PERENNIALS: WE KEEP COMING BACK EVERY YEAR!

Kathy Capron
(HR & Operations)
KATHY CAPRON BIO

(she/her)

Why do you choose to work at Common Threads? I love bringing the earth nourishment to our kids at school. Giving nourishment to kids through teaching about food and cooking is a life skill that they can utilize far beyond school. I also love being a part of an amazing community of people who invest in the future of our lands and our children.

Favorite vegetable: Zucchini

One fun fact about me: I have a twin brother.

 
Emily Hie Photo
Emily Hie
(Education Program Manager)
EMILY HIE BIO

(she/them)

Why do you choose to work at Common Threads? After working with Common Threads as a classroom teacher for seven years, I saw the impact that seed to table education had for students from all walks of life. Gardening and cooking lessons help kids to see that food is more than just nutrition—it’s also culture, science, and medicine. Furthermore, food is community—it’s the easiest way I know to connect with people in our past, present, and future! I love raising my own child in Whatcom County, and my goal is that all children here will feel empowered to grow and eat delicious food.

Favorite vegetable: Garlic. I double it in every recipe!

One fun fact about me: I also taught martial arts for six years!

Laura Plaut
(Executive Director)
LAURA PLAUT BIO

(she/her)

Why do you choose to work at Common Threads? How we interact with food (growing, preparing, sharing, etc.) has the potential to be our greatest source of nourishment and connection or our greatest source of illness and isolation. I choose to work at Common Threads because I prefer nourishment and connection over illness and isolation!

I sometimes joke that Common Threads was born of my mid-life crisis: how did I, a “well-educated” adult, manage to live so long understanding so little about our food system?!

Common Threads is also my prayer to my own son and to all the other children who – through no fault of their own – are seduced by the colorful sugary options that so many marketing dollars put in front of them every day. May all of our children have access to the information and experiences that make healthy food choices joyful, easy and accessible.

Favorite vegetable: Salad turnip

One fun fact about me: I’m getting back into rock climbing after a long break

Sarah Wheatley, Garden Manager
Sarah Wheatley
(Garden Program Manager)
SARAH WHEATLEY BIO

Why do you choose to work at Common Threads? Food has been the center of community, family and friendship in my life since the very beginning. My mom proudly taught me family recipes and my best friend and I started a cookie company in fourth grade. We all thrive when we feel we belong, and I want to share that! I grew up in Bellingham, went to college in Santa Cruz, California, and have worked in El Salvador, Mexico, and India as well as several small towns in Washington and Oregon. In each of these places, I had the honor of sharing stories over meals and making friends in gardens, kitchens, forests and fields. I think food is a beautiful way to share our cultures with friends, neighbors and strangers. I worked in ecological science for a long time too, and I love gardening because we get to see ecological relationships up close and be part of them: plants, soil, critters and us. Other things I love include mountains, rivers, oceans, birds, playing music, building and fixing things, bikes, dogs, languages, bugs, and the kids who grace my life with their curiosity and goofiness.

Favorite vegetable:Varies seasonally. Snap peas, Sungold cherry tomatoes, Delicata squash, and shallots.

One fun fact about me: I built a tiny house!

Madison Spencer bio photo Common Threads Farm
Cam McMaster
(Community Engagement)
Cam McMaster Bio

(he/him)

Carly Renner (Cooking Program Manager)
Carly Renner BIO

ANNUALS: AmeriCorps Service Members join us each year as our boots on the ground

Lyndon Cartwright stands in front of the Common Threads logo.
Yareli Barragan, AmeriCorps Food Educator
Yareli BIO

(She/Hers)

What state did you most recently live in? Arizona

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? I am looking forward to helping this community become more resilient by empowering youth to make food choices that directly nourish them and other students. By helping youth, the positive experiences they have will continue to mold their relationship with food and their community, which is an incredibly rewarding experience as a service member.

Favorite vegetable: Mushrooms!

One fun fact about me:  It’s been six months since I’ve adopted my first cat!

