Beardsley Staff and Alumni
Khann Chov, Urban Agriculture Director
To contact Khann directly, call (865) 546-8446 or email firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.
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.
Charlotte Rodina, Farm Manager
To contact Charlotte directly, call (865) 546-8446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com.
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.
Alex Bonner, AmeriCorps Member
I’ve spent most of my life in Raleigh, North Carolina, the city I was born in. Nestled in the middle of the state, between the mountains and the sea, I’ve always had a fascination and sense of awe with the natural world. With both of my parents being Biologists, my love of nature was due largely to their teachings. While deciding what to do for college, or as all adults put it, “the rest of my life”, I found myself torn between biology and art. “Art helps me express myself” ; “But you’ll never get a good job in it” : “I want to work outside and in nature” ; “Most biologists end up stuck in sterile labs”. And so the arguments went in my head. Eventually, with the help of my high school graphic design teacher, I decided to study Graphic Design at North Carolina State University. My interest in the natural world never wavered though, and I did what I could to bring the two subjects together. Volunteering as a visual designer for an ant lab in a museum, taking biological illustration classes, creating books and educational material on botany.
After graduation, I was by chance contacted by the Knoxville Americorps office while applying to other Americorps positions around the country. I had never heard of Knoxville but decided to take a shot at it. Aside from a semester abroad in the Czech Republic, this was the first time I had truly ever lived far from my family. My first year position with Americorps was at a community television station. During that fall I started volunteering at Beardsley, and quickly became enamored with it. Over the course of the year I would spend some weekends working with the other volunteers and even making artwork for some of the fundraising events like Snow Day. Never before had I felt so sure that I wanted to work at a place. I applied for my second year in Americorps at Beardsley and got it. It may seem like an odd trajectory for me, but I see this decision as a culmination of my values. One that combines art, nature, sustainability and working with underserved communities. All in all, I feel fortunate to be here, surrounded by caring people, doing the work that we’re doing.
Jacob Resor, AmeriCorps Member
Born and raised among the hills of Middle Tennessee, the love of the outdoors was instilled in me at an early age. Beardsley Farm is my first foray into full-time gardening and farming, as my love for these things only began to blossom later in life. As a child, I would help my mother weed her gardens, and I watched my father caringly tend his own gardens. In 2016, I was given the opportunity to work at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, NC and my love for working outside was solidified and strengthened.
Two things bring me to Beardsley Farm: a love of education and a love of the outdoors. In school, I studied religion and philosophy, and have always asked questions of human flourishing and happiness. This led me, among other things, to food and food justice. I see gardening, farming, and sustainable food production & consumption as vital pieces of any flourishing human community.
Here at Beardsley I'm given the opportunity to help grow thousands of pounds of food that gets donated to folks in need. Even more than that, I'm given the opportunity to help others discover the joy of being outside, growing and eating nutritious food, the value and joy of hard work, the importance of sustainable agriculture, being aware of the cycles of nature- among the many other things that farming teaches and provides. These things bring a deep bliss to my life. I couldn’t be happier to be a CAC Beardsley Farm.
Sara Keel, AmeriCorps VISTA Member
I was born just a few hours away in Clarksville, TN. Both of my parents throughout my childhood emphasized the importance of being outside and enjoying everything that nature has to offer. As a kid, you would find me planting every maple seed I could find (sorry dad) and attempting to save any worm I encountered on the sidewalk. Even though I took a brief four-year break to go to school out of state, I always knew I would return to my roots in Tennessee.
I received my degree from the University of Alabama, where I majored in anthropology with a minor in biology and a concentration in health professions. I was lucky enough to be involved in different research labs and service experiences that led me all over central Alabama. My passion has always been focused on alleviating hunger and food insecurity, and that is what led me to this position back in my home state.
I am incredibly grateful to be serving here as the AmeriCorps VISTA member for both CAC Beardsley Community Farm and CAC Mobile Meals Kitchen. I am so impressed with everything that Beardsley has done and continues to do for the community, and I’m excited to contribute in some way to its legacy.