader and harvest manager 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.

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Charles Carrier

Charles joins Common Thread as Assistant Field Manager this year, in his third year on the farm.  He has worked on a number of farms in the past, including Poughkeepsie Farm Project where Wendy and Asher also worked (but not at the same time).  He finishes an Associates Degree in Horticulture at SUNY Morrisville this spring.

Caroline's flowers

Caroline Potterf

After 3 years of traveling around the US, volunteering and working on farms, Caroline is happy to be settling down in New York. This is their third season on a vegetable farm. Caroline’s interest in farming began as a way to find a type of work that was engaging and necessary. They enjoy the seasonal life of farming, as well as constantly learning new skills and working to provide a necessary resource. Outside of work, Caroline enjoys various creative endeavors, including mending, sewing, and drawing.

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Megan Slater

Megan joined Common Thread as a bookkeeper in 2021. She has an MBA in Finance and Accounting from Utica College and loves bookkeeping and anything organizational. She works in the insurance industry. In her spare time, Megan is chasing after her son and spending time with him outside. They enjoy berry picking, apple picking, hay rides and all of the exciting adventures our area has to offer.  Megan and her family are huge animal lovers and have two Siamese cats who require a lot of love and attention.  Megan loves to cook and bake and experiment with new ingredients and recipes. She has a great appreciation for food and is trying to teach her young son about the importance of agriculture and farm fresh foods.

Rick Gloo

Rick is born and raised in central New York and enjoys finding all the nooks and crannies the area has to offer. Rick joined the farm in October 2021 as part of a break in his career in technology and software development.  Working in a position that provides food for the community and working outside in alignment with nature were key drivers in joining and staying on with the farm.  Outside of work, Rick enjoys a regular meditation practice, as well as running, biking, hiking and all things outdoor adventures.

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Lin Henke

Lin Henke has worked at Common Thread for several summers on the field crew. As a Hamiltonian, she was raised running around the farm and Colgate’s community garden. She just graduated from Georgetown University where she studied theology and Chinese.


Zoe Creason

Zoe grew up in Sodus, NY.  She recently graduated from Cazenovia College with a Bachelors degree in  Environmental Biology.  She says, “I’ve always loved being outside and working with plants.  I was ecstatic to join the friendly crew at Common Thread.  In addition to my love of the outdoors. I like to read, hike, sail, and occasionally make jewelry.”

Mary Strong

Mary was raised on Long Island and Massena NY her dad was with the New York State parks Commission, so as a youngster she spent much of her time in nature. Mary spent many years in administrative positions in various manufacturers in CNY – with continued layoffs within the various industries Mary is now a Substitute Teacher and works weekends at Colgate University Library and joined the Common Thread farm team this summer. Mary Enjoys spending time with her horse and pony, 6 dogs (4 foster – 2 of her own) and her cat Zevon. Mary has a small garden at her home and has about 50 house plants. Mary enjoys paddle boarding and watching the trees dance in the wind.


Virginia Forester

Born and raised in Central NY. Has farmed for the summer for 3 seasons. Has now graduated SUNY ESF with a bachelor’s in Conservation Biology. Moved to Rome, NY to help out her Grandfather. This will be her first full season farming and she is super excited to see a complete season through from greenhouse seeding in the spring to harvest in the fall. Working outdoors had always been the dream job and farming was always something she has wanted to do. So now being able to do it as a job is so exciting!


Wren Evans

This is Wren’s first year at Common Thread, joining the team as a farm apprentice for the 2023 season. A recent graduate from Binghamton University, they are interested in learning the ins and outs of organic farm life, with the intention of getting into consulting as a way to help new farmers who are interested in organic growing practices. In addition to their passion for growing and providing healthy food, Wren’s special interest is honeybees and pollinators, where they completed a thesis about hive management through pesticide exposure for their degree completion. When he’s not on the farm, Wren enjoys foraging on long walks, reading fantasy books, and cooking up farm fresh produce at home!

Leigha Morris

Leigha is originally from Eaton, NY, and comes from a long line of farmers in Madison County. She grew up canning food, picking rock, and learning about plants and old tales from her elders. Over the last few years, she’s worked with organic small farms in the Hudson Valley through Long Table Harvest, and at Little Seed Gardens. She has recently moved back to build her own farm project and to begin more mutual aid work for her local community. But deeply missed being in the soil, so she is helping out at Common Thread in the meantime. Leigha has fallen in love with Draft Horsepower, so if you’re local and looking for help, reach out! 

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Jae Friedman

Jae is grateful to be a part of the Common Thread crew again this summer! Since 2014 Jae has worked on farms learning to grow food, steward land, and connect land work with her Judaism and queerness. Jae is also a Massage Therapist and loves using bodywork to help people find more comfort and ease in their daily lives. When not working, Jae enjoys hanging out with her partner and dog, hiking, picking berries, dancing, and puttering.

Chris Winn