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It is a great pleasure to announce that Julianne Schrader Ortega has been named the Managing Director of the Hudson Valley Farm Hub.
Julianne was selected from a large and impressive pool of candidates after a national search that began in 2023 when a new position was created to lead the Farm Hub into its second decade. As the Managing Director, she will oversee all aspects of the organization, including production, operations, programs, and administration, while uplifting the existing wisdom and experience on the farm to collectively bring forward our long-term vision and strategic direction. Julianne will be starting this new role as of April 1.
As Julianne steps into the Managing Director position in April, Brooke Pickering-Cole, the Farm Hub’s current Executive Director, will transition to a new role on the Farm Hub’s leadership team as Senior Advisor for External Relations and Special Projects. Brooke became the Farm Hub’s director in 2017 after having served for four years in a community relations role that began with the Farm Hub’s launch.
More about Julianne:
Julianne brings with her a wealth of leadership experience in the non-profit sector with deep expertise in food and farming, land use, and community building – both nationally and internationally. From Guatemalan forests to neighborhoods in New York and Philadelphia, she has worked to transform land use and empower communities to move towards sustainable and just food systems.
As Vice President and Chief of Healthy Neighborhoods at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) since 2015, she led partnerships across 250 neighborhoods to use gardening to improve health and wellbeing by increasing food access, economic opportunities, social connections, and improving the livable environment. Julianne led her team to manage an organic teaching farm and support a network of 180 urban agriculture and community garden sites to grow abundant harvests to share with their neighbors.
Prior to joining PHS, Julianne was the Director of the Citywide School Garden Initiative at GrowNYC. In this capacity, she partnered with government agencies and non-profit organizations to connect New York City public schools with the funding, training, and materials needed to start and sustain learning garden programs. Julianne also worked for over a decade at the Rainforest Alliance, supporting efforts to drive market-based solutions for measurable benefits to forest conservation and for farmers and forest communities around the world. While there, she developed educational curricula that feature regenerative growing practices to help future generations follow their elders as land stewards. Before joining the Rainforest Alliance, Julianne organized habitat restoration and environmental education programs and conducted field research in marine biology, aquatic botany, wetland ecology, and fisheries. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.
With skills practiced shadowing her Dad in the garden and Mom in the kitchen, and with inspiration from her Great Grandma’s farm in Northvale, NJ that helped sustain neighbors through the Great Depression, Julianne spends time tending a small vegetable garden, cooking meals with a plant-based focus, and making sure there is always room for one more at her family’s table. She is looking forward to calling the Hudson Valley home.
We are all so excited for this next chapter and we are looking forward to introducing Julianne to our partners and the community as the growing season begins.
Photo credit: Rob Cardillo