Our work is driven by the skill and energy of our Team Leaders.

The success of VYCC is indebted to the highly motivated and committed young adults who take on the challenging job of leading crews.

VYCC carefully selects young leaders that ensure the safety of each Corps Member, effectively manage crew projects to meet the expectations and deadlines of project sponsors, build a positive crew community that reflects VYCC’s values, and support the learning and personal growth of each Corps Member.

Team Leaders complete a rigorous residential training program before Corps Members arrive. Classroom workshops and hands-on practice ensure competence in technical skills, risk management, first aid, safe driving, tool use and maintenance, group dynamics, discipline, meal planning, and Leave No Trace practices.

Crews are typically assigned one male and one female Team Leader. Once in the field, they are supported by VYCC staff through weekly call-ins, weekly visits including occasional overnight stays, and a 24/7 on-call system. Crews have access to a vehicle at all times and each location has a safety plan including how to access emergency medical care.

Have any questions? Contact our Farm Team Leader Supervisor, Andrew!

Ariana Matthews-Salzman

Richmond Farm Project Lead

Ariana grew up wandering the river-trails and hills of Richmond, VT. Richmond is her home; she has taught swimming, worked in coffee shops, and planted community gardens all within the small town limits. She finds the work of giving back to her home town rewarding. She traveled to the big city of Burlington to study Environmental Studies and Ecological Agriculture at The University of Vermont and proudly graduated this May. She loves eating and growing good food and is passionate about fostering healthy, happy and hard-working community members that have a connection to and respect for where their food comes from. She is excited to return to the Food and Farm Program at VYCC for her second season as the Sales Project Lead!

Hometown: Bolton, VT
Pronouns: she/her

A.J. Callahan

Richmond Farm Project Lead

Growing up, A.J.enjoyed participating in organized sports like baseball and ice hockey. He graduated from the University of Maine at Machias in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Recreation and Tourism Management, and had been living in the area this past year. While in school, A.J. completed an internship that helped establish the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in northern Maine. This experience solidified his passion for the outdoors, launching him into the world of conservation. He has backpacked in the back country of Patagonia in Chile, canoed 100 miles of the St. John River between Canada and Maine, and lead numerous camping and hiking trips to multiple mountains in Maine (his favorite being Mount Katahdin!). Most of his conservation work to date has focused around sustainability and ecotourism with a big emphasis on good Leave-No-Trace practices. He has led month-long high school conservation crews in both San Antonio, Texas and Crater Lake, Oregon.

A.J. is now looking to expand his conservation skills into agriculture. He is looking forward to leading, learning, and growing with the VYCC. Outside of work, you’ll find him hiking, camping, paddling, snowboarding, longboarding, and exploring all Vermont has to offer!

Hometown: Machias, ME
Pronouns: he/him

Benji Astrachan

Richmond Farm Team Leader

Benji grew up in Portland, Maine where he developed a love for the outdoors swimming in frigid Atlantic waters and exploring the state’s beautiful coasts and forests. He recently graduated from McGill University in Montreal where he studied World Religions and International Development, while becoming an avid rock climber between classes. During summer vacations, he worked in gardens and farms of all shapes and sizes, which is where he first became immersed in food justice work through the nonprofit Cultivating Community in Portland. After graduating and traveling and hiking for a few months in Western Europe, Benji worked as a hut caretaker through the fall and winter seasons with Maine Huts and Trails in the High Peaks region, where he discovered the quiet joys of backcountry off-the-grid living, spent all his free time hiking and Nordic skiing the trails, and learned how to cook for a trail-hungry crowd of fifty. Benji is excited to expand his technical farming knowledge, share his passion for sustainable and equitable food systems, and cook up farm produce into tasty meals with students this summer.

Hometown: Portland, ME
Pronouns: he/him

Kitty Foster

Richmond Farm Project Lead

Kitty graduated from The University of Vermont where she studied Nutrition and Food Science and Environmental Studies. She has explored many sectors of our food system by working as a farmer in California and Virginia, as a baker in Vermont, and as an intern on a local cricket farm marketing a sustainable source of protein. These experiences have cultivated a deep sense of curiosity about how food can be a catalyst for change.  She believes working with the soil and in the kitchen allows individuals to develop a strong sense of place, encourages land-stewardship, and builds a foundation for personal health. She is eager to work in a kitchen that is so close to the farm, and to be a part of VYCC’s interdisciplinary approach to food education.

Kitty spends her time long-distance cycling, writing, and hoping for the development of a Vermont ping-pong league.

Hometown: Leesburg, VA
Pronouns: she/her

Kyle Weatherhogg

Richmond Farm Team Leader

Kyle grew up in a small town outside of Rutland, Vermont where she enjoyed being active with musical activities, sports, and outdoor adventures with friends. Kyle studied Food Systems, Nutrition and Food Science, and Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont. She has great interest in learning more ways to increase human and environmental health and believes that the VYCC does work toward improving these issues.

Kyle is returning for her third summer with the VYCC and is excited to serve in the Team Leader position! She loves to eat great food, be a part of the growing of the growing process, and spend time with others doing so!

Hometown: Middletown Springs, VT
Pronouns: she/her

Maggie Lynas

Richmond Farm Project Lead

Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland with a mother that was both a dance-movement therapist and a Girl Scout Leader, Maggie developed a love for art, nature, and exploration at an early age. Since graduating high school, she has lived in North Carolina, Colorado, and Vermont, but is always drawn back to the marshy waters of the Chesapeake Bay. In 2016, she worked on a trail crew with Southwest Conservation Corps in Colorado and was profoundly shaped by connections made to the land in working and living outside. Last year, she stumbled upon the Food and Farm Program on VYCC’s website and joined as member of the Leadership Development Crew and helped co-lead with Venture Semester. She is excited to return this year and is passionate about the combined missions of youth development and food justice being cultivated here in Vermont. When her hands aren’t covered in soil or paint, you can find her reading with a warm drink in hand, hula-hooping, or searching about for a new swimming spot.

Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Pronouns: she/her