Staff

Sarah Alexander

Executive Director
(she/her/hers)

Jade Archer with two cows

Jade Archer

Certification Specialist, MOFGA Certification Services, LLC

Rosie Avila

Rosie Avila

Common Ground Country Fair Assistant
(she/her/hers)

Caitlyn Barker

Caitlyn Barker

Community Engagement Coordinator
(she/her/hers)

Hillary Barter

Educational Programs Coordinator
(she/her/hers)

Clare Boland

Clare Boland

Online Community Engagement Coordinator
(she/her/hers)

Team-April-Boucher

April Boucher

Common Ground Country Fair Director

Laurah Brown

Certification Specialist

Lucy Cayard

MOFGA Store Manager
(she/her/hers)

Holli Cederholm

Content Creator and Editor (she/her/hers)

Joan Cheetham

Certification Specialist

Lauren-Cormier

Lauren Cormier

Orchard Assistant
(she/her/hers)

Ryan Dennett

Farmer Programs Director
(she/her/hers)

Bo Dennis

New Farmer Programs Specialist
(he/him/his)

Noah Gleason-Hart

Low-Impact Forestry Specialist (he/him/his)

Caleb Goossen

Organic Crop and Conservation Specialist
(he/him/his)

Chris Grigsby

Director, MOFGA Certification Services, LLC
(he/him/his)

Logan and Jessie highres-84 (2)(1)

Logan Higger

Orchard Assistant
(he/him/his)

Grace Keown

Operations and Information Management Coordinator, MOFGA Certification Services, LLC

Jack Kertesz

Landscape Coordinator

Marta Laszkiewicz

Operations Assistant, MOFGA Certification Services, LLC
(she/her/hers)

Anna Libby

Community Education Director
(she/her/hers)

Nicolas Lindholm

Organic Marketing and Business Specialist
(he/him/his)

Elizabeth Lucy

Elizabeth Lucy

Campaign Officer
(she/her/hers)

Cathy-McDonald

Cathy McDonald

Retail Associate, The Maine Organic Marketplace
(she/her/hers)

Kaitlynn McGuire

Database Manager
(she/her/hers)

Team-John McIntire

John McIntire

Shop and Equipment Manager

Meghan Metzger

Meghan Metzger

Director of Development and Membership
(she/her/hers)

Anna Miller

Operations Director (she/her/hers)

Laura Miller

Development Manager
(she/her/hers)

Jennifer Morton

Administrative Assistant (she/her/hers)

Anna Mueller

Farmer Professional Development Specialist

Meg Nadeau

Meg Nadeau

Common Ground Country Fair Coordinator
(she/her/hers)

Lydia-Pendergast

Lydia Pendergast

Communications and Orchard Intern
(she/they)

Don Pendleton

Buildings and Grounds Assistant

Jacki Martinez Perkins

Organic Dairy and Livestock Specialist
(she/her/hers)

Claire Reboussin

Claire Reboussin

Staff Inspector, MOFGA Certification Services, LLC
(she/her/hers)

Jacomijn Schravesande-Gardei

Associate Director of Crops/MOFGA Certification Services, LLC

Laura Sieger

Laura Sieger

Orchard Manager
(they/them/theirs)

B-Simon

B Simon

Retail Associate, The Maine Organic Marketplace
(they/them/theirs)

Heather Spalding

Deputy Director & Senior Policy Director
(she/her/hers)

Person sitting in a paisley-print armchair with a small dog in their lap

Carrie Stevens

Retail Associate, The Maine Organic Marketplace

Karen Stimpson

Grants Manager
(she/her/hers)

Mariam-Taleb

Mariam Taleb

Organic Production Specialist
(she/her/hers)

Team-Jason Tessier

Jason Tessier

Buildings and Grounds Director

Julie Trudel

Materials Reviewer & MC3 Program Coordinator, MOFGA Certification Services, LLC

Wendy Watson

Common Kitchen Manager (she/her/hers)

