SPEAKERS

Check out the top-notch speakers at this year’s Conference!

 

FEATURED SPEAKERS

Nazirahk Amen, ND, L.Ac., Homeopathic, Naturopathic Physician, Owner, Purple Mountain Organics

Nazirahk AmenNazirahk Amen, ND, L.Ac. is a homeopath, naturopathic physician and oriental medicine practitioner for over 15 years in the Washington DC Metro area and resides in Takoma Park, MD. In addition to a busy medical practice, he manages about 5 acres of orchard and vegetable production. He is the owner of Purple Mountain Organics which offers fine quality tools, growing supplies and sustainable ag services. Dr. Amen is first and foremost a spiritual adherent practicing and refining harmonious living skills for himself and the greater community and is excited to share information and skills gained from this journey.

 

Tradd Cotter, Microbiologist, Mycologist, Organic Gardener, Owner, Mushroom Mountain Author: Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation

Tradd-CotterTradd Cotter is a microbiologist, professional mycologist, and organic gardener, who has been tissue culturing, collecting, and cultivating native fungi in the Southeast – both commercially and experimentally – for more than twenty-three years. He has recently published Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, a comprehensive guide to cultivating and using mushrooms at home or on the farm. In 1996, he founded Mushroom Mountain, which he owns and operates with his wife, Olga, in order to explore the many applications for mushrooms in various industries. Today, Mushroom Mountain has expanded to a 50,000 square foot building used for cultivation, mycoremediation, and medicinal research projects. The laboratory has been constructed to EPA and FDA standards and houses more than 200 species of fungi, most of them native isolates from the Eastern United States. His primary interest is in low-tech and no-tech cultivation strategies so that anyone can grow mushrooms on just about anything, anywhere in the world. Tradd will be presenting on Cultivating Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms at Home or on the Farm in a Friday pre-conference intensive and an Saturday workshop on Mushrooms, Molds, and Mycorrhizae in the Specialty Crops track.

 

Pam Dawling, Vegetable Grower, Twin Oaks Community

Author: Sustainable Market Farming: Intensive Vegetable Production on a Few Acres

Pam-DawlingPam Dawling is the author of Sustainable Market Farming: Intensive Vegetable Production on a Few Acres. She is also a contributing editor with Growing for Market magazine. An avid vegetable grower for over 40 years, she has lived at Twin Oaks Community in central Virginia for 25 years, growing vegetables and berries for 100 people on 3.5 acres, and providing training for members in sustainable vegetable production. www.sustainablemarketfarming.com, www.facebook.com/SustainableMarketFarming

 

Ken Dawson, Owner/Farmer, Maple Spring Gardens

KenDawson (1)Ken Dawson, with his wife, Libby Outlaw, and daughter, Sunshine Dawson, own and operate Maple Spring Gardens in Cedar Grove, NC. Ken has grown vegetables by organic methods since 1972 and farmed full time since 1984. In addition to selling at farmers’ markets, Maple Spring Gardens has a 150+ member CSA. They produce a wide range of vegetables, small fruits, and culinary and medicinal herbs, both in the field and in

5 unheated hoophouses. He served for 24 years on the boards of local farmers’ markets, as a farmer representative on the Southern SARE Administrative Council, and currently serves on the Orange County Food Council and Ag Preservation Board. He has mentored numerous young people who have worked with him and gone on to own and operate their own farms.

 

Atina Diffley, Conference keynote speaker, Organic Farmer-Educator and Activist

Author: Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works

Atina DiffneyAtina Diffley is an organic farmer-educator, activist, and author of the 2013 Minnesota Book Award winner, Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works–a memoir based on Atina’s life running the Gardens of Eagan organic vegetable farm. Her advocacy has addressed the pressures of suburban development, and she successfully led a legal and citizen campaign against the notorious polluters, Koch Industries, to create an Organic Mitigation Plan for organic farms in Minnesota.

 

Molly C. Haviland, Certified Soil Life Consultant, Haviland Earth Regeneration

Author: A Microherder’s Manifesto

Molly-Haviland

 

Joe Hollis, Owner, Mountain Gardens

Joe Hollis

 

Meredith Leigh, Farmer, Butcher, Cook

Author: The Ethical Meat Handbook: A Complete Guide to Home Butchery, Charcuterie, and Cooking for the Conscious Omnivore and Pure Charcuterie: The Craft & Poetry of Curing Meats at Home

Meredith-LeighOver the past 15 years, Meredith Leigh has worked as a farmer, butcher, chef, teacher, non-profit executive director, and writer, all in pursuit of sustainable food. She developed a farmer co-op, founded and catalyzed non-profit ventures, grown vegetables, flowers, and meats, owned and managed a retail butcher shop, and more. She is the author of The Ethical Meat Handbook: A Complete Guide to Home Butchery, Charcuterie, and Cooking for the Conscious Omnivore, and the forthcoming Pure Charcuterie: The Craft & Poetry of Curing Meats at Home. Above all, she is committed to real, good food, as a means to connect with people, animals, and plants, learn new skills, create intentionally, stay inspired, and experience deliciousness.

 

Smithson Mills, Consultant/Executive Director, Blue Ridge Food Ventures

smithson

 

Michael Phillips, Horticulturist, Lost Nation Orchard

Author: The Apple Grower and The Holistic Orchard

MichaelPhillipsMichael Phillips is renowned for helping people grow healthy fruit using herbal protocols. The “community orchard movement” that he helped found at www.GrowOrganicApples.com provides a full immersion into the holistic approach to orcharding. His Lost Nation Orchard is part of a medicinal herb farm in northern New Hampshire. He is the author of The Apple Grower and The Holistic Orchard which recently received Garden Book of the Year honors from the American Horticultural Society. His work has been compared with Sir Albert Howard and J.I. Rodale’s classic books on organic gardening. Michael’s latest, Mycorrhizal Planet:How Fungi and Plants Work Together to Create Dynamic Soils, will rock you!

 

Michael W. Twitty, Culinary Historian, Food Writer, Chef

Author: The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South

Michael TwittyMichael W. Twitty is a culinary historian and food writer from the Washington D.C. area. His first major book, The Cooking Gene, is now out from HarperCollins in 2017.

 

 

 

Ira Wallace, Worker/owner, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Author: The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast

Ira WallaceIra Wallace is a worker/owner of the cooperatively managed Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and a Central Virginia Master Gardener. She serves on the boards of the Organic Seed Alliance, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and the Virginia Association for Biological Farming.. She also writes about heirloom vegetables and seed saving for magazines and blogs including Mother Earth News, Fine Gardening and Southern Exposure. Her book, The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast, is available online and at booksellers everywhere.

 

FULL 2017 SPEAKER LIST

Nazirahk AmenNazirahk Amen

Purple Mountain Organics

Practical Tools for the Farm and Garden

Small Scale Grain Processing Equipment

Nazirahk Amen, ND, L.Ac. is a homeopath, naturopathic physician and oriental medicine practitioner for over 15 years in the Washington DC Metro area and resides in Takoma Park, MD. In addition to a busy medical practice, he manages about 5 acres of orchard and vegetable production. He is the owner of Purple Mountain Organics which offers fine quality tools, growing supplies and sustainable ag services. Dr. Amen is first and foremost a spiritual adherent practicing and refining harmonious living skills for himself and the greater community and is excited to share information and skills gained from this journey.

 

Shorlette Ammons

Center for Environmental Farming Systems

The Power of Relationships: Using Networking to Inspire Action

Shorlette Ammons, is an Eastern NC native (Mount Olive, NC) who comes from a long lineage of farmworkers, cooks and storytellers. She now works at NC A&T State University as Community Food Systems Outreach Coordinator with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems’ (CEFS) where she leads an initiative to address root causes of food insecurity thru the lens of structural racism. Shorlette is a former children’s librarian with a Master’s Degree in Library Science from North Carolina Central University, who has developed her community engagement experience by engaging and working closely with various community-based food systems projects.

