OSU Small Farms Conference – February 18th

Nick Andrews, OSU Organic Vegetable Extension – Nick is an associate professor of practice in the Center for Small Farms & Community Food Systems. He focuses on organic vegetable production, cover crops, nutrient management and pest management.

Melina Barker, Oregon Farm to School & School Garden Network – Melina Barker is Director of the Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network. She was previously involved as the Program Director for Rogue Valley Farm to School in Southern Oregon for 12 years.

Jon Bansen, Double J Jerseys, Inc. – Jon owns and operates Double J Jerseys near Monmouth with his family. They raise high quality pasture for their dairy cows and are active members of the Organic Valley farmer cooperative.

Rica Bryan (they/she), Rock Steady Farm – is Harvest Manager/CSA Coordinator and one of 4 worker-owners at Rock Steady Farm, a queer cooperatively-owned and operated farm rooted in social justice, food access and farmer training located in Millerton, New York on land of the Schaghticoke First Nations and Mohican peoples. They are a graduate of Farm School NYC and formerly worked with a number of food access related projects in New York City including Community Access, GrowNYC, and Farmers’ Markets for Kids. 

Rich Butler, Verdant Hills Farm – with his husband where they raise grass-fed  beef on pasture for direct sale to their valued customers who know them and their farm. They farm regeneratively using better-than-organic principles to produce high quality grasses, legumes and forbs to feed their cattle. The small herd size is limited to what the land can support. Cattle are born, raised, and slaughtered on farm and always treated with the highest respect.

Diane Choplin raises rotationally grazed lamb and pastured eggs for direct sale on her five-acre farm in Ashland, Oregon. She began farming in earnest in 2012 and has taken advantage of nearly every livestock, soil, and pasture class offered locally. “My learning curve,” she says, “has been a precipitous climb, El Capitan, for its challenge and stunning views. I’m no expert, but I’ve learned a ton and am happy to share.” In 2022 she teamed up with Shayan Ghajar to test drought and heat resistant forages. One of many strategies she’s using to combat drought. Find her online at dianechoplin.com and @belavenirfarm on instagram.

Sydney DeLuna, Oregon Food Hub Network – is a community food system consultant with experience developing large and complex kitchen and food warehousing facilities including a working urban food hub, The Redd. She works on both producer and buyer sides of local agriculture and is the Oregon Food Hub Network Coordinator for the Oregon Community Food System Network

Matt Dybala – After completing an Environmental Studies degree at the University of Oregon in 1998, Matt has dedicated his career to fostering intimate connections between people and plants.  He has served as an educator and horticulturist for several public and privately funded organizations in the past.  Previous employers include the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, University of Illinois and the Chicago Zoological society.   Currently, he is the Director of Agricultural Operations at Herb Pharm LLC, where he has implemented regenerative farming practices to cultivate a wide array of medicinal and aromatic crops over the past 15 years.  Matt is also a post baccalaureate student in the botany and plant pathology department at Oregon State University.

Charlotte Epps is a senior at Oregon State University in the College of Agricultural Sciences. She is pursuing two undergraduate degrees in Sustainability and BioResource Research, with specializations in Sustainable Ecosystems and Plant Growth & Development. She is expected to graduate at the end of the Winter 2023 term, upon defending her undergraduate thesis regarding the vegetable variety trial she conducted studying the growth habits of sweet potatoes in the Willamette Valley. She is passionate about the intersections of plants and people, and hopes to earn a doctorate of Ethnobotany in the future. Inspired by the Movement for Black Lives and the Indigenous-Led Land Back Movement, Charlotte created and currently leads a social justice centered community garden project known as the Reciprocity Garden at Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture in Corvallis, Oregon. She seeks to uplift and empower other students and community members holding systemically excluded identities by connecting them to the land and their ancestral roots through the cultivation of culturally meaningful plants.

Andy Gallagher is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist and Soil Classifier with 37 years of experience in soil mapping and soils research. His business Red Hill Soils is based in Corvallis, Oregon for the last 25 years and provides soil mapping, site evaluations and soil management to growers of high value crops and also provides landowners with soil classification and soil mapping for land use planning. He has been contributing to the Dry Farm Collaborative research since 2018. His research interests have included dry farm site suitability, viticultural soils, hops terroir, soil health and carbon stocks, nutrient management, no-tillage and precision agriculture, earthworms in agricultural ecosystems, watershed management, subsoil tillage, runoff and erosion. Born and raised in the Midwest, Andy has an MS in soil science from UW-Madison a BS from UW-Stevens Point and. he UW-Stevens Point. Andy has field experience with geology and soils in ten states from the Midwest, the Southeast Coastal Plain and Piedmont and the Pacific Northwest. He lives near Corvallis with his wife and two sons.

