2017 Winter Conference Speakers

(Listed alphabetically by first name).

Jean-Martin Fortier
Keynote Speaker Jean-Martin Fortier, Farmer and Author of “The Market Gardener” JM Fortier is the founder, with his wife Maude-Hélène Desroches, of an internationally recognized 10-acre micro-farm in Quebec, Canada. With only 1½ acres cultivated in permanent beds, the farm grosses more than $100,000 per acre with operating margins of about 60 percent, enough to financially sustain his family. The focus at la Grelinette has been to grow better, not bigger, in order to optimize the cropping system, making it more lucrative and viable in the process.
Allegra Lovejoy A native of Brooklyn, NY, Allegra Lovejoy is dedicated to human and environmental sustainability through improving urban environments and protecting natural environments. Allegra began farming a week after graduating from Princeton (Class of '14) at The Food Project, the leading urban agriculture and food policy organization in the greater Boston area. In summer 2015, she joined D&R Greenway Land Trust in New Jersey to support stewardship of conservation lands and help start Capital City Farm, Trenton's first production urban farm. She also serves as the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey's Education Coordinator.
Adam Lemiux Adam Lemieux is the product manager and new product developer of Tools and Supplies for Johnny’s Selected Seeds. He works with experienced growers like Eliot Coleman, Jack Algiere, Jean-Martin Fortier, and other members of the Slow Tools Group to bring scale-appropriate tools to market for small commercial growers.
Lauren Erickkson After co-owning/operating a horse-powered, certified organic vegetable, fruit, and flower farm in mid-coast Maine for many years, Lauren recently returned to her home state of New Jersey and began coordinating the New Brunswick Community Farmers Markets with Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Through the markets, Lauren works to increase food availability and affordability within the city, bringing Jersey Fresh produce to local families and fostering urban agriculture initiatives. Also a Ph.D. student with the Rutgers University Department of Nutritional Sciences, Lauren’s professional and research goals center around her strong interests in sustainable agriculture, community health, and food policy. She is a member of the New Brunswick Community Food Alliance and the Feeding New Brunswick Network, and works closely with Rutgers Against Hunger to alleviate food insecurity issues in New Brunswick.
Al Johnson Al Johnson, has farmed & gardened organically since 1973 & has been an Organic Certification Inspector for 27 years observing first hand the correlation between farming practices and soil organic matter content. Al enjoys sharing his expertise as an Agricultural Educator.
Alec Gioseffi Alec Gioseffi is the President and co-founder of Cooperative 518 Community Farm and has been growing high diversity vegetables as well as integrating livestock into the whole farm system implementing permaculture, biodynamic, agroforestry and organic methods.
Alex Cardona Alex Cardona is the founder of 47farms.com, a web enabled platform that accelerates commerce between buyers and suppliers of farm and food artisan products.
Sandra Grenci Alexandra Grenci is Family and Community Health Sciences (FCHS) Educator for the Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) of Hunterdon County, NJ. She provides community outreach and education on a wide variety of topics related to food, nutrition, health and wellness. As a Registered Dietitian, she is trained in food safety procedures, and has provided many workshops and topics to the public related to safe home food preservation and avoidance of food borne illness. She is one of three FCHS faculty members who have developed and launched the first Cooperative Extension Master Food Preserver Training program in New Jersey.
Alexis Stevens Alexis Stevens is the Healthy Exchange Project Manager for GrowNYC overseeing food access initiatives for 54 New York City Greenmarket farmers markets. Alexis has brought several GrowNYC food access programs to scale, including increasing electronic payment sales in the farmers markets from $40,000 to more than $2 million. Alexis has an MBA from NYU’s Stern’s school of business and a BA in Math and Philosophy from the University of Maine
Andy Wyenandt Andy has been working with colleagues at Rutgers and other Universities on the breeding of, management, and control of downy mildew in basil. Andy is currently researching Potato Dickeya, a new pathogen of potato plants in NJ that appeared in fields in 2015 and is a significant threat to potato production on the east coast.
Anya Raskin Anya joined Zone 7 after several seasons working on farms and breeding projects. At Zone 7, Anya has worked in sales, purchasing, logistics, and operations. As the Operations Manager at Zone 7, she is responsible for ensuring the success of Zone 7's mission to fix the food system and maintain a sense of connection between farms and customers, while providing excellent, seamless distribution of farm fresh food that makes food transportation easier for farms and customers alike. She received a Masters of Business and Science in Horticulture from Rutgers University.
