Living Hope Farm
Growing Food • Faith • Community
Our Board of Directors
Dwight Alderfer, Board Chair, Owner of Alderfer Woodworking
Wayne Spiegel, Vice Chair, Interim Pastor
Marian Avery, Treasurer, Retired Mathematics and Physics Teacher
Cindy Linse, Secretary, Registered and Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist
Chris Detweiler, President of Detweiler Construction Solutions in Harleysville
Drew Smith, Director of Vegetable Systems Trial at Rodale Institute
Jessica Stevens, Retired Farmer
Jeffrey (Jeff) Corcoran, Principal Strategist, Lockheed Martin Corporation in King of Prussia
Tom Putera, Retired Chemist
Eugene Halus, Vice President of Education and Operations, Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge
Alex Sawatzky, engaged in local farm and food related education and advocacy
Ann Groshens, Project Manager
For Further Information on our Board Members:
Dwight Alderfer, owner of Alderfer Woodworking and local grower. Dwight lives locally in the Harleysville area with his wife, Beverly. Dwight independently owns and designs high end wood artisan pieces for kitchens, dining rooms, and more. His love of working with wood is tied to his love of the outdoors as well as his growing of vegetables is becoming more deliberate. Most recently Dwight constructed his own high tunnel for growing produce.
Wayne Speigle has been a Mennonite pastor in Virginia and Pennsylvania. Wayne lives near Harleysville, just a couple of miles upstream from Living Hope Farm. Though he grew up of a farm in Western Pa, he claims he never grew kale or kolhrabi.
Marian E. Avery, daughter of a Chester County farmer, grew up working in the fields planting, tending, and harvesting vegetables which she then helped her family sell at their vegetable market in Frazer, PA. Her love of the land poured over into her marriage as she and her husband have sustained an organic garden for 38 years at their residence in Skippack Township, Montgomery County. Marian received her double major B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from Mansfield University, pursued a Masters in Physics from Bloomsburg University, and received a Masters in the Teaching of Mathematics from Villanova University. She devoted herself to 40 years of teaching high school students the joy of learning within the Physics and Mathematics classroom. Although retired from the classroom Marian has kept active in her service to mathematics and her community. A Past President and continuing Board Member of the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of Mathematics she serves as their Conference Planning Committee Chair for state math conferences. She continues her work with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Keystone Exam Algebra I Assessment Committees, is a mathematics reviewer for a testing company, and speaks at various mathematics conferences.
Cindy Linse is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist, as well as a Certified Diabetes Educator. Cindy is a "local" having graduated from Souderton Area High School and Immaculata University. Professional experiences includes acute, sub-acute care and extensive community nutrition education. Cindy is employed by Attentive Health, a corporate wellness firm and remains on staff at Grand View Hospital. Cindy is passionate about the wellness side of health care and the significant role that life style choices play in health maintenance. Cindy is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Association of Diabetic Educators, The Pennsylvania Dietetic Association, Registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration and Licensed in the state of Pennsylvania.Cindy is an active member of Trinity United Church of Christ and the proud mother of two grown sons. When she isn't working she enjoys spending time with husband John, and can often be found digging in her vegetable garden.
Chris Detweiler, is the President of Detweiler Construction Solutions in Harleysville. He graduated from Christopher Dock and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Lehigh University. He is committed to fresh and all-natural growing methods in agriculture. He has served on the board for many years and has seen Living Hope Farm grow and flourish. Pick-up day is a highlight during the week. He enjoys walking the fields as a celebration of what careful planning and diligent work can produce. His motto is: “Taste and see what good can do!
Drew Smith, Director, Vegetable Systems Trial, Rodale Institute, Kutztown, PA. Drew oversees the Vegetable Systems Trial at Rodale Institute. This project is a long-term, side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional vegetable cropping systems measuring differences in soil health, economic profit, tolerance to pests, and vegetable nutritional quality. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Agronomy from Cornell University, a Master’s Degree in Entomology from University of Maryland, and a PhD in Molecular Ecology from Drexel University. Drew was in the Peace Corps in Guatemala where he taught Integrated Pest Management to vegetable growers exporting snow peas and zucchini to the United States. He and his wife Melissa started the first certified organic vegetable farm in Montgomery County which is the current site of the Willow Creek Farm Preserve in Worcester Township. Drew and Melissa attend LCBC church in Harleysville and reside in Schwenksville with their three daughters where they raise sheep and goats.
