Our Team


Noel Allen

Community Gardens Coordinator

noel [at]

Noel has been passionate about nature and ecology most of her life; that passion came to head when delving into the Horticulture Program at Penn State University. Shortly after, Noel became involved with the REC after moving to Worcester in 2013. Combining a passion for nature and social justice is a dream come true. When not working Noel enjoys spending time with her family, listening to music, and cooking.

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Ashley Carter

Farmers Market Program Coordinator

farmersmarket [at]

Ashley was born and raised in Massachusetts. She achieved her Bachelors in Sustainable Landscape Horticulture at the University of Vermont, and spent many years working on farms in New England. Her love for permaculture and ambition to travel guided her to Nicaragua for a handful of years, before returning to Massachuestts and diving into food system work in Worcester. She managed a new American centered community farm, which grew and sold culturally significant produce to communities throughout Worcester and neighbrohood CSA's and including at the REC Saturday Farmers Market.  She now coordinates the REC Community Farmers Market program, including our mobile farmers market. She feels passion for strengthening the food security of Worcester, one market, and one customer, and one farm at a time.

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Ellanora Lerner

Work Study through Clark University

elerner [at]

Having grown up in community gardens run by FRESH New London, Ellanora is excited to be involved with food justice in Worcester. She has been on the REC team through a Work Study program with Clark University since September 2020. For the past two years, Ellanora has helped coordinate the REC’s Annual Plant Sale. Ellanora is also a full-time student at Clark University majoring in History & Spanish and planning on completing a Masters of Teaching in History Education. 

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Eliza Lawrence

School Gardens Coordinator

schoolgardens [at]

After graduating from Clark University in 2014, Eliza worked as a Youth Mentor for the YouthGROW program for 3 summers where she fell in love with both youth work and gardening. In 2018 she joined the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship AmeriCorps as the Garden Education Fellow serving both the YouthGROW and School Gardens Program. Eliza then joined the team as staff and our first School Gardens Coordinator, where she works with students of all ages implementing garden based curriculum. When not at work, Eliza enjoys making food with friends, dancing, roller skating and gardening with her neighbors at her own community garden.

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Gwen Weissinger

Communications Associate

communications [at]

Graduating with her degree in Psychology from Bridgewater State University, Gwen cultivated a passion for food justice while volunteering in the permaculture gardens on campus. Gwen joined the REC team as the Communications AmeriCorps VISTA in 2020. Currently on staff as the Communications Associate, Gwen enjoys capturing moments of our community learning, growing and coming together around locally grown food. When not at work, Gwen loves playing with her nephews, IDing trees and cooking meals with loved ones.


Tom Trepanier

Farm Manager

ttrepanier [at]

Tom Trepanier graduated from UMASS Amherst in 2011, with a degree in Plant Soil and Insect Science and a concentration in Sustainable Food and Farming. Tom has worked on many types of farms across Massachusetts at various scales. Tom's been the REC's Farm Manager for the past three years, working closely with YouthGROW. When asked what he loves about the REC, Tom said "everyone here is passionate about what they do, and it shows in the work that we do." Outside of the REC, you can find Tom walking his dog Carrot through local parks and hiking trails.


Steven Murphy

Administrative Director

admin [at]

Steven Murphy has lived in Worcester since 2013 and first became acquainted with the REC as a community gardener while living in the Main South neighborhood. Steven is the REC’s Administrative Director, and has served on the Earn-A-Bike Worcester board and the CMRPC Brownfields Advisory Committee.  Steven holds a masters in community development and planning from Clark University.  When he's not at the REC, Steven enjoys cycling and spending time with his spouse and two children.

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Amina Ameur

Commonwealth Corps Member

School Gardens Volunteer Engagement Specialist

Raised in Worcester, Amina has seen the work that the REC has been able to achieve in her hometown over the years, and was very excited to start contributing to the change by serving as a Commonwealth Corps Member with the organization. Becoming a CC member this past summer has acquainted her with the deeply important concepts of food justice and has given her the opportunity to get to know the Worcester community she loves a little better. When not serving, Amina loves to dance and make food with her friends.


Teddy Mitchell

YouthGROW Team

Junior Staff

Bio coming soon!

Owen Chase

Owen Chase

YouthGROW Team

Junior Staff

Bio coming soon!

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Steve Fischer

Executive Director

director [at]

Steve Fischer, REC’s Executive Director, has lived and worked in the city of Worcester for the past 30 years. He has more than 20 years’ experience in community organizing, campaign advocacy, youth development, and nonprofit management. Steve started at the REC as a volunteer with the YouthGROW program 20 years ago. SInce then, he has served as a board member, program staff, and became REC’s Executive Director in October 2009. Outside of work, Steve likes to spend time outdoors with his wife and children and his dog Poochie.

