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Yellow Farmhouse Education Center uses culinary and farm-based education to connect people to each other and to where their food comes from so that we can cultivate a shared commitment to supporting a local, sustainable food system accessible and affordable to all. Drawing on the bounty of the land and the sea, as well as the rich culinary and agricultural heritage of the region, Yellow Farmhouse:


  • Convenes stakeholders and sparks dialogue to create meaningful change in how our food is grown, prepared, and consumed. 

  • Forges partnerships with area schools to develop curriculum and educational opportunities for teachers and students, ensuring that the next generation is invested in a sustainable food system. 

  • Offers experiential opportunities for individuals of all ages to cook, share meals, and learn together how to support human health, community health, and environmental health.


Housed at Stone Acres Farm, a working farm in Stonington, CT, Yellow Farmhouse envisions a healthy, robust, and thriving local food system accessible and affordable to all.

watch our segment with
comcast newsmakers

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Watch A clip from the
CT Farm to school 23/24 summer retreat

Our Team - staff

Jennifer Rothman
Educator and Executive Director

Jennifer has over twenty years of experience building programs for museums, gardens and farms. Prior to relocating to Mystic, CT, Jennifer was the education director at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. She was also the Vice President of Children’s and Public Education at The New York Botanical Garden where she worked for nine years and was the education director and interim director of the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo. Jennifer has degrees in environmental biology and museum studies. She lives in Mystic with her husband and three young children. Her favorite thing to cook is caramel apple crumble.

Laura Jackson
Educator and Director of Outreach 

Laura Jackson is a former middle school language arts teacher who is passionate about improving educational opportunities for children. She earned her BA from Wake Forest University and Master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to joining the team at the Yellow Farmhouse, Laura worked for the Rhode Island Department of Education and the Highlander Institute, a non-profit based in Providence, RI. She lives with her family in Stonington, CT and enjoys DIY projects in and out of the kitchen.

Eric Dawson 
Educator and Farmer

Eric grew up in Arlington MA and graduated from Connecticut College in 2019 with a degree in Environmental Studies and International Relations. Eric became interested in regenerative agriculture when he was introduced to the school's campus Garden, SPROUT, his freshman year. Eric has experience in farm based education and farm management from his prior work at SPROUT and Green City Growers, an urban agriculture company based in Somerville MA. Some of Eric’s favorite things to grow are carrots, lettuce, and eggplants. One of his favorite meals to cook is eggplant parmesan because it reminds him of community dinners at SPROUT. Eric is looking forward to teaching more people about where their food comes from and creating some tasty recipes in the process. In his free time, Eric can be found gardening at home, snowboarding and longboarding, kayaking, or playing guitar.

Sara MCLanahan Edlin

Sara has worked with children in educational settings for 15 years. Prior to moving to Stonington, CT in 2020, Sara was a classroom teacher in New York City where she earned her MEd at Bank Street School for Children. Sara is passionate about outdoor education, experiential learning and approaches to teaching that build on children's natural curiosity. Her favorite things to grow are lollipop verbena and basil. This summer she and her family are loving Lemon-Basil Spaghetti.

Matt Durham

Matt was raised just up the road from the Yellow Farmhouse in North Stonington, CT. He is a graduate of Emerson College and holds a MAEd degree in Natural Sciences and Environmental Education from Hamline University. Before joining the team, Matt worked as the director of education for a small community farm in Massachusetts, as well as a garden educator with Edible Schoolyard New Orleans. He lives in Pawcatuck with his wife, son, and dog Finn, and enjoys spending time outside on trails, beaches, and gardens. His favorite thing to cook is fresh pasta with whatever interesting ingredients he can find - and plenty of cheese.

Nichole Jewell
Operations Associate

Nichole's roots trace back to Rhode Island, where she spent her formative years before making Mystic, Connecticut, her home in 2012. Her educational journey took her through the University of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Salve Regina University, culminating in a degree in Interactive Communications Design/Media. Alongside her husband and two young children, Nichole finds joy in the summer, embracing pool, boat, and beach activities, and eagerly anticipating the annual Block Island family vacation. As the winter chill sets in, she retreats indoors, often found nestled by the fire with a captivating book or engaged in the art of knitting. Embracing a simple pleasure, her family relishes fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from their garden, hand-harvested by the children and seasoned with salt and pepper. Nichole also adds her culinary touch to family and friend gatherings with a beloved spinach and artichoke dip that has earned its place as a staple in those cherished moments.

