Meet Your Farmers

Crew Photo
The 2019 Team!

Will Jaquinde, Sustainable Agriculture Instructor

In 2016 Will joined the Tollgate team and created the sustainable agriculture program, including managing the CSA and developing the apprenticeship program. Today the sustainable ag. program has seen tremendous (sustainable) growth and continues to add new elements, including a farm incubator, farm to table events and more. A native Michigander, Will completed his grad degree at MSU in the department of Community Sustainability and looks forward to continuing to support small and beginning farmers with MSU Extension.

Darby Anderson, Production Manager

Darby came to Tollgate in 2017 from Pennsylvania. Her interest in agriculture began in college where she did a lot of work with local food systems and food education. She started as an apprentice that summer to gain experience in production agriculture. She loved it so much that she came back as the Field Manager the next summer and served as the Production manager  during the 2019 season. She manages many of the day to day tasks of the operation such as greenhouse work, planting and weeding.

Gwen, Production Assistant 

Gwen was a member of the first apprentice cohort in 2016 and never left! She returned in 2017 as the Field Manager and in 2018 began her own farm by incubating on site. Root to Rise Farm offers organically grown produce through local farmers markets and a CSA.

Past Apprentices


Katie joined us in 2019 while pursuing her Environmental Science degree at the University of Michigan Dearborn. She returns to Tollgate in 2020 to manage the education garden on site and assist with other programs. She dreams of gardening and one day operating her own small farm with herbs, flowers and more!


A member of the 2018 cohort, Sara currently works for the Detroit Land Bank on land-based projects such as urban agriculture, gardens, and playgrounds. In her free time she is fixing up a house downtown where she hopes to start a small farm with a hoop house in her side lot.


Julia joined us for the 2018 season and is now the manager at a coffee shop in Asheville, NC that puts an emphasis on growers and co-ops that use sustainable and organic practices. She also works for an educational farm with both plants and animals. Next fall she hopes to return to school for studio art, one of her many passions.


An MSU grad and 2017 apprentice, Eli is now the Assistant Farm Manager for Square Roots Farm in Grand Rapids, an innovative urban farming company. He started working at the Brooklyn, NY campus, but has recently transferred to the Grand Rapids campus. Square Roots uses shipping containers outfitted with hydroponic equipment to provide local greens like basil, chives, and mint.


 A member of the first cohort in 2016, Ryan made his way from Oregon to join us for the apprenticeship. Now working for Focus Hope in Detroit, Ryan continues to work on his urban food plot in the Brightmoor neighborhood in Detroit.