Jeff & Elise Higley – Elise & Jeff Higley, are herb farmers in Southern Oregon, one of the meccas for herb farming in the US. They own and operate Oshala Farm, a mid scale organic family farm with over 70 varieties of medicinal herbs in production. Oshala Farm is the combination of Elise’s passion for western herbalism and Jeff’s passion for farming. Over the last 9 years they have learned through blood, sweat, tears and laughter what it takes to be a domestic herb farmer and how to keep farming financially sustainable while staying true to their earth centric values and organic practices. 

Megan Kemple, Oregon Climate & Agriculture Network – Megan Kemple is the Co-Director for the Oregon Climate & Agriculture Network. She has over 20 years of non-profit experience and has long supported Oregon’s farm to school and school garden stakeholders.

Dr. Charles K. Lefevre began his college education studying Physics and Chemistry, which led to two years operating a nuclear reactor producing radioactive compounds for medical research, and three more operating telescopes for research on black holes and white dwarfs. His work with fungi began at the University of Oregon, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa after completing a thesis on fungal endophytes of Douglas fir. He spent the following several years at a biotech company labeling mushroom toxins, snake venom and other organic compounds with fluorescent dyes for biomedical research before resuming academic work. His doctoral research was in Forest Ecology at Oregon State University where he studied the host associations of the American matsutake mushroom.

Gus Liszka is owner/operator of Naked Acres Farm in Beavercreek, Or. Naked Acres is a diversified farm raising Animal Welfare Approved layer hens, Certified Grassfed lamb, pasture raised pork, pasture raised meat chickens and vegetable crops for market. Gus grew up in the ranching community of Central Oregon. After time in the NAVY and studying soils/rangeland management, she spent over two decades in veterinary medicine. The varied skills acquired from a rich and interesting life have been assets to her stewardship of the land that she farms.

Yana Ludwig – Yana is a cooperative culture pioneer who developed her work living and working in co-ops. She has been a trainer and consultant with cooperative groups for 17 years, is the co-author of The Cooperative Culture Handbook, and author of Together Resilient: Building Community in the Age of Climate Disruption. Yana is the Executive Director of North Coast Food Web in Astoria, and has served on the Board of the Foundation for Intentional Community for a decade.

Laura Masterson, 47th Avenue Farm – Laura owns and operates 47th Avenue Farm on Grand Island and near Lake Oswego. She raises fresh market vegetables with draft horses for sale through her summer and winter/spring CSAs.

Nellie McAdams, Oregon Agricultural Trust – Nellie McAdams is an attorney and founding Executive Director of Oregon Agricultural Trust. She is involved in advocacy for farm succession planning and farmland preservation.

Alice Morrison, Friends of Family Farmers – Alice Morrison is the Organizational Director for Friends of Family Farmers. She has worked in food production through organic vegetable farms and farmers markets for a number of years. She currently serves on the board of the Oregon Farmers Market Association alongside her work with Friends of Family Farmers.

Bashira Muhammad – A herbalist, environmental scientist, mushroom farmer and business owner who founded Zoom Out Mycology in 2017. She is passionate about accessibility in science education and sustainability in life and business.

Lucas Nebert is a sustainable agriculture researcher who specializes in soil health (M.S. Wageningen University, Netherlands) and plant and soil microbial ecology (Ph.D. University of Oregon Environmental Studies), and he has been working with the Oregon State University Dry Farming Project since 2018. Lucas has led dry farming research projects involving microbial inoculants, participatory variety trials, crop breeding, and agrovoltaics. HIs dry farming outreach efforts include the Dry Farming Accelerator Program and working as a board member for the Corvallis-based Dry Farming Institute nonprofit. He is passionate about dry farming with staple crops, and his primary focus is on breeding culinary field corn varieties to thrive in the Pacific Northwest under dry farmed conditions.

