Khann Chov, Urban Agriculture Director

To contact Khann directly, call (865) 546-8446 or email khann.chov@knoxcac.org.

I grew up in Chattanooga and am the youngest of five children. My family immigrated to the United States from Cambodia a year before my birth. We grew a lot of our vegetables and my father enjoyed fishing and hunting with his friends. My appreciation for homegrown vegetables and slow, home-cooked meals began at childhood, where I played in our bustling kitchen and enjoyed delicious Cambodian, Chinese, and Vietnamese cooking.

At a very young age, my parents taught me these lessons: to always work hard, to live frugally, and to eat well with the people you love. In addition to these very important lessons, I sought out educational opportunities that encouraged learning (and eventually teaching) through meaningful experiences. I earned my M.S. in Environmental Education following two years of CAC AmeriCorps service in Knoxville, Tennessee, where I taught students about solid waste and water quality issues through hands-on learning.

Beardsley Community Farm encompasses so much of what I have learned and cared for all these years: working hard, living simply, food justice, sustainability, and to teach and learn from those around me whenever possible.

Adam Caraco, Assistant Urban Agriculture Director

To contact Adam directly, call (865) 546-3500 or email adam.caraco@knoxcac.org.

The first 18 years of my life was spent in the southern Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York.  I loved the outdoors and spent much of my time in the forests, fields, the lakes and all of the other natural surroundings.  I then attended Oneonta State University and studied History, Philosophy, and Religion.  After college I moved around a bit, first Washington state then to Vermont, then thought I was passing through Knoxville.  That was in 2007.  Since then I served CAC AmeriCorps at Keep Knoxville Beautiful, worked for Knoxville Recycling Coalition, worked for Stanley's Greenhouse and Plant Farm, supervised Conservation Crew, and now manage the CAC Community Gardens and Greenthumb program.  I love helping people garden.  Not only does gardening provide nutritious food, but it gets you outdoors, is mentally stimulating, helps you stay active, reconnects you with nature, and is great for the environment.  In turn I get to be outside, mentally stimulated, active,  well connected with natural cycles, and environmentally friendly.  I am grateful to have this position and love being able to share the joy of gardening with others.

20135490538_83709df939_o (1) (1).jpg

Charlotte Rodina, Farm Manager

To contact Charlotte directly, call (865) 546-8446 or email beardsleyfarm@gmail.com OR charlotte.rodina@knoxcac.org.

My formative years were spent in Florida, California, and Virginia where I got a taste for the freshest oranges, the juiciest strawberries, and the sweetest corn. My two brothers and I were fortunate enough to grow up eating a hugely diverse diet, following the seasons and cultures that surrounded us, cooked lovingly at home by my culinary-curious mum. My mom and dad lived in Naples, Italy for a couple years, so we are Italian by default - all of our gatherings revolve around big, delicious meals. 

In college I studied journalism and English literature, and spent a lot of my time writing articles about local food and food justice. I began cooking my meals at home, and experimenting in cuisines like Moroccan, Indian, and Vietnamese. As a way to share my food journey with others, I started a blog and filled it with seasonal recipes and kitchen experiments. 

A taste for good food led me to gardening, and gardening led to farming. An increased awareness on the set-up of our food system also sparked my desire to be part of the growing process. I started working on my uncle’s organic farm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After graduating, I spent seven months working on sustainable farms throughout Italy and Scotland, where I learned skills such as cheese-making and taking care of a flock of sheep, along with a slew of organic growing practices. 

When I returned back to the States, I joined AmeriCorps, which took me here to Knoxville. I helped to manage the Center for Urban Agriculture at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, as well as to start a school garden at Pellissippi State Community College. Knoxville won me over with its Southern charm and friendly inhabitants, Smoky Mountains, and potential for great achievement in improving food security, health, and the environment as a whole. I believe that everyone deserves access to fresh and healthy foods, and I love to demonstrate the empowerment behind growing gardens. I am over the moon to be doing this at CAC Beardsley Farm.

Jenna Bailey, AmeriCorps Member

I would say the first time I ever questioned where my food came from, I was a Junior in college sitting in my Anthropology of Food class taught by my favorite teacher. At the time, I was also in an extremely interesting Natural Resources class, and it was in that semester that a lot changed for me. I took my broad major in Sociology and added direction: minors in Anthropology and Environmental Studies. Since that semester, I have been obsessed with not only alternative food systems, but with the way food can define people and their communities.

Born and raised in Louisville, KY, I credit a few experiences as my most formative: my desire to serve from my time in high school, my interest in community development and sustainability from my university, and my belief that I could make small but impactful changes to the world from my supportive parents.

After completing undergraduate research studying the qualitative benefits of community gardening, I graduated with my degree. After graduation, I was looking for a year off from school and AmeriCorps fell into my lap thanks to the advice of that same favorite teacher. Reading the CAC Americorps mission statement was surreal, as if someone else had written my mission in life. Upon my first interview, I said, “I just want to get my hands dirty.”

That sentence led me to Beardsley Farm, where I am more certain than I have ever been that I am where I’m supposed to be (and my hands are dirty every single day!) At the farm, I get to pursue all the passions in my life: ensuring food security, developing community, promoting sustainability, teaching environmental education, and generally working hard for a cause I can believe in. As if that isn’t enough, there’s a farm cat named Weasel and chickens named after the first ladies. Could this place get any cooler?

KB Hill, Americorps Member

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana and raised in Columbus, Ohio, the city is a very comfortable place for me. I spent my childhood cheerleading for both a competitive club team as well as for my school, which sparked my love for getting involved. I became accustomed to always participating in as many things as I could, which mostly meant sports. I began volunteering and doing more extracurriculars once I started high school. In college, this hobby of getting involved turned a corner from sports to all things outdoors. I’ve spent a lot of time living out of my backpack and eating around a campfire with people who are important to me.

I studied geography and Spanish at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. I learned that geography is an extremely broad subject that can be broken down into many categories which all call my name. After about a year of studying the planet and the people who inhabit it, I found my passion for human and environmental geography. I find it so interesting to bring awareness to how we interact with the world around us, whether it’s person to person or people to planet. I quickly shifted my focus to food studies, because overtime I realized that food is one thing that brings us all together as a society and reminds us that we are dependent on the earth. I knew that I wanted to spend my life promoting environmental stewardship to everyone I meet. This is something that we can do every single day by simply choosing the best food for consumption. My obsession with eating colorful plant-based meals and riding my bike to the farmer’s market turned into a desire to be the one to grow the food. I had a garden plot in a sustainable agriculture class, and that was a lot of hard work that paid off each time I sat down at the table.

Before graduation, I was accepted for an AmeriCorps position here at CAC Beardsley Community Farm, and I am incredibly stoked to be here. Knoxville is such a wonderful place for city slickers and crunchy outdoorspeople alike, and I know that I’ve made a good choice to spend some time here. I look forward to sharing the wealth of the harvest with Knoxville, while spreading the joy of farming for healthier communities and a healthier planet.

Beardsley Alumni

CAC Beardsley Community Farm is delighted to be an AmeriCorps service site since 1998. Here are some of the wonderful folks who have served at Beardsley in the past!