Staff

Buildings and Grounds

Team-John McIntire

John McIntire

Shop and Equipment Manager

Joshua Pavese

Joshua Pavese

Buildings and Grounds Assistant

Don Pendleton

Buildings and Grounds Assistant

Team-Jason Tessier

Jason Tessier

Buildings and Grounds Director

Common Ground Country Fair

Team-April-Boucher

April Boucher

Common Ground Country Fair Director
(she/her)

Meg Nadeau

Meg Gammon

Common Ground Country Fair Manager
(she/her)

Kate Kemper

Kate Kemper

Common Ground Country Fair Assistant
(she/they)

Wendy Watson

Common Kitchen Manager (she/her)

Jen White

Jen White

Common Ground Country Fair Logistics Coordinator

Communications and Outreach

Clare Boland

Clare Boland

Communications and Southern Maine Outreach Coordinator
(she/her)

Timothy Boston cropped

Timothy Boston

Community Engagement Coordinator
(he/him)

Holli Cederholm

Content Creator and Editor (she/her)

Jennifer Wilhelm

Jennifer Wilhelm

Communications and Outreach Director
(she/her)

Ruth Zumstein cropped

Ruth Zumstein

Online Store Manager
(she/her)

Community Education

Maddie Eberly

Maddie Eberly

Low-Impact Forestry Specialist
(they/them)

Jack Kertesz

Landscape Coordinator

Anna Libby

Community Education Director
(she/her)

C.J._Walke

C.J. Walke

Orchard Program Manager
(he/him)

Madi Whaley

Madi Whaley

Educational Programs Coordinator
(they/them)

Farmer Programs

Ryan Dennett

Programs Director
(she/her)

Bo Dennis Kelsey Kobik image

Bo Dennis

Beginning Farmer Programs Specialist
(he/him)

Caleb Goossen

Organic Crop and Conservation Specialist
(he/him)

Nicolas Lindholm 1

Nicolas Lindholm

Organic Marketing and Business Specialist
(he/him)

Meg Mitchell Chris Battaglia photo

Meg Mitchell

Climate Smart and Organic Transition Specialist
(she/they)

Anna Mueller

Farmer Programs Manager

Jacki Martinez Perkins

Organic Dairy and Livestock Specialist
(she/her)

Membership and Development

Laura Miller

Development Manager
(she/her)

Karen Stimpson

Grants Manager
(she/her)

MOFGA Certification Services, LLC (MCS)

Jade Archer with two cows

Jade Archer

Certification Specialist
(she/her)

Laurah Brown

Certification Specialist
(she/her)

Brittany Cooper

Brittany Cooper

Staff Inspector
(she/her)

Chris Grigsby

MCS Director
(he/him)

Grace Keown

Operations and Information Management Coordinator (she/her)

Marta Łaszkiewicz

Operations Administrator / Inspection Coordinator
(she/her)

JacoBioPicture

Jacomijn Schravesande-Gardei

Associate Director of Crops/MCS (she/her)

Julie Trudel

Materials Reviewer and MC3 Program Coordinator
(she/her)

Kristen Walker

Kristen Walker

Staff Inspector
(she/her)

John Welton staff photo

John Welton

Certification and Quality Specialist
(he/him)

Operations

Sarah Alexander

Executive Director
(she/her)

Angela Haiss

Angela Haiss

Operations Director
(she/her)

Kaitlynn McGuire

Constituent Experience and Database Manager
(she/her)

Staff Melissa McLaughlin

Melissa McLaughlin

Office Manager
(she/her)

Jennifer Morton

Finance and Operations Coordinator
(she/her)

Public Policy

Bill Pluecker State Rep Campaign, Warren

Bill Pluecker

Public Policy Organizer
(he/him)

Heather Spalding

Deputy Director and Senior Policy Director
(she/her)

Sarah Alexander

Executive Director
(she/her/hers)

Jade Archer with two cows

Jade Archer

Certification Specialist, MOFGA Certification Services, LLC

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

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)

Meg Nadeau

Meg Gammon

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

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

Finance and Operations Coordinator (she/her/hers)

Anna Mueller

Farmer Professional Development Specialist

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

MOFGA Store Co-Manager
(they/them/theirs)

Heather Spalding

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

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

MOFGA Store Co-Manager
(she/her/hers)

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John McIntire came to work at MOFGA with 30 years of experience in electrical and mechanical repair in the automotive field.