 

Pat BattlePatryk Battle

Living Web Farms

Growing Greens in the Heat

Patryk Battle, Living Web Farms’ director, has a long-held dietary/health plan of eating at least one serving of greens every day. To that end, he has been exploring the realm of summer greens for decades. He uses his extensive background in foodservice, to ensure that he can not only grow and harvest abundant crops of greens in the heat of summer but also bring them to the table in the forms that satisfy and delight.

 

Thomas Beckett

Carolina Common Enterprise

Food and Farm Co-ops and Collaborations

Thomas A. Beckett. Executive Director Beckett has for most of his career worked as an attorney serving the needs of small and startup businesses. He also provides business & legal education and guidance to cooperatives throughout North Carolina and the South. He has completed and is certified by the CooperationWorks! Cooperative Business Development Training Program. Beckett is also certified to present the FastTrac TechVenture program, the Kauffman Foundation’s entrepreneurial training curriculum. He has significant experience working with agriculture enterprises in the region, including cooperatives, quasi-cooperatives, and nonprofits as well as working farmers. He is currently on the Board of Directors of Shared Capital Cooperative Development Fund. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University and earned his law degree and later an MBA at the University of North Carolina.

 

Margaret Bloomquist

North Carolina State University

Forest Farming for Beginners

Margaret Bloomquist is a Research Assistant with the Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University, at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River. She has been working in Dr. Jeanine Davis’ Alternative Crops and Organics Program for five years, primarily with medicinal herbs, organic vegetables, the Eastern broccoli project, and other specialty crops. Margaret received a BS in sustainable agriculture and rural community development from the University of British Columbia and University of Minnesota; a Masters Certificate in Rural Development and Project Management from Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Makerere University. She is constantly continuing education and wisdom through her research positions and personal interests; including topics in soil ecology, plant medicine, marketing, regulations, organic agriculture, homeopathy, communication, education, and more.

 

Megan Bolejack

Care Share Health Alliance

The Power of Relationships: Using Networking to Inspire Action

Megan Bolejack serves as the Program Coordinator for Care Share Health Alliance. She provides technical assistance and facilitation to the Collaborative Networks and collective impact initiatives across the state. Megan collects and disseminates best practices, organizes webinars and trainings, and supports communication and technology for Care Share. As part of the Community Food Strategies team, she works on network development, training, and technical assistance for food councils. Megan received her BA in Psychology and Sociology from UNC- Charlotte and her Masters of Public Health from UNC- Greensboro.

 

becky bowenBecky Bowen

NC Cooperative Extension

Food and Farm Co-ops and Collaborations

Becky Bowen is the Program Manager of CultivateNC, a new program in community economic development at the NC Cooperative Extension Service at NC State University. She is a (recovering) attorney licensed in North Carolina, North Dakota, and Minnesota and also is the co-founder of Carolina Common Enterprise, a non-profit development center that serves rural and under-served communities statewide that are seeking to develop cooperative and mutually-owned enterprises. She currently serves on CCE’s Board of Directors.

Becky has extensive experience in low-resourced community development and has facilitated USDA’s Stronger Economies Together economic development initiative in four multi-county regions in North Carolina. She chairs the Economic Impacts Workgroup of North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s Local Foods Program Team. She supports the concept of “collaborative farming” as a means to strengthen small-scale agriculture and celebrates the growing interest in the cooperative economy.

 

Richard Boylan

NC Cooperative Extension

Organic Pest Management

Richard Boylan has worked as an Area Extension Agent with growers in the area of the New River Headwaters (primarily Ashe and Watauga Counties) to grow opportunities for diversified and sustainable agriculture since 2001. He focuses on one-on-one work with local farmers to begin or expand organic vegetable production, low-input fruit production, gourmet mushroom cultivation, medicinal-herb production, and other innovative cropping and marketing strategies. Prior to beginning work with NC Cooperative Extension, Richard earned a B.S. in Environmental Science from Antioch College, and an M.S. in Environmental Science from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 1997, and a Permaculture Design Certificate from Island Mountain Institute in 1999. He led the 1994 Antioch College Environmental Field Program and worked as Project Coordinator for Ocean Arks International from 1997-1998, and managed the 220 acre edible/medicinal/wild/Permaculture landscape of Heartwood Institute from 1999-2000. He presently lives and farms in Todd, NC.

 

Heron Breen

FEDCO SEEDS

Why Does Organic Seed Matter and What Regulatory Changes Are Upon Us?

Heron Breen has worked for Fedco Seeds for 18 years and is a lifelong resident of Maine. Born to back-to-the land homesteaders, he practices “balance” with a full time position at Fedco and farming. His professional life is focused on vegetable trialing, GMO testing, plant diseases, and in-house operations. His personal farm is the place where he grows produce and ideas as well as where more plant breeding and seed production fills the fields.

 

Dan Campeau

NC State Cooperative Extension

Forage Management for the Small Poultry Flock Owner

 

Allen Cannedy

NCSU Vat School, Small Ruminant and Camelid Mobile Veterinary Services

Small Ruminant Herd Health

Dr. Allen L. Cannedy is a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia. He earned an Associate degree in Arts and Science from Germanna Community College, Bachelor of Science from Virginia State University and Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine. He did a Rotating Large Animal Internship at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine and a Ruminant Production Medicine Residency at North Carolina State University- College of Veterinary Medicine (NCSU-CVM). Dr. Cannedy was a ruminant group faculty member at NCSU-CVM as a Clinical Assistant Professor from 1997 to 2000 until became the Director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs for the College of Veterinary Medicine. His primary duty as the veterinary college diversity director is to promote veterinary professional careers to underrepresented minority groups. He also owns and operates the small ruminant and camelid mobile veterinary private practice that specializes in care for Llamas, Alpacas, Goats and Sheep.

 

jaredJared Cates

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

The Power of Relationships: Using Networking to Inspire Action

Jared Cates holds a Masters of Social Work degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and has worked in community-based organizations in NC for over a decade. Since joining CFSA in 2011, his work on the Policy Team has focused on organizing and mobilizing community members around critical public policy issues related to food and agriculture. He is also an inter-organizational member of the Community Food Strategies team where he supports the growing network of food councils across the Carolinas. Jared spends a lot of his personal time in his yard in Hillsborough, NC with his garden and his ducks.

 

Brian Chatham

High Mountain Farms

Making Good Bread: Growing, Milling and Baking for Artisanal Breads

Brian Chatham’s diversified farming operations cover 950 acres across more than 35 locations. He employs no-till and cover crops to build soil health and fertility for crops like barley, red fife wheat, flint corn and conventional corn and soybeans. Wildlife habitat is consistent along field margins, field median buffers and riparian buffers. Brian’s niche grain markets include organic and organic transition production for grist mills, local bakeries, distilleries and brewers. He also sells to conventional larger scale markets such as local poultry feed mills that pay a premium for corn and soybeans. Pumpkins, winter squash, gourds and Indian corn are the base for brisk direct-to-consumer fall sales at a roadside stand. He operates in 5 farmers markets and services 10 local daycare centers with fresh, local produce. His fresh produce can be found in numerous restaurants and bakeries throughout the area.

