Our Team


Heidi Witmer

Executive Director and Farm Director

The LEAF Project brings together two of the driving themes in Heidi's life--farming and youth development work. Coming from a farming family in Perry County, Heidi has had her hands in the soil for most of her life, from learning to plant peas in a straight line beside her dad as a little girl, to managing an organic produce farm in Maine. As Heidi pursued community development abroad, from teaching in Japan to focusing on women's development issues in Morocco, to working with the United Nations in Rwanda, she realized that cultivating food with others is the most effective path to building community. This love of farming brought Heidi back to South Central Pennsylvania, where she managed a small scale CSA on her family's land while teaching in an adventure therapy program for 4 years and then running a school for girls for another 4 years. 


Shane Kaplan

Assistant Director and Culinary Coordinator

Shane has been with LEAF since the beginning, when it was just a seed of an idea. He joined the year-round staff in 2014, bringing a passion for work that makes our youth, community, and world stronger as a whole. Shane holds a Master's degree in education and has worked in the field of experiential education for over 15 years. Currently at LEAF, Shane is developing several kitchen ventures designed to empower our youth and community with skills to prepare and serve great food. Additionally, he is responsible for fundraising, farm facility management, and some programming and education. 


MAGGIE STONECASH

Development director & Equity Education leader

Maggie has been with LEAF since the beginning helping to bring this dream to reality. She came to this area to attend Dickinson College and became a part of the Carlisle community after interning on the college farm. She has worked in the field of youth development since 2009. She has a Masters degree in education and has taught in various settings, leading experiential and therapeutic programming for youth with a broad range of needs and abilities. Additionally, Maggie has a strong passion for wellness as a yoga instructor at Yoga At Simply Well. 


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MACKENZIE JOHNSON

Program Coordinator 

Mackenzie started working with LEAF in 2015 as a Crew Leader, and has been involved since. She discovered sustainable agriculture through a summer job in high school, and since then has spent time investigating the intersectional issues that relate to food, how it is produced, who produces it, and who consumes it. Originally from Massachusetts, Mackenzie came to South Central Pennsylvania for her undergraduate degree at Dickinson College. She loves working for LEAF, as she believes young people are powerful actors in their communities with a lot of potential to create positive change. 


CRYSTAL VAN

MARKETING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS FELLOW 

Having gone through the program as both a Level 1 Youth Intern and Crew Leader, Crystal has experienced the LEAF Project at two very different levels. This year she is able to use her unique understanding of the program to portray LEAF's story to the public through social media and other communication outlets. Crystal is currently a rising Junior at Temple University, studying Management Information Systems. She loves working for LEAF in this position because she is able to extend her awareness of everything  she has learned from the program to people within the community. 


CREW LEADERS, ASSISTANT CREW LEADERS, AND FARM CREW

Two very important roles in the LEAF Project are the Crew Leader and Assistant Crew Leader positions. They have the most interaction with the youth and are really the glue that holds the program together. Farm Crew members play a different, yet essential role in the program. They perform the most farm tasks and excellently carry out day-to-day farm maintenance, in addition to leading youth in agriculture tasks. Most of the leadership team has experienced the program as a Level 1 Youth Intern and has chosen to come back this year in a more challenging position. With these positions, these individuals are able to further develop their leadership skills. We are lucky to have such an amazing bunch. 


We trust each other; we know that we can count on each other to complete a task. Sometimes times are tough, but everyone manages to pull together and continue working only creating a strong bond among us.

Andrew O’Rourke, 17