For Kathy, volunteering at Tollgate is a true source of joy. She believes for most, upon arrival, there is an instant sense of coming home. Faces soften, smiles light up, and tensions seem to melt while visiting this safe oasis in the middle of a rushing world.Kathy has volunteered at Tollgate’s summer camps and she believes that allowing children the chance to literally reconnect to the Earth and each other is imperative for healthy, happy minds. At these summer camps, Kathy has helped in the Edu-Garden and also lead yoga sessions with campers. During the COVID-19 pandemic she helped with virtual yoga sessions for our free online summer camp. When we began virtual educational programming from the farm, she was happy to step in and help with filming. Although the farm has been impacted hugely by COVID-19 in the areas of staffing and revenue, Kathy still sees boundless determination and dedicated effort to stay productive. Kathy encourages anyone with a desire to volunteer at Tollgate to find the area of most interest and give it a try – there is a place for everyone. The staff is incredibly gracious and open to ideas and suggestions. We are all hoping the farm may return to normal operations and re-open to the public in the not too distant future; but until then Kathy encourages everyone to consider some tiny way to contribute to sustaining this precious gem. Thank you Kathy for all that you do for the farm!
Katie joined the CSA crew during the summer of 2019 as an apprentice and jumped on board again summer 2020 when we had to postpone our apprenticeship program due to COVID-19. In addition to working hard out in the field with the Sustainable Agriculture team, she also coordinates the Evenings in the Garden series. This series began as an in-person opportunity but switched to virtual in the spring with COVID-19. Katie worked hard to recruit new speakers and pivot to a virtual format. And she does all of this while pursuing an Environmental Science degree at the University of Michigan Dearborn! In her free time, you’ll most likely find her exploring and learning in the great outdoors, splitting and repotting her plants, playing with her dog Millie, or getting in touch with her creative side with a new art project she has planned. Katie’s bubbly personality and a passion for learning and teaching others are just two of the many reasons why we love to have her as a part of our team! Thanks for all you do Katie!
Sam first joined the Tollgate team as a 4-H AmeriCorps member in Fall of 2018 and is currently serving a “second term” as the farm’s interim livestock manager. Sam grew up on a hobby farm and spent ten years breeding and showing dairy goats. When she arrived at Tollgate, Sam was thrilled to meet the Toggenburg herd and jump back into the dairy goat scene. She loves sharing her knowledge of livestock husbandry with folks of all ages and backgrounds – from youth, to parents and even fellow staff. As a 4-H alumnus, Sam also loves working in the barn and going to livestock shows with the Tollgate Farm 4-H Club. Her favorite time of year is birthing season, and some of her most cherished memories are the times when new people get to experience the joy of welcoming a healthy new lamb or goat kid to the Tollgate family. Sam is also a M.S. student at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability with a focus on environmental justice where she works within a collaboration of Anishinaabe, BIPOC, and allied community members to create sovereign, decolonial, sustainable food systems, environments, and communities. Despite her busy schedule, Sam is always there to help out Tollgate. We are so grateful for her expertise and the passion she brings to every project on which she works. Thank you for all you do Sam!