Our Team - board of directors

Barbara Dixon
Chair Emeritus

Barbara began a career on Wall Street at a firm called Hayden Stone, which later morphed into Shearson Lehman Brothers where she became a Managing Director. Her expertise was in futures trading, as a money manager (CTA). She managed several commodity funds, lectured about the futures markets throughout the US, in London, and in Tokyo, and wrote a weekly market letter for clients. She left Wall Street in 1993, and became active on various not for profit boards including New Yorkers for Parks (now director emeritus), The WellMet Group, and The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Marcia santoni
Interim Co-Chair

Marcia is the Executive Director of the Riverdale Neighborhood House in Bronx, NY.  Prior to that she was the Managing Director and COO of Pioneer Works, a groundbreaking cultural center dedicated to building community through the arts and sciences. She has extensive experience in marketing and non-profit management and splits her time between Stonington and NYC.

Phyllis is Co-Founder, Treasurer, and Compliance Officer of Red Oak Commodity Advisors. She holds an MBA from Stanford University, a PhD in Language Communications, and an MEd in Higher Education, both from the University of Pittsburgh. Phyllis was an Associate Professor at Harvard University Graduate School of Education and an active philanthropist in education. She was on the Board of the Young Women’s Leadership Network in New York City and founded the Urban Education Internship Program there. Phyllis was founding Chair of the Parent and Family Leadership Council at University of Chicago and served for three years in that role.

phyllis weaver
Interim Co-Chair

Courtney Slatten Katzenstein

Courtney is an attorney in New York City and spends weekends and summers in Stonington CT. As a member of the Attorney Emeritus Program of the New York State Bar Association, she practices law with the New York Legal Assistance Group in their Shelter Assistance Project representing homeless clients and developing impact litigation. Prior to that, Ms. Katzenstein practiced law for over 20 years at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP where she specialized in bankruptcy and creditors’ rights litigation and where she provided pro bono legal services in the areas of criminal justice and immigration, among others. She has extensive experience as a board member of numerous not for profit organizations, and she currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Friends of WWOZ, Inc., a non-affiliated, community radio station in New Orleans dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Louisiana music and culture. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc. and advises the board on governance and other issues. Ms. Katzenstein is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Tulane Law School.

deb holmsen leedom

Deb is a Vice President at TJX Companies, the parent company of TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, Homesense, Sierra, Marshalls and TK Maxx. She has worked for TJX since 2005 and is currently responsible for the western region real estate team as well as the store planning and design department. Her career began in public accounting and her real estate clients were her entry into commercial real estate where she has worked both the developer and tenant sides of the business for over 30 year. Her passion, outside of her profession, is the non-profit sector

working with charities that focus on conservation, education and mentoring the next generation. She has served on the board of CASA (court appointed special advocate) that mentors and advocates for at risk youth. She has also served as an advisory board member for Farm Aid that promotes food from family farms, growing the good food movement, helping farmers thrive and take action for change. Over the years she has been a volunteer and has served on various event planning committees for several charities. She enjoys the collaboration of diverse
backgrounds coming together for a common cause to make a difference.

Kathleen Kocatas
Bio to come

Yellow Farmhouse commitment to dismantling racism in the food system

Value Statement

Develop a value statement that recognizes the privileges that we have as an organization and outlines the work culture of equity and diversity that we strive to build.


Staff and Board Structure

Diversify staff and board to better represent the communities that we serve now and that we aim to serve in the future.



Build new and strengthen existing partnerships that support inclusion and dismantling racism in the food system and in our community. 

Resources and Privileges

Identify resources and privileges that we have that can be used to support organizations and people that might not have the same resources and/or privileges.

Content and Educational Messages    

Review and revise content to include more BIPOC voices and to ensure a viewpoint that isn’t just about inclusion but also addresses inequities and racism in the food system. Elevate voices of BIPOC.

Farm Land and Location

Better understand and communicate the history of the land that we work on. Understand the history of agriculture.


Internal education

Include opportunities to educate Yellow Farmhouse staff and board about the role of our farm and non-profit in dismantling racism and building a more equitable food system at every board meeting.

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