Isabell Beasley, Americorps Food Educator
Isabell BIO

(She/Her)

What state did you most recently live in? Minnesota

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? I want to dedicate myself to food sovereignty. Communities deserve to reclaim their power in the food system, to determine how their food is produced and distributed. A big part of food sovereignty starts with providing kids the lived experience of eating and cooking with fresh, healthy, and culturally relevant foods. Common Threads seems like a great opportunity to help support this work.

Favorite vegetable: Freshly harvested celery or carrots.

One fun fact about me: I love foraging and using different plants as natural fiber dye.

Lyndon Cartwright stands in front of the Common Threads logo.
Kati Bogdan, AmeriCorps Food Educator
Kati BIO

(She/Her)

What state did you most recently live in? I was born and raised in Washington State

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? Growing up I was part of a community that prepared and processed our own ethnic foods, often as a group, and it was such a joyful experience. It had a large impact on how I relate to food and I am excited to share that joy with children as we grow, harvest, and cook together. Working in the garden is one way to connect to our natural world and receive the many benefits of being outdoors while learning about the systems that sustain us. And introducing children to new and tasty whole foods is a lot more fun when they have a direct relationship to what they are eating. This program creates an amazing opportunity to do all the things I love in support of children within my community here in Whatcom County.

Favorite vegetable: Squash

One fun fact about me: I love to partner dance.

Katie Chugg stands in front of the Common Threads logo.
Katie Chugg, AmeriCorps Food Educator
kATIE BIO

(she/her/hers)

What state did you most recently live in? Washington

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? Common Threads allows me to pursue my passion for combating inequality through high quality education in sustainability and gardening.  

Favorite vegetable: Brussel Sprouts

One fun fact about me: I forage for mushrooms!

Katie Chugg stands in front of the Common Threads logo.
Rain DeLucia, AmeriCorps Food Educator
Rain BIO

(she/her/hers)

What state did you most recently live in? Pennsylvania

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? I choose an AmeriCorps position with Common Threads Farm because I am passionate about nutrition, growing food, and cooking! I want to make a difference in our food system by educating others on how to grow and prepare their own tasty food.

Favorite vegetable: Onion

One fun fact about me: I recently drove across the country from Pennsylvania to Washington.

Katie Chugg stands in front of the Common Threads logo.
Axel Edgers, AmeriCorps Food Educator
Axel BIO

(They/Them)

What state did you most recently live in? Washington

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? I really love gardening and growing my own food as well as being able to eat/cook with the food I grow. I have always loved nature and want to spread my passion to the youth and make sure healthy sustainable food options are available to them while passing on beneficial skills to them such as gardening and cooking as well.

Favorite vegetable: Green onions, I love to add them to almost any dish when cooking, such as eggs, rice, meat, or soup!

One fun fact about me: I drive a motorcycle.

Talia Frank, AmeriCorps Food Educator
Talia BIO

(They/Them)

What state did you most recently live in? California

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? I chose to work with Common Threads to further my joy in working outdoors, learning alongside youth. Being in an “outdoor classroom” allows me to immerse in a lively environment, where there is always something happening and opportunities for connection. I look forward to growing and changing with the seasons!

Favorite vegetable: Anything freshly picked from a vine

One fun fact about me: I witnessed an owl and a kingfisher over the water at Whatcom Falls

Phoebe Furuli, AmeriCorps Food Educator
Phoebe BIO

(She/Her)

What state did you most recently live in? Washington

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? I am passionate about growing food, cooking and eating the food, and composting any food waste. I am excited to channel this passion into the educational programs that Common Threads has established

Favorite vegetable: Garlic

One fun fact about me: I had a job selling composting worms in high school.

Eli Holt, AmeriCorps Food Educator
Eli BIO

(He/Him)

What state did you most recently live in? California

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? I have been looking for an opportunity to connect with the Bellingham and greater Whatcom community and I have a passion for food security, so the work that Common Threads does bridges those two. I am looking forward to working with kids as well – I love to play and laugh with them and tell each other stories because kids have so much valuable (and funny) insight to share.

Favorite vegetable: BEETS!

One fun fact about me: I am an expert on Jamaican railroad history!

