Caretaker Bios

Tori Llorens

Catechetical Coordinator, Garden Team, Sustainability Team

Gemma Stanton

Home Repair Project Assistant, Sustainability Team, Asst. Office Manager

Hello! My name is Gemma and I originally come from Milwaukee, Wisconsin but spent the past four years in South Bend, Indiana studying Civil Engineering, Resiliency and Sustainability, and Catholic Social Tradition. I participated in several service-learning programs throughout college, including a volunteer week at Nazareth Farm, which taught me about the two feet of love in action: charity and justice. A passion for social and environmental justice paired with a desire to encounter others in community inspired me to align my spiritual beliefs with my everyday work. I am excited to engage this inspiration at Bethlehem Farm by helping out as a home repair site leader, project assistant and sustainability coordinator, and embracing whatever other adventures come my way. I also love learning about local Appalachian culture through the natural beauty and folk music. In my free time, I like to run, eat, hike, talk about concrete and bridges, and play fiddle and ukulele.

Steve Rassa

Volunteer Coordinator, Community Outreach, Sustainability Team

I began as a full-time volunteer Caretaker at Bethlehem Farm on November 1, 2018. After a two-year period of discerning a life of service, I was led to Bethlehem Farm by the Holy Spirit, although still not clear on my mission or purpose at the Farm. How could 20+ years in corporate supply chain be useful at the Farm? From the first day at Bethlehem Farm I felt welcomed and at peace, knowing that God’s purpose for me would be revealed, even if quite slowly. I am finding that my life experiences have enabled me to embrace the four cornerstones of community, prayer, simplicity, and service. The Farm continues to be a source of personal and spiritual growth, enhancing my health physically, mentally, and spiritually. Every day I receive much more than I give and continue to be excited about what each new day will provide and reveal. I have found good and holy spiritual soil at Bethlehem Farm, nourishing my relationship with God.

Joseph Reilly

Hiring Coordinator,
Garden Team,
Storehouse Manager

Hello Everybody! I’ve been excited to learn with my hands instead of a pencil in my new life as a professional volunteer now that I’ve retired from a 17-year stint as a professional learner. Bethlehem Farm has been picking away at the back of my brain since 2010 when I first heard of its existence from my youth minister. A series of conflictual events precluded my arrival until early summer 2015 on a college week with my home parish. I distinctly remember rounding the corner of the old garden tool shed and experiencing the simplicity and the beauty of Our Lady of the Bathtub for the first time. At that moment everything about the Farm clicked for me. I may not have known all the details about the place, but I knew I would have to be spending more than just a week here. After a week of memorable conversations, worksites, chores, and reviews of the day, I found myself disappointed that I could not experience the entirety of the Farm that summer. But I knew I would be back. As a Summer Servant in 2017, I learned more about community living and was reminded of the beauty and joy I had found here two years prior. I also learned that the Farm wasn’t yet done with me. I began the Caretaker application process that October and accepted the offer to join the community in April, 2018. The wild ride has only gotten better since then.

Raine Nimmer

House Manager, Animal Wrangler

Heyo! My name is Raine Nimmer. I was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Simply put, I applied to be a Caretaker because I was in search of my vocation and I had nothing to lose. My search so far has led me to the desire to serve and during the last year and a half, before I came to the Farm, I contemplated various volunteer opportunities outside of Wisconsin. I was in search of adventure, a simple lifestyle, meeting and learning from great people, better understanding and deepening of my faith, sustainable practices, cooking, and gardening. Bethlehem Farm encompasses all of these desires and so much more.

It was a whirlwind jumping in the middle of the busiest group week season but sometimes that’s the best way to learn. As the House Manager, I’m finally learning where everything belongs in the kitchen (the chest freezers still have untouched territory) and how the house runs. I’m in heaven with all the beautiful vegetables and fruits being harvested from our garden and from our local community. I am thoroughly enjoying learning how to preserve food and experimenting with fermentation. Being in charge of the animals, I am slowly learning the ways of the chickens and donkeys. As the Local Food Liaison, I am enjoying conversing with the farmers and learning where our food is coming from. As a member of the church choir at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Ronceverte, I have gained a deeper sense of belonging. When I have free time, I enjoy hiking in these beautiful mountains. I’m relieved that this first whirlwind has passed but I am also grateful for the experience because my life has been enriched by it.

Will Fair

Project Director

Isaiah Fitts
Cutest Little Boy

I arrived at the Bethlehem Farm community on September 22, 2013, and have been charming everyone since. I specialize in playing with trucks, making bread, and using the food processor. My parents, Eric and Colleen, think I’m pretty cute.

 

Miriam Fitts
Chief Helper

Explorer

Hi, I’m Miriam. I was born October 6, 2010. I used to like picking up slugs. With my bare hands! Eww! Now I don’t like touching anything slimy. I love sitting in my chair-hammock, helping around the houses, exploring outside, and reading. I grew up at Bethlehem Farm. (written by Miriam)

Clare Fitts

Farm Comedian

I was born at the Farm during community night (but at my own house), on October 18, 2016. I love to move and explore and make people laugh.

Colleen Fitts
Co-House Manager,
Facilities Maintenance Team Leader,
Development Officer

My husband Eric and I have been living at Bethlehem Farm since May 2007. I went to college at Loyola University Chicago, then spent two years working at Nazareth Farm (Bethlehem Farm’s sister farm) as the Project Coordinator. Eric and I got married in 2005, moved to Morgantown, WV, and I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from West Virginia University. I love working with my hands, whether it’s working on the farm vehicles, framing walls, or creating unique quilts. Some of my favorite Farm activities are tending the honeybees, canning and preserving food, and learning about growing fruit on the Farm. In the meantime, I love raising our kids on the farm, trying to live authentically, and continuously growing from the experiences we have and the people we meet here. Our children Miriam and Isaiah bring great joy to life at the Farm.

Eric Fitts
Director,
Gardener

I grew up in Wauwatosa, WI, graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 1999 with a degree in biology and was involved in the Encounter and Search retreats, as well as service trips to Nazareth Farm, Guatemala, and inner-city Chicago. After college, I volunteered and worked at Nazareth Farm in Doddridge County, WV, from 1999-2002, and worked as the mentor of the Mother Jones House Christian service community at Wheeling Jesuit from 2003-2005, where I also studied theology. I married my lovely wife Colleen in 2005 and we both attended West Virginia University, where I earned a Master of Public Administration and Certificate in Nonprofit Management in May 2007. I enjoy working in the garden, running, hiking and stargazing.