Livestock and Site Lead
Jen Ghigiarelli is in her fourth year serving as the Livestock and Land Crew Lead at ACES at Rock Bottom Ranch and in her tenth year overall as a professional farm worker and manager. Jen’s role at Rock Bottom Ranch allows her to pursue her core passions in life: land management, animal care, food production, and mentorship.
Jen grew up in the rural areas of eastern Pennsylvania surrounding Scranton and Philadelphia and obtained a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from West Chester University. Jen found her calling in farming shortly after college, feeling more drawn to uncovering the source of food and understanding food systems at large rather than working in hospitals or dietary counseling. Her background since has been diverse – from goat dairy to small-scale organic vegetable production to perennial nursery work. But following an apprenticeship in the Hudson Valley of New York and her subsequent work at Rock Bottom Ranch, Jen’s main interest and specialty lies in pasture-based multi-species livestock systems for meat production and land management. She is a firm believer in the positive ecological impacts of intentionally managed livestock and loves to see happy animals expressing their naturalized behaviors. She moved from New York to the Roaring Fork Valley in 2018 for the opportunity to learn how livestock, land, and especially water are navigated in the West – a far cry from the East coast of which she is familiar.
Outside of farming, Jen can be found slowly working on 14ers, untangling her fly line from the willows along the Frying Pan, making other people lead climb for her, taking pictures of plants, listening to every genre of music that exists, and trying to read more books than Instagram posts. Her biggest environmentally-related downfall is that she loves long road trips, solo or otherwise, to explore all the weird nooks and crannies that the United States has to offer, and especially connects to rural places above all.