Laurie Mooney, the new director of the Farm at Stonehill, understood the relationship between eating well, being healthy and staying active at a young age thanks to her family.

“I grew up with three other siblings and my parents always made sure we ate whole, nutritious food together,” she said. 

We recently sat down with Mooney to chat about her experiences growing fresh farm to table fare, eating well and helping communities surrounding the College. Here are 10 things to know about one of Stonehill's newest employees.

Mooney poses with Millie, her furry friend.

1. Her harvest helps others. Mooney will oversee the growth of over 10,000 pounds of organic produce each season as farm director. This harvest is typically donated to organizations like My Brother’s Keeper, The Table at Father Bill’s & MainSpring, the Old Colony YMCA’s David Jon Louison Center and the Easton Food Pantry. Mooney will also manage the farm’s Mobile Market, launched in 2016 in collaboration with the Brockton Neighborhood Health Center. This partnership allows the farm to deliver fresh organic produce to communities experiencing food insecurity.  

2. She uses her platform for good. Mooney likes her job because it allows her to study and grow with nature. She also appreciates that it allows her to impact many people in need. Each season, the farm’s produce reaches the tables of 3,000 families who may not otherwise have access to local, healthy food. “This work is educational, productive and spiritual,” she said. “It can be taxing on our mind, body and spirit; however, I don’t let the stressors of a moment hinder the reason we are doing the work. 

3. She likes collaborating with students. Engaging with young people is an important aspect of Mooney’s role on campus. She is an adjunct professor with the Environmental Sciences & Studies program. She also guides the farm’s work study employees and volunteers. “The farm is an accessible and safe place for all students to come and help out,” Mooney said. “There is always something to do, whether it’s watching our farm dog Millie, planting, weeding, harvesting, delivering to our partners or having great conversations over a fresh meal at the farmhouse.” 

4. She hopes to create a more just and compassionate world. Mooney notes she hopes to close loops in the campus community food system as she continues acclimating to life at the College. “This entails recovering food waste to be utilized as compost for the farm,” she said. “I also envision utilizing a permanent raised bed, market gardening approach to successively grow vegetables through the season allowing for minimal impact to soil health, year over year.” 

5. She wants to foster a culture of sustainability at Stonehill. “Keeping simplicity in mind, we can farm utilizing a low technological approach as we learn to grow better with hand and light power tools and intensify production utilizing horticultural techniques to create efficiencies and grow smarter with low overhead,” Mooney said. 

Mooney joined the Stonehill College community in spring 2022.

6. She has good green thumb advice. Much of Mooney’s time is spent working the fields across the street from campus, so it is no surprise that she has some tips for gardeners who take advantage of the farm’s free seed program, which operates out of the MacPháidín Library. “Don’t be afraid to fail,” she said. “Learn and pay attention to the needs of a growing seed. Keep the soil moist and the temperature around 70 degrees to germinate. Once you have germination, you are well on your way to creating a beautiful garden.” She also recommends that aspiring gardeners reach out to her with questions they might have as they plant their seeds. 

7. She has a lot of experience in her field. Mooney graduated from Bloomsburg University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration/marketing. She later earned a master’s degree in landscape architecture with a major focus in organic agriculture systems from Washington State University. Mooney parlayed her education into an impressive career in farm design, planning and operations. Most recently, she oversaw capital projects for Wild Rose Foods, an Oregon-based company working to nurture a food system conscious of its impact on others. “I feel I have come full circle with my knowledge base,” she said. “I am confident to share with my new Stonehill community the experience I have gained over the years.” 

8. She is a traveler. Mooney has lived and worked in states like Montana, Washington, Wyoming, Pennsylvania and Oregon. Each location has allowed her to experience different climates and social norms. “The United States is so vast and incredibly beautiful,” she said. “There are good people everywhere. My favorite place to live was Washington state. I loved everything from the magic of the temperate rainforest and the jagged peaks of the North Cascades to the prairies of central state and the breadbasket region of the Palouse in Eastern Washington.” 

9. She celebrates girls and women. While living in Washington state and Oregon, Mooney was involved with SheJumps, a nonprofit organization that encourages girls and women by fostering their participation in outdoor activities. In the winter months, she and other volunteers would take a group of young girls to places like the Mt. Baker and Mt. Hood Ski Areas. “We were able to make winter sports accessible to girls by providing gear and discounted equipment rentals for them to use and give them lessons on how to ski and snowboard,” Mooney said. “It was a celebration of girls and women and very empowering for me.” 

10. Her hobbies are wide-ranging. When she is not working, Mooney enjoys mountain biking, dirt biking and adventure motorcycling. When she wants to take things a bit easier, she enjoys walking her dog or practicing yoga. “A strong spine leads to a long, happy and pain-free life,” she said. The farm director also has musical aspirations. She is currently learning how to play the washboard. “I hope to someday play homegrown music in a jug band.” 

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