Keynote Speaker Ben Friton of Can YA Love & Forested, LLC: Friton leads seminars and lectures around the world focusing on restoring ecosystems using biomimicry. He has worked in densely populated communities and has patented vertical garden systems and currently is trying to develop the most ecologically beneficial agricultural systems possible.
Susan Payne, Maryland Department of Agriculture, Maryland Healthy Soils Consortium: Payne coordinates the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Certainty and Ecosystem Markets Programs and administers the Department’s Agricultural Nutrient and Sediment Credit Certification Program and its Healthy Soils Initiative. In addition to working with relevant federal and state agencies and entities, she sits on many national, regional, and inter-agency committees addressing water quality trading, interstate ecosystem markets, regenerative agriculture, climate change, and greenhouse gas reductions.
Roger Williams, George Washington Carver Agricultural Institute and New Incubator Farm Training Initiative at Tufts: Roger came to Culpeper in the fall of 2015 to join the Carver Piedmont team. Coming from a career in IT and design engineering, he has integrated his systematic process thinking with a deep interest in both education and the study of the soil interrelationships required for sustainable farming. Handing off his three-year stint as President of the Central Maryland Beekeepers Association to make the move south, he brings his focus to creating the structure for the New Farmers Training program at the Carver Piedmont center.
Cerruti RR Hooks, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Entomology at UMD: Organic research is a major part of his research program. The overall aim of the organic research program is to develop and disseminate information on production tactics that reduces off farm inputs while increasing profits. He specifically conducts research on lands going through organic transition and in double-cropping organic production systems with the long-term goal to provide producers information that gives them greater economical sustainability and confidence in transitioning land to organic production. To accomplish our organic objectives, we employ a trans-disciplinary strategy that includes collaboration with Agricultural Economists, Acarologist, Weed and Soil Ecologists, Nematologists, and Entomologists.
Andrew G. Ristvey, Ph.D., University of Maryland Extension: Ristvey currently works at the Department of Extension, University of Maryland, College Park. Andrew does research in Water Science, Soil Science and Irrigation and Water Management. He received his Master of Science degree in 1993 from the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore in the MEES program. Soon after he worked on shoreline restoration and then wetland and forest-stand delineation. Ristvey spent two years doing environmental and horticultural education at Adkins Arboretum inside Maryland’s Tuckahoe State Park.
Galen Dively, Professor Emeritus and IPM Consultant, UMD: Dr. Galen P. Dively is an emeritus professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Maryland. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology at Juniata College and doctorate in entomology from Rutgers University. He worked as an Extension Specialist in agricultural IPM for 34 years, providing training and ways to reduce pesticide use in vegetable and field crops. Since his retirement in 2006, he continues to conduct research on transgenic Bt crops, sublethal effects of pesticides, efficacy evaluation of organic insecticides, and studies addressing information gaps in the biology and management of the invasive pests.
Erik de Guzman & Meghan Ochal, Dicot Farm: Dicot Farm grows Certified Organic vegetables in Waldorf, MD – 25 miles south of Washington, DC. Their goal is to provide nutrient-dense foods to neighbors to help them become healthier and happier, and create a more equitable and engaged community.
Dominic Hosack, THEARC Farm: is an urban farm operating as a community project of Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR) and was developed to involve the community in nature, nutrition, and healthy eating. The farm consists of 25 raised beds, 8 in-ground rows, a culinary herb garden, medicinal herb garden, an eighteen-tree orchard, community compost bins, a hoop house and a pollinator garden.
Peter Scott, Fields 4 Valor (F4V): is a non-profit organization that provides food, education, and employment to veterans, veteran family members, and gold star families. F4V does this through providing members, at no cost, with; Farms Shares, Apiary Products, Fruit Shares, Value Added Food Products, Dry Goods, and Culinary Education.
Through these activities, F4V hopes to provide a healthy diet, ease the financial burden of transitioning from service, recovering from injury and/or disability, and continuing life after the loss of a loved one.
Benny Pino & Courtney Sauer, Loblolly Farm: an organic farm in Brandywine, MD producing seasonal flowers and produce and specializing in wedding and event design. Nestled along the corridor of the Patuxent & Potomac Rivers in Southern Maryland, they cultivate over 35 species of flowers in over 100 different varieties on their one-acre farm. They believe in slow, locally grown flowers, nurtured for their intrinsic qualities.