Bill Hlubik Bill Hlubik is a Professor and Agricultural Agent with Rutgers Cooperative Extension, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Rutgers University. Bill and colleagues Peter Nitzsche, Gojko Jelenkovic and Matt Milburn have worked together to develop the release of the Rutgers Scarlet strawberry in 2015. This new variety is now available for commercial growers through Nourse Farms in Massachusetts and Kube Pak Farm in Allentown, NJ. This new variety has now been distributed to 22 states across the nation. The Rutgers Scarlet strawberry was developed for outstanding flavor for direct marketing to consumers.
Bill Erickkson Bill holds a B.S. degree from Stockton University and a M.S. degree in Soil Science from the University of New Hampshire, where he managed the Campus Community Organic Farm and received his Permaculture Design certification. Bill gained extensive practical experience with vegetable, fruit, mushroom, and nursery stock production and developed his skills as an agricultural educator while working for two distinct non-profit organizations in New England before co-founding his own farm business in mid-coast Maine in 2010. Bill has served as a lecturer for Unity College, and currently teaches at both Kean University and Stockton University, where he offers courses in sustainable agriculture, plant biology, and ecology.
Bob Merenich Bob Merencich is an attorney who has represented commercial farming interests before the New Jersey Superior Court, Office of Administrative Law, County Agricultural Development Boards Tax Court and municipal courts for the last twenty years. In 2001, Bob successfully argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court that the NJ Right to Farm Act preempted local zoning of qualifying commercial farms and that disputes involving those farms first belonged before an Agricultural Development Board.
Bonnie Rubrecht Bonnie Rubrecht is a fourth-generation Californian now living in rural Groton, MA with her husband and daughter. Her family has been farming and growing berries in Santa Cruz County since the early 1900s. A long supporter of migrant worker rights and sustainable agriculture, Bonnie assists with grantwriting and development communications for the East Coast Greenhorns.
Britanny Dobrzynski Brittany Dobrzynski is the Stewardship Specialist-South Region for New Jersey Audubon, and partner employee with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). She works on various habitat management and restoration projects on public and private lands in South Jersey. Brittany received her B.S. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from The University of Rhode Island, where she developed skills in field identification and wildlife monitoring techniques. She has a passion for native plants and encourages their use and conservation on the landscape. Brittany works closely with local farmers and partner organizations to promote agricultural best management practices for soil and water conservation. Through this partnership she runs New Jersey Audubon’s Healthy Land and Waters Grant program, to provide financial and technical assistance to landowners enhancing wildlife habitat and protecting natural resources on their property.
Bryan O'Hara Bryan O'Hara has been growing vegetables for a livelihood for more than 25 years at Tobacco Road Farm in Lebanon, CT. He speaks throughout the Northeast on vegetable production techniques and is known for providing "mountains of details" in a consise, practical and cohesive manner.
Cecilie May Butcher and Operations Manager, Primal Supply Meats
Nina Planck Called “A cross between Alice Waters and Martha Stewart,” (Washington Post), Nina Planck is the author of the acclaimed "Real Food: What to Eat and Why." Her vigorous defense of traditional foods liberated eaters who’d had enough of low-fat and imitation foods. In "Real Food for Mother and Baby," Nina takes up traditional diets for mother, father, and child. She dismantles common misconceptions and fears about prenatal and weaning foods in her typically direct style. Nina's cookbooks, the ebook "Farmers’ Market Cookbook," and the gorgeous hardcover "Real Food Cookbook," offer delicious and simple recipes using real food. Nina lives in Greenwich Village and Stockton, New Jersey, with her husband, Rob Kaufelt, owner of Murray’s Cheese, and their three children.
Caren White Caren White is a Master Gardener and member of the Herb Society of America. She is a longtime volunteer at Rutgers Gardens where she is the Garden Steward for the herb garden. She also grows the herbs sold at the popular Spring Flower Fair, an annual fundraiser for Rutgers Gardens. Caren has taught herb workshops at the EARTH Center (Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County), Home Gardeners School and Rutgers Gardens.
