Isabel Arrieche

Farm Manager

 Isabel grew up on a historic farm in Mendham, NJ. Her parents were caretakers of the property which had a number of gardens, an orchard, and acres of field. As a child she spent much of her time outside, exploring and observing the world around her. Isabel fell in love with eating, cooking and preparing food at a young age. Her parents taught her by example that the quality of food was of paramount importance. As a teenager, she discovered a farmer’s market in her town of Summit, NJ and began experimenting with fresh, local produce as a way to lift her spirits and channel creativity.

At Ramapo College embared  on a study abroad program to South India for four months. Four months turned into 6 months and she returned with a renewed sense of direction after seeing living examples of the potential of organic agriculture to be a solution to root causes of environmental degradation, social inequality, and poverty. It became clear after the trip that she wanted to participate in producing something of value, and decided to begin with food – the shared common ground of all people.

She declared her major and minor, Environmental Studies and Food Studies, and her studies pushed her  into thinking deeply about solutions to damaging environmental impacts, chronic disease, and mental health issues. She began growing veggies at a friend’s place. It was clear to her that she had to start locally.

That same Spring of 2015, she heard that MEVO was building a farm right down the road from Ramapo College. After becoming a Farm Crew Intern, she stayed on as a volunteer and helped manage volunteer events at the farm. She proved herself valuable and became Farm Manager. Over a growing season, she and Eric learned the basics of growing vegetables for profit on a small scale. The next year she started a CSA program at MEVO and transformed the farm with the help of MEVO staff, interns, and volunteers into a truly productive space. She is deeply grateful to Eric and MEVO for giving her the space and resources to hone her skills and develop her confidence as a grower and educator.

Although she’s usually on the farm. In her spare time she may be eating sushi, studying herbal medicine, foraging, reading astrology, cooking, visiting other farms and botanical gardens, or planning a trip – Maine and India are her top choices.