 

Lea Clayton

Greenheart Community Supported Apothecary

Farming with Medicinal Herbs

Lea Clayton is a Community Herbalist and a NC licensed bodywork and massage therapist with a private practice in Saxapahaw, NC since 2004. As a community herbalist she both consults individually with folks and offers group classes in botanical medicine. She grows and wildcrafts herbs, makes medicine and maintains a small (but awesome!) apothecary at RiverSong Farm, her home in Saxapahaw. She also owns and operates GreenHeart Community Supported Apothecary (CSA) for Children and Families. It is her joy and honor to connect others with healing plants, our green allies.

 

Gerry Cohn

CROPP Cooperative / Organic Valley

Letting Your Cows Do the Work: Managing Intensive Rotational Grazing for Dairy and Beef Farmers

Gerry Cohn is the Southeast Regional Pool Manager with CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley, the largest organic farmer-owned cooperative in North America. He lives in Durham and serves as the primary liaison between CROPP and the 25 farmer members in the Southeast, providing technical assistance in grazing and forages, milk production, animal health, and business planning issues.

 

Leah Cook

Wild Hare Farm

Planning and Planting for a Continuous Harvest of Flowers

 

tradd cotterTradd Cotter

Mushroom Mountain

Mushrooms, Molds and Mycorrhizae

Tradd Cotter is a microbiologist, professional mycologist, and organic gardener, who has been tissue culturing, collecting, and cultivating native fungi in the Southeast – both commercially and experimentally – for more than twenty-three years. He has recently published Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, a comprehensive guide to cultivating and using mushrooms at home or on the farm. In 1996, he founded Mushroom Mountain, which he owns and operates with his wife, Olga, in order to explore the many applications for mushrooms in various industries. Today, Mushroom Mountain has expanded to a 50,000 square foot building used for cultivation, mycoremediation, and medicinal research projects. The laboratory has been constructed to EPA and FDA standards and houses more than 200 species of fungi, most of them native isolates from the Eastern United States. His primary interest is in low-tech and no-tech cultivation strategies so that anyone can grow mushrooms on just about anything, anywhere in the world.

 

Sam Crisp

Piedmont Progressive Farmers Group

Sam Crisp is a retired supplier quality engineer from Diebold Inc. specialization quality system auditing lean manufacturing in six sigma practice. He graduated from NC A & T State University and is also an Army veteran.

 

Jeanine Davis pictureJeanine Davis, PhD

North Carolina State University

Forest Farming for Beginners

Dr. Jeanine Davis is an associate professor and extension specialist in the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University. She is located at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension near Asheville. For over 25 years, her program has helped farmers improve the profitability of their farms by growing new crops, transitioning to organic agriculture, and adopting more sustainable practices. Subjects of her research include ginseng, ramps, hops, truffles, medicinal herbs, stevia, garlic, organic vegetables, industrial hemp, and biodynamics, to name just a few. She has published over 120 peer reviewed publications and given over 500 invited presentations in the U.S., Canada, and Chile. She is also the lead author on the book “Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals”. She is a founding board member of the Organic Growers School and an advisor for the NC Herb Association, the NC Tomato Growers Association, and the NC Natural Products Association.

 

Pam DawlingPam Dawling

Author/Twin Oaks Community

Year Round Hoop House Production

Pam Dawling is the author of Sustainable Market Farming: Intensive Vegetable Production on a Few Acres. She is also a contributing editor with Growing for Market magazine. An avid vegetable grower for over 40 years, she has lived at Twin Oaks Community in central Virginia for 25 years, growing vegetables and berries for 100 people on 3.5 acres, and providing training for members in sustainable vegetable production.

 

KenDawson (1)Ken Dawson

Maple Spring Gardens

Selling at Farmers Markets

Ken Dawson, with his wife, Libby Outlaw, and daughter, Sunshine Dawson, own and operate Maple Spring Gardens in Cedar Grove, NC. Ken has grown vegetables by organic methods since 1972 and farmed full time since 1984. In addition to selling at farmers’ markets, Maple Spring Gardens has a 150+ member CSA. They produce a wide range of vegetables, small fruits, and culinary and medicinal herbs.

Sunshine Dawson

Blissful Sunshine Botanicals

Farming with Medicinal Herbs

Sunshine Dawson, is a trained Skin Care Specialist, Yoga Instructor, Massage Therapist, Herbalist and avid believer of Natural Healing. Through her company, Blissful Sunshine Botanicals, she sells an extensive line of natural products that she makes. For 3 years, she volunteered at the Sonoma County Herb Exchange, a non-profit collective of medicinal plant growers. As her knowledge of plants grows, she continues to provide more of the herbs she uses in her products. She now grows a large variety of medicinal plants on her family farm, in Cedar Grove, NC

 

Mark DempseyMark Dempsey

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Organic No-till Production and Soil Health

Organic Pest Management

Mark Dempsey is Carolina Farm Stewardship Associations (CFSA) Farm Services Coordinator, working with farmers to help them transition to organic production and implement conservation practices on-farm. Mark worked for years as a researcher studying soil microbiology, organic no-till, and weed management, and is happy to now serve farmers more directly at CFSA.

 

Suzanna Denison

North Carolina State University

FarmLink Programs: Creating Farmland Access Opportunities in the Southeast

Suzanna Denison is the director of the Western North Carolina (WNC) FarmLink program, which is a partnership facilitating successful relationships between farmers looking for land to farm, and land owners aspiring to keep their farm and forest land in agriculture. In partnership with NC FarmLink, WNC FarmLink maintains databases of both available farmland and farmers looking for land and works with landowners and farmers to ensure an appropriate and lasting match is made.

 

Atina DiffneyAtina Diffley – KEYNOTE

Organic Farmer/Activist/Public Speaker/Author

Farm Identified Marketing: Tell Your Farm’s Story

Atina Diffley is an organic farmer-educator, activist, and author of the 2013 Minnesota Book Award winner, Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works–a memoir based on Atina’s life running the Gardens of Eagan organic vegetable farm. Her advocacy has addressed the pressures of suburban development, and she successfully led a legal and citizen campaign against the notorious polluters, Koch Industries, to create an Organic Mitigation Plan for organic farms in Minnesota.

 

Rebecca Dunning

NC Growing Together

Food and Farm Co-ops and Collaborations

Rebecca Dunning is a research assistant professor at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) at North Carolina State University and specializes in the social and economic aspects of food systems and food supply chains. She manages the North Carolina Growing Together project (NCGT, ncgrowingtogether.org), a 5-year (2013-2017) USDA-funded initiative to link small and mid-scale producers of produce, meat, dairy, and seafood into grocery and food service supply chains, and is PI and project manager on UFoods, a 2-year (2016-2017) initiative to integrate local food and agriculture into university campus communities. Rebecca also works with FoodLINC, a new USDA value chain coordination initiative. Local food value chains are about building value in dollars and cents while preserving environmental and social values. Attend her session if you are interested in learning the strategies that universities, non-profits, and other local food system advocates are using to: identify and act on value chain opportunities, find engaged partners, and connect businesses and support organizations to build chains that produce both business success and social benefit.

 

Emily Edmonds

Center for Environmental Farming Systems

How to Create a Realistic 3-Year Business Plan to Take Your Farm to The Next Level

Emily Edmonds currently serves as the NC Growing Together Project Extension and Outreach Program Manager. She holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BA in Social Policy from Western Carolina University. Her professional background includes roles in economic development, planning, small business development, and food systems with a number of projects across the East Coast. She is a native of Western North Carolina and lives in the Triangle with her family.

 

Tony Foster

Piedmont Progressive Farmers Group

Tony Foster is a Retired Lieutenant Colonel and paratrooper assigned to the 18th Airborne Corp at Fort Bragg, NC. Tony holds a BS and MS degree from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University.