John Welton staff photo

John Welton

Certification and Quality Specialist, MOFGA Certification Services, LLC
(he/him/his)

Jennifer-Wilhelm

Jennifer Wilhelm

Communications and Outreach Director
(she/her/hers)

Ruth Zumstein

Ruth Zumstein

Retail Associate, The Maine Organic Marketplace
(she/her/hers)

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Sarah Alexander began working as MOFGA’s executive director on August 13, 2018. She has over 15 years of experience advocating for sustainable, local and fair food systems. A native of rural Ohio, she attended Northwestern University, where she became interested in fixing our food systems, protecting the environment, and in fighting for the rights of Indigenous people. It was there that she began working with the White Earth Land Recovery project, first leading a trip of students to work in the Maple Sugar Bush during spring break.

After college she completed a year-long environmental organizing fellowship with Green Corps, working on campaigns in New Orleans, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Chicago. When she completed that program, she moved up to the White Earth Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota, where she spent three years continuing her work with the White Earth Land Recovery Project, helping to restore traditional food systems and stopping the genetic engineering of wild rice. Next she headed to Columbus, Ohio, to work as a farm apprentice at Shepherd’s Corner Farm and then helped to grow the urban agriculture program at the American Community Garden Association.

From there she went to Washington, D.C., and spent nearly 10 years at Food & Water Watch, where she worked to protect organic standards, strengthen consumer labeling and fight for genetically engineered food labeling. She moved to Maine in 2015, and just prior to starting as Executive Director she worked as a Senior Strategist at M+R Strategic Services, coaching progressive nonprofits in their membership engagement and digital communications.

Jade Archer grew up in the Hudson Valley where she began working in the culture and community of the small dairy industry. She has worked from calving to creamery, the milking shift to the farmers’ market.  She worked on several vegetable farms because she likes vegetables, but has always returned to the dairy. Jade moved to Maine to work at Straw’s Farm in Newcastle, then subsequently returned to New York in semester stints to study veterinary technology. She now lives in Alna, with her husband, on their small farm where they grow and process organic chicken for the local market. Jade began working for MOFGA Certification Services a few years ago and has been conducting organic farm inspections all over the state.

Mariam Taleb has a dual-degree bachelor’s in English and sustainable food and farming from the University of Massachusetts and a doctorate from Pennsylvania  State University, where she studied spotted lanternfly and inequities of vulnerability to invasive organisms. She has worked on urban and rural organic farms across the Northeast. Taleb has also worked in extension for conventional and organic vegetable farms and has served on the board of a nonprofit food hub in central Pennsylvania. She is excited to help farmers in Maine build a food system that is more sustainable, viable and equitable.

Caitlyn is originally from Dixmont, Maine, where she grew up exploring the forests and fields with her two sisters, planting herb and flower gardens with her mom, and birdwatching with her dad. She attended the University of Maine in Orono, and then moved with her husband to southern Maine for a number of years before returning to settle in Dixmont.

Caitlyn is a hobby beekeeper who has served on the boards of the Penobscot County Beekeepers Association and the Maine State Beekeepers Association. That interest in education led to her obtaining her teaching certification and working as a fourth grade teacher in a local elementary school. While there, she helped develop and implement a garden program.

Caitlyn has also worked for Peacemeal Farm for several years. She credits her time there, both on the farm and at markets, to connecting her to the work that she finds most rewarding. She very much looks forward to working for MOFGA.

Caitlyn and her husband, Shane, live in Dixmont with their two children.

Hillary grew up exploring the rivers, fields and forests of eastern Ontario, Canada

Since then, she’s spent a number of years working on vegetable farms and for nonprofits in the Maritimes, central Canada and Maine.

One of her first farm projects took place at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, where she helped build a campus vegetable farm. Before moving back to Maine with her husband in 2016 she completed a MA in Toronto, researching the decline in small-scale meat processing businesses in that region and impacts on farmers.

She has also been involved in projects that support New Americans starting farms and efforts to grow a network of farmers markets in Southern Ontario. She currently lives at Hurricane Valley Farm in Southern Maine.

