NHA News Release: February 24, 2016

NHA’s Popular Food for Thought Lecture Series Continues in March

NANTUCKET, MA – The Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) is pleased to announce that the spring 2016 Food for Thought lecture series will continue on Thursdays in March with new speakers. This free community program is presented every Thursday from Noon to 1 P.M. at the Whaling Museum, 13 Broad Street.

The spring 2016 Food for Thought lecture series features presenters from Nantucket and beyond. Speakers include local authors, photographers, and representatives of businesses, organizations, and public-interest groups who provide engaging lectures on timely topics that are aligned with Nantucket’s rich culture. Audience members are encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch while listening to these informative lectures at the Whaling Museum. 

Food for Thought provides a fantastic opportunity for Nantucket residents to learn more about the island and one another,” says Marjan Shirzad, NHA Director of Visitor Experience. “It is so rewarding to be able to offer Nantucketers a free, lunch-time community program on a wide range of topics, from history to the arts, music to media, right in the heart of downtown.” 

The Food For Thought lecture series began in the fall of 2006. At that time, NHA Executive Director Bill Tramposch said, “The mission of the NHA is to infuse a greater appreciation and respect for the important historic role that Nantucket has played in national and world heritage. We also aspire to reach and serve diverse audiences as a year-round organization.” That mission is as central to the NHA today as it was then and the Food For Thought series is an integral part of the fall and spring programming schedule.

The 2016 Food for Thought lecture series is supported in part by a generous grant from the M.S. Worthington Foundation. Food for Thought media sponsorship is provided by Novation Media.

The March 2016 Food for Thought speakers are:

Thursday, March 3, 2016: “A Look at Billings Farm, Woodstock, VT” with David Simmons and Jason Johnson

David Simmons, Vice President of Billings Farm and Museum in Woodstock, Vermont, will explore the farm and its place in the community. He will be joined by Farm Manager Jason Johnson, who will delve into the farm’s Jersey cattle herd and dairy products.

David Simmons has been the vice president of the Billings Farm & Museum since 2014. He formerly was director of the Wade House Historic Site, a 240-acre living-history site owned and operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Prior to that, Simmons was a senior administrator at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, working in the arenas of research and collections, archeology, visitor services and audience development during his 24-year tenure. He is a former board member and executive committee member of the Visitor Studies Association and the Association of Midwest Museums, as well as a board member of the Conference on New England Archeology, the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (Wisconsin), and a longtime member of the Massachusetts Historical Commission and its State Review Board. He currently serves on the board of the Vermont Attractions Association. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and History from Duke University, and a Master of Arts in American Civilization.

Jason Johnson has been with Billings Farm & Museum since 2009. In his time at Billings Farm, he has significantly advanced the herd’s strong genetic Jersey cattle base, gaining national recognition as among the top two or three Jersey herds in North America. He instituted a farm internship program and led the development of Billings Farm’s own single-herd artisanal cheese, successfully unveiling Billings Butter Cheddar and Billings Sweet Cheddar. Johnson and his wife Heather (a large-animal veterinarian) formerly owned and operated a dairy farm in Door County, Wisconsin, where they bred red and white Holstein and Jersey cows and began the Absolute Holstein and Jersey prefix. Previously, Mr. Johnson served in several dairy herd management positions in the U.S. and in Canada. He is vice president of the Vermont Jersey, as well as vice chair of the New England Jersey Sale Committee. Johnson was raised on a dairy farm in New Hampshire and earned a Bachelor of Science in Dairy Science from the University of New Hampshire.

Thursday, March 10, 2016: “The Future of Nantucket Cottage Hospital” with NCH’s Jason Graziadei and Brenda Johnson

Nantucket Cottage Hospital (NCH) Public Information Officer Jason Graziadei and Clinical Project Director Brenda Johnson, RN-BC, deliver the latest news and updates about the Nantucket Cottage Hospital.

Jason Graziadei is the public information officer for Nantucket Cottage Hospital and is leading communications for its capital campaign for the new hospital. Prior to joining NCH, he spent nearly ten years covering the island for the Inquirer and Mirror.

Brenda Johnson, RN-BC, has over forty years of service at NCH. She started as a volunteer back in 1966, and worked for many years as a nurse in the hospital’s operating room and emergency room. She currently serves as NCH’s compliance officer

Thursday, March 17, 2016: “Slavery and the Struggle for Abolition on Nantucket” with Historian Fran Karttunen

Join us for a special Food for Thought lecture inspired by the 2016 One Book One Island selection The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kiddand its many points of contact with Nantucket’s history. This talk will present vignettes of Nantucket abolitionists Elihu Coleman, Lucretia Coffin Mott, Captain Edward J. Pompey, Anna Gardner, Eliza Starbuck Barney and Nathaniel Barney, Cyrus Peirce, and the Reverend James Crawford.

Frances Karttunen is a twelfth-generation Nantucketer who is a descendent of the first English settlers who came to the island in 1659. She earned a Ph.D. in linguistics and spent three decades at the University of Texas at Austin working on research projects that took her to Mexico, Finland, and Hawaii. After retiring and returning home, she has dedicated her time to writing books about Nantucket history. Her most recent work, Nantucket's North Shore: A Neighborhood History, took twenty years from original concept to publication and was published in June 2014.

Thursday, March 24, 2016: “The Nantucket Culinary Center” with Chef Greg Margolis

Learn about Nantucket’s newest addition to the culinary scene, the Nantucket Culinary Center, as culinary director Greg Margolis shares his insight and latest details about their programs and cuisine.

Born into a “foodie” family in Philadelphia, Greg Margolis was raised to be a chef. He received his first egg pan at the age of seven, and during high school, he worked at a local indoor farmer’s market as a chicken butcher. For college, Margolis enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America’s four-year culinary program, focusing on the culinary arts and restaurant management. After college, he moved to a small resort town in Colorado, where he worked in both the front and back restaurants and resorts. In 2005, Margolis moved to Nantucket to work as sous-chef with Chef Chris Freeman at Topper’s at the Wauwinet. Since then, he has worked at Sfoglia, Met on Main, Moors End Farm and started his own private-chef and home-meal catering company. In December 2015, he and his wife Joy began their new role as the operators of ReMain Nantucket’s newest community venture downtown, the Nantucket Culinary Center.

Thursday, March 31, 2016: “What’s New at Maria Mitchell” with MMA Executive Director David Gagnon

Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) Executive Director, David Gagnon, brings us up to date on the programs and events happening at the organization.

Recently named Executive Director for the MMA, David Gagnon joins the Nantucket community from Brattleboro, Vermont, where he served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Organic Trade Association (OTA) since 2000. Prior to his work at OTA, Gagnon and his wife Shelley Dresser served as the co-Executive Directors of the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center in Southern Vermont. Bonnyvale’s programs included research, summer camps, and citizen science. Soon after completing his graduate work, Gagnon founded TRI-S Environmental Consulting, advising clients and managing their environmental cleanup projects. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Massachusetts in Environmental Studies and a Master’s Degree from Yale University from the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

For more information on upcoming Food for Thought programs at the Nantucket Historical Association, please visit www.nha.org or call (508) 228-1894.

Event Information:
2016 Food for Thought Lecture Series
Every Thursday through April 14, 2016
Noon – 1 P.M.
Whaling Museum, 13 Broad Street