As the shop and equipment manager, he maintains and repairs rolling stock.

Joshua hails from Indiana, the home of the Indiana banana, otherwise known as the pawpaw. He was first introduced to organic food growing on the island of Kaua’i under the tutelage of Micheal Weiss, the “Garden Giant,” where he tended all sorts of varieties of fruit trees. As his passion for fruit grew he returned to the mainland where he and his partner acquired land and built their own home in a forest of trees here in Maine. He brings his knowledge of handyman work from the build of his own home and is excited to be part of MOFGA’s buildings and grounds team.

Joshua’s role is to lend aid to buildings and grounds personnel by completing planned builds, finishing pre-existing projects, whether carpentry, painting or just lending a helping hand to the MOFGA team.

Don Pendleton 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.

Don works to support MOFGA events, maintain facilities and grounds, and provide all types of assistance to the MOFGA community. He works with school groups, volunteers, farmers, staff and community groups to advocate for organic agriculture and sustainable living practices respecting nature and a healthy environment.

 

Jason Tessier, his wife and two daughters have owned and operated a small family dairy farm in Skowhegan since 1999. It is a diversified operation, selling dairy, beef, pork, poultry, and maple products, along with an on-farm custom exempt meat processing facility. He previously worked as a construction supervisor for Sheridan Corp., where he managed employees and contractors; secured goods and services; scheduled; oversaw safety, quality control and design details; and reported daily to a project management team.

Jason manages the buildings, grounds and equipment at MOFGA.

April Boucher started at MOFGA working on the Common Ground Country Fair in 2007 and became Fair director in 2013. Before coming to MOFGA, she was the South Beach coordinator for the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Other previous experiences include conducting wildlife research, working on farms, being a resident advisor, and being an area coordinator at StoryLand in Glen, New Hampshire. Her volunteer experiences range from supporting community events, such as the New England Folk Festival Association (NEFFA), to having served on the Maine Association of Livestock Exhibitors board. Aprils holds a Bachelor of Arts in human ecology from the College of the Atlantic and is a continuous learner. She has participated in trainings by Wabanaki REACH, the National Center of Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), International Association of Fairs and Expos (IAFE), and EqualityMaine.

April coordinates the Common Ground Country Fair, supervising Fair staff and working closely with the Fair planning team. She is responsible for Fair coordination; logistics; policies; guidelines; safety and emergency procedures; budget; and Fair diversity, equity, inclusion and justice work.

Meg Gammon discovered her passion for sustainable business in her undergraduate program, which led her to pursue further education at the University of Vermont, where she earned her Master of Business Administration in sustainable innovation. She is happy that she has landed at MOFGA as the coordinator of the Common Ground Country Fair, working with an organization and in a position that closely aligns with her values and passions.

Meg coordinates all administrative tasks for the Common Ground Country Fair. She oversees the application process and works closely with accepted vendors and speakers, ensuring that they have completed all requirements for participation in the Fair.

Kate Kemper graduated from the University of Maine in May 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in the human dimensions of climate change, with a minor in physics and a concentration in sustainable agriculture. She is an anthropologist at heart, loves talking to people, and has a passion for community building and food system improvement. She grew up in Unity and Rockport, Maine.

As the Common Ground Country Fair assistant, Kate can field any questions from vendors, fairgoers, and others interested in the Fair.

