by Shirley Murtha for The Granby Drummer
This month we are featuring two of the four new Friends of Holcomb Farm (FOHF) board members: Lori Armentano and Natalie Mackiel. Next month we will introduce you to Laura Midura and Christiane Pimentel.
Having lived in Granby for 37 years and been a well-respected elementary school teacher for many of those years, Lori Armentano is well known in the community. She brought her fifth-grade classes to Holcomb Farm’s Link and Learn programs, attended many other functions there over the years, and, of course, enjoyed the Farm’s produce.
FOHF Board president Jenny Emery asked Armentano if she would consider joining the board. Armentano met with Emery to ask a lot of questions, the answers to which interested her. She decided “to give it a try!” That “try” encompasses quite a bit. As chairperson of the new Community and Member Engagement Committee, the goal is to acquaint residents of Granby and surrounding towns with Holcomb Farm events, volunteer opportunities, and educational programs. She notes, “Through collaboration with the Board and other committees, I hope that over time, our committee can bring new ideas for events to fruition, bring volunteer activities and needs into focus, and engage with local schools to foster educational activities for students.” She also hopes to offer more educational programs to the adult public.
Now retired from teaching, Armentano has time to indulge in her hobbies of gardening, crafting and sewing. She likes to spend time outdoors in all seasons, hiking, biking, and snowshoeing. When she isn’t doing all these things, she enjoys spending time with her husband Fran, her three children and their spouses, and her five grandchildren.
Natalie Mackiel was drawn to Holcomb Farm as she drove down Simsbury Road, just a five-minute trip from her home in Simsbury. Originally from a farming family in Omaha, Nebraska, it didn’t take her long to venture into the Farm Store “to see what was growing in those beautiful fields!” She was taken with the “incredible produce,” and became a regular visitor.
Mackiel realized she had a connection to the Friends of Holcomb Farm Board in board treasurer, Rocky Piccirillo. He introduced her to other board members. As her knowledge of the farm operation grew, her interest grew, and she expressed a desire to become involved. It was determined that she was a perfect fit and was soon elected to the board, where she has assumed the secretarial duties previously carried out by Eric Lukingbeal. Mackiel notes that “The FOHF board is well established in the practice of good governance and I hope to leverage that as we continue to define action strategy to sustain the Farm for the next 30 years, and the 30 after that, and after that…”
A lawyer by trade, Mackiel is a member of the legal, contracts and compliance team at Pratt & Whitney. When she’s not working, she enjoys being outside, swimming and boating in the warm weather, hiking the Holcomb Farm Tree Trail in any season, and hoping for a snowy winter so she can learn to cross country ski. Mackiel’s husband James and young daughter Olivia have extended family in Nebraska, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, and Mexico!