Hillary also coordinates the Maine Harvest Bucks program, which allows participating farmers to offer half-priced CSA shares to customers who are SNAP recipients.

Clare Boland is from the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, where she grew up surrounded by a robust community of farmers and fisherfolk. Living for many years on the grounds of an arboretum, she was raised with a love of plants and a reverence for nature.  She graduated from Cornell University in 2017 with a dual degree in English and media studies. In addition to her background in communications, Clare has worked as a farmer and gardener in a range of settings, including Martha’s Vineyard, Chicago and rural North Carolina. She is passionate about the power of community food systems to create meaningful change and is excited to learn from the growers and farmers of Maine.

April grew up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where she spent most of her time exploring the landscape and coordinating logistics at Storyland.

In 2006, she earned a B.A. in Human Ecology from the College of the Atlantic where she specialized in agriculture, animal behavior, and ecology. She has had many interesting experiences working on farms and conducting wildlife research.

Her job as the Fair Director allows her to work with a variety of dedicated volunteers and exhibitors, coordinate details, and organize an event that brings people together to share ideas and support the community. This blends well with her interests and she is gaining knowledge and experience raising livestock, farming with draft horses, and working in the woods.

She is also on the Board of the Maine Association of Livestock Exhibitors.
Laurah grew up in Belfast, where she spent a good deal of time at her father’s veterinary hospital, and that experience led her to create products for animal lovers and their companion animals. “I moved to Vassalboro with the goal of developing a niche product line using organic gardening practices. I followed my passion of loving cats. I then spent 20-plus years creating and marketing a value-added product line.” Creating that line enabled her to keep her great grandparents’ farm in agriculture and not development – and to sell those organic gifts at the Common Ground Country Fair. “I am happy to now be working at MOFGA,” says Laurah.
Lucy grew up in rural Wellington, Maine, on her family’s homestead. She developed a passion for nature and growing plants from a childhood spent in the woods and in her family’s large garden.

Growing up in a family of back-to-the-landers originally from West Virginia, Lucy was raised with spring-fed water, solar power and an outhouse. She left Maine to complete a bachelor’s degree and have adventures abroad, but came back to the state that she fondly calls home.

Lucy has worked and volunteered in many endeavors related to community agriculture and spent the last 3-1/2 years working in affordable housing in Portland, Maine, where she lives.

She is thrilled to join the MOFGA team as the Southern Maine outreach coordinator and to be working in the field to which she feels most connected.

Holli first apprenticed on a MOFGA-certified organic farm in 2005 while completing a bachelor’s degree in environmental writing at Unity College in Unity, Maine. Since then, she has immersed herself in organic agriculture as a farmer, advocate and storyteller. She has worked on organic farms in Maine, Vermont, Scotland and Italy and, in 2010, as MOFGA’s farmer-in-residence, she founded a small farm focused on celebrating open-pollinated and heirloom vegetables. As the former general manager of a national nonprofit dedicated to organic seed growers, she authored a peer-reviewed handbook on GMO avoidance strategies for seed growers. Holli has also been a steward at Forest Farm, the iconic last home of “The Good Life” authors Helen and Scott Nearing; an interim host for “The Farm Report” on Heritage Radio Network; and a long time contributing writer for The MOF&G. 

Joan reviews client files, does inspections and reviews inputs. She grew up on a small dairy and sheep farm in southern Maine, tending her first garden plot at age five. She studied botany and agronomy in college and holds a doctorate in crop physiology from Iowa State University. Cheetham has worked on agricultural research farms in Connecticut and Iowa, and at Wilson College in Pennsylvania taught biology, agronomy and environmental studies for eight years. At Wilson College she also helped to establish the Center for Sustainable Living on farmland owned by the college, including initiating one of the first CSAs in Pennsylvania. She homesteads with her family on land in Monroe and volunteers as a board member of the Good Life Center in Harborside.