Wendy Watson started working for MOFGA in 2019 and is a long-time MOFGA supporter and organic gardener. She grew up in a small rural town northwest of Boston and has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Lesley College/Audubon Expedition Institute and graduated from the California School of Herbal Studies. Wendy’s love of food has been life-long, whether growing, teaching or making it. After college she and her partner lived in the Northern California redwoods and worked as farm caretakers and summer camp counselors, managing an assortment of livestock large and small, in addition to growing a vibrant vegetable garden that was tended by the summer camp students and used in the camp kitchen. She has managed natural food stores, and worked on organic farms, for an herb supply company, and in restaurants and catering roles as a chef. She also has many years of nonprofit management experience as director of development and administration, alumni relations, outreach director and office manager. She and her partner live in the mid-coast, and they currently tend a large organic vegetable garden, along with culinary and medicinal herbs, fruits and perennials.

Wendy manages and maintains MOFGA’s Common Kitchen and year-round food donations, and works as Fair food liaison to all food vendors at the Common Ground Country Fair. She also works with Fair staff to coordinate food and volunteers in the Common Kitchen at the Fair.

Jennifer White, a New York City native, moved to coastal Maine in 2011. Having only been to Maine one other time, she fell in love with the landscape and the way of life here. Upon her second time visiting the state she purchased 63 acres to start an off-grid homestead, transported her custom self-built shipping container cabin to her new home, and started working as a farmhand at Happytown Farm in Orland. Building a life here has proven itself to be a rewarding experience rich in adventure, knowledge and new friendships. She feels that despite the low population partnered with the great vastness of the state there are actually wonderful opportunities everywhere in Maine — a land abundant with resources and resourceful people. A place where you can grow your own food, burn your own wood, trust your neighbors, sail, swim and hike is a place she proudly calls “home.” When she is not sailing, traveling, playing with animals or enjoying the gorgeous Maine-scape, she is either landscaping with her friends or often found creating art through a variety of mediums: as a digital illustrator, painter and sign maker. An honors graduate from New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology, she is a freelance artist who thoroughly enjoys working for herself on her own schedule, which gives her the freedom to participate in her role at the Common Ground Country Fair every year. She is honored to be part of the MOFGA team as fair logistics coordinator — a fun and high-speed task where she can meet new people and rally her urban pace in parallel with her deep appreciation of the longevity of local organic farming.

Jen was hired in 2014 as logistics coordinator for the Common Ground Country Fair. As the years progressed she found new ways to have the Fair run smoother and more efficiently. She makes sure everything gets done right and done well. She is highly organized and knows the ins and outs of how the Fair operates.

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.

Clare handles MOFGA’s digital presence and does outreach work in Southern Maine, including events.

Timothy Boston got his first taste of organic farming and gardening down in Austin, Texas. There he volunteered with Urban Roots ATX and worked at a local, sustainable grocery store, where he got to sell the produce he helped to grow. Timothy’s family has been farming and gardening in Maine for generations, and he is proud to continue that legacy with MOFGA.

Timothy brings his experience in education and community organizing to his role as community engagement coordinator, in which he works with volunteers to facilitate events throughout the year, including the Common Ground Country Fair.

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 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 of The Farm Report on Heritage Radio Network; and a long-time contributing writer for The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener (The MOF&G).

Holli writes for, assigns articles and edits MOFGA’s quarterly publication, The MOF&G, and manages MOFGA’s email newsletters. She also co-hosts MOFGA’s monthly radio program on organic agriculture, called Common Ground Radio, on WERU Community Radio.

Jennifer Wilhelm began her career by teaching outdoor environmental education for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. She later worked as the sustainability coordinator for Phillips Exeter Academy, where she started a school garden, and spent summers learning about organic agriculture as a field assistant on farms in Maine and New Hampshire. Jennifer most recently worked as a research and network coordinator with the NH Food Alliance, focusing on food systems network development, research, grant writing and facilitative leadership. Jennifer lives in Madbury, New Hampshire, with her husband, where they manage Fat Peach Farm — a small-scale mixed production farm — and conduct research to explore regenerative agricultural practices. She holds a doctorate from the University of New Hampshire.

Jennifer manages media inquiries, press releases, MOF&G advertising and classifieds, and requests for MOFGA merchandise donations.

