Our work is driven by the skill and energy of our Food & Farm Project and Crew Leaders.

These highly motivated young adults are passionate about growing fresh vegetables and poultry to nourish our communities. They serve as mentors and teach Crew Members transferrable skills in organic agriculture, food access, and collaboration. Vermont Youth Conservation Corps carefully selects leaders who will ensure the safety of fellow Crew Members and build a positive crew community that reflects VYCC’s values.

Dominique O’Connor – Food & Nourishment Leader

Pronouns: she/her

Bio coming soon!

Viv Merrill – Health Care Share Leader

Pronouns: she/they

Viv Merrill is joining VYCC after graduating from Middlebury College, where they studied food systems and lived in the local food house. She grew up outside of Seattle, and has loved nurturing her relationship to soil while working on veggies farms in Washington, California, and Vermont. Viv believes that food is a powerful tool in building community and connecting us to the land and seasons. She feels strongly that everyone deserves access to nourishing food and enjoyed furthering state food access initiatives during an internship with Hunger Free Vermont. She understands that access to fresh local produce lies at the center of community health, and is deeply excited to be contributing to VYCC’s Health Care Share program. Off the farm, Viv can be found throwing on a pottery wheel, spinning wool, and reading sci-fi novels!

Kate Zoeller – Post Harvest Leader

Pronouns: she/her

Kate is incredibly excited to join VYCC this farming season as the Post Harvest Lead. During her time as an undergraduate at the University of Vermont, Kate discovered her passion for farming and experiential learning and has spent the better part of the past four years getting her hands dirty on regenerative farms around Vermont. Building community through food and farming has become an incredible joy in Kate’s life and she is excited to get to expand that community here at VYCC. Outside of work, Kate loves to swim, hike, rollerblade, and ski her way around Vermont, enjoying the outdoors year round.

Shosh Weiner – Production Leader

Pronouns: they/she

Originally from the NYC area, Shosh grew up going on family hikes in the Hudson Valley and exploring the big city. She spent the past few years in Maine working on an organic orchard, living as an innkeeper, and organizing live music events. While studying political ecology in college, she began to understand the amazing power farming has to cultivate a justice-oriented future. She is excited to work with VYCC to provide a tangible way to teach and learn resilience within herself, crew, and land. When not on the farm, you can find her playing the bass, listening to music, experimenting with cider fermentation, or nose-deep in a science fiction or fantasy novel.

Karoline Bass – Food & Nourishment Leader

Pronouns: she/her

Karoline loves learning and practicing how people connect through food. She frequently makes meals with friends and housemates that use new recipes and seasonal produce. Her goal is to create a space for Crew Members to explore their creativity in the kitchen. She gained experience through working in communal kitchens at the Appalachian Mountain Club and Sugarloaf Nordic Center. Karoline also WWOOFed in a number of locations, including Italy, Ireland, and Maine. She grew up in Maine along the ocean and recently got into cold water swimming.


Claire Scherf – Crew Leader

Pronouns: she/her

Claire’s love of the natural world was formed by the moss, rivers and raptor center of Frost Valley YMCA in the Catskills of New York. This passion led to participation in her high school’s agriscience program, where she began to work on farms. Since then she has worked within a wide range of farm systems: wholesale vegetable production in Connecticut, market garden farming in Maine, fruit farming in Hawaii, tending to a cabbage patch and rotating sheep and cows through lush Vermont pasture. She comes to VYCC due to the life-changing positive impact she experienced with experiential learning and she is thrilled to have the opportunity to foster that experience for others. She has felt no greater love than meals shared with a group of people who have all worked together to grow the food on that table. Claire can be found with one eye on the sky, watching the birds. She loves experimenting with fermentation projects, playing and watching sports of all kinds, and dancing on her front stoop.

Landon Urzetta – Farm to Community Leader

Pronouns: he/him

Landon grew up outside of Rochester, New York near the Finger Lakes region, where he first felt a sense of place in the many stretching lakes, flowing gorges, and lush vineyards. Before returning to VYCC for his second season, Landon was involved in St. Lawrence University’s farm-to-table café and on-campus permaculture garden, along with managing his local farm market. Landon believes that evolving community standards of food access can come in all shapes and sizes, and feels that working with the land is formative in developing a relationship with food. This season, he hopes to encourage these relationships within his communities. In his free time, Landon enjoys exploring the Adirondacks, discovering new music, and finding new things to wrap up in a tortilla!

Christine Bahlinger – Crew Leader

Pronouns: she/her

Christine is excited to return to VYCC after serving on a crew in 2021. She is back for the awesome people, meals, and opportunities to learn about food and agriculture. Christine grew up in San Antonio, Texas and came to Vermont for college, where she studied Environmental Science at the University of Vermont. After graduating in 2022, she surveyed for an endangered species of mouse on a national wildlife refuge in New Mexico, and then WWOOFed in California. She loves Vermont and is happy to be back. Christine enjoys hiking and swimming in the summer. She is looking forward to feeding the chickens and packing the Health Care Shares with her crew.

Frankie Parker – Crew Leader

Pronouns: they/she

Frankie is from the Garden State but only just started growing food recently. They have always loved eating, but their passion for food blossomed around a year and a half ago after reading Braiding Sweetgrass and The Botany of Desire. Since then, they have consumed an embarrassing amount of food content, created a blog about eating seasonally (find it at frankieparkereats.substack.com or on Instagram @eatlocalphilly), and started gardening. They hope to help make fresh, local food the norm for all because it can benefit the environment, our health and (very importantly) the taste of the food. Frankie has drawn a number of dog portraits, worked at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site in Philadelphia, and taught in a variety of settings as a volunteer and substitute teacher. In their free time they enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, sharing food with friends, going for long walks, and making art. They truly believe that Jersey corn, blueberries and tomatoes are #1.

Quinn Schoff – Crew Leader

Pronouns: they/them

Quinn believes their passion for both farming and community, as well as anything outdoors and food related, intersects perfectly with every aspect of the VYCC mission. After graduating from Franklin Pierce University, Quinn was a production crew member here at VYCC last season. Over the past year, they have learned an immense amount about farming and have grown to enjoy it very much. After VYCC, they were a crew member at a certified organic produce farm in Huntington, Vermont. Additionally, they have helped coach middle and high school kids in both cycling and skiing and have coached kids on a weekend ski trip to Smuggler’s Notch regularly over the years. Quinn believes in leading by example and loves to work and lead right beside crew members. In their free time they like to bake and cook and they enjoy discussing the connection between the farm and the kitchen.

Matt Hanks – Production Leader

Pronouns: he/him

Coming from a background in film, media theory, and literature, Matt is proud to share his love for creativity with VYCC. He believes it’s essential to re-evaluate our relationship with the land not just by implementing more conscious agricultural practices but also by examining our language and how it conditions our thoughts and behavior. After all, when we’re speaking, we’re using an ancient invention that’s as tricky as it is impressive. Before honing his filmmaking techniques at Emerson College and then majoring in English at UVM, Matt lived and worked on a horticultural farm in Spain. This experience radically changed his perspective on life. Ever since then, Matt has been an enthusiastic gardener and a full-blown tree-hugging nature-lover. If you can’t find him wandering the woods on his time off, he’s most likely editing that movie script with the socialite geraniums.