Meet the Team

Aaron K. Hopkins

Founder
As the Visionary for the South Side Family Farm enterprise, I have brought forward the principles of faith that I practice in church and community and those precepts learned throughout my journey. I envision that planting passionate seeds of hope and change will allow all to share in the harvest of wellness in ecology, education, and equality at our farm through unified community investment. My learned experiences are the foundation upon which I have built and incorporated agricultural training and education. This education includes the Agricultural Literacy Academy, The OSU Extension's Urban Farmer Management certifications, community development training by the United Way of Central Ohio Neighborhood Leadership Academy, as well as OEFFA's New Beginning Farmer Experience to assist in guiding our business plan, whole-farm vision planning, organic production methods, and sustainable growing practices.

Antoinette Hopkins

Farm Manager
As the wife of Minister Aaron, I've worked beside him to implement many of the visions we have shared, first in family and now in our community. I have worked in my day employment for over 20 years as a retail manager, where I supervise and manage over15 employees. I'm a 2019 -2020 graduate of the OEFFA New Beginner Farming course, where I have learned different techniques and practices that help me in daily farm management. Both of these entities have given me the experience to operate in my passion of providing fresh food access for my family and teaching other adults and youth that they too can grow their food.

Nancy Barcalow

Marketing Pro
A veteran marketing professional, Nancy Barcalow values community and is honored to work with Minister Aaron and Antoinette Hopkins to help achieve their vision for South Side Family Farms. She earned an MBA from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications from Ohio Dominican University.

Rachel Tayse

Farmer & Educator
For over a decade, Rachel has educated about and advocated for culturally-relevant, inclusive, sustainable agriculture food systems. She currently works as the Begin Farming Program Coordinator for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association where she facilitates and delivers programming and technical assistance to beginning farmers. Rachel farms two acres of diversified produce and perennials at her home in Columbus, Ohio.

Bob Leighty

Advisor
Bob Leighty is a long-­‐time South Columbus community activist, and for 26 years was a corporate communications executive for AT&T Bell Laboratories. Bob holds an MS in Technical Communications from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a BS in Technical Writing and Editing from Carnegie Mellon University. Bob is an advisor for the Columbus Small Business Agenda. Bob advises Columbus food entrepreneurs and other businesses, especially in South Columbus. Bob helped envision and raise $12.5M to create the Reeb Avenue Center, and he helped create the nearby South Side Fruit Park. Bob is on the Franklin County Extension Advisory Committee for The Ohio State University, Southside STAY Board of Directors, Buckeye ISA, and previously was an advisor for OSU’s Urban GEMS youth aeroponics program, and a consultant for foodNEST, a $2.3M NIH Case and OSU study of how changes in the neighborhood food environment affect the health of a community.

Julie A. Palmer

Dietician & Wellness Specialist
For 13 years, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Julie A. Palmer has coached people from all walks of life to reach their full, healthy potential. She is experienced in nutrition counseling, culinary education, motivational interviewing, goal setting, stress reduction, and mindfulness. Using a model of social entrepreneurship, she has created, organized, and implemented nutrition education programming for a wide variety of community and corporate partners. Julie’s current role is entrepreneur at Dietitian in Your Kitchen, LLC. Julie is certified in Adult Weight Management, Personal Training with American College of Sports Medicine, and a Level 2 Yoga Fit Instructor.

Karess McGrath

Social Media & Web Support
Karess is a digital jack-of-all-trades. After studying Computer Science and Linguistics in college, she now freelances as a web developer and assists businesses with branding and social media. Beyond technology, Karess cares deeply about the environment and improving everyone's access to fresh local foods.

Tori & Avery

Website & Logo Design
Tori Reginelli, our PRactice CEO, and Avery Chrisman, our PRactice Special Projects Director, are both senior Communications students at Ohio State. The PRactice is Ohio State’s student-run PR firm. As an organization that values forming mutually-beneficial relationships with a range of businesses and nonprofit clients in central Ohio, we are so happy to work with South Side Family farms to provide branding and website support.
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