Lauren Cormier grew up in York, Maine. From a young age, she has been difficult to get out of the garden for very long. She has a bachelor of arts in environmental studies from the University of Vermont where she first became involved with agriculture through small-scale development projects in Central America. She brings over 20 years of horticultural experience working in gardens, nurseries and orchards and is a MOFGA Journeyperson Program alumni. She has dual interests in native plants and fruit and creating pollinator habitat in and around the orchard wherever possible. She has worked on farms in Maine and Washington and has volunteered at the Maine Heritage Orchard over the years. She lives in Palermo, Maine, where she has a small nursery, an orchard and a meadow for bumblebees.

Ryan grew up in North Berwick. She has a B.S. degree in Sustainable Agriculture and an M.S. in Plant and Soil Nutrition from the University of Maine. She is a MOFGA Journeyperson alumni and operates Crescent Run Farm in Gardiner. She and her husband raise beef cattle, hogs, Icelandic sheep and chickens. Their farm is located on Oaklands Farm, where they also work in partnership to raise Oaklands’ beef and hay.

Originally from Massachusetts, Bo started farming in 2008 and moved to Maine in 2010 to attend College of the Atlantic. He has participated both in the apprenticeship and Journey Person programs and is excited to facilitate these at MOFGA. Bo strives to reduce barriers for beginning farmers in accessing hands-on agricultural education and is committed to building equity into the farmer programs at MOFGA. Bo grows flowers in Monroe, Maine.

Noah Gleason-Hart, MOFGA’s low-impact forestry specialist, grew up in Porter, Maine. He has worked as a firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service, as a forestry technician for a private consulting forestry company, and apprenticed with a commercial horselogger in Vermont. His partner, Grace Pease, runs Merrifield Farm in Cornish, a long-time host farm for MOFGA apprentices.
Caleb has a bachelor’s degree in plant biology and sustainable agriculture from Hampshire College, and he recently completed his Ph.D. at the University of Vermont, where he studied the fatty acid content of forage crops. He farmed organic vegetables in Vermont for nine years before graduate school. He also has experience with organic heirloom seed production and organic orchard maintenance on farms in New Zealand. Photo by Robert Nickelsberg.
Chris was born in Waterville and raised in Southern Maine. After college, he settled into the Portland area, working for seafood and produce distributors before relocating to the midcoast with his wife and son and beginning work as General Manager at the Belfast Co-op. Moving from retail back to his wholesale roots, Chris joined the team at Crown O’ Maine as Operations Director before joining MOFGA Certification Services in December 2016. He and his family homestead in Appleton.

Logan Higger has worked for farms from Washington state to Washington County over the last decade. He particularly found fulfillment working with animals. After seeking better options to responsibly consume meat, he built a farmers’ market focused business revolving around whole animal butchery of Maine-raised, organic and grass-fed livestock. In order to prioritize more family time, he began focusing on homestead-scale farming. You can find him making mischief with his toddler, chasing the neighbor’s escaped sheep or tending bees.

Grace grew up in New Jersey and has lived in Arizona; Long Island, New York; and parts of New England. She and her family moved to Maine in 2004 to start homesteading and living more sustainably and simply. She and her family have a farmstead in the Dixmont hills, where they’re revitalizing the soil, bringing back a 90-year-old apple orchard (mostly Wolf River and cider apples), raising dairy goats, pigs and chickens, growing some of their own vegetables and berries organically, and supporting local agriculture and sustainability. Grace graduated from the State University of New York at Stony Brook with a B.A. in Studio Art and Art History. She is a member and co-founder of Dirigo Road Gallery, president of the Valley Arts Alliance, and has taught workshops in drawing and wire-jewelry making. Grace won MOFGA’s 2008 Common Ground Country Fair artwork contest with her Hay Barn illustration and her Oxen Team artwork appears on the 2013 poster.
Jack is a long-time MOFGA volunteer and contractor who came up with many of the creative horticultural demonstrations on our grounds. He also started and continues to coordinate the Maine Tree Crop Alliance.
Marta grew up in the suburbs of Pennsylvania. Her desire to learn led her to College of the Atlantic, where she immersed herself in natural horsemanship, languages and sustainable energy. Her passion for the environment then led her to New Hampshire, where she managed a small farm. When she moved to Waldo County, she began working at Chase Farm. You might have met Marta at the Fair, where she was the Livestock Gate coordinator! She’s excited to work at MOFGA because she is passionate about the environment, local food and farming. She loves animals, especially her two horses, two cats and one dog.
Anna Libby grew up on a small farm in Mt. Vernon, Maine. She has coordinated volunteers and developed volunteer programs at other nonprofits for several years, including two years in AmeriCorps VISTA programs.
Lindholm brings an extensive background to the job: He has been a MOFGA volunteer, apprentice, board member and organic farm inspector and is a long-time certified organic grower. He has 28 years of direct work experience in managing and operating various agricultural businesses, including Blue Hill Berry Co. and Hackmatack Farm. He started the Maine Seed Saving Network and has written about seed saving for The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

