The Hands That Grow Your Food

Angie Koch - Farm Manager

For Angie, Fertile Ground has been an exciting venture into the world of farm entrepreneurship. With an educational and professional background in community development, Angie found herself shifting towards the life of vegetable-growing almost a decade ago. Favourite farm tasks include pushing the wheel hoe, trellising tomatoes, and playing with the chickens. Angie loves getting her hands dirty & is kinda proud when the grit just won’t come out from under her fingernails. When not in the fields or behind her computer, she can be found dancing blues or lindy hop, climbing a boulder, gleefully sipping a craft brew, puttering around her kitchen, or shamelessly reading a novel in a sunbeam.

Vanessa Carducci - Field Manager

It was while teaching internationally in 2011 that Vanessa encountered a Canadian couple WWOOFing throughout Patagonia. The following year she found herself spending time on permaculture farms in Ecuador and Costa Rica. She has since been transitioning outside of the science classroom and into the soil. Vanessa completed both her biochemistry and teaching degrees in her home town of Windsor, but her affinity towards the natural world and growing interest in sustainable local food systems led her to obtain her Permaculture Design Certification and first full farming season on Vancouver Island. This year, Vanessa is excited to work with a dynamic team of growers, providing food for such a supportive community in the Waterloo Region. Beyond the fields, she can be found on the tennis courts, exploring unmarked trails, or sipping on mate with Rosie Barton. 

Claudia Fierling - Field Worker & Greenhouse Lead

Growing up in a small town in Northern Ontario, Claudia often went fishing and camping. She enjoyed nature so much that she always found herself working outdoors or with plants. While working in flowerbeds, at the University of Guelph, she was encouraged to pursue a higher education. Soon after she was experimenting with growing media for organic greenhouse tomatoes to complete her Master's degree. Afterwards she went on to work for the horticulture industry and is now joining the Fertile Ground Farm team as the lead hand for the organic tomato high tunnel. If she's not at the farm, she is probably walking or hiking with her dog, or gone camping up north.

Vanessa Ong - Intern

Vanessa is a keen environmentalist with a passion for community development and grassroots activism.  She completed a degree in Environmental Science and Global Development Studies in Kingston, Ontario, which is also where her love for food security and social justice deepened.  Vanessa is now pursuing a Master of Environmental Studies in Planning at the University of Waterloo, with hopes of exploring linkages between community design, sustainability in food systems, food access, and health.  She looks forward to getting her hands dirty while learning more about the CSA model and local food!

Tori Ward - Intern

Tori is a local KW artist whose interest in farming was sparked by her own struggles to feed herself well, understanding the importance of food sovereignty in a country and region so abundant with resources. Questioning the status quo, she jumped into the organic gardening world in 2016. This year, Tori hopes to expand her knowledge and passion by working closely with other empowered women in the field, and envisions a future in urban agriculture and food justice.

Elena Christy - Field Worker

Elena is passionate about food, farming, and the land and how we live on and around it. Starting her career off in community and international development Elena quickly gained a deep appreciation of the role land management and design play in quality of life.  Food, farming, and design have been common threads throughout her life that led her to pursue a degree in landscape architecture where she deepened her knowledge in sustainable landscape design and local food systems. Elena has designed, maintained, and managed numerous vegetable gardens and farms over the years and is particularly interested in agriculture that supports land stewardship, wildlife habitat, and maximizes urban-rural linkages.  Elena holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University and a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Guelph. She is excited to be a part of the Fertile Ground team this year getting her hands dirty and learning more about organic farming. When not in the Fertile Ground fields Elena can be found tending to her personal vegetable garden.

Many Volunteers

Volunteers, Work Bee

There's a lot of dirty hands that grow your food!

Stephanie Scott - Field Worker (On Maternity Leave)

Rutabaga harvest

Stephanie grew up in the suburbs of Pickering and was a nature-loving, animal-crazy bookworm who wished she lived in the country.  After completing her Master’s degree in plant ecology at Queen’s, Stephanie took a job on an organic vegetable farm, and finally figured out what to do with her life.  Shortly after moving to Waterloo she took the plunge, and in 2014 she started her own business: Petals & Sprigs - a small farm on borrowed land outside Waterloo growing herbs and flowers.  She keeps her veggie-growing skills sharp by working part-time at Fertile Ground.  When she’s not farming, Stephanie is still a nature-loving bookworm, who is passionate about food, the CBC, and her dog.  She lives with her husband in Waterloo and is working on that big move to the country.