Charles Rosen Charles Rosen is the founder and CEO of Jersey Cider Works and New Ark Farms – a Newark-based social enterprise focused on workforce development and regenerative agriculture. In addition to the company’s commitment to providing living wages to ex-offenders and other underserved members of the Greater Newark community, New Ark Farms, in partnership with Columbia University, has developed a curriculum to educate employees in character development, conflict resolution, and communications skills. Charles believes that this “soft-skills” training will build a stronger workforce, while also arming his employees with the tools needed to better serve their own communities. As he builds his companies, Charles draws heavily on his background as co-founder and former CEO of Amalgamated, a fully-integrated advertising agency and brand consultancy globally recognized for leading the Madison Avenue digital revolution.
Charlie Huebner Charlie raises grass fed beef and lamb on his farm, Beechtree Farm, in Hopewell, NJ. In addition to selling pastured meats, he utilizes the tallow to make all natural soaps as well as some herbs and flowers that grow on the farm. Charlie is a graduate of Rutgers University.
Charlize Katzenbach Charlize Katzenbach is the owner/operator of Sweet Sourland Farms, Hopewell, NJ since 1984. With a background in arts and industrial education, and a career in design/build construction, she has turned her family's forested land into a sustainable farm, informed by the principles of organic agriculture, producing maple syrup, lumber from an on site sawmill, and meat goats, used to maintain areas cleared of trees for solar energy.
Chris Cirkus Chris Cirkus manages the West Windsor Community Farmers Market, a thirteen-year old market that hosts sixteen farms and twelve vendors in central New Jersey. She has helped to open two other farmers markets in the state (Trenton and Ewing). Chris has been a pre-school educator focusing on teaching three to five year olds how to cook and to love fruits and vegetables. Chris is also part of the Farm to School team at the NJ Department of Agriculture.
Chris Moran Chris Moran, farmer at Co-Op 518 and founder of Our Playful Nature, has been a personal trainer for over 7 years and has been training clients at Rutgers University for the last 5 years. Chris teaches a playful approach to fitness focused on engaging with nature through natural movement, parkour, and play. Chris’ passion for nature led him to farming in June of 2015 as a core member of Co-Op 518. Chris has taught parkour with The Movement Creative in NYC and High Exposure Climbing & Parkour Gym in Northvale, NJ. He is an NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, USAW Sports Performance Coach, USA Parkour Level 2 Coach, and Functional Movement Screen Certified. Co-Op 518 is currently expanding to new land and will become Cherry Valley Cooperative this spring! Join Chris for one of his classes or private training at the new Cherry Valley Cooperative in Princeton, NJ. Visit ourplayfulnature.org and/or cherryvalleycoop.org for more information.
Dan De Lion Dan De Lion is a forager, herbalist, and musician dedicated to working with nature to further the healing of the planet and the soul. Dan teaches through Return to Nature (ReturntoNature.us), which provides classes in foraging and herbalism, making homemade remedies from herbs, fermentation and kombucha classes, and primitive and survival skills. He also makes and sells herbal products, teaches music, yoga, chanting, and meditation as well as nutrition and health consultations, mentorships, and group in-home custom herbalism classes.
Dan Kittredge Dan Kittredge has been farming organically for 30 years, and biologically for the last 10. He and his wife manage a 24 acre mixed farm in central Massachusetts with 2.5 acres of intensive vegetable, 8 hoop houses, pastured poultry, grass fed beef, and perennials in development. He is the founder and Executive Director of the Bionutrient Food Association, which is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to increasing quality in the food supply. He presents courses for growers regularly across North America.
Daryl Minch Daryl Minch provides leadership for Family and Community Health Sciences (FCHS) Educator for Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) of Somerset County. Minch’s expertise is in family nutrition, food allergies, and food safety, including home food preservation. She is also one of the three leaders for the FCHS Master Food Preserver project
David Hambleton David Hambleton is a farmer and farm consultant from NY’s Mid Hudson Valley who is passionate about sharing what he has learned in the past 2 decades growing for a 300 family CSA, designing and building his own home, and cultivating a loving and passionate family. His beginner's mind and DIY design/build ethic have helped him to create a number of unique, scale appropriate systems and tools leading to a beautiful and productive farm that keeps customers coming back year after year. He’s a big proponent of strategic farm planning in order to attain not just a profitable farm, but a balanced life!
Elizabeth Henderson Elizabeth Henderson farmed at Peacework Farm in Wayne County, NY, producing organically grown vegetables for the fresh market for over 30 years. She is on the Board of NOFA-NY and represents NOFA Interstate Council on the Board of the Agricultural Justice Project (AJP). She wrote Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture and Food Book for a Sustainable Harvest, for the members of Peacework Organic CSA, in its 29th year in 2017.