Elizabeth grew up in rural Pennsylvania, playing in her neighbors’ strawberry fields and attending Beyond Pesticides meetings with her parents. Elizabeth is quickly approaching a decade of development experience, and she is thrilled to be combining her love for Maine, and passion for healthy food systems and food justice with her fundraising skills in this new role at MOFGA. Before joining MOFGA, Elizabeth worked as the senior development department coordinator at the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York City and as a Fulbright grantee in Kolkata, India. She has also worked at Skylight Pictures, Sofar Sounds, Idealist.org and Human Rights Watch. Elizabeth is a graduate of Lafayette College where she earned a degree in international affairs and photography. In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys informally studying herbalism and foraging for mushrooms and edible plants.

Cathy McDonald is excited to be on the staff at The Maine Organic Marketplace in Freeport, supporting MOFGA and Maine farmers and artists. She retired from working at American University in Washington D.C. and moved to Maine in November 2017. McDonald is the volunteer coordinator for Growing to Give, a MOFGA-certified food donation farm in Brunswick, where she serves on the board and enjoys volunteering in the field while learning as much as she can about organic farming. She is a UMaine Extension Master Gardener volunteer and volunteers in the herbarium at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. 

A native of Skowhegan and now a resident of Monroe, McGuire focused on digital arts at College of the Atlantic and then fell into farming and programming. She is enjoying having her own little farm.

Coming Soon!

Originally from Michigan, Meghan Metzger first made her way to Maine as a new student at Bates College. She graduated with honors majoring in French, and went on to earn her master’s in arts administration with a certificate in fundraising from Boston University. While working in grant writing, special events, membership, annual fund giving, corporate sponsorship and major gifts fundraising, Meghan has lived in Boston, Washington D.C. and Jordan — but the call to return to Maine only grew stronger. She made her way back in 2016 to work as a leadership gifts officer at her alma mater, and, now with nearly 15 years of fundraising experience, is thrilled to start this new adventure of leading MOFGA’s development and membership team.

Meghan’s passion for protecting and honoring our planet, ecosystems and communities was formed early on in her Michigan roots, growing up around the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Meghan loves spending time in her perennial and herb gardens, fretting over pollinators and living by the wise words, “weeds are a matter of opinion.” Meghan’s favorite non-weeds are wild strawberries, clover and mint.

