our team

A Note on Shared Leadership

Roots Rising is proud to have a leadership structure that reflects its values as an organization. Shared leadership is collaborative in nature. It stands in opposition to traditional leadership models with top-down structures of power. Shared leadership reflects a belief that wisdom is not confined to any single individual, and that success comes from the raising up of multiple voices and perspectives. Shared leadership at Roots Rising goes beyond its executive level: we honor the knowledge and experience held by staff and youth and encourage their participation in decision making and direction setting for the organization. 

Roots Rising Co-Directors

Jessica Vecchia

Jessica is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Roots Rising. She served as the Director of Alchemy Initiative for ten years, where she helped launch the Pittsfield Farmers Market in 2013. Over the years as market manager, she transformed the market into a vibrant community hub. With the belief that everyone in our community should have access to fresh, healthy food, she created Market Match, a nutrition incentive program for low-income residents. Jessica studied social work both in the U.S. and abroad and holds a Masters Degree in nonprofit management from The New School. In 2017 she was honored by Berkshire Community College as one of the Berkshires' "40 Under Forty" and by 1Berkshire’s Trendsetter Awards as the “Under 40 Change Maker”. In 2019 Jessica and Jamie jointly received Berkshire Magazine's Berkshire 25 award for the "Most Dedicated, Most Creative, and Most Influential" individuals in Berkshire County.

Jamie Samowitz

Jamie is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Roots Rising. Jamie is passionate about facilitating transformative education experiences for young adults. She has led student expeditions to Brazil, wilderness expeditions in Teton National Park, and violence prevention workshops in New York City. Jamie has a Masters of Science in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England, a Graduate Certificate in Field Ecology and Place-Based Education from the Teton Science School in Kelly, Wyoming, and a Bachelor's Degree in Cultural Anthropology from New College of Florida. In 2019 Jamie and Jessica jointly received Berkshire Magazine's Berkshire 25 award for the "Most Dedicated, Most Creative, and Most Influential" individuals in Berkshire County. In 2020 Jamie was honored by Berkshire Community College as one of the Berkshire's "40 Under Forty".

Roots Rising Staff Team

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Jaimee Christinat

Pittsfield Farmers Market Market Manager

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Brennah Brickle

Assistant Market Crew Leader and HIP Coordinator

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Hattie Schapiro

Summer Farm Crew Leader

Roots Rising Board of Directors

Regina Burgio, President

Mackenzie Greer, Vice-President

Sandra Thomas, Treasurer

Susan Kelly, Clerk

Marlee Barry

Pamela Johnson