Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 448, Pittsboro, NC 27312
Physical Address: 287 East St. Suite 421 Pittsboro, NC 27312
Administration | Membership | Education | Food Systems | Advocacy |
Roland McReynolds, Executive Director
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Roland grew up in Columbia, Missouri. His grandma was a longtime subscriber to Organic Gardening; his family raised its own layer and fryer chickens, as well as grew most of their own vegetables. The family home was surrounded by conventional corn and soybean fields.
Roland is a licensed attorney, and after the births of his children, he decided to devote his legal training and business experience to the service of promoting healthy agriculture for future generations.
Cheryl Ripperton Rettie, Finance & Administration Director
A native of Chatham County, she lives on the family farm where she meanders in the woods with her dog, gardens, keeps bees organically, and rides horses.
> Contact Cheryl with any financial questions. The go-to for any general CFSA questions; if she doesn’t know the answer, then she can tell you who does!
Jacob Leech, Operations Director
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Jacob is coming to us from the Piedmont Conservation Council, where he has served for over two years as Project Manager and led the Council in its mission to promote natural resource conservation and sustainable communities. Jacob is also a past leader of the Florida West Coast Resource Conservation and Development Council in Florida’s Tampa Bay area. While at FWCRCD, he led the development of beginning farmer training programs, including two organic farm apprenticeship programs.
Growing up on a small family farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley helped shape Jacob’s career interests and he looks forward to bringing that perspective along with his years of non-profit management experience to CFSA!
Marianna Spence, Membership Coordinator
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Marianna grew up in Eastern North Carolina, but has called the Triangle home since graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009.
Prior to joining CFSA, she worked in fundraising and communications for a local non-profit.
Marianna has put down roots in Chatham County by building a home with her family. She is excited to learn more about sustainable organic agriculture and to meet the people who make it all possible!
Katie Hume, Education Coordinator
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Katie ate a lot of Velveeta as a kid and didn’t know much about where food comes from until 2003 when she took a summer class in Sustainable Agriculture at the University of California, Davis Student Farm. It was so inspiring that she stuck around to work with the UCD Children’s Garden Program, where she spent four years coordinating educational activities.
Katie’s professional background also includes nearly a decade of conference and event planning for a statewide association of afterschool programs.
She moved to Carrboro in 2008 and worked as a research assistant in the early childhood field before joining CFSA. Katie is happiest when she’s running in the woods or exploring the countryside on her bike.
> Contact Katie with questions about farm tours and CFSA conferences.
Thomas Moore, NC Food Systems Coordinator
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Thomas is a North Carolina native. He grew up in Concord and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Peace, War, and Defense. Following graduation, he continued his studies in Vancouver, B.C., Canada and received a Post Baccalaureate Diploma from the Faculty of Environmental Studies at Simon Fraser University.
He has experience in sustainable community development, supply chain management, food security initiatives, and developing sustainable food systems.
Thomas currently lives in Concord with his wife, Rindy, and their two children, where they raise backyard chickens, ducks, bees, and grow seasonal vegetables.
Rochelle Sparko, Policy Director
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Rochelle grew up in Western Massachusetts, where she first tried her hand at gardening on the family farm.
She received undergraduate degrees from Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary, as well as a law degree from Georgetown University. For nearly 10 years, Rochelle had a career as a lawyer and advocate for low-income people in Hawaii and North Carolina.
Nowadays, Rochelle maintains Darko Urban Farm with her partner, Will, in downtown Durham; studies horticulture and soil science at NC State University; and is thrilled to have the opportunity to combine her passions for advocacy and farming through her work at CFSA.
Jared Cates, Community Mobilizer
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His work on the CFSA Policy team focuses on connecting, organizing and mobilizing community members around critical public policy issues across the Carolinas. Jared also works to support the growing network of food policy councils in the region through his work on the Community Food Strategies Team. Through both of these roles, his work focuses on raising the visibility of local farm and food issues and in supporting communities in advocating for fair farm and food policies.
Jared lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, where he is an active gardener and poultry parent.
> Contact Jared to learn more about our Food Policy Council Consulting services.
Katie Welborn, SC Policy Coordinator
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Her work with the Square Foot Gardening Foundation and WWOOfing in North Carolina, California, and China originally exposed Katie to the many layers of our food system. She has worked in the political, non-profit, and agricultural realms ever since.
Glenn Kern, Organic Policy Coordinator
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Glenn grew up in Alamance County, North Carolina, and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Following his undergraduate education, he spent six growing seasons as a farm worker and carpenter in the Piedmont of North Carolina. In 2015, Glenn graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law.
Prior to joining CFSA, Glenn worked as a general-practice attorney in Ashe County, North Carolina. Many of his clients were farmers or farm workers.
Glenn now lives with his wife in Buncombe County.
Karen McSwain, Farm Services and Food Systems Director
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Karen brings 10 years of organic farming and teaching experience to the organization. Her practical hands-on experience, combined with a Bachelor of Science in Crop and Soil Science from Cornell University and a Master of Science in Horticulture & Sustainable Agriculture from Iowa State University make her keenly aware of issues faced by small farmers.
