As a seasoned leader Patricia brings to the table extensive experience in the areas of community engagement, project design, development and implementation; program marketing and promotions; budget preparation, fundraising and administration.
Prior to joining the Urban Farming Institute, Pat served as the Community Field & Literacy Coordinator for Boston Public Schools, as well as having worked as an education advocate assisting parents navigate the school selection process through the Educational Options Series. Over the years, Pat has work with numerous non-profits specializing in the areas of the arts, employment and education. Her earlier beginnings started in sales and marketing for Xerox and the Digital Equipment Corporation. She continued in sales, in the community, working for WILD 1090/ HOT 97.9 radio and WGBH. In the background Pat has worked on various projects and community engagement efforts to empower families and the community.
Mrs. Spence is the Founder Board member of “They Made It So Can I”, the 5th grade speakers series, and serves as the Vice Chair of the Boston Nature Center Sanctuary Committee.
Patricia is passionate about the environment, and as the daughter of a farmer, in her free time, she enjoys growing her own herbs and vegetables in her back yard. Pat is excited about the work ahead for UFI and looks forward to empowering the community through creating farmer entrepreneurs, increasing urban land dedicated to farming and working on urban farm related advocacy issues.
Bobby Walker III
Farm Training Manager
UFI’s energetic trainer offers more than five years of farming experience, having ran his own small scale farm and farmers market, and as the former farm manager for City Growers. By trade, Bobby has worked in construction and property management for over 15 years, and along with his love for growing, he creatively combines both trades to open opportunities for individuals passionate about farming. As a young entrepreneur, Mr. Walker has lead several youth based programs and and ran a small scale farmers market in Lower Roxbury, teaching youth about urban agriculture and entrepreneurship. This among many other initiatives he is involved in, working with schools and universities, Bobby continues to bring young people and the community closer food and their connection to the earth, while courageously creating opportunities to learn about business and creating ones own wealth opportunity.
Nataka S. Crayton
Nataka S. Crayton-Walker, has committed her existence to the discovery and development of meaningful strategies for social, economic and food equity, particularly for communities of color. Mrs. Crayton believes that through such discovery and determination, we are able to unleash our human and innate entrepreneurial capacity to create opportunity and new industry. Mrs. Crayton-Walker has worked as an urban farmer for more than 8 years with the Village Farm, City Growers, and helped to create the Urban Farming Institute. In 2016, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, selected Mrs. Walker among other great women for the Extraordinary Women Campaign of Boston on International Women’s Day.
Her childhood dream to become a farmer, coupled with her hands in the ground gardening, led her to acquire her Master Urban Gardener Certificate from Boston Natural Areas Network, and her farming certificate from New Entry Sustainable Farming Program. Nataka S. Crayton-Walker, is working to complete her Masters in Community Economic Development.
Mrs. Crayton has developed youth programs and led several community development projects including the Bessie Barnes Memorial Garden and the Frederic Douglas Peace Park. In 2006, she was nominated for the REI Stewards for the Environment award for her dedication to her community and the environment. In her spare time, Mrs. Crayton takes her harvest to the table and chefs up vegetarian and vegan cuisine for events. She also volunteers as one of the Co-Hosts of Sisters Sewing Seeds on Drum Beat Radio, a program of the Black Community Information Center.
Tristram Keefe is an Urban Farmer from Boston, Mass. In his role as Enterprise Manager, he manages production on three urban farms in Dorchester and Roxbury. After completing the Urban Farming Institute’s farmer training program, Tristram worked as the Farm Manager at City Growers LLC from 2013 to 2015. When he is not in the fields, Tristram enjoys deejaying, cooking, and wild foods.
Linda Palmer is an experienced education and healthcare program management and training professional. She was drawn to Urban Farming Institute of Boston’s mission to build a healthier and more locally based food system, having grown up with urban family gardeners and having spent summers on family farms in North Carolina. She is an outdoor enthusiast and loves to hike.
Barbara Knecht, R.A.
Project Leader for Farm Site Development
Barbara has been developing urban land for public benefit for more than thirty years. Her work has included managing the design and construction of affordable housing, public space and commercial facilities. She has worked in the public and not for profit sectors and has taught and directed several university programs. Through her work, she has researched and observed urban farms across the country and around the world.
Barbara’s mother made sure she got her fingers dirty, by growing vegetables and raising animals for food, and by training her in the preparation of food for the table. Working with UFI to develop urban farms in Boston brings together her experience developing urban land with a love of all things edible. Ms. Knecht holds degrees in architecture from UC Berkeley and Columbia University, and she was a Loeb Fellow in advanced environmental studies at Harvard University.