Jessica Stevens assisted in starting the Lansdale Farmers Market in 2008. Jessica and her husband along with 2 partners started their own farm CSA in 2010 which grew to include a farmers market and restaurant sales. They continued this over the next five years, until their growing families and time constraints no longer permitted them to operate the farm. Additionally Jessica works part time at a wellness center in Lower Gwynedd since 2009, so her passion for healthy, local, sustainable food continues.
Jeffrey (Jeff) Corcoran, Principal Strategist, Lockheed Martin Corporation in King of Prussia
35+ years in the aerospace and defense industry (international, commercial, federal, civil, state and local), responsible for developing assessments of the competitive environments to assist capture teams in successfully winning new business/keeping existing contracts. He has been on the winning side of many $1B+ opportunities. In addition, Jeff has facilitated or participated in collaboration meetings across the entire corporation and is a member of many of the corporate Competitor Focus Teams. He assisted in the development of the curriculum for company and corporate training courses. Prior to assuming his current position, Jeff was an engineer, a lead engineer, or a chief engineer on a number of programs. A 1983 graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia, Jeff has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science/Math. Jeff lives in Harleysville with his wife Cathy and is lord over his now empty nest (with his wife’s permission, of course). Their 3 grown children (2 boys and a girl) are all college graduates and are functioning members of society, one is married, 2 are part of the landed gentry. They have 1 grand-puppy. Hobbies include his family, photography, genealogy, golf and wine. He can sometimes be found over at the Mennonite Historical Society, and volunteering at many of their events.
Tom Putera, Retired Chemist. Tom grew up In Green Lane PA where some of his earliest memories include working in his parent’s garden. After graduating from Upper Perk High School, Tom earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from South Alabama. While there, he was also on the Track Team and still holds the High Jump record. Tom was a Senior Analytical Chemist at Merck for 13 years before retiring to be a stay-at-home dad. Currently Tom is the Treasurer and Council member of St Mark’s Lutheran Church, he is also Treasurer and Board member of the Upper Hanover Township Industrial Development Authority, he is also Treasurer and Board member of the Upper Perk Manor (HUD housing). He is also the High Jump Coach for the Dock Mennonite Academy Track team. Tom serves as Landlord/property manager for several commercial and residential real estate properties that he owns with his wife, Becky. Together they have 2 daughters; the oldest is at Franklin & Marshall College, and the youngest is at Dock. Tom also enjoys tending his own garden of plants he gets from Living Hope Farm.
Gene Halus, Vice President of Education and Operations, Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge is a political scientist by training with a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He was born in Philadelphia, and attended LaSalle High School, La Salle University, Georgetown University, and the Institute of Public Administration in Dublin, Ireland before earning his doctoral degree. After teaching at the university level for nearly twenty years, he moved to the non-profit world and now works as an advocate for educating about citizenship and civic engagement. He has also worked as an investigator for the federal government, and was chief parliamentary aide to an Irish Senator. Gene is also a Pennsylvania Naturalist, and has helped establish farming operations in Haiti and Nicaragua as well as reforestation projects in those same countries and the United States. Author of a number of books and peer reviewed articles, he is currently beginning work on two new books. The first is a multi-author volume about Haiti and its history, and the second examines the tensions between Catholicism, culture, and politics in the United States. Currently he serves on the Perkiomen Valley School District’s Board of Directors, and lives in Skippack with his wife and two sons.
Alex Sawatzky began his farming career as an intern at Living Hope Farm in its inaugural year back in 2010. He then went on to start Sandbrook Meadow Farm in Stockton, NJ with Brent and Deirdre Alderfer—a certified organic farm and CSA. After the 2018 season he passed the reins to his long-time assistant manager, so he could focus on completing his master’s degree in sustainable food systems and pursue his dream of becoming an educator in sustainable agriculture. Alex graduated from Christopher Dock Mennonite High School in 2003, and subsequently obtained a bachelor’s degree in history from Eastern University. He resides in Stockton with his wife Jill, and is currently focusing on his coursework while remaining engaged in local farm and food related education and advocacy.
Ann Groshens is a certified Project Management Professional with experience in the health care industry. Recent experience includes implementing technology solutions and improving existing business processes at Services for the Aging, Insurance and Medical Device companies. Ann is a local Upper Gwynedd resident and she likes to spend her free time outside hiking in local parks, playing tennis, and gardening. She is passionate about cooking with healthy ingredients and interested in promoting its benefits to the community.