 

Fussy Gourmet farm manager, Davon Goodwin, hand prunes acres and acres of grapes. Photo by Lari Powell HatleyDavon Goodwin

OTL Farm/Sandhills Farm to Table Cooperative

Food and Farm Co-ops and Collaborations

Davon Goodwin grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, where he studied biology with a concentration in botany. While in college, Davon enlisted in the Army Reserve and served in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he earned a Purple Heart after he was wounded by an improvised explosive device (IED). Since 2013 Davon has been immersed in sustainable agriculture. Davon is also a board member of the National Young Farmers Coalition, where is works to strength access for young farmers. Currently, Davon owns and operates OTL Farms, where he grows muscadine grapes and raises heritage livestock.

 

Michael Graves

Piedmont Progressive Farmers Group

Michael Graves is a retired cigarette manufacturer, community development planner and financer. He is presently a chicken and cattle farmer. Graduated from Appalachian State University and has a MS degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.

 

Sanjun Gu

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NCA&T)

Organic Strawberry Production with Low and High Tunnels

Dr. Sanjun Gu is an Extension Horticulture Specialist and SARE Coordinator at the Cooperative Extension Program of N.C. A&T State University. He conducts demonstration and applied research projects related to sustainable agriculture with a focus on season extension using high tunnels. He currently works with winter greens, tomato, cucumber, eggplant, ginger, strawberry, goldenseal and black cohosh.

 

Sarah Hackney

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Fixing the Food & Farm System: Can the Farm Bill Help?

Sarah Hackney works with NSAC’s member organizations and allies to empower and mobilize grassroots food and farm voices nationwide. She staffs NSAC’s Grassroots Council and facilitates its work developing grassroots advocacy campaigns. Raised in rural Florida, her prior work has included community-led efforts to improve small farm viability, increase fresh food access, and build leadership in rural communities in the Pacific Northwest. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College.

 

Nick Harper

BODHI Land and Design/Braeburn Farm

Agroforestry Applied: Lessons Learned from Ten Years of Broad-Acre Permaculture Experience in Piedmont North Carolina

Nick Harper provides consulting and design services through BODHI Land and Design, LLC — a collective focused on integrating regenerative-based agriculture with engineering, architecture, and land development. Nick spent most of his career as a city forester in Missouri before returning to NC to take over management of a 500 acre grass-fed cattle farm in the process of transitioning into more of an agroforestry model.

 

Carrie Harvey

Harvey Hills Farm & Vance Granville Community College

How to Create a Realistic 3-Year Business Plan to Take Your Farm to The Next Level

Carrie Harvey has been the owner of Harvey Hills Farm, LLC since 2012. She attends East Carolina University where she is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Business Education. Carrie works as a contractor for the Small Business Center at Vance Granville Community College where she has been instructing the NC Real Agricultural Entrepreneurship Seminar since 2014. She sits on the Advisory Board for the Vance County Regional Farmers Market and also sits on the Advisory Committee for the Small Business Center at VGCC. She has also been the Granville County Cattlemen’s Association Secretary since 2015. Carrie is a member of CFSA as well as the NC Agritourism Networking Association. Carrie will be instructing two more scheduled NC Real Ag Seminars this fall as well as expanding her instruction to a new marketing series geared towards agriculture business’ that the SBC at VGCC is offering.

 

Molly-HavilandMolly Haviland

Haviland Earth Regeneration

The Art of Microherding- Below Ground Diveristy for Above Ground Productivity and Resiliency

Molly C. Haviland is the founder of Haviland Earth Regeneration, LLC (HER), a Soil building company. In 2012, she gained her BS in Sustainable Living with a focus in The Living Soil. Under the mentorship of Dr. Elaine Ingham since 2010, Molly has been working with farmers, graziers and compost operations across the globe in engaging regenerative soil practices. She is one of a handful of Certified Soil Life Consultants in the world. Her specialties include training her students to 1) identify soil food web organisms in soils and soil building products through easy and affordable microscope methods, 2) create local soil building products such as living Composts, Compost Extracts and Compost Teas, and 3) successfully integrate living soil products into growing systems. The primary goals of HER are to build living soil as quickly as possible, grow nutrient dense crops, and train people to do this for themselves.

 

Joe HollisJoe Hollis

Mountain Gardens

The Paradise Garden: Creating Your Own Botanical Gardens

Joe Hollis has been developing a botanic garden of useful plants (a permacultural ‘Paradise Garden’) on 3 acres in Yancey Cty. NC, for over 40 years. Specialties include native and oriental medicinal herbs, perennial food plants and useful weeds. Mountain Gardens also incorporates a herb shop, apothecary. nursery and seed business. Since 1980, Mr. Hollis has lectured, consulted and taught workshops in medicinal herb identification, cultivation and processing at Mountain Gardens and at various colleges and conferences in North Carolina. He also teaches 5-8 apprentices annually. The gardens are regularly toured by university and herb school classes. Mountain Gardens sells its seeds, plants and preparations at herb fairs and medicinal herb conferences, and via the internet. He has been an instructor at Daoist Traditions (Asheville, NC) since the school’s founding (2006) teaching classes in Medical Botany and Herbal Preparations.

 

Kiki HubbardKiki Hubbard

Organic Seed Alliance

Why Does Organic Seed Matter and What Regulatory Changes Are Upon Us?

Kristina (Kiki) Hubbard is the director of advocacy and communications for Organic Seed Alliance. Kiki’s worked on seed policy issues in the areas of antitrust, biotechnology, intellectual property, and organic regulation for 15 years. She currently leads efforts to promote policies and actions that support organic seed systems, including managing OSA’s State of Organic Seed project. Kiki lives in Missoula, Montana, with her husband and son.

 

Frank Hyman

Writer/Forager/Instructor/Gardener

Cultivate High-Dollar Alternative Crops for the Chefs Who Covet Wild Foods

Frank Hyman cultivates over a dozen wild edibles for his table. He has a BS in horticulture and design from NCSU where he studied under permaculturist Will Hooker and the late, great Dr. JC Raulston. Frank was an IPM scout and an organic farmer in the 80’s. He has foraged wild edibles with pros in seven states and six countries and makes $200/hour selling wild mushrooms to chefs. He writes the Feral Feast column in Paleo magazine, the Coop Builder column in Chickens magazine, the Container Clever column in Horticulture magazine and wrote the Green Thumb column for Urban Farm and Hobby Farm magazine for seven years. He teaches classes on these topics and more. His book on trouble-free chicken-keeping will be published by Storey Publishing in December 2018. Learn more about Frank’s work at www.frankhyman.com.

 

Lindsay Jacobs, Esq.

Food and Farm Co-ops and Collaborations

Lindsay Jacobs earned her J.D. in 2013, and is licensed to practice law in North and South Carolina. She works with and presented on cooperatives and other legal issues in agriculture for regional and national groups including the South Carolina Organization for Organic Living and the National Young Farmers Coalition. She is in the process of founding a food law program and have been involved in food policy work in Columbia and Greenville, SC. In her spare time, she takes classes at the University of Arkansas Law School’s Ag and Food Law LLM program, including a class on agricultural cooperatives.

 

Shawn Jadrnicek

Wild Hope Farm

Farm Design

Shawn Jadrnicek has nourished his interest in sustainability through work as an organic farmer, nursery grower, extension agent, arborist, and landscaper, and as the manager of Clemson University’s Student Organic Farm. From his earliest permaculture experiments with no-till farming in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California to his highly functional bio-integrated designs in the Southeast, Shawn has learned how to cultivate food in a variety of climates and landscapes. He shares his creative solutions through teaching, consulting, writing and design work and now manages Wild Hope Farm in Chester South Carolina.

