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Featured on May 04, 2011

Jessica Lawrence

"As you grow older, you'll realize that the only things you regret are the things you didn't do. - Zachary Scott"


I was born and raised a curious kid in New Hampshire, who adored any opportunity to put on a show (plays in the summer, ice capades in the winter) and found myself often pushing the envelope a bit. After college, I was out in California looking for a job, and started working for Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council as a Fundraising Associate. A few years later I became the Chief Operating Officer, and then a couple years ago became the CEO. After deciding I was ready for my life to move in a different direction, I bought a one way ticket to New York, and had a giant snow storm welcome me back to the East Coast at the end of January.

You’ve been working with NYTM for almost a month now.  How was it been going?  Any surprises along the way or has it been as you had expected?

Working with NYTM over the past month has been great. I knew that the tech community in New York was pretty badass, but it continues to amaze me how many people are totally killing it, working on awesome projects and making things happen fast. I love asking someone when they launched and hearing them say "two weeks ago" or "a month ago" and you can see that they are already having an impact. There haven't really been any major surprises other than me being a little bit taken aback by how many people there are to meet - every time I meet someone, I inevitably walk away with a list of 2 to 10 other people I should talk to. Having that happen over and over again really says a lot about how much this community is growing and how much the people in it are interested in sharing, which is very cool.

How did you first get involved with BK Farmyards?  Can you give us a brief overview of what it means to be a farming apprentice?

The answer to many questions in my life lately, including this one, is Twitter. Someone tweeted about BK Farmyards looking for apprentices and I clicked on the link. In the past few years, I've become a lot more interested in what I eat and where it comes from. I realized that eating foods with ingredients I couldn't pronounce probably wasn't good for me or anyone else. One of the best ways to understand the value of locally grown, sustainable food is to learn how to grow it yourself. I've been working with Stacey at BK Farmyards for a couple of weeks, along with about 10 other apprentices. We spend a few hours each week both learning about urban farming practices and doing work at a backyard farm.  What I love about the program is that it goes beyond simply teaching us how to grow cabbage or peas, it teaches us how to create a sustainable business through urban farming so that we can share the practice with others. And I love moving my hands away from the keyboard for a few hours every week to let them get dirty.

Have you found any New York based startups that are particularly interesting to you?

I took the job with NYTM because I think New York startups are amazing. Startups that push technology to the next level, make life more user friendly and change the world for the better are all interesting to me.

Community Management, Managing Director