After her very first camping trip to Acadia in 1980, Ruth Zumstein longed to live in Maine. In 2016 she happily moved to Harpswell and Brunswick. She enjoys photographing the natural beauty of the Maine coast.

Ruth began working with MOFGA’s The Maine Organic Marketplace in Freeport when it opened in July 2021. After the store closed in January 2023, she transitioned to working as MOFGA’s online store manager.

Maddie Eberly graduated from the University of Maine in 2021 with dual degrees in forestry and botany. During their time in undergrad, they researched tree physiology with the Wason Lab and ecopaleontology with the BEAST Lab. Following graduation, they worked for the Maine Natural Areas Program monitoring and managing invasive terrestrial plants. In 2022, they began working for the Forest Stewards Guild and founded Seeing the Forest for the Queers, a community of LGBTQ+ forest stewards. They obtained their intern forester’s license in 2022.

Maddie coordinates our low-impact forestry (LIF) program. In this role, they organize educational events and outreach, help manage our woodlots, and compile our LIF newsletter.

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.

Anna Libby grew up on a small farm in Mt. Vernon, Maine, where her family raised sheep and chickens, and tended gardens and a small orchard. She attended the Common Ground Country Fair every year, and loved roaming through the woods near her home. After high school, she attended college in Pennsylvania where she earned a degree in sociology. Eager to return to Maine after graduating, Anna served with the AmeriCorps VISTA program and then worked as a volunteer coordinator at a Bangor area nonprofit. Her work with volunteers that lead her to work at MOFGA, where she started as the volunteer coordinator and then in the education department before she started working as the community education director. She now lives with her husband on the farm where she grew up. She and her family still tend their orchard and grow gardens there.

Anna serves as MOFGA’s community education director. The department focuses on education for gardeners, homesteaders and eaters through educational events, demonstrations on the MOFGA campus, and more.

C.J. Walke began working with MOFGA in 2006 as landscape coordinator, which included managing the original north and south orchards on MOFGA’s campus in Unity. He’s held various roles along the way but always had a focus on providing education and technical services around organic orcharding. He started his current role as orchard program manager in May of 2023 and is excited to be back in MOFGA’s orchards and working with an amazing group of dedicated orchard folks.

C.J. coordinates all of MOFGA’s orchard activities on the grounds in Unity, with a focus on maximizing the educational opportunities for visitors and Common Ground Country Fair attendees. He works with other MOFGA staff and key volunteers to manage the 10-acre educational and preservation-focused Maine Heritage Orchard, which is home to nearly 400 varieties of apples and pears historically grown in Maine.

Madi Whaley has worked on, and with, organic farms since 2017. In 2023, they earned their master’s degree in gender and women’s studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where their teaching and research focused on LGBTQ+ studies, farming and food justice, environmental studies, and the intersections therein. Having spent many years coordinating educational events in food, LGBTQ+ and higher education contexts, Madi is excited to bolster food, farm and garden learning opportunities for folks interested in growing their existing knowledge and reskilling themselves and their communities.

As the educational programs coordinator, Madi works with MOFGA staff, partners and volunteers to organize community education events. Among these are the orcharding workshops series, Seed Swap & Scion Exchange and gardening webinars. They also manage the CSA (community supported agriculture) portion of the Maine Harvest Bucks Program.

Ryan Dennett has worked for MOFGA since 2016. She has a Bachelor of Science in sustainable agriculture and an Master of Science in plant and soil nutrition from the University of Maine. She is a MOFGA Journeyperson alum and operates Crescent Run Farm.

Ryan directly supervises MOFGA’s farmer programs. She also supports directors of our community education and Common Ground Country Fair teams in an effort to have all MOFGA programs working cohesively towards our mission of a healthy and fair food system.

Bo Dennis has been farming since 2008 and working at MOFGA since 2019. In addition to working at MOFGA, he manages Dandy Ram Farm, a queer and trans community flower and seed farm based in Monroe. He is passionate about supporting equitable access to hands on farming education especially for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ beginning farmers who have been marginalized in our agricultural community.