Anna Miller, grew up in Maine and Massachusetts, attending the Common Ground Country Fair each fall and spending much of her childhood canoeing, camping and exploring the outdoors throughout the Northeast and Canada. She attended the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, earning her master’s with honors in human geography, with a focus on sustainable development and agriculture and the barriers to accessing healthy food systems among local communities. In 2012 Anna returned to Norway, Maine, briefly volunteering in the local community gardens and farms. She then moved to New York City where she worked for the British Foreign Office for over seven years, managing its New York operations, including finance, HR, IT and estates projects. Miller says she is thrilled to return to Maine to join and support the vital work of MOFGA as the new operations director, and she looks forward to getting to know the community and exploring the beautiful state.
Laura Miller, MOFGA’s new development manager, comes to us with considerable experience. She grew up in Bridgton, earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Vermont, and then moved to Portland, Maine. She was the membership coordinator for GrowSmart Maine and then worked at cPort Credit Union, most recently as vice president of marketing. At MOFGA she’ll work on bolstering our membership and development programs.
Jennifer grew up in Connecticut where she spent many years as support staff for a button factory. Moving to Maine in 2006, she quickly fell in love with the beauty and history here. Working the first 9 years in customer service for Avena Botanicals she learned about MOFGA and the Common Ground Country Fair. Since coming on staff a few weeks before the 2015 fair she says, “It has been a wonderful experience seeing the amount of love and effort put forth each day by staff and volunteers. It’s truly heartwarming.”
Anna was born in Germany and moved to the United States in 1999. Her family moved from Florida to Massachusetts and then to Texas before Anna returned to New England for college, with her cowgirl boots in tow. Anna and her partner’s passion for farming led them to discover MOFGA, and they quickly participated in the organization’s apprenticeship and journeyperson programs. Thanks to MOFGA’s support, Anna and Sean Murphy were able to establish Murphy Family Farm in 2013 in Freedom, Maine. Anna graduated from Unity College in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental writing and media. She hopes to help offer the same education and support that was offered to her by MOFGA through her work on MOFGA’s staff.

Meg Nadeau grew up in Maine enjoying all the outdoors had to offer. As a child she loved to go camping, ice fishing and hiking with her family. She inherited her appreciation for nature, flowers and wildlife from her grandmother and treasured trips to visit her grandmother’s backyard labyrinth.

Meg completed her undergraduate degree from Saint Joseph’s College where she discovered her passion for sustainable business which led her to attend the University of Vermont where she earned her MBA in sustainable innovation. She couldn’t stay away from Maine for long, though, and has spent the past two years working at Unity College in multiple capacities.

In her free time, you can find her traveling with her fiancé, Evan, and trying to go to as many live concerts as she can. If she isn’t on the road, she will be home trying to grow vegetables in her modest garden or playing with her dog, Asher, and two cats, Burly and Basil. She is excited to begin the next step in her professional journey as the coordinator of the Common Ground Country Fair, a position that aligns with her values and passions.

Lydia Pendergast moved from New York to Maine to attend College of the Atlantic in 2019. Through their coursework they developed an interest in the orchards and the agricultural history of New England. As a human ecologist she has studied everything from food science and geology to music, film, business and literature. They are excited to be joining MOFGA’s communications team and heritage orchard crew as an intern for the summer of 2022.

Don has spent more than 25 years in the environmental services and health and safety fields, specializing in emergency response, hazardous materials and major oil spill cleanups, and has been a trainer in those fields to a wide spectrum of audiences. He has a class A commercial diver’s license and extensive marine and commercial fishing experience. He moved to Maine after spending most of his life on Long Island, New York, where he raised pigs in his suburban backyard, much to the dismay of his neighbors. He now happily farms without any close neighbors, grows in a four-season NRCS high tunnel and would one day like to raise hundreds of turkeys. He is very happy to be working for MOFGA.
As MOFGA’s Organic Dairy Specialist, Jacki has a strong background, as well as a formal education, in commercial dairy production. Having grown up in central Maine on an 80-cow organic dairy, with a mother who is the only Certified Veterinary Homeopath for large animals in the state, she followed a familial passion, and received an Associate degree in Dairy Farm Management from Vermont Technical College. She has spent many years in the industry working on machinery, on several dairy farms, been herd manager for a large Maine dairy operation, and artificially inseminated cows for Genex.

