Horn Farm Center For Agricultural Education Announces Key Staff Change

Board Selects New Executive Director

The Board of Directors of  Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, today announced that Nedette Otterbein will complete her contract term as Executive Director after three years of service to the organization, effective May 31. The Board has selected Alyson Earl to succeed Otterbein as Executive Director, effective June 1, 2015.

Deb Livingston, Board President of Horn Farm Center, said, “In attempting to replace Nedette, who so capably led our organization for nearly three years in the interim executive director role, the Board of Directors faced a daunting challenge. We are confident that we have found the right leader for the future. Her passion lies in creating sustainable food systems. She has spent countless hours studying and experimenting with methods of building local food systems, attending classes and conferences, and developing a network of like-minded consumers, business owners and farmers. Her unique combination of skills and enthusiastic appreciation for Horn Farm Center’s mission make her the ideal leader for our next phase of growth.”

Livingston continued: “On behalf of the Board, I sincerely thank Nedette for her valuable contributions and outstanding service throughout her tenure at Horn Farm Center.  She truly established a framework for the organization that is lean and able to adapt to future growth and needs.”

Outgoing Executive Director Nedette Otterbein said. “It was an honor working with the Board of Directors and our amazing volunteers at Horn Farm Center. Every day has been exciting and an opportunity to move forward with our vision. We are a wellspring for innovation; an entrusted destination where people connect with community, land, and food; and a place that transforms York County by encouraging healthy choices. I am confident that the Board has selected an outstanding candidate to take us into the future.”

Incoming Executive Director Alyson Earl said, “It is my deeply rooted belief that I am personally responsible for finding ways to collaborate with others to develop a sustainable food system for the children of the future and for the regeneration of our planet. I am deeply honored and grateful to have been chosen to serve as the Executive Director of the Horn Farm Center. I look forward to the good work we will accomplish together.”

Born in Easton, Pennsylvania, Earl grew up on an old non-working dairy farm in rural New York State. Earl remembered, “We gardened, composted, and heated with wood that we harvested from our own land. We had horses, goats, chickens, rabbits, cats, and dogs.” After getting a business degree from Cornell University, Earl served in the military, then spent four years teaching. During this time, she decided to pursue her passion for creating sustainable food systems.

Earl continued, “At first I thought I wanted to be the farmer, so I worked for a summer for a CSA in Washington Boro called Simple Gifts (which later became Goldfinch Farm outside of Wrightsville). Though I remained a shareholder, I soon realized that being the farmer wasn’t my path. My gifts include planning and organizing more than enduring heat and humidity. So I kept looking and trying new things, studying and experimenting with various methods for building local food systems, attending classes and conferences, and developing a network of stakeholders.”

In addition to the above, Earl’s experience includes working as a municipal planner, serving as executive director at a community mediation center, and as operations manager at an ecological restoration company. Recently she served as the CSA coordinator for a multi-farm operation serving over 250 weekly customers and a farmers’ market in and around Philadelphia. She has first-hand experience working in the greenhouse, the field, and in the distribution warehouse, as well as driving the delivery trucks, and developing relationships with customers.

Earl and her husband live in Lancaster City, where their small yard fulfills their farming ambition. Through experimentation, they are rebuilding the soil and creating a refuge for birds and pollinators as well as supplying the household with greens, garlic, herbs, hops, raspberries, tomatoes and beans.

For more information about Horn Farm Center call (717) 757-6441 or visit  www.hornfarmcenter.org

The Horn Farm in Hellam Township has been continuously farmed for more than 250 years. Saved from industrial development in 2000, York County’s Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation at the Horn Farm in 2004.  The mission of  Horn Farm Center is to showcase the history, present and future of local farming.  We are committed to building and growing healthy communities through farming and gardening opportunities and hands-on educational experiences.  For more information about Horn Farm Center call 717.757.6441 or visit http://www.hornfarmcenter.org.