Bo manages MOFGA’s programs for beginning farmers. He supports farmworkers and people starting farm businesses up to five years in production. This work includes the Journeyperson Program, the apprenticeship program, and generally connecting beginning farmers to resources.

Photo by Kelsey Kobik

Caleb Goossen has a bachelor’s degree in plant biology and sustainable agriculture from Hampshire College, and a doctorate from 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.

Caleb creates educational materials and provides technical assistance relating to organic growing for commercial and non-commercial audiences.

Photo by Robert Nickelsberg

Nicolas Lindholm’s involvement with MOFGA started with a farm apprenticeship in 1987, and includes working on several certified organic farms along with serving on the board of directors and moonlighting as a certification inspector through the 1990s. He and his wife started an organic vegetable and wild blueberry farm in the Blue Hill area in 1997, which transitioned into Blue Hill Berry Co. in 2010, where they manage about 50 acres of MOFGA-certified organic wild blueberries.

Nicolas works with the farmer programs team to address farmers’ needs and questions around farm financial, business and marketing concerns. He is available to work directly one-on-one with farms, as well as connect farms with other service providers and resources. He administers MOFGA’s Organic Farmer Loan Fund and the Technical Assistance Grant program, in addition to compiling and editing the Farmer Programs Newsletter. He works collaboratively with other state organization staff to compile both the Maine Produce Market Report and the Maine Farmers Market Price Report, and assists with the Bumper Crop program.

Meg Mitchell began as an apprentice on an organic vegetable farm in 2005 and has been raising produce ever since, working with local markets, planning for financial and climate resilience as well as participating in a network of mutual aid organizations. She is well-versed in the shifting challenges faced by producers in our state and is using her skills and experience to assist farmers in making data-driven plans to achieve their climate resiliency goals.

Meg works to connect farmers with technical support and funding for climate-smart practices and transitioning to organic. Removing barriers to access for communities historically underserved by MOFGA is central to their work as is as integrating emotional resilience into outreach and technical support.

Photo by Chris Battaglia for Belfast Community Co-Op

Anna Mueller has helped run Murphy Family Farm in Freedom, Maine, alongside Sean Murphy since 2013 and has worked at MOFGA since 2012.

Anna leads MOFGA’s programming for established farmers including grant programs, events and conferences. She also manages the farm worker job page on MOFGA’s website.

As MOFGA’s Organic Dairy and Livestock Specialist, Jacki Martinez Perkins 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 and on several dairy farms. She has also been a herd manager for a large Maine dairy operation and artificially inseminated cows for Genex. Her own passion for integrated pasture systems led her to raise many different species of livestock and experiment on her own with sustainable grazing practices.

Jacki provides technical assistance and educational content on organic livestock care and production. She also helps to administer MOFGA’s Shared Use Farm Equipment Program.

Laura Miller earned her Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies from the University of Vermont, and worked previously in fundraising and marketing, most recently at cPort Credit Union in Portland. She lives in Topsham, Maine, next to her partner’s organic vegetable farm.

Laura manages MOFGA’s membership program and annual fund fundraising.

Karen Stimpson has been an executive director of three organizations, including the Maine Island Trail Association and the Midcoast Humane Society. She joined MOFGA in 2018 as the grants manager doing what she loves most — writing. She has a bachelor’s degree in graphic and communicating arts from Simmons College and a U.S. Coast Guard third mate’s license, and comes from a Maine farming family. 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.

As MOFGA’s grants manager, Karen researches grant opportunities; writes proposals and reports; tracks all grant income, invoices and deadlines; and maintains all grant files and calendars.

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 on a small dairy in Newcastle, then subsequently returned to New York in semester stints to study veterinary technology. She now lives in Alna, with her husband, Davis, on their small farm where they grow and process organic chicken for the local market. Jade began working for MOFGA Certification Services in 2019 as an inspector conducting organic farm inspections all over the state. She shifted towards specialist and review work in 2021.

Jade works with certified organic producers and new applicants becoming certified. She assesses compliance of an operation’s organic system plan, reviews inspection reports, and issues subsequent responses.

