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.
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.
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, organized for farmer-plaintiffs to attend a federal court case against Monsanto and advocated for organic seed purity standards nationally and internationally.
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 contributing writer for The MOF&G. Interested in self-reliance, Holli has tinctured herbal remedies, put by the season’s bounty, fermented small batches of tempeh, made cheese and saved seeds.
John was born and raised on a crop and beef farm in Kansas. He stayed in Kansas long enough to earn his B.S. in agronomy from Kansas State. He, his wife Amy and his expanding family moved to Fort Fairfield in 2011 a few years after apprenticing at Goranson’s Farm in Dresden in 2006. John is passionate about finding ways to to make our food system work better for the health of our farmers, eaters and communities. John enjoys raising beef, chickens and a variety of garden veggies to help educate his four children and keep them all healthy. He also likes to backpack, kayak, trail run, read by the fire and ponder economics.
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.
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.
Katy hails from Mt. Desert Island, Maine. She has worked for MOFGA since 2008. After several years assisting farmers and food producers in MOFGA’s Agricultural Services and Certification departments, in 2019 Katy shifted her role to communications and outreach for the organization. Katy and her husband, Dan, live in Belfast with their dachshund.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Heather has worked as an environmental activist since graduating from college in 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 became MOFGA Operations Director, coordinating a three-year organizational development program. As Associate Director, Heather now focuses primarily on Public Policy, MOFGA’s participation in the Alliance for a Clean & Healthy Maine, Outreach, and Staff Management. Heather grew up in Waterville, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1986, with a degree in Geography and Environmental Sciences. Heather and her husband, Will Sugg, have two children.
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.
Anna Swanson grew up in suburban Philadelphia and graduated from the College of William and Mary with a bachelor’s degree in Africana studies. Interested in the connection between environmental and social justice, she served with FoodCorps at Backyard Growers in Gloucester, Mass., during her first year out of college. After several years working with youth farm and food education in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, she moved back to Gloucester in 2016 as Backyard Growers’ community programs manager, managing nine community gardens, education programs and the Backyard Garden Program. Swanson moved to Unity, Maine, in 2019 to join MOFGA as the Common Ground Country Fair coordinator. She is passionate about connecting and engaging community members with sustainable food and agriculture and is excited to continue her work through the Common Ground Country Fair.
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!
C.J. began working for MOFGA in 2006 as Landscape Coordinator for the Common Ground Education Center in Unity, and has held various roles within the organization since (Development Associate, Librarian, Computer-Fix-It-Guy, and Organic Orchardist). C.J. lives in Bar Harbor with his wife and two daughters, where he manages a diversified farm for College of the Atlantic, growing organic fruit and veggies, organic pastured poultry and grass-based sheep and cattle.
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.
Corinne grew up in southern New Jersey and worked on an organic farm in rural Pennsylvania while studying sculpture and anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Since then, she has worked in and around organic agriculture, while also working for a human rights NGO, as a graphic designer, and as a co-owner of a collectively run bicycle shop and school in Massachusetts. She is an alumna of MOFGA’s Journeyperson program, and grows certified organic seed crops with her family at Blackbird Rise in Palermo.