Erica grew up between Grantsville and Elizabeth, WV. While attending Wirt County High School, she was an active member of FFA and 4-H. Her projects included producing and selling produce and small live stock to sell at the local farmers market and during the annual county fair. After graduating high school, she moved to Huntington, WV in 2007 to pursue a degree in Graphic Design and Multimedia. While studying at Marshall University, she discovered her ambition for knowledge and leadership. In 2009, she enlisted in the US Air Force and served for 6 years at the 130th Airlift Wing in Charleston, WV.
After completing her service in the Air Force, Erica decided to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer for 2015-2016. She worked with several partners to develop the Recipe Challenge cookbook during her service as a VISTA volunteer. As Project Coordinator she became the organization’s first official employee in 2018.
In her current position as Development Manager, Erica manages the organization’s day to day operations and programing. She acts as a liaison between farmers markets, producers and partnering organizations across the state, assessing and addressing their needs and offering solutions.
Lena grew up in the southern coalfields of West Virginia in Wyoming County on 60 acres with a herd of goats, flock of chickens with an occasional horse and pig. She eventually relocated to the Charleston area in 1999, and since then worked a variety of jobs while raising her two daughters and considers herself a “Jane of all trades.” She graduated from West Virginia State University in 2004, and is currently a graduate student majoring in Agricultural and Extension Education at WVU. In addition, Lena spent an entire summer pursuing a Natural Chef culinary certificate at Central Carolina Community College working with the on-campus farm to prepare food services on campus to the public using food sourced from local farmers as well as the agricultural program on campus.
Locally grown and made is important to Lena as a former Tamarack artisan manufacturing textiles and, later, candles. She also grew produce and sold value-added products through local markets. She has worked in conjunction with the agriculture and conservation fields in several ways with one being a temporary extension associate with West Virginia State University under a cold storage grant. The program helped small farmers to transport their freshly harvested produce to their customer base to maintain peak nutrition content by keeping it in a refrigerated truck until it could be picked up at a central location. She also helped with community outreach for the Research and Development Department.
As Engagement Manager for the WV Farmer’s Market Association, Lena’s role includes providing support, resources, and peer networking opportunities to West Virginia Farmers Markets.