Elizabeth Marks Elizabeth Marks is a biologist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in New York. She is also a Holistic Management certified educator and instructor with the Beginning Farmers & Ranchers Training Program.
Emily Peterson Emily Peterson is an awarded food writer, culinary instructor, professor of food studies at NYU, and creator of Sharp & Hot, a podcast series. Her work has been featured on Edible, Modern Farmer, Martha Stewart, Robb Report, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Time Out NY, Huffington Post, CBS, NBC, FOX, Food Network and Vegetarian Times. She lives on a 250-year old farm with her husband, son, a flock of chickens and a dog named Rooster.
Grace Gershuny Grace Gershuny is a Vermont-based organic pioneer, educator and consultant who helped develop the USDA’s regulations for organic agriculture. She has written extensively about soil and compost, and currently teaches in the Green Mountain College MS program in Sustainable Food Systems
Heather Thomason Heather Marold Thomason is a whole-animal butcher and the founder of Primal Supply Meats, a company committed to providing local and sustainable meat to Philadelphia. She is is working to build up the region's supply chain by sourcing direct from local livestock farmers and creating wholesale and retail markets for pasture-raised meats.
Lorette Pruden If your passion lies more in the fields and the kitchen than in the marketplace, you’ll want to get to know Lorette Pruden. She manages the Montgomery Friends of Open Space Farmers’ Market, just starting its 15th season. Billed as “your local coach for local business”, Lorette provides business insights, sales and marketing help for small business owners, which many farmers certainly are! Lorette was a working scientist for many years; is a business speaker and co-owns her family farm. After becoming "Formerly Corporate" (the title of her latest book) herself, she has helped hundreds of small business owners shift their mindsets for success in their own business.
Ines Chapela Inés has been with Greenhorns since 2009 and is a central figure to operations and logistics -- screening requests, press lists, event planning, and the general chaos of nonprofit administration. She studied Environmental & Urban Studies and Studio Arts at Bard College and has traveled and worked on farms all over the world.
Jack Kittredge Jack Kittredge is the Carbon Analyst for NOFA/Mass and the author of the 16-page white paper “Soil Carbon Restoration: Can Biology Do the Job”. Before this he was the Policy Direct for NOFA/Mass for 15 years. Jack also is the editor of The Natural Farmer, the NOFA 48-page quarterly journal.
Jaul Loram Jaul Loram is a dynamic, results-oriented Restaurateur/Entrepreneur offering focused leadership to drive sales and profitability in highly competitive markets. Jaul has provided over 35 years of consistency in achieving high goals through enthusiasm, tenacity and innovation. Jaul has extensive experience in troubleshooting underperforming restaurants and creating new revenue verticals with a focus on turnaround management thus reviving restaurants slated for closure. Jaul has created and managed critical programs for a prestigious cooking school in New York City, contributing to its recognized presence on the international culinary map. Jaul is also the owner/operator of an award winning restaurant. Jaul worked extensively with the public, including restaurant customers, wholesale customers, catering clients, vendors, the media, and city officials.
Jessica Culley Jessica Culley has been working with the grassroots community organizing of CATA – The Farmworkers’ Support Committee over the past 17 years in a variety of roles from Community Organizer to Program Coordinator and now to General Coordinator. She loves the work with CATA because of the real base building work done outreaching to farmworkers and low wage immigrant workers in the Mid-Atlantic region where CATA organizes and bringing the voices, experiences and leadership of our members to national andinternational work addressing the injustices of the food system.
Jess Isbrecht Jessica Isbrecht is the owner and founder of Green Duchess Farm, a small-scale pasture-based livestock farm in Somerset County, NJ. A NOFA-NJ Journeyperson Farmer, she melded her Biology degree, environmental career, and love of animals to create a thriving farm business focused on sustainable practices, humane treatment of animals, and high quality food.
Jessica Moore Jessica Moore is an entrepreneur and has found her passion in working with farmers, food businesses and technologists working on important issues within our national food system. She consults through Kitchen Table Consulting in business strategy and planning with a focus on meat and technology. She is also working on an online software system, called MeatYield, for analyzing the performance of animals raised for meat. Jessica’s first introduction into agriculture and food was Philly CowShare. Jessica founded Philly CowShare, an online retail and wholesale company selling grass-fed beef and pastured pork from local producers, in 2010. She worked with farmers and processors to understand their businesses and used technology to increase their access to an urban market, streamline the supply chain to fit an ecommerce business model and create a connected and convenience customer experience. Jessica owned and operated Philly CowShare through 2015 at which time she sold the business.
