No. 1: Lisa Miskelly is no shrinking violet Twitter
By Kathleen Parrish
When Lisa Miskelly first decided to become a farmer she was more interested in growing people than vegetables.
“My original intention was to use farming as a vehicle to rehabilitate ex-offenders into society,” says Miskelly, the College’s new assistant director of food and farm, who discovered her passion for agriculture while interning at a dairy that produced artisanal cheese in Vermont. “I wasn’t sure what that was going to look like, but that was my vision. I wanted farming to be an educational and therapeutic experience for those who needed that.”
The closest she got was running draft-horse-powered farms in Lehigh County and now Nazareth, where she and her husband moved last year. They sell strawberries, onions, arugula, eggplant, and other produce they grow through community-supported agriculture, a program in which customers pay for weekly boxes of fruits and vegetables in advance of the harvest. The produce is then picked up weekly at the farm during the growing season, an arrangement Miskelly leverages to deliver lessons on sustainability and locally grown foods.
“We always thought of our farm as an educational experience,” she says, “but it wasn’t as direct as LaFarm.”
Miskelly, who started last month, says she plans to continue many of the initiatives started by her predecessor, Sarah Edmonds, including increasing production at LaFarm’s 2 acres in Forks Township.
“I think this is an exciting time to be coming to this position,” she says. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm for LaFarm in the community.”
Few are more excited than Miskelly, who finally gets to use soil and seeds as a living classroom to enhance the work students are doing in other disciplines, such as engineering, social sciences, and food justice.
“I really see LaFarm as a pretty amazing opportunity for students to get their hands in the dirt and do some physical labor while exploring more academic aspects of agriculture and the role agriculture plays in our society,” she says.