 

Jeremiah Jones

North Carolina Natural Hog Growers Association

Food and Farm Co-ops and Collaborations

Jeremiah Jones is a NC hog farmer with multiple agricultural degrees from NCSU. He took over his family farm and invested in pasture based swine production in 2004. After losing a large contract Jeremiah helped form the NC Natural Hog Growers Association—a grower cooperative designed to help collectively market pasture-raised hogs to wholesale buyers. He serves as the Association’s President. Now he manages hogs on 400 acres across 2 farms as well as row crop production for feed. Jeremiah is the proud father of two young girls and is married to Jessica who works full-time as an Environmental Health Specialist.

 

Perry-winkle FarmCathy Jones

Perry-winkle Farm

Planning and Planting for a Continuous Harvest of Flowers

Cathy Jones and her husband Mike Perry, of Perry-winkle Farm, have been farming in northern Chatham County since the mid-1980’s. After purchasing their land from a dairy farmer, they began the process of converting over-worked crop land into a sustainable vegetable operation. Theirs was one of the first farms in Chatham County to be “Certified Organic”; and while they continue to farm organically, they no longer pursue certification. Their vegetables, cut flowers and poultry products are marketed to customers and local chefs at three weekly farmers’ markets (Fearrington Village Farmers’ Market and both Carrboro Farmers’ Markets). Cathy serves on the board of Toxic Free NC- a policy and advocacy organization which fights pesticide pollution in North Carolina.

 

SAC 2014_LeahLeah Joyner

University of Utah

Planning for Agritourism

Leah Joyner is a graduate student at the University of Utah in the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management PhD program. She holds a BA in Sustainable Development and a BS in Technical Photography from Appalachian State University, and a MS in Sustainable Tourism from East Carolina University. She has worked on agritourism development projects throughout the Southeast and internationally and has coauthored several published articles, technical reports and practitioner resources involving food systems, sustainable agriculture, and agritourism planning and marketing. Leah is also a former Education Coordinator for The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association where she worked with CFSA member farms and managed regional farm tours in the Carolina’s for three years.

 

Wes King

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Fixing the Food & Farm System: Can the Farm Bill Help?

Wes King has worked on sustainability and food policy issues for the past 9 years. He staffs NSAC’s Marketing, Food Systems and Rural Development Committee. Wes previously spent six years at NSAC member organization, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, working on food access, farmers markets and working-lands conservation policy; and leading efforts to create a more risk and scale appropriate regulatory environment for farms and local food businesses. Prior to that he worked for the Illinois Environmental Council. Wes holds an M.A. and B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois.

 

Gini Knight

Center for Environmental Farming Systems

The Power of Relationships: Using Networking to Inspire Action

Gini Knight, has managed multiple programs and communications strategies with several nonprofit organizations using private and public-sector partnerships to address conservation and local food system issues. She holds a MS degree in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development, operated an organic vegetable farm, and currently works for the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS). As part of the Community Food Strategies team at CEFS, she manages communications and works with communities to build a growing network of food councils.

 

Angelina Koulizakis-Battiste

Angelina’s Kitchen

Cooking Up Local Mushrooms

Angelina Koulizakis is the Co-Owner of Angelina’s Kitchen, a small farm to fork restaurant and caterer located in Pittsboro, NC. John and Angelina have been committed to promoting and working with local sustainable farms since we started in 2008. Our mission is to use the bounty of amazing local ingredients in simple delicious dishes inspired by our Greek and New Mexican backgrounds.

 

Mike Lanier

Breeze Incubator Farm

Incubator Farm Programs Panel

 

Jennifer Lapidus

Carolina Ground

Making Good Bread: Growing, Milling and Baking for Artisanal Breads

Jennifer Lapidus, from the mid ’90’s to 2008 was owner, operator, and sole baker of Natural Bridge Bakery, producing naturally leavened breads in a wood-fired brick oven. She milled in -house though imported her grains from 1000 miles away. In 2008, when the price of wheat skyrocketed as a result of a rush on commodities in reaction to the housing bubble, Jennifer realized the disconnect between bakers and their most essential ingredient. In January, 2009, she helped launch the North Carolina Organic Bread Flour Project, an initiative of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, that sought to cultivate the interests and infrastructure in a southern food grade grains and flour. In 2012 Carolina Ground was born. Jennifer is founder, GM, and principal of Carolina Ground Flour Mill, a mill dedicated to Southern grown grains and Southern grown bakeries.

 

Laura Lauffer

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

How to Create a Realistic 3-Year Business Plan to Take Your Farm to The Next Level

Laura Lauffer, Local Food and Farms Project Coordinator at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, has worked in sustainable agriculture since 1988, focusing on certification, educational programming and curriculum development. Laura’s current work with NCA&T focuses on statewide analysis of agriculture as economic development and collaboration with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems team providing educational programming to North Carolina farmers and extension staff. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Development/Public Policy from NC State University.

 

meredith leighMeredith Leigh

Author/Butcher

Whole Animal Marketing

Meredith Leigh, over the past 15 years, has worked as a farmer, butcher, chef, teacher, non-profit executive director, and writer, all in pursuit of sustainable food. She developed a farmer co-op, founded and catalyzed non-profit ventures, grown vegetables, flowers, and meats, owned and managed a retail butcher shop, and more. She is the author of The Ethical Meat Handbook: A Complete Guide to Home Butchery, Charcuterie, and Cooking for the Conscious Omnivore, and the forthcoming Pure Charcuterie: The Craft & Poetry of Curing Meats at Home. Above all, she is committed to real, good food, as a means to connect with people, animals, and plants, learn new skills, create intentionally, stay inspired, and experience deliciousness.

 

Jan Leitschuh

Sandhills Farm to Table Cooperative

Food and Farm Co-ops and Collaborations

Jeremiah Jones is a NC hog farmer with multiple agricultural degrees from NCSU. He took over his family farm and invested in pasture based swine production in 2004. After losing a large contract Jeremiah helped form the NC Natural Hog Growers Association—a grower cooperative designed to help collectively market pasture-raised hogs to wholesale buyers. He serves as the Association’s President. Now he manages hogs on 400 acres across 2 farms as well as row crop production for feed. Jeremiah is the proud father of two young girls and is married to Jessica who works full-time as an Environmental Health Specialist.

 

Chris Link

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy

Incubator Farm Programs Panel

Chris Link manages the operations on the Community Farm, working to grow the infrastructure and the Beginning Farmer Incubator Program. Originally from the eastern shore of Maryland, he holds a degree in planning & landscape architecture from Clemson University. Previously, Chris farmed on a year-round CSA community land trust farm in New England and a small, bio-intensive farm in Bostic, NC.

 

Eliza MacLean

Cane Creek Farms

Lessons Learned During 15 Years as a Heritage Hog Farmer

 

Aaron MacLeod

Hartwick College

Tapping into the Craft Beer Market: Growing Malting Barley

Aaron MacLeod has been involved with malting and brewing quality testing and research for over 10 years and is currently the Director of the Hartwick College Center for Craft Food and Beverage. The Center provides quality testing for beer and brewing raw materials such as barley, malt and hops. Aaron previously worked in the Canadian Grain Commission’s Grain Research Laboratory where he provided quality assurance for malting barley grown in western Canada and conducted research on factors affecting malting barley quality and quality measurement methods. Aaron is also a member of the Technical Committee of the American Society of Brewing Chemists and presents frequently on topics related to malting and brewing science and quality testing methods.

 

Scott Marlow

RAFI

Whole Farm Revenue Planning

 

Patrick Mateer

Seal the Seasons

Eliminating Barriers to Scaling Up Family Farms

Patrick Mateer is founder and CEO of Seal the Seasons. He enjoys nothing more than produce mixed with politics. Patrick launched Seal the Seasons to support local farmers and find a sustainable way to make healthy food available to all. Since launching in 2015, Seal the Seasons has grown to serve over 800 retail locations including Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, and Sprouts. In the community, he serves as treasurer of the Immigrant and Refugee Community Partnership. In his free time, Patrick loves to hike, ride motorcycles, and is trying to learn to make everything he eats from scratch.

