Debby Gordon describes her mindset as “depression-era.” She doesn’t like to see things go to waste. Her recently founded non-profit, the Phoenix Project of Eastern New York, works to restore historic properties into buildings that will be sustainable and useful to their communities. She hopes that by restoring highly visible properties, people will become more interested in the area’s history and see the potential in buildings currently considered eyesores.

In addition to her work with Phoenix, Debby also makes delicious jams, which she sells at the local farmers’ market. She began making jam as a teenager, when she would follow the instructions found on a box of pectin. Over the years, she has experimented with many different ingredients and flavors. An avid gardener, Debby loves to make jam to preserve and save what she grows for later. She says it makes her feel rich to look in her jam cupboard and see her stock.