Melissa Rijkers stands in front of the Common Threads logo.
Mackenzie Kilroy​, AmeriCorps Food Educator
Mackenzie BIO

(They/Them) 

Melissa Rijkers stands in front of the Common Threads logo.
Rachael Kuiper, AmeriCorps Food Educator
Rachael BIO

(She/Hers) 

What state did you most recently live in? New Mexico

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? I’ve been playing and learning in the soil since I was a kid and didn’t see why I should stop as an adult. I also believe deeply that access and understanding to healthy food is a basic human right and am inspired by the work that Common Threads does in this area.

Favorite vegetable: Sweet Peas!

One fun fact about me: Though it’s said to be impossible, I can lick my elbow.

Melissa Rijkers stands in front of the Common Threads logo.
Mary Klingelhoefer, AmeriCorps Food Educator
Mary BIO

(She/Hers) 

What state did you most recently live in? Iowa

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? During university, I majored in global resource systems and environmental studies. I found that Common Threads’ values align with much of what I was learning and what change was needed in communities. I also just want to share my passion for gardening and healthy eating with others.

Favorite vegetable: Chickpeas

Melissa Rijkers stands in front of the Common Threads logo.
Morgana Lewis, AmeriCorps Food Educator
Morgana BIO

(She/hers)

Melissa Rijkers stands in front of the Common Threads logo.
Molly Monahan, AmeriCorps Food Educator
Molly BIO

(She/Hers) 

What state did you most recently live in? California!

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? I am fiercely passionate about equitable access to healthy food, education, and natural spaces. I am so excited to have the opportunity to provide kids and all community members with time and experience in gardens and kitchens, learning how to grow and create delicious healthy food.

Favorite vegetable: Why would you do this to me… can I answer the entire nightshade family?

One fun fact about me: My last job was 5 years as a tea sommelier!

Melissa Rijkers stands in front of the Common Threads logo.
Frankie Morrissey, AmeriCorps Food Educator
Frankie BIO

(They/Them) 

What state did you most recently live in? Washington

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? Food is the most important thing in my life! It is what I have found the most joy and growth learning about and I want to share the joy I get from it with everyone that I can!

Favorite vegetable: Golden beets

One fun fact about me: I love to play the banjo!

Melissa Rijkers stands in front of the Common Threads logo.
Cam Olsen-Roth​, AmeriCorps Food Educator
CAM BIO

(She/They) 

What state did you most recently live in? Washington

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? When I was really young, my grandma tried to make it her goal to get me to love vegetables. We cooked and prepared food together a lot as well. We made things like vegetable platters with ranch, fried eggs and toast, roasted zucchini, and pesto. I really appreciated the time she spent with me and how much effort she put into nourishing me. She encouraged me to ask questions about my food and be creative in the kitchen with her. Now that I’m older, I want to provide the same experiences to the next generation. My goal within Common Threads is to work with kids in their schools to grow, cook and eat food that nourishes them and to provide for the community around them!

Favorite vegetable: Daikon Radish right now, but Bok Choy is a really close second!

One fun fact about me: I like to collect plastic bags so I can cut them up and weave them together, that way I can crochet them into better bags.

Melissa Rijkers stands in front of the Common Threads logo.
Tess Reeber, AmeriCorps Food Educator
Tess BIO

(She/hers) 

What state did you most recently live in? Washington

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? I recently graduated from WWU with a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Salish Sea Studies. I am passionate about connecting others to our local lands, ecosystems, and food systems. I am excited to be working with Common Threads to help build community resilience through food education and access! Being informed about where our food comes from allows us to make nourishing, and sustainable choices for ourselves, our land, and our community.

Favorite vegetable:Chickpeas

One fun fact about me: My favorite animals are orcas and I am a land-based whale watcher!

Melissa Rijkers stands in front of the Common Threads logo.
Al Short, AmeriCorps Food Educator
Al BIO

(They/Them) 

What state did you most recently live in? Washington

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? I recently graduated from Fairhaven College with a concentration in ecology, art and education. Common Threads Farm feels like the right next steps to furthering my passion for these subjects! I love to garden, watercolor paint, mend clothing and engage in my community!

