Meet the VINES Staff!
Amelia LoDolce, Executive Director
Amelia joined VINES as the organization’s first Executive Director in February 2016. As a volunteer, Amelia began working with VINES in 2007 as a founding board member and the coordinator of the Liberty Street Community Garden. Prior to joining VINES, Amelia worked for United Way of Broome County spearheading the Healthy Lifestyles Coalition’s Eat Well. Play Hard. Binghamton! project (a pilot initiative working to improve the health of families on the North Side of Binghamton) and the City of Binghamton as the City’s Sustainable Development Planner. Amelia holds a Master’s degree in Agriculture, Food, and the Environment from Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Having grown up on a farm in Otisco, NY, she enjoys working with other community members to make space in the urban neighborhoods for people to grow their own food and connect with the local environment.
Kate Miller-Corcoran, Director of Development and Communications
Kate joined the VINES team in 2015 as the Farm Share Manager and grew into her role as Director of Development and Communications. She has been writing stories and advocating for change in her community since she was a kid growing up on her family’s farm in Windsor, NY. She received her BA in English from Penn State University and an M.A. in English from SUNY Cortland. Her background also includes: teaching at the Early Childhood and Elementary levels, freelance writing, and business management, including her own, Magical Mama’s Cloth Diapering Service.
Kate spends her free time walking, cheering for Penn State, volunteering and sharing her deep love of the Binghamton area with anyone who will listen. She loves working with the amazing volunteers of VINES to make local food affordable and accessible to everyone!
Cynthia Averett, Urban Farm Manager
Cynthia started her position as Urban Farm Manager for VINES in October of 2020. She is a lifelong resident of Broome County, born and raised in Windsor, NY. She started her career in agriculture right out of high school, at Catskill Cattle Company in Deposit, NY. Starting off as an amateur, she quickly developed a strong passion for growing, and serving the community. Cynthia has traveled and participated in the WWOOF organization, learning different methods of organic production. Cynthia feels privileged to work with VINES, and to help bring fresh, healthy food to Binghamton and the surrounding area. Cynthia believes strongly in preserving and enhancing food security and food justice in our community. In her free time, Cynthia enjoys nature and outdoor activities, like hiking and exploring, and also loves to read. She especially enjoys experiencing all of the wonderful food and restaurants Binghamton has to offer.
Hope Townsend, Youth Program Manager
Hope stepped into the role of VINES’ Youth Program Manager in November of 2019. However, she began her relationship with VINES in 2017 as a Farm Share intern and subsequently as an AmeriCorps member with VINES in 2018 and as VINES’ Program Assistant in 2019. She received her BA from Binghamton University in Environmental Studies. Her love of agriculture and the environment is rooted in her childhood that was spent camping with her family and exploring the woods. Originally from Endicott, this area is near to her heart and she enjoys bringing the sustainable food movement home. Hope’s farming career began on a small garlic farm on Seneca Lake and the rest is history. In her spare time she enjoys growing food, hiking with her partner Anthony, camping, and exploring the community.
Christina Zawerucha, Community Garden Program Manager
Christina is excited to join VINES as the Community Garden Manager in February, 2020. As an English as a New Language (ENL) and Permaculture specialist, she is passionate about facilitating the exchange of agroecological wisdom in multicultural contexts. Prior to joining VINES, Christina worked as an Urban Agriculture Career and Technical Education/ENL Teacher for a public vocational high school in New York City, and was founding Director of Agronomy for GreenPath Food, Ethiopia’s first certified organic fruit and vegetable company. Christina first developed a passion for sustainable food systems as an undergraduate at Binghamton University, where she triple majored in economics, environmental studies and political science. She holds a masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from CUNY, a Certificate in Horticulture from Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and has conducted graduate research in International Sustainable Agriculture at Wageningen University and Research Center in the Netherlands. Her experiences growing up in an immigrant family have inspired her to create programs where participants of diverse cultural, linguistic and economic backgrounds develop literacy, community, and food sovereignty through urban gardening, story-telling and social enterprise projects.
Nikki Nesbit, Farm Share Manager
Nikki joined the team in January of 2021 and is ecstatic to be working for the VINES. She first learned of the organization in 2018 and immediately felt a connection with their mission and outreach. Nikki has a passion for helping to grow and support the Binghamton community so when an opportunity arose to work at VINES she jumped at the chance. Nikki grew up in Bainbridge, NY and spent many a summer in the Adirondacks where her entertainment was climbing trees, exploring streams, and avoiding the occasional bear. This time spent up north fostered a love for all things nature that has carried into her adult years. Nikki brings with her a wealth of experience in customer service, management, and hospitality. In her free time she enjoys hiking local trails, traveling, bird watching, and eating good food!
Jibreel Cooper, Program Assistant
Jibreel is excited to have stepped into the role of Programming Assistant at VINES as it allows him to deepen his involvement in the Broome County community and carry out meaningful work that benefits his surroundings as a result. He received his BA in Politics, Economics, and Law from SUNY Old Westbury in 2017 and his MA in Public Administration from Binghamton University in 2019. Jibreel has worked in several roles at various organizations around Broome County, doing educational research as a Graduate Assistant through Binghamton University, tutoring Math and Reading for grades K-5 at Charles F. Johnson Elementary School, interning for the Broome County Arts Council, and giving much of his time to the Binghamton University Food Co-Operative. In his free time he likes to read books, drink tea, and take naps.
Sarah Gitchell, Office Assistant
Sarah started her roll as office assistant in March of 2021. However, she began her journey September 2020 with VINES as a Farm Share intern and then volunteering her time in the office. While her journey takes a non traditional path she is able to bring her love for growing her own food, helping others, and passion for the outdoors to Vines. In her free time she likes to kayak, travel, and volunteer locally.
Bailey Whiffen, Americorps Urban Farm and Youth Program Assistant
Bailey is ecstatic to be an AmeriCorps member with Vines in 2021. She received her BS in Conservation Biology from SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry in 2019. Immediately after graduating college, she interned at Bayard Cutting Arboretum, where she fell in love with agriculture and food insecurity. She hopes to learn from VINES how to enhance food security, educate others about agriculture and connecting with the community. Bailey spends her free time gardening, taking care of her plants, reading or exploring the great outdoors.