More than a decade ago, Heather Klish spent a summer working in the fields at Stearns Farm. She had studied percussion as a music major in college, and when some sharers marched in the Sudbury July 4th parade, she fashioned a drum from a watering can and taught everyone to twirl their pitchforks.
“Then I ended up getting a full-time job, and I was living in Brighton,” Heather recalls. But she never forgot her experience at the farm. “I had a really fabulous experience here with the people, and I loved working, and I believe in local farming.” Now years later and living in Framingham, she’s returned as webmaster and IT manager, replacing Tom Yelton, who retired in February.
When Heather was growing up in Herkimer, NY she pulled beetles off potato plants, harvested vegetables, drove the tractor, and dug up stones at a “gigantic garden–it could have been called a farm–” that her father owned. Today, she has frequent conversations about the sustainability of the food system with her wife Eliza’s family, who maintain large gardens and a greenhouse.
The webmaster position offered a perfect opportunity to reconnect with the farm. “It dovetails with what I do for a living, and I still care about Stearns.”
Heather brings to the work-for-share job her experience as systems librarian at Tufts University, where she supports the applications that the librarians use daily and chairs a group responsible for testing website usability and accessibility. At Stearns Farm, she maintains internal applications, such as the accounting system and the member database, as well as the public website. The 2017 Work Hours Sign Up system was among her first projects.
For sharers, the user experience when buying a share, signing up for work hours or getting information is one factor in creating a vibrant community, she says. “A website can help because it can bring people together, the way a lot of technology does these days. The place to be is at the farm, so our website can help to lead people to the farm itself.”
Heather says she’s looking forward to trying new vegetables, and enjoying her favorite greens.