Brittany Sidway Overshiner
Brittany started on the farming path when she realized in college that being an organic farmer was an actual opportunity. It combines her passions for environmental and social justice, community and individual well-being, working hard, working creatively, and being healthy.
She believes small, sustainable farming is a revolutionary act. By farming in a way that is respectful of natural resources, employees, and community she is able to create an alternative to the products of the corporate food system which exploits resources and labor to produce profit margins for a very few. She believes food can be affordable and accessible without compromising it’s nutritional value or the ability of future generations to produce their own food. She believes we can feed ourselves well and still pay farm laborers a fair wage and keep poisons out of our water, air and bodies.
Since 2007 Brittany has worked on farms in Up-State New York, British Columbia and the Boston Metro-West area. Most recently she was the founding farmer at Medway Community Farm where she was able to manage the full process of building a farm business from the ground up, with almost no start-up capital. It was a serious lesson in boot-strapping, and the value of sweat equity. In just 5 years she led the creation of a 3 season CSA, farmers markets, farm stand, a school to farm program that serves over 650 public school students, a diversified education program, volunteer program and hunger relief program.
In her “free time” she has served on the Board of Directors of Littleton Community Farm and worked part time for NOFA/Massachusetts as the Beginning Farmer Program Coordinator. She likes to relax with hiking, swimming, yoga, (which she rarely does anymore, now that she has a farm and a two year old son!) and chopping and cooking the vegetables she grows .
Brittany has completed the Beginning Women Farmers Holistic Management Training Course, funded by the USDA, and has a degree in Environmental Studies from Northeastern University. She also has a background in outdoor education, having worked for the YMCA of Great Buffalo for 5 summers as a counselor, swim and boating instructor, and ultimately as the Assistant Program Director.
Kevin met Brittany in 2010 when she was working a full time job on a farm in Sherborn, and starting Medway Community Farm on evenings and weekends. The only way to spend time with her was to show up and help. And that is what he did, and what he has been doing ever since.
From 2011-2013 he worked part time at a friend’s farm in Dover, who was able to provide farmer-training, and eventually, as Kevin’s skills developed and Brittany grew the Medway Community Farm business, there became room for him as a full-time farmer.
Kevin has a degree in Audio Engineering and Sound Design from Emerson College (which really comes in handy on the farm . . . ) and a fabulous sense of humor. He will be, as he has been for the last 5 years, an invaluable partner to Brittany.
Erin fell in love with farming after her first experience volunteering in her hometown community farm in high school. That morning (the morning after Sophomore prom) was spent shoveling dense fly-infested manure into smelly compost piles. Needless to say, it still remains a mystery why this experience was so positively impactful. Her volunteer experience in high school grew into college internships and later a post-graduate career at Upswing Farm. She is attracted to the therapeutic, fast-paced, and interdisciplinary experience that a career in farming offers. Additionally, farming allows her to simultaneously address her environmental, social justice, and holistic beliefs. It means working in partnership with the earth to grow wholesome, safe, and delicious food for herself and others.
Erin attended college at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where she earned a B.S in Environmental Science, returning to her home state of Massachusetts during summer breaks to farm. Brittany and Kevin have served as mentors for the past seven years, offering their expertise in growing practices, efficiency, whole-farm systems, marketing, and more. Aside from farming on various small vegetable farms, she has worked as an administrator and program manager for multiple non-profits with a focus on growing local food systems through wholesale distribution, increasing access to produce in low-income areas, and developing educational curricula in topics such as family nutrition practices and horticulture.
The combination of higher education and gratifying work experiences shaped her passion for rebuilding local food systems through sustainable agriculture. She is thrilled to be Assistant Manager of Upswing Farm, bringing a well-rounded food systems perspective into my daily work. Erin looks forward to connecting with all of our customers, without whom her dream would not be possible.
Kevin and Brittany had a son on January 25th, 2017. He is amazing and perfect and all the things you hope for in a son. He likes digging, running, jumping, reading, swimming and baths, and getting into anything and everything he is not supposed to.
After raising a baby and starting a farm all in one season, Brittany and Kevin feel pretty confident they can handle new challenges that come their way.