Lauren Cox took over as manager of Woodland Gardens in 2015. A native southerner with wanderlust, Lauren settled in Georgia five years ago to begin her farming education. After receiving her Masters in Food Culture and Communications from Slow Food University in Italy in 2008, she returned to America in 2011, armed with a yearning to get back to her roots and get her hands dirty. She managed Le Tre Lune Farm (Italian for “The Three Moons”), with Luca Caffettani, from 2011 to 2013 and was Assistant Farm Manager of Woodland Gardens in 2014. Lauren's goals are to continue spreading the good word of food and the importance of taste education as well as fostering dialogue about sustainable farming practices and the effects it has on local economies and the overall happiness of diverse communities. Each year, she can’t wait for the tomatoes to come in, so she can have a mayo and tomato sandwich and of her varying interests, she participates in modern dance and ballet, and at one time played golf and sang opera.
Christine White has been involved in the Athens and Atlanta sustainable agriculture scene since graduating from the University of Georgia in 2010. Her love for farming began while she was serving at Farm255 (dearly missed but never forgotten!) and volunteering at its own Full Moon Farms. In 2012, inspired to learn more about growing food, Christine apprenticed at Serenbe Farms where she learned the great challenges and rewards of farming in the Southeast. Post-apprenticeship, Christine returned to Athens to continue her farming journey in one of her favorite towns where the music, yoga, familiar faces and good coffee is a-plenty. She is excited to be Lauren’s partner-in- crime here at Woodland Gardens and to carry on the farm’s great tradition of growing and delivering diverse and beautiful veggies to the community.
Luca Caffettani comes from the land of cured meat and cheese but found himself ever more at home in the southeastern US. After Wwoofing around Europe and living for a brief period in Rome, he moved to America in 2011 to begin his formal farming education in Mansfield, Georgia. For two years he co-managed, Le Tre Lune, before becoming the newest addition to Woodland Gardens’ management in 2015. Luca brought with him a passion for soil health and experience with farming implements. His favorite veggies are mustard greens and radicchio and he makes the best ragu' e.v.e.r. Since leaving Woodland Gardens at the end of 2016, Luca has returned to Italy and is working on a handful of projects dealing with sustainable, organic small scale farming in Emilia Romagna.
Celia Barss managed and was the grower at Woodland Gardens for 10 years until moving to South Carolina in 2015 to start her own farming venture, Cabin Branch. Celia has long been a leader in the field of small scale agriculture, and her depth of knowledge and understanding of organic systems is without a doubt, what allowed the farm to attain the highest quality of production as it continued to grow to what it is today. Always having run the farm with a focus on long-term sustainability and a calm professionalism, she is now a mother of two!! (and continues to be a badass farmer to boot!).
John Cooper, a South Carolina native, worked for a number of years with Woodland Gardens bringing a business background and skills in botany, perennial production and business management during an essential time for the growth of the business. John has an International MBA from University of South Carolina, and many years of experience in the nursery industry and small business management. His experience includes having worked with a large cooperative of Fair Trade and organic coffee producers in La Trinidad, Oaxaca and he is fluent in Spanish.
Together, all of us have managed Woodland Gardens for it's generous owners who have given us the unprecedented opportunity to work this soil— and had the vision to conserve and protect the land with this small scale agriculture project.