 

Jon McDonald

Weaver Street Market

Making Good Bread: Growing, Milling and Baking for Artisanal Breads

Jon McDonald manages the bread bakery at Weaver Street Market, a community-owned co-op grocery store in Orange County. His team processes about 2000 pounds of dough a day to supply three retail locations and multiple wholesale accounts. Jon also serves as a worker-owner representative on the co-op’s board of directors. He is also involved with local community organizing efforts and his church. In his free time Jon cooks, paints, and plays ultimate frisbee and basketball.

 

Claire McLendon

Seal the Seasons

Eliminating Barriers to Scaling Up Family Farms

Claire McLendon has been passionate about local agriculture since she was a little girl picking mountain blueberries for jam. After studying sustainable development at Appalachian State University – where she put in many hours hand-irrigating squash and tomatoes on the school farm – she interned with the Farmworker Health Program of Watauga and Mitchell Counties. Claire joined Seal the Seasons in the middle of her master’s program in public health at UNC Chapel Hill. She’s passionate about nutritious food, environmental responsibility, and supporting farmers.

 

Charles McNair, Program Manager with Toxic Free NCChuck McNair

Toxic Free NC

Curbing Climate Change and Promoting Community through Soil Regeneration

Charles McNair is a native of eastern NC and grew up in the farming tradition. Commitment to the people of NC living a toxic free life is what drives him. Today, his focus is on organic, non-GMO, sustainable and regenerative Agroecology. He was a farming member of the Wayne Food Initiative and formally employed at a pre-K – 7 charter school, Dillard Academy where he wore many hats, the primary ones being the IT Coordinator and Garden Coordinator and Community Engagement. His endeavors are focused on youth, organizing, and health. He founded Freedom Farm for Dillard Academy, where he raised food to give to needy families, taught youth and others how to grow soil and utilizing local herbs and “weeds” in traditional folk healing. He also assisted others in planting community gardens, including a current project to build gardens at local housing units.

 

Roland McReynoldsRoland McReynolds

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

What To Do If The FSMA Police Show Up

Roland McReynolds, grew up in Columbia, Missouri. His grandma was a longtime subscriber to Organic Gardening, his family raised its own layer and fryer chickens and grew most of its own vegetables, and the family home was surrounded by conventional corn and soybean fields. He 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.

 

KarenKaren McSwain

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Organic Pest Management

Karen McSwain brings ten years of organic farming and teaching experience to the organization. Her practical hands-on experience, combined with a B.S in Crop and Soil Science from Cornell University and an M.S. 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, NC.

 

Walker Miller takes eager farmers on a tour of his farm as part of the Sustainable Agriculture Conference held in Greenville in 2012Walker Miller

The Happy Berry

Implementing a Global Warming Adaptation and Mitigation Plan for Your Piedmont Farm

Walker Miller, is a retired (99) professor of Plant Pathology and Physiology and extension specialist from Clemson University. He is past president of the Local watershed association (FOLKS). He and his wife have served on numerous local boards. Since retirement he says he has been on sabbatical studying farming technology, global warming and how to address the issue. Walker and family were 2014/15 CFSA farmers of the year.

 

Mary BethMary Beth Miller

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Incubator Farm Programs Panel

Mary Beth Miller 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, NC, and WWOOFing in Argentina upon graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill. In 2012, she founded Blue Merle Farm, growing vegetables, mushrooms, cut flowers, and keeping bees in Rougemont, NC. 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. When not on the farm, she especially enjoys painting, rock climbing, and hiking with her husband, Brock, and their two border collies.

 

Steve Moore

Elon University

High tunnel basics: design, performance and management

Steve Moore, is a professor at Elon University where he founded, teaches and directs the Sustainable Food System concentration, and directs the Peace Corps Prep Program. Previously, he was manager of the Small Farm Unit at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at NC State and the past director of the Sustainable Living Center at Wilson College, PA. Steve has been in local and sustainable agriculture for over 40 years, and served on several boards and commissions. He has farmed a variety of enterprises including a 130 cow dairy, 150 member CSA, and has been a pioneer in high tunnel and season extension work. He uses and researches biointensive agriculture and is a certified teacher. He is a Permaculture designer and instructor. He has published peer review articles and been an Associate Editor for Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.

 

Gena MooreGena Moore

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Grafted Heirloom Tomatoes in High Tunnels

Gena Moore is CFSA’s Organic Research Coordinator. Her work includes research on high tunnel production, including a focus on organic tomato production, and providing consulting services for farmers producing in high tunnels. She received a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree 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 while also producing livestock, poultry, and specialty crops.

 

Thomas MooreThomas Moore

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Building On-Farm Infrastructure

Thomas Moore is a North Carolina native. He grew up in Concord, NC and graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill with a BA in Religious Studies and Peace, War, and Defense. Following graduation, he continued his studies in Vancouver, BC 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 lives in Concord, NC with his wife, Rindy, and their two children where they raise backyard chickens, ducks, bees, and grow seasonal vegetables.

 

Lee's Healthy Cooking ClassLee Newlin

Peaceful River Farm

Our Favorite Farm Dinner Creations Straight from the Fields

Lee Newlin is a culinary educator, teaching healthful cooking classes at Peaceful River Farm which often feature local chefs and experts. The Newlin’s grow vegetables, berries, and fruit using sustainable practices, and also host farm dinners. The classes and dinners include a wonderful tour of the farm highlighting sustainable practices. Her interest in building a health driven diet was heightened by a diagnosis 12 years ago of stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She focuses on recipes that are nutritious AND flavorable with creative methods for cooking healthy with confidence. Lee shares her passion by motivating, inspiring, and encouraging participants to broaden and deepen their commitment for optimum well-being.

 

aaron newton b&wAaron Newton

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Farm Design

Incubator Farm Programs Panel

Aaron Newton, the former farm manager at Lomax, is a local food advocate born and raised in Concord, NC. In 2002, he returned to his hometown where he lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their two daughters. His family owns and operates Peachtree Market, a small local foods-focused grocery store in downtown Concord. Aaron is the coauthor of A Nation of Farmers: Defeating the Food Crisis on American Soil from New Society Publishers, 2009. Aaron earned a bachelor degree in Landscape Architecture from the College of Design at North Carolina State University. Aaron raises chickens in his backyard, practices yoga and rides a bike.

 

Stephen Nix

Clemson University

Building On-Farm Infrastructure

Stephen Nix is the Organic Program Coordinator for the Department of Plant Industry at Clemson University where he reviews and inspects certified organic crop, livestock, and processing operations for compliance with the National Organic Program standards. Prior to joining Clemson, Stephen served as the SC Food Systems Coordinator for CFSA and worked with sustainable farms and businesses supporting local food systems. Stephen’s work on small-scale, sustainable farms and at local food businesses brings practical knowledge of postharvest handling and cold-chain management experience to the toolkit and workshop.

 

Charlie Payne

Letting Your Cows Do the Work: Managing Intensive Rotational Grazing for Dairy and Beef Farmers

Charlie Payne operates a certified organic dairy in Harmony in Iredell County. A native New Yorker and graduate of Cornell University, Charlie is a member of Organic Valley’s Pasture Committee, guiding pasture policy and grazing management for the cooperative.

