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.
Matthew Gabb, AmeriCorps Member
Growing up in Maryland, my parents instilled in me and my sister the idea that food and the people we share it with should nourish the body, mind, and soul with love (and plenty of garlic). I vehemently believe that that nourishment is an inherent human right -- and it is that belief that brought me to Beardsley.
Food has been a thread through my life. I majored in anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park, where I studied both the lived experience of policy and the role of social sciences in the U.S. national security state. While food was never my main focus, it was always adjacent, whether through my research on Q’eqchi Mayan farming practices in Belize, analyzing medically underserved areas in the rural U.S., or a project addressing food insecurity among UMD students.
After an unfulfilling corporate stint in Wisconsin, I applied to AmeriCorps and moved to a state I had never been to before or considered living in. I joined AmeriCorps VISTA with the Office on Aging’s Volunteer Assisted Transportation program. VAT provides rides to seniors and people with disabilities who can no longer drive themselves to the doctor the grocery store, social events -- anywhere they need to maintain healthy, independent lives. While there, I worked on social media, volunteer recruitment, and food security.
After joining the CSA workshare program during my VISTA year, I knew Beardsley was where I needed to go next. To be able to serve and get dirty alongside people who are as passionate about food justice as I am is a privilege. To be able to nourish the scruffy lil’ city that has become my home is a joy. I hope you join us on the farm and find that same joy for yourself.
Adrienne Seldon, AmeriCorps Member
I was born and raised in Columbus, Ga, and I have lived in Georgia up until joining AmeriCorps. As a child I played outside a lot with my three older siblings, and I have always enjoyed being active and outdoors. During this time my grandmother showed me the joys of growing your own fresh vegetables, and my family and I eventually started a garden of our own. After graduating high school, I went to Valdosta State University where I received my degree in Sociology with minors in Spanish and Environmental studies. I really enjoyed learning more about environmental studies because it encompasses so many other different social problems and makes me feel connected to the world around me. It was during college that I became passionate about health and fitness as well and realized that living a balanced, healthy lifestyle was directly connected to the environment. My relationship with food began to change as I learned the importance of eating more fruits and vegetables and its positive impact on the world around us.
I also began teaching group fitness classes at VSU during this time. I really liked helping people along their fitness journey and being an instructor inspired me to expand my horizons. After graduating, I decided that I wanted to do something that combined several of my interests and Beardsley was the perfect match. I am glad to be serving at CAC Beardsley Community Farm because it promotes wellness and sustainability while directly serving the community.
Sarah Kenney, AmeriCorps Member
Sarah grew up minutes away from Swarthmore College, famous for its arboretum campus. She later met Lisa Roper, a landscape designer at Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, Pennsylvania, who was one of her first real introductions to horticulture as a profession. After attending the University of Pittsburgh's Honors Program - degree in Biology - she moved to Brooklyn and became a florist for Sprout Home, creating arrangements for clients such as Hans Zimmer, Julianne Moore, and Charlie Cox. Returning to her roots in food justice brought her to Knoxville and Beardsley Farm. Sarah's favorite things in the world are REAL tomatoes, dahlias, and forests.
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.