ALETHEA VASILAS, Co-Founder and Program Director
Alethea incorporates her background in dance, somatic therapeutic exploration, cultural anthropology, and organic farming into the cultivation of vegetables and new relational kinesthetic possibilities that come about at the interface of agriculture and people. She holds a B.A. in Africana Studies from Brown University, an M.A. in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University, and certification in Biodynamics, Permaculture Design, and Developmental Somatic Psychotherapy. She is currently training as a Psychoanalyst at the Institute of Expressive Analysis in Manhattan.
SUZANNE SCHOENFELD, Executive Director
Suzanne has been a member of our community since the founding of Orkestai Farm in 2014 and is the mother of one of our beloved farmers, Jordan. Suzanne is a (dis)ability advocate, a lover of good food, a holistic mamma, and a thoughtful rebel. She has been studying health and wellness for over 15 years and is a certified holistic health coach.
ERIN STAUB, Co-Founder
Erin comes to this project from a background in visual art, design, and filmmaking. She has spent many years working on farms from Maine to New Mexico and has gained much experience in Biodynamic, Permaculture and Traditional Organic Farming systems. She holds a B.F.A. in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design and has ten years of experience working in independent film. She has worked in children’s autism programs and with the New York Education Project through Johns Hopkins University.
PETER VASILAS, Director of Farm Operations
Hats off to our hardworking director of farm operations! Peter is a very social man who speaks with everyone. He also speaks through his plants. When he first started dreaming about farming he used to ask anyone he met: “Do you have any extra land on which you would like me to cultivate vegetables for you?”. And so he grew friends, and vegetables, and finally Orient Organics Farm which is located on the East End in Orient Point, NY. Prior to becoming an organic farmer, Peter was a contractor and builder of many things. He is a jack of all trades; an essential quality in a farmer. When he is not in the field you can find him fishing.
Liridona Duraku, Farm Crew and Educator
Liri is a writer, a yoga instructor and farmer. Liri will be bringing her yogic lifestyle to the farm as she practices mindfulness, minimalism and kindness. She is currently studying herbal and energy healing. She hopes to bind art, community and land with her position at Orkestai. When she's not creating movements or planting seeds or storytelling, you can find her frolicking in the woods with her rescue dog Amber.
BOARD of DIRECTORS
Alethea Vasilas, MA : Co-Founder, Orkestai Farm
Patti Edwards, M.Ed. Special Ed/Counseling Ed : Transition Coordinator, The Brookville Center for Children's Services
Abby Gerdts : Co-founder and former Program Director of ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty)
Joshua Marcus, MFA : writer, editor, and ecological sustainability consultant