Joe Henry Joe Henry is a Business Programs Loan Specialist with USDA Rural Development. Joe has been with the Agency for just over a year. After serving in the Marine Corps, he looked to further his education in order to become a more valuable asset in the ever-competitive work force. Upon graduating from Rutgers, New Brunswick with a Mathematics and Statistics Degree, Joe began his career with the USDA. Joe is currently pursuing a Business Finance degree, and expresses a bona fide dedication to honing his financial skills and knowledge. Joe is a responsive and helpful point of contact for all of Rural Development’s Business Programs. Equipped with a networking web, Joe can help guide businesses to the financial and technical assistance they require. Joe’s contact information will be included in the presentation. Joe has business cards, and program handouts to supplement.
John Kluthe John Kluthe is the district conservationist for Hunterdon, Somerset and Union Counties with USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS works in cooperation with private land managers to provide technical and financial assistance for conservation projects. These projects protect agricultural production in this country by treating resource concerns associated with soil, water, plants, animals and air.
Jon McCanaughy John McCanaughy co-founded Double Brook Farm. Double Brook Farm sells its products at the Brick Farm Market and has a farm-to-table restaurant, Brick Farm Tavern both in Hopewell, NJ. Double Brook Farm uses Meremma dogs to guard the chickens and sheep. Double Brook has two adult Meremmas and a Great Pyrenees puppy who will guard the chickens.
Joseph Heckman Joseph Heckman, Ph.D. is a Professor of Soil Science, Rutgers University, where he teaches courses in Soil Fertility, Organic Crop Production, and Agroecology. He conducts research and extension programs on optimizing nutrition and soil quality in support of plant, animal, and human health. He has served as chair of several professional organizations including Council on History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Soil Science, Committee on Organic and Sustainable Agriculture, Organic Management Systems Community of the American Society Agronomy, and as President of the Northeast Branch of the Crops, Soils, and Agronomy Tri-Societies. Dr. Heckman has authored numerous publications on soil fertility and organic farming. Heckman was the lead author of a book chapter on Soil Fertility in Organic Farming for American Society Agronomy book entitled Ecology of Organic farming Systems. Most recently he co-authored books on Fresh Milk Production, The Cow Edition and Fresh Milk Production, The Goat Edition. He also publishes a newsletter called The Soil Profile: http://njaes.rutgers.edu/pubs/soilprofile/
Julie Pierre Julie Pierre is the owner and farmer at Our Yards Farm, a suburban farm based in South Jersey. Julie had a passion for food, health and nutrition and realized farming was the perfect combination of her interests! She started volunteering at a rooftop urban farm and CSA in NYC. She knew then that she wanted to become a farmer so she took an intensive apprenticeship at a CSA farm in Central NJ. Julie is proud to take the next step as a young and passionate farmer and serve her community. Julie studied Biology in college and after graduation she worked at in an office for an environmental services corporation.
Julie Rawson Julie Rawson is Executive Director of NOFA/Mass and has been employed by NOFA/Mass since 1985. She is co-owner of Many Hands Organic Farm, in Barre, Massachusetts, a certified organic mixed operation with animals, vegetables, and fruits, and president of Many Hands Sustainability Center which focuses on addict rehabilitation through farming.
Justin Allen Justin has been gardening and working with plants since as early as he can remember, around the age of three. His passion is now in growing food organically. As of January 2017 he began working at Isles, Inc. in Trenton as their Urban Agriculture Coordinator. For the past 4 and a half years he has been working for Greater Newark Conservancy first as their Youth Farm Stand Coordinator, then Director of Community Greening, and finally Director of Urban Agriculture. Prior to that he worked for 5 years with young children on an eighth of an acre garden through HealthBarn USA’s healthy lifestyle education program. Justin received an Associate of Arts from Bergen Community College. He also received his Bachelors of Science in Nutritional Science with a concentration in Dietetics, along with a certificate in Food Systems Education and Administration from Rutgers University. Justin has also earned an internationally-recognized Permaculture Design Certificate.
