SN Board Announcement

Sustainable Nantucket Executive Director, Michelle Whelan Stepping Down; Amy Zielinski Named as Successor

The Board of Directors of Sustainable Nantucket (SN) regrets to announce that Michelle Whelan is resigning from her post as Executive Director. She is stepping down for personal reasons. We are thankful for her visionary leadership, energy, enthusiasm and dedication, and are very sad to see her go.  We are, however, pleased to relate that Amy Zielinski, formerly the Events Manager at Bartlett’s Farm, and currently Development Director at the Nantucket Land Council, will take up the post beginning January 2, 2018. Michelle will remain available to the organization to provide guidance as needed, and to help ensure a smooth transition.

The SN Board of Directors is grateful to Michelle for her ten years of service and all that she has done for the organization. During her tenure, Sustainable Nantucket refined its mission to cultivating a healthy Nantucket by strengthening the island’s food system. In pursuit of this mission, Michelle led the creation and development of a series of interlocking programs to support both the production of, and increase the demand for local food: the Farmers & Artisans Market, Farm to School Program, Community Farm Institute and Nantucket Grown Campaign – which includes a Nantucket Grown magazine and a brand that is awarded to food service establishments based on their proven commitment to sourcing locally.

Michelle also developed our annual business sponsorship program that includes over 60 sponsors, our signature summer fundraiser –  the Farm Fresh Feast; our ever-popular Nantucket Grown Dinners and the Nantucket Grown Food Festival, a 4-day series of events held the weekend after Columbus Day.

The measure of the success of these programs and initiatives is in the numbers. In January of 2008, when Michelle took her post as Executive Director at SN, there were 4 commercial farms operating on the island. Today there are 14 including 4 beginning farmers currently pursuing agriculture at SustainableNantucket’s 8.5 acre Walter F. Ballinger Educational Community Farm. There are over 600 students that participate annually in the Sustainable Nantucket Farm to School Program held in our Joyce N. Furman Youth Garden. Over 30 food service establishments with a proven commitment to sourcing locally are participants in the Nantucket Grown brand, and over 60 vendors participate annually in the downtown Farmers and Artisans Market.

Sustainable Nantucket’s Board of Directors is incredibly proud of these achievements and deeply thankful to Michelle for her dedication to building these successful programs. We are pleased that, in Amy Zielinski, we believe we have found a leader who will continue to advance our mission and strengthen the organization and programs.

Amy comes to us with a background in agriculture, non-profit administration and event production. Prior to her arrival on Nantucket in 2010, she worked in fundraising and television production at public television stations in Detroit, Boston and Hartford, Connecticut where, in her spare time, co-founded and helped to build a community garden and a farmer’s market in her urban neighborhood which are both still a part of that community today. When she first arrived on the island, Amy worked for Moors End Farm – growing and harvesting crops, tending to the chickens and living on the farm. From there, she went on to Bartlett’s Farm where she was hired to administer their events department. She then created their community supported agriculture (CSA) program and managed their restaurant program, working directly with the individuals and chefs who support the Farm and are passionate about using local food. Amy also has an impressive roster of event-related experience, having built Bartlett’s event program including their popular Strawberry Festival, Easter Egg Hunt, their consistently sold-out farm to table dinners and their private event business. Since joining the Land Council as their Development Director in early 2017, she has increased communications and outreach with supporters and the public, created their popular oyster farm boat tours and a successful Family Fun Day at Camp Richard. During the four years that Sustainable Nantucket’s Farm Fresh Feast was located at Bartlett’s Farm, Amy helped to run the event logistics, and in 2017 she volunteered as a member of our Nantucket Grown Food Festival Committee. SN’s Board of Directors is thrilled that Amy will be joining us in January. Please join us in welcoming her as our new Executive Director, beginning in January of 2018.