Neith Little, Urban Agriculture Educator, University of Maryland Extension: Little is the urban agriculture Extension Educator for Baltimore City. Her role is to help urban farmers learn what they need to better achieve their goals through one-on-one technical assistance, workshops, field days, written resources, and applied research.
Mike Klein, Good Fortune Farm: Long time MOFFA member, Klien runs a small diversified farm using organic methods located just 20 miles south of Washington DC near Waldorf, MD. Their primary crops are seasonal market vegetables. They also raise pastured eggs, chicken and turkey for meat.
Gerald Brust, Ph.D., University of Maryland Extension, IPM Vegetable Specialist: Brust is the IPM Vegetable Specialist responsible for providing leadership in the development, implementation, and evaluation of a comprehensive agriculture and natural resources extension education and applied research program in vegetable crops. He develops sustainable production systems for Maryland’s commercial vegetable industry by supporting the commercial vegetable industry (including organic). Burst examines and develops new pest and nutrient management programs for growers by working with the industry through education and research to promote sustainable production practices that minimize environmental impacts.
Rachael Childress Nagle, Heritage Ferments and Cultures: Rachael is a fermentation alchemist who has been experimenting with fermentation for many years. She is extremely knowledgeable about the science of live cultures and shares many historical tidbits that will tweak your interest. Rachael lives in Delaware with her husband and 3 children.
Alan Leslie, Postdoctoral Research Associate UMD Department of Entomology: Alan Leslie earned his Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Maryland, and is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in the Hooks Lab at UMD. His research focuses on cultural practices such as plant diversification and cover cropping that promote beneficial insects and suppress pests that can be applied to organic farming systems. Alan has also conducted research on aquatic invertebrates in agricultural drainage ditches and insects in restored salt marshes in the Chesapeake Bay. His talk is entitled “Controlling Weeds in Organic Vegetables with Living Mulches”.
Eric Rice, Willow Oaks Craft Cider: Eric and Lori Rice craft their farmhouse style cider from certified organic, American heirloom apples on their 35-acre farm in Middletown, Maryland. Their farm is a productive, small, family farm located in the heart of the Middletown Valley of Maryland. The farm is the state’s first certified organic orchard, with over 1800 apple, cherry, pear, peach, and apricot trees. As an early advocate for organic agriculture, Eric participated in the beginnings of the organic program in Maryland, collaborating to write the state regulations as well as helping to found MOFFA.
Dr. Kris Nichols, Soil Microbiologist & KRIS Systems Education & Consulting Services: Dr. Nichols is a leader in the movement to regenerate soils for healthy food, people and a planet. She is currently the founder and principle scientist of KRIS (Knowledge for Regeneration In Soils) Systems Education & Consulting Services and a sub-contractor with Soil Health Consulting, Inc. Her current focus is to address current and future agricultural needs by exploring the similarities between the soil and gut microbiomes by looking at the carbon key. Kris builds upon a soil health foundation to identify biological methods for agricultural production and tools and practices to reduce pest issues, soil erosion, fossil fuel use, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Nick Maravell, Nick’s Organic Farm: Nick has farmed organically since 1979 and he emphasizes value added on-farm processing and direct marketing. He uses a diversified farming system to produce vegetables, forages, grains, seed, beef, poultry, eggs and poultry feed. Nick has also been active for many years at the national and state level in the development of organic legislation and standards, organic research priorities, and organic marketing issues. He is a founding board member of MOFFA, has served as a steering committee member on the Scientific Congress on Organic Agricultural Research and actively participated in drafting its National Organic Research Agenda, published in 2007.
Mike Tabor, Licking Creek Bend Farm: Owner and social activist, Michael started Licking Creek Bend Farm in 1972 and two years later he participated in his first farmers’ market in Washington, D.C. His mission is to provide delicious and nutritious food at an affordable price. He is a long-standing member of MOFFA.
Alexis Baden-Mayer, Political Director at Organic Consumers Association: Baden-Mayer is a lawyer and activist who has contributed to some of the organizations most successful projects, including the Millions Against Monsanto campaign.