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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.