Our Staff

Brandy Colebrook – Agriculture Programs Director

Brandy Colebrook has been with RISE for over three years overseeing the Syracuse Refugee Agricultural Program and most recently the RISE Goat Farm.  She grew up in rural Indiana helping with her grandparents’ farms and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin where she initiated agriculture programs. Brandy also started a community garden on the southwest side five years ago before joining RISE’s staff. She also is an urban homesteader and started the Strathmore Buyers Club for local bulk food with her husband. When she is not gardening she enjoys hiking, canoeing, camping, running, and cross-country skiing.

Lucy Spence – Agriculture Programs Coordinator

Lucy Spence is a new RISE employee and she is excited to explore the farms and hiking trails of central New York. Lucy grew up in Rhode Island. Although she graduated with a degree in Zoology, she then spent a year and a half as a volunteer with the Peace Corps in Panama working on various agriculture and nutrition projects and fell head over heels in love with working in local food systems.  In her free time she greatly enjoys being outdoors, spending time in hammocks, and cooking great food.

Manika Gautam – Agriculture Community Coordinator

Manika Gautam is from Nepal. She was a SyRAP farmer since the the program started, a little over three years ago but has been farming for her whole life.  Now she is the community coordinator to communicate with with farmers and keep the program running smoothly.  She also takes care of the two community gardens on the Northside of Syracuse.  She has a farm plot at Salt City Harvest farm and grows a variety of vegetables.

Yussuf Yussuf – Transportation Specialist

Yussuf is from Somalia, but lived in a refugee camp in Kenya for many years. He farmed in his home country since he was a boy. Yussuf enjoys growing corn, beans, squash, lettuce, swiss chard, and collard greens. He farms a plot of land with his family at Salt City Harvest Farm.

Ahmed Abdirahman – Interpreter

Pashupati Neopaney – Interpreter

Monu Chhetri -Interpreter

Kayo Green – Cornell Extension Agriculture Educator

Growing up in a Japanese town with the rich cuisine culture, cooking and tasting food has been Kayo Green’s primary fascination. She shares food to express herself and offer affection. Migrating to the U.S. in 2011, her interest expanded to the soil, the amazing ecosphere where our food grows on, and she explored the world of soil science as well as botany in universities in northeastern U.S. Kayo has been gardening for food in the heart of Syracuse since 2015 and continues learning how to create sustainable, regenerative, and edible landscapes in the urban area. She loves preserving the taste of all seasons, reading/writing poetry, and drinking teas.”

Jacob Gigler-Caro – Salt City Harvest Farm Manager

Jacob Gigler-Caro is a music maker, caretaker of plants, lover of stillness, and so much more. Jacob has been growing food in different capacities over the past 14 years, first finding his love for food in Chicago community gardens. Since then, he has worked alongside communities in California, Wisconsin, and North Carolina growing food and managing farms at a variety of scales. He is on a continuous quest to share what he has learned with others; with the intention of breaking down stereotypes, bringing people together, and deepening our relationship with the cosmos. 

Jay Regmi – Salt City Harvest Farm Assistant Manager

Jay Regmi is a Deaf man who was born in a remote village of Nepal. He worked at not-for-profit organizations in Nepal and volunteered to help Deaf children and those with disabilities in rural areas in Nepal.  Jay worked to help families access traditional farming, raise cattle, and collect fodder.  He is also a cycling enthusiast and social worker. In 2015, a massive earthquake struck Nepal.  After that disaster Jay has been actively involved in distributing relief supplies and building houses for victims. Three years ago,  Jay moved to Syracuse, NY, and is currently working as a farm manager at Salt City Harvest Farm and Deaf Advocate at Hopeprint.

Rick Rarick – Matthew 25 Farm Manager

Rick Rarick received his Bachelors of Art in Elementary Education from Salisbury University, Salisbury, Maryland, and his Masters in Elementary Education from Walden University.  He is a former Elder at Christ’s Chapel and served as the Chairman of the Property Committee.  He enjoys so many aspects of the farm—from the plowing, disking and planting of the crops through the harvesting of thousands of pounds of fresh food.  He especially enjoys working with the various volunteers that come out to the farm.  Whether it is a church, school, fraternal, business or family group, each one brings something unique to the farm while they are helping out.  No two days are ever alike, which makes his job as manager interesting and challenging.  When he am not farming, he enjoys playing golf and is an avid sports fan.  He reside in LaFayette with his dogs Belushi and Minnie.

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