Laura Del Campo Laura began cooking and growing foods on Vancouver Island while reading for her BA in Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. For over a decade she has been working on the cusp between field and table – raising food, cooking professionally, and helping farmers to market their wares. Laura also helps her mom manage Stonybrook Meadows Farm in Hopewell, New Jersey. She holds an M.B.A. from St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia in one hand and a Permaculture Design Certificate from O.U.R. Ecovillage, Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia, in the other.
Lauren Nagy Lauren Nagy is a farmer and certified yoga instructor in Princeton, NJ. She has been teaching yoga and studying ayurveda since 2009. She is passionate about teaching yoga that is authentic and connected to its deep spiritual roots. Her classes are accessible to all levels of physical ability and include postures, breath, mantra, philosophy and meditation. While studying with master yogis Alan Finger and Dharma Mittra in New York City, Lauren realized that her heart longed to live close to the earth. Shortly after moving back to NJ, she co-founded Cooperative 518 Community Farm which is a producer’s cooperative that uses permaculture and organic methods to grow high diversity vegetables, herbs, flowers and pasture raised sheep, chickens and pigs. Lauren is proud to announce that after three years, the Cooperative is expanding to a 97 acre farm in Princeton called Cherry Valley Cooperative: Center for Permaculture and Holistic Wellness which is set to open Spring 2017. Visit cherryvalleycoop.org for more information.
Lee Reich Lee Reich, PhD is an avid farmdener (more than a gardener, less than a farmer) who turned from plant and soil research with the USDA and Cornell University to writing, lecturing, and consulting. His writing includes a number of gardening books and a bimonthly column for Associated Press. His farmden is a test site for innovative techniques in soil care, pruning, and growing fruits and vegetables.
Leonard Pollara Leonard Pollara is presently in the 4th year of a project to build a pasture based goat dairy with the goal of being a profitable sustainable working farm. Leonard previously built and operated Upper Meadows Farm in Montague NJ starting with 4.5 acres. Growing the farm to 153 acres, Upper Meadows Farm was a fully integrated certified organic operation. During the development of Upper Meadows Farm, Leonard raised rabbits, goats, sheep, pigs, beef, geese, turkeys, broilers, layers, guinea fowl, and ducks. The farm included wildcrafting, a mushroom yard, apple orchard, flower production, herb production, vegetables that sustained a 200 family CSA, small grain production, hay and pasture management and included on farm processing. Since 2010 Leonard has worked as an IOIA certified Organic Inspector on 6 continents. In 2014 Leonard traveled to Kitui County Kenya as a volunteer agricultural advisor to help design a slaughter slab for the local poultry cooperative 'Nguku'. The sponsors were Catholic Relief Services, Farm Africa and the Kitui Development Center.
Linsday Caragher Lindsay Caragher obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science from the University Of Delaware and a Master’s in Agriculture from the University of Florida. She became a County Operations Trainee for the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in 2008, the County Executive Director for Warren, Sussex and Morris Counties in 2009, and most recently hired as the District Director of FSA in New Jersey. During her time with FSA she has assisted many producers through disaster recovery and conservation compliance. Lindsay is also working on obtaining loan approval authority to further assist producers through the FSA Farm Loan Program. She is the Organics Point of Contact for New Jersey FSA and has represented the agency at the NOFA Winter Conference nearly every year since 2010.
Mark Keating Mark Keating has worked in organic, local and sustainable agriculture since 1988 in a variety of production, marketing, civil service and educational capacities. Between 1999 and 2002, he was a crop and livestock standards writer for the USDA National Organic Program. He currently serves as an Organic Farming Specialist through a partnership agreement between NOFA-NJ and NJ NRCS.
Meg Paska Meg Paska is the founder of Farmer Meg's, a cut flower, dairy goat, and free-range chicken farm. She and her partner Neil are makers of fine goat's milk soaps, candles and salves. She is also the author of The Rooftop Beekeeper: A Scrappy Guide to Keeping Urban Honeybees (Chronicle Books, 2014). Meg and Neil will be relocating their farm to Hillsborough, NJ in 2017.
Meredith Melendez Meredith Melendez, County Agent III/Assistant Professor, provides educational outreach to fresh produce growers on the topics of on-farm food safety and alternative agriculture through Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Mercer County. Additionally Meredith provides assistance to beginning farmers. Recent research projects include evaluating soil copper levels due to copper fungicide applications, packinghouse surface sanitation assessments, and post-rain event risk for E. coli splash on spinach.