Molly Notarianni, Farmers Market Fund – Molly Notarianni is the Executive Director for Farmers Market Fund. Her previous work includes leading a statewide coalition to secure $1.5 million dollars from the State of Oregon to support the Double Up Food Bucks program.

Sara O’Neill, Euchre Creek Farm – Sara owns and operates a small farm in the Siletz River Valley, growing sheep, cattle, hay, and seasonal vegetables for local markets. Before farming in Oregon, Sara conducted literary and archival research focusing on narratives of climate change. Recently she has conducted research for the Lincoln County Commissioners office on local needs of farmers and ranchers to adapt to current and expected climate challenges.

Ann Partridge, Wee Family Farm – located in Yamhill County, Oregon since 2019. On her diverse crop and livestock farm Ann is improving perennial pastures, planting silvopasture, and managing tilled crop land under a rotation of livestock forage and vegetables. Her pastured livestock includes East Fresian and Lacaune dairy sheep, swine, and poultry. In the past Ann led a garden enhanced nutrition education program with K-12 students, worked on a fossil fuel free research farm, and taught horticulture at the community college level. Ann is a graduate of University of California at Davis, Department of Agriculture with a specialization in organic vegetable production.

D Rooney, General Manager & Owner of Rock Steady Farm – D is a mixed Latinx, gender non-binary farmer. D got connected to farming after working as a carpenter, in addition to the music/audio industry and in the NYC restaurant industry at Blue Smoke, when D’s passion for food cultivated a desire to understand why there are inequities in our food system. In 2012, D then became a certificate student of Farm School NYC, which D states was a life transforming experience that helped identify D’s path and callings in life. During D’s tenure with Farm School NYC, D also worked with EcoStationNY,  a nonprofit that focuses on social, environmental and food justice. D used their farming and carpentry skills as vehicles to talk about larger social and societal issues around race, class, gender and sexuality. Working with youth at the Bushwick Campus Farm (a project of EcoStationNY) the Farm School community, other nonprofits focusing on food, social and environmental justice, enabled D to dive into many of these topics. D also worked as a fellow for Design Trust for Public Space in NYC, in partnership with Farming Concrete, to work with community gardeners about creative ways of collecting data that strengthens resiliency among community gardeners in NYC, nationally and globally.

From 2013 to 2015, D was working with friends and peers, Lorrie Clevenger, Jane Hodge, Michaela Hayes, Karen Washington and Maggie Cheney and collectively founded, Rise & Root Farm. After this, to expand upon the knowledge of growing food D had been learning in NYC, D decided to move out of the city to dive full-time into large scale farming. D spent the 2015 season working at the five-acre Sister’s Hill Farm, in Stanfordville, NY, cultivating their large-scale farming skills and new love for CSA farming. At Sister’s Hill D learned about efficient farm systems, how to drive a tractor and helped to co-manage for their 250 member CSA. In the off season D enjoys being a nerd and scheming about building and organizational projects for the farm, learning about tractors and motorcycles, connecting with friends, focusing on organizing and advocacy projects, as well as listening, dj-ing and dancing to music, a forever passion of theirs.

Dana Sanchez, OSU Wildlife Extension Specialist – Dana is an associate professor in the Fisheries and Wildlife Department. She focuses on mammalian space use, habitat selection, and issues related to human-wildlife interaction.

Upingaksraq (time when the ice breaks) – Spring Alaska Schreiner is the owner and Principal Ecologist-Indigenous Agriculturalist of Sakari Farms. I am an enrolled member and shareholder of the Chugach Alaska Native Corporation and Valdez Native Tribe. Inupiaq lineage allows a unique/diverse cultural perspective of the use of historical food systems ranging from Alaska to Oregon and regional tribal lands on Turtle Island. Spring serves on multiple regional and national agricultural boards and educational committees and advocates for local farmers and tribal members. Spring received the 2019 NASDA Women Farm to Food Award, and more recently, the recipient of the 2021 Na’ahlee Tribal Fellowship and the 2022 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award for the PNW. I participate in the USDA Indian Agricultural Council, Made by Native American Export Food Program, Indigenous Seed Keepers Network, Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, American Indian Housing Authority, PNW Intertribal Food Sovereignty Coalition, and many other regional policy based boards and committees.

