In addition to being a Digital Learning Instructor, Lisa Hanscom is a fifth generation wild blueberry farmer and co-manager of Welch Farms in Washington County. The 300-acre farm, located in Roque Bluffs on the Downeast coast, has been in her family since 1912. In her “spare” time she serves as a town selectman, volunteer firefighter, assessor, Airbnb super host, farm tour guide, historical society volunteer, and is a mother and grandmother. She is also a photographer and loves to spend her free time learning new tools, like using social media to promote her business.
Lisa is passionate about digital access and last fall testified at a US Congressional hearing for a bill to fund “the last mile” of internet service in rural communities, co-sponsored by Maine Representative, Jared Golden. As a selectman she has worked tirelessly to secure $1.3 million in federal and state grants to help bring fiber optic high speed internet to her community of 300 residents.
Over a decade ago, Lisa’s father was an early participant in a computer training program offered by Axiom Technologies to farmers and fisherman in Washington County. “My dad had never opened a computer ever, now he uses all kinds of tools like GPS on his phone.” Lisa first began teaching digital literacy with the National Digital Equity Center last year as an AmeriCorps member, and stayed on as a staff member. She teaches classes on using internet TV and phone services as a way to save money; how to get your absentee ballot online; and Microsoft Word. Before NDEC moved all classes to an online format due to the pandemic, Lisa taught classes throughout Washington County.
“I love to give people confidence and help them find the digital tools they need to figure out a problem. My whole philosophy in life is to be helpful,” she says. “I am proud of my family and our farm and our history, and I want to help my neighbors.”