Jon Firger

Interim Executive Director

Jon Firger comes to Groundwork Somerville to prepare the organization for our next Executive Director. Jon will be working with the staff and Board to build a resilient and sustainable organization that is able to take on the challenges of the next decade.

Jon’s training and experience in social work and business administration have created a powerful and unique perspective and skill set. His work with nonprofit organizations has enabled him to identify and launch business models built upon the passion of mission, core expertise and solid financial planning. Jon has been a recognized chief executive for the past 25 years, first at Jewish Family Services of the North Shore in Salem and then at Family Access in Newton, Massachusetts, before accepting his interim ED role at the Disability Rights Funds for the past year. At each organization, he led the Board and management to identify and launch core, revenue-producing social enterprises that support and sustain their mission and finances.

Jon says that his first growing experience was at age six, when a family friend taught him how to use potato eyes to plant a new crop. “I’ve been passionate about our family gardens since that time! First, working my parents gardens through my college years and then with my own kids and grandkids, who have each carried on the tradition. I never dreamed that it would be possible to integrate this passion with my professional life…it’s a very exciting time for me!”



Leah McCarthy

Farm and School Gardens Manager

Leah has a diverse background in community engagement, youth education, and urban farming. While studying International Development, Geography, and Philosophy at McGill University, she became passionate about urban farming when learning about sustainable cities and food justice. In her current role at Groundwork, she manages the South St. Farm and helps with community engagement and education programming. She is passionate about fostering a space where Somerville residents can connect with the earth and each other, while building a food system that is just, sustainable, and regenerative for both the community and the land. When she’s not making friends with worms, Leah enjoys knitting, hiking, and creating music. She hopes to see you at the farm this summer!


GWS bio photo

Kenzie Ballard

Youth Program Manager

When studying neuroscience at the University of Louisville, Kenzie discovered her passion for creating just and sustainable food systems. After graduation, Kenzie spent a summer as a farm apprentice at a small farm in her home city of Louisville and then moved to Boston, MA in the fall of 2021 to begin her master’s degree at Tufts University in Agriculture, Food and the Environment. Having completed internships at the City of Boston’s new Office of Urban Agriculture, a non-profit educational farm in Staunton, Virginia, and USAID, as well as finishing her master’s degree, Kenzie is now working at Groundwork Somerville, leading their year-round youth programming. Kenzie continues to follow her life and career goal of developing resilient, sustainable, and equitable agriculture and food systems for all.


Zoe Garderet

Farm Innovation Intern

Zoe is a rising senior at Tufts University studying psychology. She joined Groundwork Somerville after learning about the social and environmental benefits of conserving urban green spaces, and was inspired by Groundwork's dedication to food justice in underserved areas of Somerville. This summer, Zoe is excited to learn more about environmental justice by working with Leah on the farm, helping run workshops and volunteer hours, and creating an end-of-summer harvest festival on the farm for the Somerville community! In her free time you can find Zoe reading, swimming, and exploring local farmers’ markets.



Olivia Grieco

Green Team Leader and Market Assistant

Olivia joins the Groundwork Somerville team as a Green Team Leader and Market Assistant for the Somerville Mobile Farmers Market. After studying Food Systems and Community Development at the University of Vermont, Olivia was eager to understand more about the actions and policies that impact the way food is grown and consumed globally. In 2021, she moved to Boston where she completed her master’s in Agriculture, Food, and Environment with a focus on food and farm policy and cellular agriculture, at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Olivia is passionate about sustainable agriculture, farm education, and food justice. In her free time Olivia enjoys running, reading anything non-fiction, playing guitar, and getting her hands dirty in any garden or farm she can find.


Green Team

Green Team Members are Groundwork Somerville employees and the main workforce behind our food production at South Street Farm. They also help care for our school gardens, lead projects to better our community, and generally work to make Somerville a cleaner, greener, healthier, and more equitable city.  Read more about the Green Team here.