Our People

Chloe, Founder, Board Member

Chloe Smith grew up in Scottsville and studied Illustration at RIT. Since 2014, she has worked as a local artist & muralist with a passion for beautifying the community she lives in. She started 490 Farmers in 2017 as an effort to build community, and feels so blessed to have seen it come to fruition and to have found community in the process. Chloe loves vegetables, animals, being outdoors, and traveling.

Maggie, Treasurer

E, Vice Chair

E is the current Vice-Chair after starting as the  inaugural Board Secretary for 490 Farmers and is driven to create a more healthy, sustainable, and equitable community for all. She holds a dual Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability and Sociology from St. John Fisher University. The intersection of her studies spanned social research, food security and justice, environmental justice, servant leadership and sustainable community development. 


E is an avid gardener, houseplant enthusiast, and intersectional environmentalist. In her personal time, she enjoys traveling, crafting, cooking for family and friends, and spending time with her turtle Rosie.


Julia, Secretary

Julia arrived in Rochester in July of 2022 and quickly found herself becoming a regular volunteer at the 490 farm. Prior to moving here, they attended Hampshire College and UMass Amherst, where she double majored in Economics and in Social Thought and Political Economy (STPEC). She believes knowledge should be freely accessible for all and is always happy to lend out any of her 'radical resources'.  When they are not at the farm, Julia can be found working on a crossword puzzle, hiking with her rescue dog, Soleil, or talking about reproductive justice.


If Julia  were a vegetable, she would be corn because she's all ears!



Rachel Farely, Farm Manager 

Rachel is the 490 Farmers’ Farm Manager. She is a Rochester native and has been with 490 since the start in 2017.  She has worked at several farms over the years and is currently a full-time flower farmer. Rachel is very passionate about social justice, food scarcity, and accessibility to gardens, flowers, medicinal herbs, and healthy food. In her free time, she is a printmaker, soap maker, and animal lover. 


Grant

Grant (he/him) is a (copy) writer who enjoys coming to the 490 Farm to get his hands dirty after a long day hunched in front of a laptop. You can find him in one of Rochester's many excellent coffee shops on most weekday mornings. Outside of gardening, he enjoys reading, organizing, learning languages, and spending time with friends.


If Grant were a vegetable, he'd be the mighty potato. They are unassuming but offer all of the nutrients one needs to survive -- and they're delicious when properly prepared. 


Swellar 

Swellar is a Rochester transplant. Originally from Queens, New York, she moved to Rochester to serve a year of AmeriCorps and ended up staying. She discovered the garden when she first moved into the neighborhood and joined in the Spring of 2021. When she is not tending to her garden, Swellar is making jewelry for her small business called Sesame Girl Shop. You can find her at different, craft markets throughout the year. Recently, Swellar has taken an interest in studying plant medicine and enjoys going on her plant identification walks. She also loves moving her body to music, sharing food and laughter with good people and snuggling with her sweet cat. 

Swellar's favorite vegetable is a cucumber, even though this may be a controversial food opinion. She likes to prepare her cucumbers in a savory way. She add them to her cold peanut noodles and sandwiches. She also enjoys them in a spicy Korean cucumber salad



Andie Burkey (she/he/they)

Andie lives in the South Wedge and studied public health at the University of Rochester. As a student, she was active in groups focused on sustainable living - from food recovery to advocating for farm worker rights. For the past few years, Andie has worked at non-profits, focusing on fundraising, donor relations, and grants management. Andie is excited to bring her skills and enthusiasm for food justice to 490 Farmers. In her spare time, Andie likes to forage and play music with friends. 

Sarah 

Sarah has been gardening with 490 since the spring of 2020. She had very little gardening knowledge before this, but now, plants are quite a large chunk of her personality. She works as a speech-language pathologist at a day program for adults with developmental disabilities. Most of her clients use iPads to communicate! She is super passionate about diversity and inclusion of all. Sarah also loves to craft and has made a lot of the signs you’ll see around the garden. She is fluent in French, and learning a few more languages -- Spanish, Hebrew, and ASL. She also loves kayaking, picnicking, and hiking! Anything with some sunshine. 



Sarah's favorite vegetable at the moment is brussel sprouts! She cuts them in half and then bakes them in the oven with oil, balsamic vinegar, and sometimes even sweet fig balsamic or smoked paprika.


Kel (they/them)

Kel is proud to call Rochester home since arriving in 2016 to attend RIT. They completed their degree in American Sign Language-English Interpreting and are currently self-employed, offering interpreting services on a freelance basis. It is a pleasure to support the bridge between Rochester’s hearing and Deaf communities, and Kel looks forward to bringing that passion for connection and togetherness to 490 Farmers. 


Kel is motivated by the belief that joy is resilience and that we are responsible to make revolution irresistible. Accordingly, they can be found anywhere friends are gathering, whether deep in the woods or out at disco night.

Kay Madeira

Kay moved to Rochester in 2022 and fell in love with the city's many parks and abundant spirit of conscious and caring community, both at 490 and in the activist community at large. A voracious learner and experimenter, they seek to build skills and relations of care and reciprocity which can serve as an alternative to polarization, atomization, and systems of dominance. A creature of many talents, they love hacking arcane computer systems as much as getting their hands dirty in the garden, as well as being an avid reader of critical philosophy and science fiction.

If they were a plant, they would be a slime mold: adaptable, a curious explorer, and kinda sticky.