About the Farmers
Laura Brown-Lavoie is a farmer and a poet. A lifelong New Englander, she has been working on farms since 2008 - first as a WWOOF volunteer in France, and then in Providence on several local farms. After a summer helping to establish an organic farm for a restaurant in Maine in 2010, Laura returned to Providence to seek out a suitable city lot on which to start her own urban farming operation. In 2011, she convinced Tess and Fay to move to Providence and they broke ground on Harrison St, which has since blossomed into the Providence hub of Sidewalk Ends Farm. In the fall of 2018, as the farm business wound down, Laura began doing work as a doula, and is devoted to finishing her first book of poetry. She is the 2018-2019 Providence Public Library Creative Fellow, and will be found in the garden on Harrison St. tending the herbs come spring.
Tess Brown-Lavoie is a first-generation farmer. She moved to Providence to start Sidewalk Ends after studying literature in New York, and apprenticing on farms from Maine to the Scottish Highlands. She coordinates the Justice and Agriculture Working Group, and is the RI Field Agent for Land For Good, working through these organizations on land access, succession planning, and other various challenges faced by farmers in accessing land and capital, connecting with markets and other resources, and addressing inequalities due to structural racism and other forms of oppression. She is Vice President of the National Young Farmers Coalition Board. She is a writer and plays drums in the band Mother Tongue.
Sarah Turkus began farming in 2010 after cultivating lifelong interests in food, and getting her hands dirty. She studied the religion and ethics of food movements at Haverford College and began her first farming endeavor days after her graduation. Since then she has interspersed farming seasons with her other love, education and youth development. Sarah has developed and executed environmental and STEM-focused curricula for elementary and middle school students in her native New Jersey and in Rhode Island. She is an organizer of the Young Farmer Network, our local chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition, and serves on the board of NOFA/RI. Prior to joining Sidewalk Ends in 2014, she grew vegetables on three other farms in Maine, Philadelphia, and Rhode Island.
Fay Strongin co-founded Sidewalk Ends Farm in 2011. With her roots as a farmer, Fay serves Providence and RI's agricultural communities as a member of the RI Agricultural Land Preservation Commission, the Providence Community Growers Network Council, and the Urban Greens Council. She is currently an intern in the City of Providence Healthy Communities Office where she works on projects related to the city's urban agriculture initiative, Lots of Hope. Starting in Fall 2015, Fay will be turning a new leaf and pursuing a Masters of City Planning at MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning beginning. Sidewalk Ends Farm will always be her favorite place.