Nathan Kleinman Nate Kleinman is co-founder and co-director of the Experimental Farm Network with Dusty Hinz. Nate's professional background is in political organizing and activism, but he has been a seed-saver and gardener for most of his life. Since 2013, as a farmer and plant-breeder in Elmer, NJ (Salem County), and an EFN director, Nate has been working to develop new perennial staple crops for soil conservation and carbon sequestration. By applying a network-based approach, EFN aims to accelerate innovation in sustainable agriculture through broad-based and widespread collaboration. His current passion project is breeding temperate perennial grain sorghum.
Nelson Li Nelson Li is currently the Volunteer Manager of the Metuchen Farmers Market since 2011. He carefully grew the market from 3 vendors to 18 vendors, while tracking shopper counts,
Ben Walmer Originally from Adams County PA, architect and chef, Benjamin Walmer AIA LEED AP, comes from a family of five generations of fruit growers. It is from this agrarian background that he traces his connection to food and the motivation to launch Highlands Dinner Club (HDC) in New York City in 2009. Ben currently lives in central New Jersey and is the founding Architect and Creative Director of the NJ/NYC-based interdisciplinary design practice, Broadloom, whose specialties include restaurant design, food system design and agricultural master planning. HDC is a mobile social and culinary laboratory produced by Broadloom and collaboratively executed by a rotating cast of chefs, farmers, designers and artists. With Wielding's spontaneous spirit and exceptional local ingredients, HDC has created farm-to-table experiences across three continents and seen time and again the connections and joy that come when people gather at the table to share a meal.
Roman Osadca Roman Oscada was a Pharmceutical Engineer for 38 years, but prefers natural Farmaceuticals, of which Garlic is No 1. Roman got addicted to growing lots of garlic over 25 years ago. He has grown over 500 varieties of garlic since then, and regularly maintain about 200 and grows about 6 to 8000 lbs each year to sell to growers,and at farmers markets and festivals, and to people that want to keep Vampires away.
Sarah Wiliford Sarah Williford is the co-founder and manager of East Brook Farm in Walton NY where she grows veggies, herbs, animals and community. She’s been farming for 10 years. She is a coordinator of Holistic Management International’s NYS Beginning Farmers & Ranchers Training Program and is a Holistic Management educator. She is an active board member of Holistic Management International.
Stephanie Murphy Stephanie Murphy is the Director of the Rutgers Soil Lab
Steve Black Steve Black is Owner and Operator of Raemelton Farm, in Adamstown, Md. Raemelton Farm produces landscape-ready B&B trees and shrubs for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern markets. Steve started the farm in 2004. Raemelton makes use of the latest in precision drip irrigation, Integrated Pest Management, soil conservation practices, and improved plant selections. The farm is the first and only US producer of USDA Certified Organic B&B landscape trees. In addition to farming, Steve is President of the Maryland Nursery, Landscape, Greenhouse Association (MNLGA), he has served on two USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative Advisory Boards, and is a member of the board of the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology. Prior to entering the Green Industry, Steve was involved in International Affairs and arms control verification. He holds a BS in Public Policy, an MS in Public and International Affairs, and served as a Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government.
Steve Sierigk Steve Sierigk is a co-owner Hawk Meadow Farm. Hawk Meadow Farm specializes in woodland crops such as shiitake mushrooms. Steve is a farm advisor for SARE to encourage shiitake growing in the Northeast.
Tom Fox Tom has raised various breeds of chickens for 40 plus years and has learned "a thing or few" about what TO do and what NOT to do concerning raising a small flock of backyard chickens. His name might sound familiar if you have ever been up to the Annual New Jersey State Farm and Horse Show in Sussex County, as he has won numerous awards over the years for his prize hens. Currently he sells his "Free Range Eggs" to a number of faithful egg enthusiasts in his local area. Tom likes to talk to groups about the home grown egg industry and is often asked to speak on the topic at Scout meetings, senior meetings and various other groups through out the state.Tom Fox, known to many as "The Garden Guru", has been building gardens for more than 50 years. Tom has presented workshops on "Growing Bigger and Better Tomatoes and Peppers, Balcony Gardening, Composting, Raising Backyard Chickens and now this new and exciting workshop on Urban Gardening. Having worked for a wonderful company building gardens in Urban settings throughout New Jersey for almost 10 years, he brings first hand knowledge of what to do and what not to do if you want to build a successful Urban Garden.