Claire Reboussin grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, enjoying the mountains, foothills and beaches. Looking for a change of scenery and climate, she attended Bowdoin College. She originally pursued environmental chemistry, but switched course when she fell in love with Maine agriculture during her fellowship at Growing to Give. Since then, she has milked cows, processed chickens and turkeys, collected eggs, started seedlings, weeded beds, sold at farmers’ markets and much more. Reboussin graduated in 2021 with a degree in environmental science and philosophy, focusing on the ethical implications of climate change on food systems. After graduation, she decided to stay in Maine and worked on an aquaponics farm before joining MOFGA Certification Services as a staff inspector. When she’s not working, you can find her hiking, petting dogs, doing puzzles, watercoloring or reading.

Jacomijn, or for short Jaco, grew up in the Netherlands. After obtaining her bachelors and masters in Forestry at Wageningen University, she moved to Belfast, Maine, to be with her husband, cat, rabbits, goats, and chickens. At MOFGA she works with certified crop farmers to assure compliance with the organic rule. In addition to her work at MOFGA she works at the Chase farm in Freedom, serves on the MOFGA El Salvador Committee and the Sheepscot Wellspring Land Alliance Board. Jaco and her husband, Chris, have one child, Jasper.

Laura grew up in Massachusetts and Texas and has had a passion for flowers, berries and trees since childhood. In 2012, after working for two seasons on a vegetable farm in New Hampshire, she moved to Maine and attended College of the Atlantic where she developed an interest in apples and became involved with the Maine Heritage Orchard. She has worked for MOFGA and Fedco Trees since 2016. Laura lives in Waldo with her partner and a menagerie of animals. They have a young uncultivated orchard and tend a small garden. 

B Simon grew up in the Sonoran Desert, fell in love with all things botanical while living in the Pacific Northwest, and found a feeling of home under the big skies and ocean air of the Atlantic coast in Maine. A diverse background in early childhood education, native/edible/medicinal garden design, spiritual studies, and customer service has brought them to MOFGA. They are delighted to be a part of the MOFGA community and are interested in how the care and respectfulness of organic farming practices can be translated into our workplaces and social landscapes. The only thing they love as much as being outside studying flora and fauna is making art and music based on what they’ve found outside. 

Heather has worked as an environmental activist since the mid-80s. She spent 10 years in Washington, DC, working for the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, and Greenpeace International where she served as Publications Coordinator for the International Toxics Campaign. Heather’s introduction to MOFGA came during a summer 1996 sabbatical from Greenpeace, when she volunteered as an apprentice on New Leaf Farm in Durham. Wanting to settle in her home state of Maine, Heather then accepted a job offer to coordinate the Common Ground Country Fair. After several years focusing on the Fair, Heather changed her focus and worked on MOFGA’s organizational administration and development. She now works primarily on Public Policy initiatives at the state and national level.

Carrie Stevens grew up in a scouting family, as the youngest of six children. She spent many summers camping and hiking in the Adirondack Mountains. As a teenager she discovered a love of food and attended culinary school in Boston. Upon graduation, she started a very rewarding career as a pastry chef. Making people feel good through her passion for food has always been good for her soul. She and her husband, David, who is also a chef, landed in the northern neck of Virginia where they started a kitchen garden and beehives, while also working with the local farmers and watermen at the country club where they worked. She is thrilled to now be in Maine and is looking forward to discovering all Maine has to offer.

Karen has had several careers including teaching art to Junior High students in Wellesley, Mass., a decade of graphic design in Boston and Portland, and shipping as a third mate in the Merchant Marine. More recently she has worked for 25 years in the non-profit sector as Executive Director of three organizations, including the Maine Island Trail Association and the Midcoast Humane Society in Brunswick. She has a bachelor’s degree in graphic and communicating arts from Simmons College, a U.S. Coast Guard third mate’s license, and is a published writer. She has lived on a 1920 classic wooden power boat in Portland Harbor since anyone can remember, and brings a flavor of coastal culture to the bucolic farmland of Unity.