When not hard at work for CFSA, Karen has her hands full raising twin boys with her husband Joel in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Aaron Newton, Lomax Farm Manager
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Aaron is a North Carolina native and the coauthor of A Nation of Farmers: Defeating the Food Crisis on American Soil from New Society Publishers, 2008. Aaron earned a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the College of Design at North Carolina State University.
> Contact Aaron about the Lomax Incubator Farm.
Mary Beth Miller, Lomax Farm Coordinator
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Mary Beth was locally grown and raised in the Piedmont of North Carolina, where she grew up riding horses, climbing trees, and exploring the woods of Chatham County. She realized her passion for agriculture while interning on a sustainable farm in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and WWOOFing in Argentina after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In 2012, she founded Blue Merle Farm, growing vegetables, mushrooms, cut flowers, and keeping bees in Rougemont, North Carolina. She’s excited to bring her experience in farming, passion for environmental education, and interest in food policy and conservation to the Lomax Incubator Farm and CFSA.
Mark Dempsey, Farm Services Coordinator
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Mark grew up in Georgia and moved to North Carolina for the first time to attend Appalachian State University. There he received his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology, and then moved on to receive his Master of Science in Soil Microbiology from Miami University in Ohio.
After graduating, Mark worked as a researcher and equipment operator in Pennsylvania State University’s sustainable agriculture program, focusing on ways to reduce tillage in organic systems and to incorporate or better manage cover crops in both conventional and organic systems.
He moved back to Western North Carolina in 2015 and lives in Swannanoa.
Mark provides technical assistance to farmer members who are interested in transitioning to certified organic production through our Organic Production and Certification Consulting Services and can also draft your farm’s Conservation Activity Plan (CAP), which forms the basis of your Organic System Plan.
Sarah Bostick, Farm Services Coordinator
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Sarah grew up digging in the garden and walking in the woods in the Low Country of South Carolina and the Piedmont region of North Carolina. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Environmental Studies from Colby College in Maine.
Four years of college turned into 17 years of living and farming in coastal Maine. Sarah worked for five years as the educator and marketing coordinator of the New American Sustainable Agriculture Program (an incubator farm), where she developed, launched and managed the Fresh Start Farms Food Hub.
In 2016, she returned to the South and spent a year creating a teaching farm and sustainable agriculture internship program at the University of Florida.
She is thrilled to join the CFSA team and to be settling into the mountains of North Carolina.
Sarah provides technical assistance through our Building Wholesale Capacity Initiative to farmer members who are interested in improving their postharvest handling systems to meet wholesale buyer requirements and to maximize efficiency and workflow. She also provides technical assistance to farmer members who are interested in transitioning to certified organic production through our Organic Production and Certification Consulting Services and can also draft your farm’s Conservation Activity Plan (CAP).
Gena Moore, Organic Research Coordinator
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Gena is a North Carolina native, born and raised on a horse farm in Union County. With both parents involved in agriculture, a passion for the environment and food systems was instilled in her at a young age.
Gena received a bachelor’s in natural resources from North Carolina State University and a master’s in agriculture education from North Carolina A&T University. Her thesis work was in sustainable, organic high tunnel vegetable production and season extension.
Gena, her husband Aaron, and their three boys live on a sustainably managed horse farm that also produces livestock, poultry, and specialty crops.
Gena is launching our Organic Research Initiative; conducting research on organic tomato production in seasonal high tunnels, as well as investigating the utility of the Haney Soil Nutrient Tool to accurately assesses soil nutrient availability. She will also be developing resources and conducting on-farm workshops and one-on-one training for growers utilizing seasonal high tunnels.
Trish Tripp, Local Produce Safety Manager
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Since 1995, Trish has been committed to sustainability, food security and public health. She was a restaurateur for 14 years, advocated for safe, nutritious and sustainable food production by partnering with farmers, schools and local health departments, and conducted research and developed strategies to support small farms on a local level.
Most recently, she held a position at a leading produce company as the Director of Food Safety, Sustainability and Local Resources and started her own food safety consulting firm.
Trish earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Bluefield College and a Masters of Science Degree in Agricultural and Life Sciences from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). She currently holds certifications as a Food Defense Coordinator and HACCP Coordinator and is proficient in multiple third-party food safety schemes.
> Contact Trish about our Good Agricultural Practices consulting
Tay Fatke, Local Produce Safety Coordinator
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He holds associates degrees in sustainable food and agriculture systems and business management- entrepreneurship. He is currently attending The University of Wisconsin-Stout online to receive his Bachelor of Science in Business Management. Tay worked as a GAP auditor and educator for a produce cooperative in Southwest Wisconsin before coming to CFSA.
Communications and Development
Elizabeth Read, Communications and Development Director
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Elizabeth grew up in Charlotte but has lived in the Triad or the Triangle since she attended college in Chapel Hill at the University of North Carolina.
Before becoming the Communications and Development Director at CFSA, she served as the Marketing Manager at Company Shops Market, a co-op grocery store in downtown Burlington where she actively engaged the community around how they purchased their food. She previously worked as executive director of The Alliance for Historic Hillsborough, a non-profit that worked to promote the town of Hillsborough through its arts and historic sites. She loves connecting people with the surrounding community through food and local economies.
Elizabeth and her husband live in a house they restored in northern Alamance County with their son, Charlie, and their two chickens.
> Elizabeth would love to connect you with CFSA and all the work the organization is doing to create thriving sustainable food communities.