BOARD AND STAFF
Board of Directors
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio into a family that was one generation removed from the family farm, Becca grew up surrounded by people who prided themselves on their midwestern backyard tomatoes.
A 14-year stint of growing up in Europe seasoned her with a healthy respect for small farms, a clear vision of a walkable urban-agricultural boundary, and a love of good seasonal local food. A subsequent degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Washington, melded with a background in ecology, provided a solid foundation in design and seeing the built world differently.
Becca arrived on the Island in 1983 and spent most of her time raising two sons and growing an international practice in conservation-based zoo design with her husband. After moving the practice to the Island in 2003, time became available to begin to give back to the community. An opportunity to work with Bart Berg and the Board of Friends of the Farms satisfied her urge to dig in the dirt and grow things while working with amazing farmers and like-minded people, and protecting farmland and open spaces for future generations.
The list of things that inspire Becca is long, but working with FotF she’s thrilled to work towards supporting the Island’s farmers in keeping agriculture alive and flourishing; building on the Island’s resilience movement by creating a “food forest” on public land where the community can come together to enjoy picking and eating the fruits of our labors; protect and enhance watersheds; provide housing for farm interns and young farmers; and expand the amount of fresh, local food provided to the Island’s school children.
Erin was raised in the California bay area, the child of backyard farmers and chicken wranglers. Anyone raised with the joy of walking outside with a salt shaker and feasting on tomatoes, cucumbers, and so much more knows that only local food can truly nourish the body and soul. As a student, Erin studied Plant Biology, Organic Agriculture, and Landscape Architecture, always prioritizing the use of edible plants in the landscape.
Now on Bainbridge Island, Erin is excited to help spark the same passion for food and farming in the next generation. Health of individuals and health of communities go hand-in-hand and Friends of the Farms is a link that joins people, farmers and food.
Rik grew up on a small family dairy farm in eastern Clark County, Washington, and credits who he is today with that experience. He joined the Friends of the Farms board with a drive to provide others even a small piece of what farm life is like; to help island farmers be successful; to preserve and enhance this incredibly valuable resource; and expose islanders to the many benefits of eating locally-grown food. In his own words, “My greatest pleasure would be realizing a dream of Bainbridge Island becoming a model for incorporating farming and locally-grown food into all aspects of our culture with an outcome of a happy and healthy population, and having the model replicated across the country and beyond. I am constantly amazed by how delicious locally-grown produce is.”
Born in Tacoma but raised in the midwest, Larry returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2003, and landed permanently on Bainbridge Island in 2013 with his son, an accomplished clarinetist and saxophonist, and now a junior at BHS. A practicing lawyer, Larry began exploring his own agricultural roots while living in Seattle by volunteering regularly with the Beacon Hill Food Forest, attending work parties and planning meetings. A passion for permaculture was born, and Larry is thrilled to be working with Friends of the Farms to create our very own Food Forest! His energy is helping Friends of the Farms emerge as an innovative island institution dedicated to supporting the healthy food local farming can bring. As a practicing lawyer, Larry is also excited to be exploring ways to help farmers with legal issues as well.
Tami joined the Friends of the Farms board because as she puts it, “My heart is still on the farm in Oregon I grew up on.” Rooted in the land, Tami has a deep understanding of the hard work it takes to put food on the table. Concerned with the loss of agricultural land to over-use and over-development, Tami joined Friends of the Farms to turn her concern into action. A photographer by trade, Tami has become an indispensable member of the organization, lending her creative vision to help communicate the beauty of local farming on Bainbridge Island. “My hope is that the appreciation for locally grown food will be sustained through community involvement with farmers and the land, and that everyone who is interested would become a backyard farmer!”
HEATHER BURGER | EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Chicago born and raised, Heather and her husband arrived on Bainbridge Island in 1996, having survived a cross-country move with 4 cats. As she says, “It took 4 days, but seemed much longer.” As Executive Director of Friends of the Farms Heather loves the opportunity to create connections between farmers, consumers, nonprofits, landowners, restaurateurs, educators, and more. Creating such a rich network allows FotF and the community to work collaboratively, striving towards solutions to problems in the local food system, and to explore innovative ideas for a thriving future for local agriculture.
Heather is working hard to expand opportunities for farmers and consumers here on Bainbridge, and is excited about one of the newest additions on the island: Vireo Farm. “The last memorably delicious thing I ate was fresh basil grown by Vireo Farm right here on Bainbridge Island in winter. Mark Taylor and Tracy Lang have a prototype in their home for an indoor, organic, hydroponic gardening system. They’re taking it to scale this year through a 21-year lease with Friends of the Farms at Johnson Farm (part of the 60+ acres of publicly owned and managed farmland on B.I.). Soon their spectacular locally grown fresh produce will be available year-round. It’s the best tasting basil I’ve ever had, grown with the smallest of carbon footprints.”
Morgan Houk | program manager
Morgan is a Bainbridge Islander, born and raised. “I came home from the hospital to the same 1930’s cottage my parents still live in.” Growing up, she didn’t think much about who cared for the open spaces and trails she explored, but as an adult realized the people behind those places offered her the opportunity for an environmental education that has followed her to this day. With a business school education in Boston, Morgan wanted to return to her roots and began interning for farmers first on the east coast, and more recently here on Bainbridge Island. As Friends of the Farms’ new Project Manager, Morgan is thrilled to apply the knowledge she’s earned both in the field and in the classroom towards cultivating the same passion for place in a new generation of islanders. “Here’s to growing more childhood memories, and
to our farmers, beautiful open space, delicious food, and amazing island community!”