2019 Local Hero Awardee: Hana Martin

Each year, CISA presents Local Hero Awards to farms, businesses, or individuals who exemplify our mission of strengthening farms and engaging the community to build the local food economy. We applaud their hard work, social responsibility, and many contributions to sustaining local agriculture.

Hana Martin works as Assistant Manager at Old Friends Farm in Amherst. Hana represents a vital but underappreciated group of farm workers – she is a manager who is essential to keeping the farm running smoothly, and she does it with grace and real dedication to the farm’s health and sustainability.

Hana grew up on a dairy farm in central New York, and she came to farming in western mass about 7 years ago. Her role at Old Friends has grown over the 5 years she’s been there, and today her responsibilities include a mix of field work, farm crew management, and administrative tasks, and she’s part of the management team that makes the big-picture decisions about the farm’s future along with farm owners Missy Bahret and Casey Steinberg.

Farm owners can’t be everywhere at once, and as businesses grow in size and complexity, owners have to put their trust in their crew to keep things humming along—and the people who fill those roles might not always be visible to the outside world, but they make enormous contributions to local farms and therefore the larger local food system. When Casey, one of the owners of Old Friends Farm, nominated Hana for this award, he told me that she does all the direct seeding at the farm, and then he paused weightily, and then when it was clear I needed more context he said, “I NEVER thought I would entrust that important a task to anyone else.”

That’s one example of how Hana frees up Casey and Missy to take on different challenges. She capably fills a role that strengthens the entire farm operation and oversees the crew with care and consideration, and for that CISA is proud to present Hana Martin with a 2019 Local Hero Award.

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