 

Ben PaynterBen Paynter

RAFI

Collaborating For Wholesale: The Piedmont Progressive Farmer Group Creates Economic Opportunity for Disadvantaged Farmers

Ben Paynter serves as Project Manager for the Agricultural Reinvestment Fund overseeing the grants administration and documenting the project. He also provides additional technical assistance and support to farmer grantees involved in the program. Ben has worked with RAFI since 2014, starting first as a volunteer and then as an assistant to the Farm Sustainability program with the Americorps VISTA program. Before working with RAFI, Ben spent time as a farmhand on small scale, diversified farming operations in the Appalachian Mountains as well as in the service industry as a cook. He holds a BS in Sustainable Development, with a concentration in Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture, from Appalachian State University.

 

Preston Peck

Toxic Free NC

Curbing Climate Change and Promoting Community through Soil Regeneration

Preston Peck, is originally from Alabama and has a background deeply rooted in community organizing and grassroots policy development. He offers skills in facilitating informational workshops around a variety of issues and self-advocacy trainings. While at Toxic Free NC, Preston has been deeply involved with environmental health advocacy work at the municipal, state, and national level. He continues to work closely with legislators and community leaders to develop policy that truly reflects the values of all North Carolinians. Preston’s passion for people and the environment stem from his upbringing in rural Alabama and a family history deeply rooted in farming and politics. Preston holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Political Science from Birmingham-Southern College and has a Master’s of Arts in Sustainable Development with a concentration in Policy Advocacy and Methods.

 

MichaelPhillipsMichael Phillips

Author/Lost Nation Orchard

Biological Alchemy: Unlocking the Key to Plant Health through Soil Biology

Michael Phillips is renowned for helping people grow healthy fruit using herbal protocols. The “community orchard movement” that he helped found at www.GrowOrganicApples.com provides a full immersion into the holistic approach to orcharding. His Lost Nation Orchard is part of a medicinal herb farm in northern New Hampshire. He is the author of The Apple Grower and The Holistic Orchard which recently received Garden Book of the Year honors from the American Horticultural Society. His work has been compared with Sir Albert Howard and J.I. Rodale’s classic books on organic gardening. Michael’s latest, Mycorrhizal Planet:How Fungi and Plants Work Together to Create Dynamic Soils, will rock you!

 

Abbey Piner

Center for Environmental Farming Systems

The Power of Relationships: Using Networking to Inspire Action

Abbey Piner has worked at the intersection of food and community development for over 10 years. She brings experience in Public Health and a Masters in Horticulture focused on urban agriculture and community engaged design to the work of building community-based food systems. Abbey has been housed at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems since 2013, and currently leads the multi-organization Community Food Strategies project team, which aims to develop and network local food councils across NC to increase the voice of local communities in influencing food systems change.

 

Matt Poore

NCSU

Letting Your Cows Do the Work: Managing Intensive Rotational Grazing for Dairy and Beef Farmers

Dr. Matt Poore is a Professor & Extension Ruminant Nutrition Specialist in the Department of Animal Science at NCSU. He is the CEFS Pasture-Based Beef Unit Coordinator and Amazing Grazing Program Director.

 

Evan Quirk-Garvan

Money With a Mission/Natural Investments

How to Afford Retirement: A Guide for Farmers

Evan Quirk-Garvan is a financial advisor with Money With A Mission/ Natural Investments, helping people connect their values to their financial life. He graduated from Appalachian State University in 2011 with a degree in Sustainable Development, and has spent time in forestry, agriculture and finance. He currently gardens his 1/5 acre yard, enjoys running in the mountains, and working for social justice through economic education and empowerment.

 

Karen mcadams and noah rannells at PFT 15 PotluckNoah Ranells

Fickle Creek Farm/Farm Better Now

Growing Great Farm Team Members

Noah Ranells, has worked in a variety of ways to strengthen farm to fork local food systems in NC. With academic training in livestock production and agronomy, he has worked as an extension specialist, a river basin coordinator, a municipal environmental planner, and an ag economic development coordinator focused on farm and food incubators. His efforts yielded The Breeze Farm Incubator, the Piedmont Food & Ag Processing Center, NCFarmLink.org, and PiedmontGrown.org. Currently, he manages Fickle Creek Farm in Efland, which produces 100% grass fed beef, lamb, and mutton; free range and pasture raised pork, chicken, and turkeys; eggs from pastured hens and ducks; and never sprayed produce!

 

kris-headshot-2Kris Reid

Piedmont Culinary Guild

Preserve the Flavor to Eat Local Year-Round

Kris Reid is the co- founder and executive director of Piedmont Culinary Guild, a 501 c3, and a HACCP writer. Formally an executive chef, Kris is a graduate of Johnson & Wales with an Associates in Culinary Arts and a BS in Food Service Management. Kris has been a local foods advocate in North Carolina for the past 10 years and works to connect chefs and farmers through Piedmont Culinary Guild, as well as provides food safety plans through her partnered consultancy HACCP RAMPS, LLC to chefs as a way to help them extend the season and legally sell their products to the market.

 

Johnny Rogers

Rogers Cattle Company

Letting Your Cows Do the Work: Managing Intensive Rotational Grazing for Dairy and Beef Farmers

Johnny Rogers is the coordinator of Amazing Grazing, which is the Center for Environmental Farming System’s statewide educational initiative that helps producers understand the benefits and management of pasture-based livestock systems. Rogers has a MS from NCSU in Animal Science. He is the owner of Rogers Cattle Company in Roxboro, where he raises beef cattle, pigs, and sheep on pasture, as well as Angus seed stock.

 

BrianRosaBrian Rosa

BE New Organic World LLC

Composting: On-Farm Residuals Management

Brian Rosa is an expert in the field of composting. As the owner/consultant for BE New Organic World LLC, an organic waste and resource auditing and solutions company he designs and installs commercial compost and vermi-compost equipment. His past work was with the NC Department of Environment as an organic recycling specialist as well as owning a waste reduction and compost service in MI. Brian is also a NC Master Composter and Master Gardener as well as serving on the MI and NC Compost Council.

 

Beth Rota

Quality Certification Services

Why Does Organic Seed Matter and What Regulatory Changes Are Upon Us?

Beth Rota is the Policy and Quality Assurance Manager at Quality Certification Services (QCS), a leading USDA accredited organic certifier in the Southeast. With over 10 years of organic certification experience, Beth hopes to help you better understand required organic seed procurement practices and recordkeeping for compliance with the USDA Organic Regulations. Prior to her current position at QCS, Beth has worked as an organic certification reviewer and materials specialist; and has inspected a diverse array of organic operations across the US and internationally. Beth holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana. In her free time, Beth can be found in her garden or exploring the outdoors in Morgantown, West Virginia where she lives with her husband and two children.

 

Suki Roth

Herb Haven

Farming with Medicinal Herbs

Suki Roth has been a student of the plants for the last 22 years. She is the founder and creator of Herb Haven, a vibrant teaching garden located in the Haw River Valley of the Piedmont NC. The garden is dedicated to the education, growth, and preservation of medicinal herbs. Suki is involved in the entire process of the production of her herbal products, planting, harvesting, formulating and packaging. Suki is a community herbalist who serves as educator, plant guide and herbal medicine consultant. Her life’s passion is sharing her intuitive wisdom, knowledge of the plants and personal guidance with the wider community.

 

Nikki Seibert KelleyNikki Seibert Kelley

Wit Meets Grit

Growing Great Farm Team Members

Nikki Seibert Kelley is a local food systems leader and educator passionate about empowering farmers and food-based non-profits through her company Wit Meets Grit. Over the last seven years, she has developed curriculum based farmer training programming, trained 142 aspiring farmers, launched South Carolina’s first incubator farm “Dirt Works’, mentored 18 students on collegiate food system projects, and coordinated 40 farmer workshops. Her experience working as a farm apprentice, mentor, and apprenticeship manager provide her with unique insight to new farmer programming. Mrs. Kelley is also an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston, serves on the board of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, the SC Food Policy Council, the Green Hearts Project, and the Charleston County Farm Bureau.