Laurah Brown joined MOFGA staff in 2014.The daughter of a veterinarian, born and raised in Belfast, she grew up spending time at her father’s office, going on farm calls and later working on his dairy farm in Vassalboro. Before joining MOFGA’s staff, Laurah created an organic value-added gift line for pets, a business she ran for 20 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Thomas College and resides in Vassalboro. As a certification specialist, she works with dairy, livestock, crops and processing.

As a certification specialist, Laurah provides friendly and efficient customer service to certified organic clients, applicants and interested producers. She works collaboratively with other certification specialists and inspectors.

Brittany (Bee) Cooper grew up on North Haven Island off the coast of Maine as a part of her family’s 11th generation of islanders. After graduating from the College of the Atlantic she decided to stay on the mainland to continue building her farming skills. She worked on, and managed, multiple small organic farms in Maine for over a decade until moving into her role as a staff inspector with MOFGA Certification Services (MCS). She is thrilled to be a part of the certification team at MOFGA and is looking forward to building her skills as an organic inspector in order to serve her community and contribute to the ever-evolving world of sustainable food production.

As a staff Inspector with MOFGA Certification Services, she works with local farmers to schedule and conduct organic inspections and sends inspection reports to the MCS team for review.

Born and raised in Maine, Chris Grigsby settled back in his home state after college and began managing food production and distribution businesses. For seven years he was the general manager at the Belfast Co-op, Maine’s oldest and largest retail cooperative. He is an active member of the organic community, and currently serves as vice chair of the OMRI board of directors. He and his family homestead in Appleton, producing wild blueberries, cut flowers, vegetables and maple syrup.

Chris is currently the certification director for MOFGA Certification Services (MCS), holding the position since 2016. He oversees MOFGA’s certification programs, and is the point person for MCS’ accreditation with USDA’s National Organic Program. Chris is a strong advocate for local and regional food systems, as well as the integrity of MOFGA certified organic and the USDA organic standards.

Grace Keown has many years of work experience in administrative and IT settings and has been with MOFGA and MOFGA Certification Services on a full-time basis since 2013. She has a Bachelor of Arts in studio art and art history from Stony Brook University and a Master of Business Administration from Dowling College. She has been a homesteader since moving to Maine in 2004, and is also a practicing fine artist.

Grace oversees the annual update process of the certification cycle, manages the MCS proprietary database and federal reimbursement cycle, maintains the MCS website, coordinates and designs the bi-annual Organic Sprout newsletter, and provides administrative support for a variety of tasks.

Marta Łaszkiewicz 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 Common Ground Country 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.

Marta is the point of contact for the public-facing phone and email for MOFGA Certification Services, Monday through Friday. Marta is also in charge of inspection coordination for MCS.

Jacomijn, or for short Jaco, grew up in the Netherlands. After obtaining her master’s in forestry at Wageningen University, she moved to Belfast, Maine, in 2006 to be with her husband. That summer she worked at the Chase farm and discovered her love for farming. After attending her first Common Ground Country Fair that year, she was excited to be hired as the certification assistant and has been at MOFGA since! Jaco and her husband have two children.

Jacomijn works with certified organic crop farms on all aspects of the certification process. She reviews plans and inspection reports that are submitted; assesses and determines compliance of each operation with the organic regulations; and answers a lot of questions regarding the National Organic Program rules.

Julie Trudel has been farming and homesteading organically since the late 1980s. She served as the operations manager of a state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary for four years. Her formal education includes a Bachelor of Science in biology with specializations in botany, environmental toxicology and biomedical.

Julie conducts reviews of material inputs, including commercial compost production, to determine approval status for use in organic production. Additionally, she coordinates the Certified Clean Cannabis by MOFGA (MC3) program. She can also be found inspecting farms and processing facilities.