Luis Sierra, Northwest Cooperative Development Center‘s Cooperative Development Specialist for agriculture, housing, and worker cooperatives.  Luis has helped plan co-op start-ups for meat, fruit and veg distribution, and processing cooperative, and additional co-op conversions of existing businesses to farmer and worker ownership. Luis‘s first cooperative experience was as a member of Berkeley Worms, a composting worker collective at UC Berkeley.  

Matt Stannard is a content creator, teacher and advocacy coach for cooperative farming and economics. His articles have been published at Shareable, Occupy.com, Resilience.org, Yes! Magazine, Cultural Survival Quarterly, and Truthout. He has a J.D. from the College of Law at the University of Wyoming.

Heather Stoven is an Extension Horticulturist for Oregon State University located in Yamhill County. Her position serves both small farmers and home gardeners. Within the small farms aspect of her position she is part of the OSU’s Olea olive research project which began in 2017. This project aims to assist current and potential olive growers and is currently overseeing an evaluation of cultivars for cold hardiness at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center.

Katie Swanson – owns and operates Sweet Union Farm, a small-scale mixed vegetable farm in Klamath Falls, Oregon. She is also co-founder and co-director of the non-profit food hub, Klamath Grown.

Michele Thorne, Friends of Family Farmers is an experienced marketer, farmer, graphic designer, podcaster, author, and so much more. She has been working in the food industry in several capacities for decades and continues to educate farm-preneurs, non-profit organizations and business owners on topics including business management and strategic marketing. Having originally pursued a career in graphic design, she also builds websites and promotional graphics for large and small businesses, universities and farmers. She is a zealous advocate for local food, food security, and access to clean food. Believing that financial wellness is also a critical part of the entrepreneurial puzzle, she has taught a Money Skills class to youth ages 16-22 since 2010. Michele earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and an MBA in Sustainable Business. She is a published author and currently serves as Program Manager for the Oregon Pasture Network, which is a program of Friends of Family Farmers.

Narendra Varma, Our Table Cooperative – Born and raised in India, Narendra came to the United States in 1986 to attend Brown University. After graduating with a degree in Educational Technology, he went to work at Microsoft Corporation. Since leaving Microsoft in 1998, Narendra developed a passion for food and agricultural issues, land stewardship, community, local investing, and permaculture. In 2010, Narendra and his wife, Machelle, relocated to Portland, Oregon, to combine these interests and put them into practice. They formed Our Table Cooperative, which strives to create a model community-scale food system by bringing together all stakeholders in the food value chain, from farm to table, as members of a single vertically integrated organization. Additional details can be found on their website: www.ourtable.us

Randy Walker, Walker Farms – was raised in a farm environment (oyster farming) and have been involved with water resource based work all my life. I have a BA from Evergreen State College, and water related studies through Grays Harbor College. I worked for Bay Center Mariculture. Later in life I worked for Grays Harbor College for 19 years. In 1999, I became the Facilities Manager for the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center. My duties involved management of all water related use and distribution for OSU, ODF&W, EPA, and Alaska and Oregon NOAA on the HMSC campus in Newport, Oregon. I have been farming in Siletz, Oregon for 18 years.

Jim White, Executive Director, Nonprofit Association of Oregon – Jim currently serves as the Executive Director of the Nonprofit Association of Oregon. He began this assignment in October of 2012. Jim is deeply committed to social change and has worked in the nonprofit sector both domestically and internationally for more than 20 years. He has a passion for affecting systemic change in the way that the public, private and nonprofit sectors work together to support and strengthen civil society. He is specifically skilled on working to build alliances and partnerships with mission and results driven outcomes in mind.

Amy Wong, Oregon Organic Coalition – Amy Wong is the Board Chair of the Oregon Organic Coalition. Her work focuses on developing and growing the organic industry in Oregon. Amy has a long history of working within public policy having been the Chief of Staff to Oregon State Senator Jeff Golden and the Special Assistant to Attorney General John Kroger.

Jared Zystro is Organic Seed Alliance’s research and education assistant director. He has an M.S. and Ph.D. in plant breeding and plant genetics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he studied efficient methods of developing new organic sweet corn varieties. Jared has worked in the organic seed industry for over 15 years, managing seed production at two farms and conducting research and education projects with OSA. He currently manages OSA’s regional development in California, conducts participatory breeding projects and variety trials, and teaches farmers about seed production and plant breeding at workshops, conferences, and field days. He lives in the coastal town of Arcata, CA, with his wife and son.

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