WVC announces personnel changes
The times at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice have been “a changin'” in recent weeks.
Officials with the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, ministry have announced some personnel changes within the ranks at White Violet Center (WVC) as John-Michael and Tara Elmore have come aboard and long-time employee Candace Minster has changed positions.
Tara was recently hired to minister as WVC’s tour coordinator/farm projects assistant while John-Michael has taken the position of Garden Manager. In addition, Candace, who previously ministered as the WVC garden manager and fiber projects coordinator, will now serve as garden and fiber arts coordinator.
Both John-Michael and Tara served as interns at WVC in 2014-15 and are pleased to be welcomed back into the fold. In fact, Tara has had a relationship with the Sisters of Providence for more than a decade.
“I had a job in radio and became familiar with WVC during that time through various events that I attended as a DJ,” Tara said. “However, it wasn’t until I started working at Woods Day Care/Pre-School in 2007 that I became more aware and involved with the mission.
“During that time, my husband and I also became Community Supported Agriculture members and we had the privilege of being truly immersed with a White Violet Center internship.”
John-Michael has also had a lasting history with the Sisters of Providence.
“I’ve had a relationship with WVC off and on for seven years,” John-Michael added. “I was an intern and then I was a seasonal garden hand in the spring of 2015. I came back and volunteered a few times in 2018 and as a seasonal employee in 2020.”
“This feels like coming back to my second home,” he continued. “The Sisters of Providence community has been a part of my life since I was born. As a newborn, I lived on campus at the Guest House because my parents had just moved to the area and were employed by the college’s English as a Second Language program.”
Candace said she has served at WVC since 2004 when she became a volunteer. She has worked in a variety of positions, including a seasonal assistant in the garden, a volunteer and education coordinator, and as garden manager and fiber arts coordinator from 2010 until January 2021.
Tara said in her new positions, she will lead tours of the facility in addition to helping with various farm projects.
“My responsibilities will include booking and leading tours with guests of all ages as I share the mission of White Violet Center,” she said, “while exploring the gardens, feeding chickens and meeting the alpaca herd.
“As farm projects assistant, I will assist in any way I can. I will help maintain the garden from seeding all the way to delivery to the various outlets for our produce, including the Terre Haute Farmer’s Market, Wednesday online order pick-ups at Saint Patrick’s and to restaurants and food pantries.”
In his new role as garden manager, John-Michael will have many busy days managing the center’s gardens.
“I will be working with our interns and staff to grow vegetables, fruit, flowers and potted plants at our certified organic farm,” he said. “Our produce, flowers and plants are available at the Farm Store, Terre Haute Farmer’s Market and local restaurants. I’ll also be helping educate interns, volunteers and our other visitors on sustainability, soil health, crop health and the benefits of organic agriculture.”
Minster said her new position will primarily focus on the development of the center’s flower production.
“A few years ago, I noticed that our cut flowers were growing in popularity and I took an online flower farming class to help determine if flower farming could be a viable option for WVC,” she said. “I knew that we wouldn’t be able to expand flower production without dedicating substantial time and space, which was something I couldn’t do effectively while also managing the rest of our 5-acre farm and seasonal team of interns.
“I was ready to step down and make this change to focus on flowers and fiber, which coincided with our former intern, John-Michael, returning to the area. As the Sisters say, it was Providence! I am thrilled that our farm is in such good hands and that I can continue on at WVC doing work that I feel so passionate about.”