Kristen Walker grew up in Cumberland, Maine, and spent much of her childhood hiking, camping, and gardening, igniting a love for the outdoors and food. She secured her first restaurant position while attending the University of Maine, accumulating nearly 15 years of experience in the field. In 2018, Kristen transitioned her career trajectory, embarking on a new path in farming as a MOFGA apprentice. Since then, Kristen has worked on and managed vegetable and fruit farms. Recognizing the importance of connecting people with their food sources, she is dedicated to developing spaces for community engagement, education, and fostering resilient agriculture systems.

As a staff inspector, she works with local farmers to schedule and conduct organic inspections and sends inspection reports to the MCS team for review.

John Welton has worked with MOFGA Certification Services (MCS) since 2018 as an inspector and specialist.

John works with certified organic producers throughout the organic certification process. He also helps to train and evaluate organic inspectors working with MCS.

Sarah Alexander began working as MOFGA’s executive director on August 13, 2018. She has over 20 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 of MOFGA she worked as a senior strategist at M+R Strategic Services.

As the executive director of MOFGA, Sarah oversees all strategic program implementation.

Angela Haiss grew up in Maine, and earned her undergraduate degree in bio-resource engineering from the University of Maine and her master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University. After school she returned to Maine and spent 16 years working in operations. She became interested in organic gardening and has spent the last 10 years learning about the topic and growing an increasing number and variety of plants. Haiss and her family have a little homestead where they enjoy growing vegetables, annual and perennial cut flowers and herbs, and a small flock of chickens and ducks. She enjoys learning about herbalism and making natural remedies for family and friends. 

As operations director, Angela is responsible for supporting finance, IT and human resource activities.

Kaitlynn McGuire focused on digital arts and data modeling at College of the Atlantic and then fell into farming and programming. She apprenticed on a few MOFGA-certified organic farms and managed a farm in New Hampshire before returning to data and programming. She is now enjoying having her own little homestead.

Kaitlynn manages MOFGA’s database system and works with MOFGA teams to manage other systems to ensure everything is working effectively and all systems are connected and working together. She works with MOFGA programs to make sure they have the support and data they need to operate effectively and efficiently.

Melissa McLaughlin grew up with a deep love of the outdoors through hiking, camping and canoeing in Pennsylvania. She loved spending long days building forts in the woods and swimming in the nearby creek. In 2019, Melissa completed her undergraduate degree in biology at Haverford College, where she focused her studies on estuarine ecology and climate change science. She developed a deep passion for social justice, which led her to complete a service year in Philadelphia before working with the service year program for several years. Melissa moved to Maine in 2023 to join MOFGA as the office manager and is expanding her horizons by exploring new rivers and trails throughout the state. She also enjoys riding horses, playing guitar, arts and crafts, and helping out on her sister’s nearby farm.

As the office manager, Melissa is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Unity offices. She answers the main phone line and email account, processes daily mail, manages office systems like supply ordering and cleaning, and ensures IT equipment is managed well.

Jennifer has worked in various office settings in customer service and administrative/operations positions for most of her career.

As the finance and operations coordinator, she processes checks, reconciles various avenues of income, and runs monthly reports.

Bill Pluecker has been farming commercially since 2005. During most of those years his operation was certified organic and operated a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program partnered with the Maine Harvest Bucks. He currently runs Begin Again Farm, a small vegetable operation selling primarily wholesale to local groceries and the Mainers Feeding Mainers program. Bill has served in the Maine Legislature since 2018. He represents House District 44 (the towns of Hope, Union and Warren) and serves as House Chair of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee. He has two kids of whom he is very proud.

Bill works to engage and energize the MOFGA community to take action to support clean soil and water, with emphasis on addressing PFAS contamination of farmland and building awareness and advocacy on this topic across the country. Helping to leverage MOFGA’s broad political power, Bill develops our advocacy communication channels and ensures that members understand priorities in MOFGA’s policy platform.

Photo by Molly Haley

Heather Spalding has worked as an environmental activist since the mid-1980s. Prior to her work with MOFGA, which began in 1997, she spent 10 years in Washington, D.C., 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 MOFGA-certified 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. Coming full circle, she now works primarily on coordinating MOFGA’s public policy initiatives.

