A headshot of Benneth, a white woman wearing a blue shirt, looking to the left. Text reads "Please welcome Benneth Phelps, Executive Director, The Carrot Project".


We’re thrilled to announce that The Carrot Project’s next Executive Director is Benneth Phelps, as of February 13, 2023.


Our long-term supporters will already be familiar with Benneth’s boundless drive, practicality, and clear vision for building a just and resilient future for agricultural entrepreneurs. Benneth brings a deep and dynamic knowledge of our work, relationships, and sector from 12+ years of on-the-ground experience uplifting New England’s farmers — and from her long history with The Carrot Project as an essential volunteer, employee, and Advisory Board member.

"The Carrot Project is effective because it is dynamic; the programming continuously evolves and pivots as the needs of farmers and food entrepreneurs change. That is Carrot’s work: forging new relationships, tools, and pathways for a more resilient farm and food system in our region." Benneth Phelps, Executive Director, The Carrot Project Benneth joins our team from Dirt Capital Partners, where as Director of Farmer Services since 2016, she refined the company’s organizational culture and infrastructure, and approach to investing in farmland, farms and food enterprises. She also developed a track record of solving farmers’ land access and transition challenges using Dirt Capital’s unique farmland investment models.


As Eli, Valerie, and Will, Benneth’s former farm business clients note, her approach of repeatedly rolling up her sleeves to work alongside her clients and partners, while pairing deep listening with expertise, builds trust and achieves unique outcomes.

"I’ve had the good fortune to work with Benneth as both a farmer and a colleague. She’s an exceptional systems thinker with an eye towards strategies to transform our regional farm and food system, and she’s just as adept at assessing individual farms with laser focus and compassion. Our farm owes a lot to Benneth and The Carrot Project; I can think of no one better suited to step into the Executive Director role." Will O'Meara, Land for Good and Hungry Reaper Farm, CT


She has served as the Vice Chair of Carrot’s Advisory Board since 2021, guiding our Strategic Plan implementation at the Board level. As Carrot’s first full-time employee, back in 2011, Benneth laid the groundwork for many of The Carrot Project’s current programs, and cultivated strong relationships with Carrot’s collaborators and supporters. In addition to her years of experience helping farmers execute business plans, secure farmland, and access capital, Benneth holds a Masters in Regional Planning from UMass Amherst. Before working at The Carrot Project, she farmed vegetables and small fruits in Western Massachusetts for close to a decade. She lives in Sunderland, MA, with her son.


"We started working with Benneth in 2015, our very first year, and we still seek her advice today. Her pragmatic and unwavering support gave us the confidence to move forward with our farm purchase from a retiring farmer. Benneth invested her time in her relationship with us and stands out in her thorough approach to business advising, with an unmatched understanding of the practical complexities of our business, land access and farm succession dynamics. We would not be farming where we are today without her help." Eli Hersh and Valerie Woodhouse, Honeyfield Farm, VT


Because Benneth is already actively engaged as a leader and collaborator in much of our work and partnerships, she’s in an excellent position to dive right into moving The Carrot Project’s strategic priorities forward. Her key areas of focus include catalyzing change in our sector through the Agricultural Viability Alliance, delivering on our commitment to racial and economic justice and adapting our approach to serve our region’s diverse entrepreneurial community, while continuing to refine The Carrot Project’s core services and cultivating our network of collaborative partnerships. Read more about our work to deliver on these strategic priorities in our latest Annual Report.


Please join all of us at The Carrot Project in offering our warmest welcome to Benneth. We are excited for you to get to know her in this new role, as she brings Carrot’s legacy into a brighter agricultural future in New England. We look forward to sharing more about our work soon.


"I’m thrilled that Benneth is the leader of The Carrot Project. Benneth creates solutions for farmers and drives change regionally. As the second staff person and a former Advisory Board member, her effectiveness is part of the organization’s DNA. Our clients and partners trust her because of her depth of on-the-ground experience, deep listening, and strategic thinking." Dorothy Suput, The Carrot Project Founder and former Executive Director