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Erika Akerson

Lead Farmers Market Manager

eakerson [at]

Erika is from Worcester and proud to serve in a position that supports our city and the local economy. She has experience working on urban and rural farms, in food service, trail restoration, and has been employed in various roles at the REC. Her previous jobs and experiences have solidified her passion for working in the field of local food systems and her affinity for community-based efforts.


Stacie Brimmage

YouthGROW Coordinator

stacie [at]

In 2009, Stacie joined the REC to work with a group of YouthGROWers to build an educational garden at the Worcester Public Schools Fanning Building downtown. Since then she has served as a YouthGROW Youth Mentor, the School Gardens AmeriCorps volunteer, the UGROW Coordinator, and currently is the YouthGROW Coordinator. Stacie loves working with young people growing food for the Worcester community and really enjoys working outdoors on the YouthGROW Farm. Outside of work, she loves a good campfire, playing board games, and walking the trails at Greenhill Park.

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Valeria Nyonkuru

Farm Mentor


Valeria Niyonkuru is a Burundi farmer and Farm Mentor with the REC. Valeria supports YouthGROW farm cultural crop production. She works with the YouthGROW team training youth and adult staff on cultural growing practices. Outside of the REC, Valeria works at New Lands Farm and owns/operates Misigaro Farm.


Georgia Albanese

Administrative Assistant

georgia [at]

Georgia graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Environmental Conservation & Sustainability in May of 2021. She joined the REC as an Administration Assistant in March. Georgia has experience working in conservation through trail restoration and also agriculture from working on organic vegetable farms. Working on farms ignited Georgia’s interest in food systems, and working at the REC intersects this passion along with her enthusiasm to be involved with environmental justice. When not at work, she enjoys practicing yoga, hiking, and making art and jewelry.


Grace Sliwoski

Director of Programs

grace [at]

A Worcester and Main South native, Grace is a proud alumni of Jacob Hiatt Magnet School, Sullivan Middle, and South High, and later on in life, Columbia University and Clark University. Grace first fell in love with food justice and the REC as a Mass Promise Fellow AmeriCorps member serving with the YouthGROW program, joining our staff team after two years of AmeriCorps service as our YouthGROW Coordinator. She currently serves as our Director of Programs and represents the REC community as a co-chair of the Central MA Youth Jobs Coalition, Steering Committee member of the Coalition for a Healthy Greater Worcester and Worcester Food Policy Council, board member of Central MA Grown, and member of the Mayor's Food Security Task Force. When she's not at the REC, she enjoys trying new restaurants and making art with her kids. 

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Max Macort

Commonwealth Corps Member

Youth Volunteer Engagement Specialist

Originally from Cape Cod, MA, Max developed an early love for the outdoors, spending countless hours on the beach and in the water. Currently a Junior at Clark University studying sociology with a concentration in law and society, Max is interested in sustainability, preservation, and the interaction between the built and natural environment.  Max first learned about the REC by participating in the annual Earth Day Cleanup, before working as a youth mentor for the REC’s YouthGROW program in the summer of 2021. Now acting as the Commonwealth Corps Youth Volunteer Engagement Specialist, Max enjoys farming, building, and growing alongside his fellow staff and YouthGROWers. Outside of work, Max enjoys playing guitar, traveling, and hiking.

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Christine Tosti

Commonwealth Corps Member

Group Volunteer Engagement Specialist

Christine Tosti is originally from Framingham, MA. Christine connected with the beauty of locally grown food while gardening with her Nonno as a child. Christine learned about the REC 8 years ago as a customer at the REC markets and also purchased plants from the Annual Plant Sale. In 2021, Christine joined the team as a Commonwealth Corps Member. Outside of food justice, Christine is passionate about all things dogs and volunteers at the Boston Animal Rescue League.


Kimora Scott

YouthGROW Team

Junior Staff

Bio coming soon!


Simone Barjolo

YouthGROW Team

Junior Staff

Bio coming soon!

Board of Directors

Rubin Williams, President
Julie Orozco-Ferreira, Vice President
Ted Hudson, Treasurer 
Judi Kirk, Clerk

Alison Bryant Ludden

Pablo Hernandez Itriago, MD, MHCM, FAAFP

Jennifer Madson

Zach Dyer

Justin Amevor

Carl Rubin

Gabriella Guzman-Jerry

Stephanie Crist