Kelly Payson-Roopchand
Birth, Death, and a Tractor by Maine writer Kelly Payson-Roopchand

Kelly Payson-Roopchand

Kelly Payson-Roopchand is a farmer by trade and a writer by inspiration.

After growing up next door to a farm on an island in Maine, Payson-Roopchand's quest for deeper understanding took her briefly to—and through—Harvard University and Prescott College, neither of which offered agricultural degrees (at the time).

Her search for professional training in agriculture eventually led her to the University of Hawai’i for a B.S. in Agroecology, the University of California-Davis for an M.S. in International Agricultural Development, and to the University of Florida for a P.h.D. in Agricultural Education and Communication. When her doctoral research as a Fulbright Fellow took her to Trinidad to study two farming communities there, she was enchanted both by the stories she heard and the farms she visited.

Payson-Roopchand returned to the United States with her future husband, Anil Roopchand, also an agricultural scientist, and they decided to test their training in the field instead of the lab. In 2008, they bought a six-generation family farm at the end of the road in Somerville, Maine, and established Pumpkin Vine Family Farm. For the next five years, she researched the farm’s history and eventually the stories of past and present coalesced into her first book, Birth, Death, and a Tractorpublished in June 2015 by Down East Books.

She continues to find inspiration in the daily activities of farm life and is a passionate advocate for the future of small farms worldwide as an important socio-cultural resource. She is a member of the Children & Nature Network founded by Richard Louv and is committed to providing on-farm experiences for all ages—and preserving those stories for generations to come!