Melissa Rijkers stands in front of the Common Threads logo.
Vivian Voth, AmeriCorps Food Educator

 

Vivian BIO

(She/Hers) 

What state did you most recently live in? Washington

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? I am extremely passionate about environmental education, food sovereignty, and empowering and inspiring young people to live in allegiance with the earth. As a kid I have fond memories of working with my mom in our small garden in Seattle which helped foster my lifelong curiosity and wonder for the natural world. As an adult, I was inspired to become a farmer from my love for cooking and passion for nutrition. For me, there is no better feeling than harvesting food I’ve grown from the garden, cooking delicious meals to share with others, and feeling the nourishment that comes with both. I am so grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and abundance I’ve received from the Earth and to hopefully pass on a lifelong sense of wonder and appreciation for the natural world through working with Common Threads.

Favorite vegetable: Broccoli

One fun fact about me: I love to carve spoons!

Melissa Rijkers stands in front of the Common Threads logo.
Grace Wark, AmeriCorps Food Educator

 

Grace BIO

(She/hers) 

What state did you most recently live in? Washington

Why are you choosing to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Common Threads? I am passionate about social justice and food justice is at the heart of these movements. Common Threads allows me to serve my community and encourage kids to connect with the land through gardening, which I have found very empowering personally. This position excites me because it is a way to take action towards increasing food access that can be felt tangibly in our neighborhoods and in our classrooms. I am looking to build lasting relationships with my peers, students, teachers and supervisors.

Favorite vegetable: Broccoli

One fun fact about me: I learned how to use a loom to weave fabric.

BOARD MEMBERS: THE SOIL THAT GROUNDS US IN OUR WORK

Board Members:
The soil that grounds us in our work

Ali Jensen – President
Ali Jensen BIO
she/her/hers
 
Why do you choose to volunteer with Common Threads? I’ve worked on food access for over a decade and admire Common Thread’s mission of growing good eaters. Food is our great unifier and having an early, healthy relationship with food makes it easier to connect with others in adulthood. I’m excited to share in this work and to share some meals.
 
Favorite vegetable: Celery
 
One fun fact about me: I can read and write upside down
Lindsey MacDonald – Vice President
Lindsey MacDonald BIO

Why do you choose to volunteer with Common Threads? I am passionate about supporting thriving and sustainable communities. I believe healthy food and food education for all is an important part of this equation. ​

Favorite vegetable: I know this is cheating, since tomatoes are a fruit, but I have to say it anyway! I love growing and eating tomatoes.

One fun fact about me:Once upon a time I rode my bicycle around New Zealand, but now one of the most joyful things I do is ride around town with my toddler.

Nolan Davidson – Secretary
Nolan Davidson BIO

(he/him/his)

Why do you choose to volunteer with Common Threads?  Common Threads provides an experience that, as an adult, I looked back and wished I had experienced as a kid. Gardening, growing food, cooking food–cultivating a connection with what we eat–is a crucial skill that too often fails to get conveyed to kids in school (and not everyone has the luxury of learning these things at home). It’s an honor and a pleasure to work for Common Threads.

Favorite vegetable: My favorite vegetable is the source of everything that’s pure and good in the world–chips, french fries, and vodka–the noble, glorious potato.

One fun fact about me: My resume says I’m a licensed tug boat captain.

Maria Macpherson – Treasurer
Maria Macpherson BIO

(she/her/hers)

Why do you choose to volunteer with Common Threads? All children should have the opportunity to learn the valuable skills of gardening and making healthy food choices. When children are exposed to the concept of growing their own food and making healthy choices, they become more connected to the food they eat and are more likely to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Providing access to education about sustainable food practices and nutrition is critical in building a healthier future for our community!

Favorite vegetable: Broccoli

One fun fact about me: I spent 7 months traveling the country with my husband and dog living out of our teardrop trailer.

 
Stephanie Pal
Stephanie Pal BIO

(she/her/hers)

Why do you choose to volunteer with Common Threads? Because I deeply believe in the organization’s mission. By teaching kids where their food comes from and making cooking fun, we can help kids develop a healthy relationship with food, which is tied to good health, improved confidence, feelings of empowerment and joy! Things ALL children should be privy to!

Favorite vegetable: Radicchio

One fun fact about me: I am Canadian and I speak French!