Directors - Conservation

Jessica Palmer graduated with a M.S. in Resource Ecology and Management from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, and a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Biology from Southwestern University. While at Michigan, she was Coordinator for a campus garden student group, Cultivating Community, and a Restoration Assistant at the UM Matthaei Botanical Gardens. After graduation she traveled to Tanzania, East Africa to assist a project researching the effect of weather extremes on the livelihoods of rural, subsistence farmers in the Rufiji River Basin. Before moving to Virginia, she worked in Maine at the State DEP as a Biological Monitoring Assistant.

In her current role as Buy Fresh Buy Local coordinator for the Piedmont Environmental Council, Jessica manages the design, printing, mailing, and sponsorship of annual Buy Fresh Buy Local (BFBL) guides for three regions of Virginia as well as manages the Virginia-wide BFBL website and database. She oversees the new online database exchange, Farmer-Chef Express, which connects buyers and sellers of food throughout Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Jessica also helps design outreach and educational workshops and events that promote local foods in the Piedmont region.

Kathy Holm has worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in a variety of roles for more than ten years. She is currently a Resource Conservationist in the Harrisonburg, VA, Area Office. She was the NRCS Coordinator for the Shenandoah Resource Conservation and Development program for seven years. Ms. Holm has a diverse background in natural resources project management, implementation, education, and outreach. She holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and political science and a master’s degree in forest resources all from the University of Minnesota. She has professional communications experience in public relations, writing, editing and marketing.  She served as an intern in sustainable agriculture at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, and did volunteer work for the Land Stewardship Project, a grassroots sustainable agriculture organization, in Minnesota, and The Nature Conservancy, Charlottesville, Virginia, chapter. Prior to her work with the NRCS, she served as the Director of Public Policy for the Valley Conservation Council, a Shenandoah Valley land trust, in Staunton, Virginia, for five and a half years.