The Impact of Laura Faircloth
After four years leading the growing cycles of tillage, planting, cultivation and harvest on The Farm at Project GROWS, Laura Faircloth, Director of Farm Operations has stepped down from her role at Project GROWS as she moves into a position serving with Piedmont Community College Workforce Services Division as a Career Coach.
During her tenure with Project GROWS, Laura has piloted the growth and impact of the 10-acre educational and production farm through her leadership with community partnerships. In her work with schools and service agencies, Laura has led the Project GROWS team to support food security programs serving young families, seniors, and a Community Supported Agriculture Program supporting over 40 households.
“This is a great opportunity for Laura. This connects so well to her skills, heart and wit where she excels in her role as a mentor and advocate with youth and young adults,” says Tom Brenneman, Executive Director.
Laura’s lasting impact on The Farm and across the region in support of healthy youth and food security are manifest in her work to design and lead in the construction of The Geiman Barn at Project GROWS, a 3,000 square foot learning center, office and farm food processing facility; the enhanced capacity on The Farm for year-round food production and; the launch of Youth Leaders in Agriculture Program (YLA), a partnership with Staunton City Schools and United Way of Staunton, Augusta County and Waynesboro engaging high school juniors and seniors in mentorship, leadership development, and hands-on learning about farming, environmental education, and the food system.
“What an inspiration to our students! [Laura’s] excitement for fostering this relationship between Staunton City Schools and Project GROWS was evident from the beginning,” says Heather Conley-Johnson, Mentorship Coordinator, Staunton City Schools.
“The United Way of Staunton, Augusta County & Waynesboro (UWSAW) is proud to partner with Project GROWS. Their Youth Leaders in Ag Program aligns with our core values, and Laura has been phenomenal in leading this important program,” says Kristi Williams, President & CEO of UWSAW. “Her ability to excite and inspire students will no doubt have a lasting and beneficial effect on these young leaders and the SAW community.”
“The future of the farm at Project GROWS is bright with the foundation Laura has established. Farm operations continue with Robert Clemmer, Farm Manager and Clara Metzler, Director of Community Engagement leading the cycles of production, programming and partnerships,” says Brenneman.