Heather works primarily on public policy initiatives at the local, state and national level.

Caitlyn Barker has worked for MOFGA since 2021. Previously she worked as a public school teacher and at a local, organic vegetable farm.

Caitlyn works with volunteers across the organization, including at the Common Ground Country Fair; attends outreach events representing MOFGA; manages all incoming advertising and classifieds for our quarterly publication, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener; and co-hosts the monthly podcast, Common Ground Radio, that airs on WERU Community Radio.

Hillary Barter 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 to Maine with her husband in 2016 she completed a master’s degree in Toronto, researching the decline in small-scale meat processing businesses in that region and the 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 has worked for MOFGA since 2019.

Hillary organizes events for gardeners, homesteaders, orchardists and others. She also coordinates the Maine Harvest Bucks program, which enables SNAP recipients to receive discounted local vegetables and fruits through participating farms, and assists with some of MOFGA’s public policy advocacy work.

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.

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.

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 Lucy grew up in rural Pennsylvania, playing at her neighbors’ strawberry farm and attending Beyond Pesticides meetings with her parents. Elizabeth began her development career in 2014. 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.

Elizabeth engages with MOFGA’s existing donor community and also welcomes and seeks out new individual funders to the organization. Regionally, Elizabeth is responsible for out-of-state donor relationships as well as with donors that reside north of Waldo County. While Elizabeth raises funds for all of MOFGA’s program areas, she leads funding efforts for the Maine Heritage Orchard and co-leads our 50th Anniversary Campaign: Together We Grow.

Cathy McDonald retired from working at American University in Washington, D.C., and moved to Maine in November 2017. She has found so much to learn and do in Maine. Cathy is the volunteer coordinator and serves on the board at Growing to Give, a MOFGA-certified food-for-donation farm in Brunswick, where she also enjoys volunteering in the field and learning about organic no-till farming. She is a UMaine Extension Master Gardener volunteer and also volunteers in the herbarium at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

Cathy works with the team at The Maine Organic Marketplace to display and sell products created by Maine farmers and artists, and shares information about MOFGA’s work supporting farmers and advocating for a healthy food system.

Meghan Metzger has over 15 years of fundraising experience with a wide range of organizations including arts, culture and higher education. Meghan received her master’s in arts administration with a certificate in fundraising from Boston University.

Meghan leads MOFGA’s fundraising team and strategy, including individual gifts, grant writing, partnerships and planned giving.

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.

Claire Reboussin majored in environmental studies at Bowdoin College and focused her research on the effects of climate change on small farms in Maine. During the summer, she worked on small farms in Maine and New Hampshire. After college and before starting at MOFGA Certification Services, she also briefly worked on an aquaponics farm in Maine.

As an organic inspector with MCS, Claire travels across Maine inspecting various kinds of farms and processors.

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, they moved to Maine and attended College of the Atlantic and developed an interest in apples and became involved with the Maine Heritage Orchard in 2014. Laura has worked for MOFGA and Fedco Trees since 2016, and currently lives in Midcoast Maine.

Laura works to maintain the health and aesthetics of MOFGA’s orchards, provide quality education to the community about tree fruits, and to assist others on the grounds with their work.

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 variegated background in early childhood education, native/edible/medicinal garden studies and 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.

 

Simon manages The Maine Organic Marketplace in Freeport, Maine, including all store-related projects, MOFGA’s Online County Store, and the Common Ground Country Store and merchandise. They also collaborate with MOFGA staff on events held at the marketplace in Freeport.

Mariam Taleb has worked on several organic and sustainable farms throughout the Northeast, and has worked in extension in Pennsylvania and New York. She has a Bachelor of Arts in sustainable food and farming, a Bachelor of Arts in English- technical and grant writing from UMass Amherst, and a doctorate in entomology and international agriculture and development from Penn State.

Mariam provides crop production support to farmers in Southern Maine, regardless of certification status. She also administers the MOFGA/MFT PFAS Fund Programs, including the testing program.

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.

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