Rosie Avila grew up on Mount Desert Island, Maine. She spent much of her time gallivanting in the fields and woods of her friends’ farms, as well as in local Acadia National Park. She moved to Santa Barbara, California, three and a half years ago to be a nanny for three wonderful children. While there, she also attended Santa Barbara City College and recently completed her associate’s degree in early childhood education. She is now temporarily enjoying some time off back in Maine. Avila has been attending the Common Ground Country Fair since she was an infant, and she particularly loves the community aspect of MOFGA. She believes in empowering children as the future of our world by sharing interpersonal and communication skills. She takes inspiration from the children’s book “Miss Rumphius” and hopes to, in her own way, make the world more beautiful. When she has time, she also enjoys photography, theatre, astronomy, amateur knitting, and swimming in whichever ocean she’s closest to. 

Jason had previously worked for the Sheridan Corporation since 2001, supervising construction projects, managing employees and contractors, securing goods and services, scheduling, overseeing safety, quality control and design details, and reporting daily to a project management team. He and his family raise crops and livestock and produce maple syrup at Tessiers Farm (www.tessiersfarm.com), which also houses a licensed poultry and rabbit processing facility. The Tessiers sell at the Skowhegan Farmers’ Market. Jason also is a member of Transition Skowhegan, focusing on becoming locally dependent in the Skowhegan community.
Julie’s move to Maine as an organic farmer 20 years ago was inspired by MOFGA’s educational resources and the support of a friendly and knowledgeable staff. She and her husband raised and homeschooled their four children on two diversified organic farms, one with primary access by river via non-motorized canoe. Living and farming in a way that respects the natural living systems of the planet became Julie’s baseline for daily decisions. Her formal education includes a bachelor of arts degree in music and a bachelor of science in biology, specializing in botany, biomedical and environmental toxicology. Additionally her decades-long herbal studies led to the creation of her small holistic health consulting practice, Heart and Soul Holistic Health. However, Julie believes that her informal education and experiences living in harmony with the land provided the significant influential factors in shaping who she is today. Julie has been a seasonal organic farm certification inspector for MOFGA Certification Services since 2016 and is excited to be joining the staff year round. She believes life is an adventure and she is loving life!
Wendy Watson is a long-time MOFGA supporter with a wealth of related experience. Originally from a rural town near Boston, she has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Lesley College/Audubon Expedition Institute and graduated from the California School of Herbal Studies. She has managed natural food stores; worked on farms, at an herb supply company and in restaurants; has catered as a chef; and worked for nonprofits as director of development and administration, alumni relations and outreach director. Watson tends a large organic garden and enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities.

Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, John has lived in New England since 2012, with much of that time working for and managing certified organic farms. He also holds a master’s degree in communication from the University of Maine and has taught English there for years. He is joining MOFGA Certification Services as a certification specialist and looks forward to working with organic producers across the state. 

Born and raised in the Hudson Valley in New York, Jennifer Wilhelm spent summers hiking and backpacking in the Catskill and Adirondack Mountains. She has been working on behalf of the natural world for over 20 years, beginning her career by teaching outdoor environmental education. After finishing a master’s degree at the University of New Hampshire, Wilhelm took on the role of sustainability coordinator for Phillips Exeter Academy, where she worked to develop campus sustainability initiatives to inspire cultural change on campus and beyond. While there, she worked with students to start a school garden and spent summers learning about organic agriculture as a field assistant on farms in Maine and New Hampshire. 

In 2011, her passion for local food production had her back at UNH studying agroecology and working as a research and network coordinator with the NH Food Alliance. She has spent the last eight years focused on food systems network development, research, grant writing and facilitative leadership. Her commitment to social justice has led her to facilitating racial equity discussions and collaborating on a racial equity assessment for the New Hampshire food system. 



Wilhelm lives in Madbury, New Hampshire, with her husband (and two dogs), where they manage Fat Peach Farm — a small-scale mixed production farm — and she has conducted research to explore regenerative agricultural practices. 

 

Since her very first camping trip to Acadia in 1980, Ruth Zumstein longed to live in Maine. Finally, after a career as a professional violinist in New York City for over 30 years, Zumstein happily moved to Harpswell and then Brunswick. Living close to the ocean and experiencing a healthier lifestyle alongside so much natural beauty is a lifelong dream come true.