Shady Side Academy names new Director of Farms

November 12, 2018 GMT

Anna Sekine was named last week as Director of Shady Side Academy Farms.

Sekine will oversee operations, maintenance, education and expansion of the farms on all four Shady Side campuses.

“I am thrilled,” Sekine said. “The collaborative and interactive nature of the school and community is what drew me in initially. There is so much potential for the program -- whether it be creating a farm-to-table dinner series, allocating community garden spaces for SSA families or discussing historical or cultural connections to food through the culinary world.”

Sekine said her goal is to provide hands-on experiential curriculum for students, and also to foster an environment that encourages students to be reflective, ask questions and get their hands a little dirty.

She replaces Gianna Fazioli, who served in the position since July 2016.

Sekine comes to SSA after three years at Chatham University’s Eden Hall Farm where she served as a farm production apprentice and graduate teaching assistant while pursuing her Master of Arts in Food Studies. She was promoted to Assistant Operations Manager of Eden Hall Farm and started a free weekly produce stand on Chatham’s campus and facilitated a summer program called Work and Pick, which teaches community members basic growing and gardening skills.

During the past year, Sekine also served as a project assistant for the Center for Regional Agriculture, Food and Transformation (CRAFT) in Pittsburgh, gathering data on the supply and distribution chain of the PA regional food shed, and as a production team member for Garden Dreams in Wilkinsburg, growing and caring for more than 50,000 organic seedlings and building relationships with community farms.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Indiana University in Bloomington and previously worked as a Title I interventionist and K-12 substitute teacher in Lafayette, Ind.

“Anna’s experiences in the world of sustainable farming and her previous work as a teacher are a perfect match for the work that she will be doing here at Shady Side,” said Interim Academy President Amy Nixon.

Managing the Fox Chapel Farmers Market on campus will also fall under Sekine’s purview. The market features seasonal produce, food and specialty items from local farms and vendors, including the SSA Farms.

For more, visit ShadySideAcademy.org/SSAFarm.