 

Adrienne Shelton

Vitalis Organic Seed

Why Does Organic Seed Matter and What Regulatory Changes Are Upon Us?

Adrienne Shelton is the Northeast Organic Product Specialist for Vitalis Organic Seeds. She earned a master’s degree in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics and a doctorate in Environment and Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research included plant breeding for organic farming systems and intellectual property rights for public cultivars. Adrienne is proud to have participated in the breeding and release of Who Gets Kissed?, an open-pollinated sweet corn bred for and with organic farmers. She helped to organize the first Student Organic Seed Symposium in Vermont in 2012, and has been actively involved with the group ever since. Adrienne serves on the board of directors for the Organic Seed Alliance, and has been engaged with the organic farming movement as a farmer, organizer, seed saver, and researcher for 15 years.

 

Chris Smith

Sow True Seed

Get Multiple Yields from a Single Crop with Annuals

Chris Smith is an enthusiastic grower and permaculture student from a green-thumbed family. As Community Coordinator for Sow True Seed, Chris has launched himself into the world of seed and seed saving since moving to America. On his ½ acre homestead, Chris is experimenting with landraces, selective seed saving, crop trials and seed grow outs. He loves the story of seed and is active in promoting good quality, regionally adapted open-pollinated seed.

Laura StewartLaura Stewart

Haw River Mushrooms

Cooking Up Local Mushrooms

Laura Stewart is the Co-Owner of Haw River Mushrooms, a Saxapahaw, NC based mushroom farm that grows oyster, shiitake, lions mane, king oyster and chestnut mushrooms.

 

Joe Tedrow

Split Acre Farm

Incubator Farm Programs Panel

 

PTrippTrish Tripp

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Post Harvest Physiology and Product Specification

Trish Tripp 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 Bachelors of Science Degree 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.

 

OkfuskeeFarm1Bobby Tucker

BODHI Land and Design/Okfuskee Farm

Agroforestry Applied: Lessons Learned from Ten Years of Broad-Acre Permaculture Experience in Piedmont North Carolina

Bobby Tucker provides consulting and design services through BODHI Land and Design, LLC — a collective focused on integrating regenerative-based agriculture with engineering, architecture, and land development. Bobby is a licensed engineer and as has worked the past ten years both as a consultant with Tetra Tech and owner/operator of Okfuskee Farm in Silk Hope, NC.

 

Michael TwittyMichael Twitty

Author/Historian/Chef

Collards: Exploring a Rich Southern Culinary and Garden Tradition

Michael W. Twitty is a culinary historian and food writer from the Washington D.C. area. His first major book, The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South, is now out from HarperCollins in 2017.

Russ Vollmer

Russ Vollmer

Vollmer Farm

Blueberry Field Production and Practices

 

Patrick Wagner

Greenville Tech

Hash, Bog and Stew: How Carolina Food Defines and Divides Us

Chef Patrick Wagner has spent over 29 years in the culinary arts field, working as pastry chef, executive chef, roundsman chef, and cook. He started at Greenville Tech, earning an associate degree in Food Service Management and later earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition from Winthrop University. A chef instructor with Greenville Tech’s Culinary Institute of the Carolinas specializing in ethnic cuisine, he returned to the classroom as a chef instructor, sharing his expertise in areas including contemporary cuisine and Asian foods. He is also on the board for CFSA.

 

Tahz Walker

RAFI

Collaborating For Wholesale: The Piedmont Progressive Farmer Group Creates Economic Opportunity for Disadvantaged Farmers

Tahz Walker serves as a program manager that engages the faith community in identifying and supporting initiatives that relieve hunger and sustain local agriculture. He has spent the last 14 years working on small organic farms, and community-based food projects in North Carolina, Georgia, and Kentucky. Tahz has witnessed a dramatic shift in cultural food traditions as well as access to healthy food choices in many urban and rural communities that he has lived in. This has fueled his ongoing commitment to food sovereignty and agroecology.

 

Ira WallaceIra Wallace

Author/Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Collards: Exploring a Rich Southern Culinary and Garden Tradition

Ira Wallace is a worker/owner of the cooperatively managed Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and a Central Virginia Master Gardener. She serves on the boards of the Organic Seed Alliance, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and the Virginia Association for Biological Farming. She also writes about heirloom vegetables and seed saving for magazines and blogs including Mother Earth News, Fine Gardening and Southern Exposure. Her book, The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast, is available online and at booksellers everywhere.

 

John Warren

John Warren

Spade and Clover Gardens

Exotic Roots: Cultivation, Propagation and Handling

John Warren has been farming ginger, turmeric, galangal, and taro for 5 years. He sells these products at wholesale and retail outlets from his ½ acre production. John studied turmeric and ginger operations while on site in Hawaii, adapting the traditional growth patterns to the South Carolina lowcountry. His primary interest as a farmer is in any crop that grows well in our climate regardless of culinary pickiness.

 

Brian Wheat

Lowcountry Local First

Finding and Navigating Farm Mentorship and Apprenticeship Experiences

Brian Wheat, Director of Sustainable Agriculture Lowcountry Local First, has served as trainer and facilitator of the Growing New Farmers Program and has helped educate and graduate aspiring farmers, apprentices, and food system leaders in to the Lowcountry. Brian has also served as a continuing education instructor through Trident Technical College, in Charleston, SC. Wheat was raised in agriculture in Western New York, later studied Botany at SUNY Oswego and The University of Tasmania, received his Ed.M. at the University of Buffalo, New York, and taught biology and food science in Minneapolis, MN where he established an extensive schoolyard farming program.

 

Kent Williamson

Piedmont Progressive Farmers Group

Kent Williamson is a retired Commodities and Service Technician for Duke Energy, Caswell County Commissioner and farmer. Graduated from A & T State University with BS in Industrial Technology.

 

Norman Wirzba, PhD

Duke University

Commodity or Gift? Communicating the Meaning of Food

Dr. Norman Wirzba is a Professor of Theology, Ecology, and Agrarian Studies at Duke, and a Senior Fellow at Duke’s Kenan Institute for Ethics. He has written widely in the areas of theology, philosophy, ecology, and agrarian studies. His books include Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating, Making Peace with the Land (with Fred Bahnson), From Nature to Creation, and has edited The Essential Agrarian Reader: The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land and The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Writings of Wendell Berry. He is also the General Editor of the book series “Culture of the Land: A Series in the New Agrarianism” published by the University Press of Kentucky. When not teaching or writing, Norman likes to travel, garden, play guitar, make things with wood, and cook and eat.

 

Sebastian Wolfrum

Epiphany Craft Malt

Tapping into the Craft Beer Market: Growing Malting Barley

Sebastian Wolfrum is the founder and maltster of Epiphany Craft Malt in Durham, NC, to provide an integrated regional supply to brewers, distillers, and other sprouted grain ventures. Born and raised in Germany, he earned his certification as a brewer & maltster with the Ayinger Brewery outside of Munich from 1997 to 1999. Continuing his brewing career in the U.S., from 2006-2013 Sebastian was Director of Brewing Operations for the second largest craft brewery in North Carolina. As a founding member of the NC Craft Brewers Guild in 2008, he continues to be very involved in the affairs of the small brewers in the region. In 2012, he added a certificate in distilling from IBD, London. Sebastian has joined Capitol Broadcasting Company in 2014 as the executive brewmaster for the Brewmill at Rocky Mount Mills & Bull Durham Beer Co.

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