Somerville’s new town clerk, Kelly Payson-Roopchand, and her family are relatively new in town, but she says Somerville is the first town she’s ever felt a sense of civic duty to.
Payson-Roopchand was born in Boston and grew up mostly in China, Maine, before she went out of state to go to school.
After earning a master’s degree in international agriculture development and a doctorate in agricultural education and communication, she found she wanted to come back in state, appreciating Maine spirit and character.
Payson-Roopchand and her husband, Anil Roopchand, have been living on the Hewett farm on Hewett Road for the last seven years.
Payson-Roopchand worked for Waterville-based Fedco Seeds as the editor of the company’s catalog, doing office work, processing orders, and doing various tasks in their bulbs, trees, and seeds division for about a year before her son was born. She has stayed home on the farm since to raise their children.
Now, with her husband home full time, the couple are taking their farm – called Pumpkin Vine Family Farm – commercial to sell hay and wood and hopefully get licensed as a goat dairy, but Payson-Roopchand said it also has afforded her the opportunity to do something for the community by serving as town clerk.
“There is more community in Somerville than I’ve ever experienced,” Payson-Roopchand said. “It’s the first town I’ve ever felt a civic duty to.”
“We’re not a traditional Somerville family” because Anil Roopchand is of East Indian descent, but the family has been “totally accepted and loved,” Payson-Roopchand said.
Payson-Roopchand also did a lot of research on Somerville as part of a book on the Hewett farm she wrote for Down East Books, to be published next March, which she says “makes the position a lot more special.”