Personal tools
You are here: Home ›› Events ›› Tilth Conference: Presenter Bios

Tilth Conference: Presenter Bios

Tilth Conference 2021 - Web Header

Home | Registration | COVID Policies | Keynote Speakers | Schedule | Farm Walk 

Sessions | Presenters | Sponsorship & Trade Show | Social Events | Lodging

Bilan Aden, African Community Housing & Development

Bilan Aden is a leader in the African Diaspora immigrant and refugee community in South King County, and is passionate about food access and high-quality education. Ms. Aden holds a BA in Marketing from Seattle University and an MA in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) from the University of Washington. Ms. Aden also holds a Family Engagement Certificate from Harvard University, a P-3 Executive Leadership Certificate from the University of Washington, and she attended IslandWood’s Education for Community and Environment program in 2018. 

Aaron Appleby, Washington State University

Looking for a better way to control agricultural pests and disease, Aaron enrolled in Washington State University’s organic agriculture program in 2015.  Aaron was quickly elected greenhouse manager for the Horticulture Club and soon after was elected club president.  In 2017, Aaron was awarded the Senior of the Year from the College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Science, graduating Summa Cum Laude and receiving his Bachelor of Science in organic agriculture from WSU.  In 2019, Aaron graduated with a Master of Science degree in Crop Science at WSU specializing in organic pesticides, continuing research he began as an undergraduate. Aaron is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Crop Science at Washington State University, where he is continuing his work with organic pesticides, adding an entomology aspect to his herbicide research and branching out to dryland agriculture after studying irrigated systems.  Aaron’s work on the, “Efficacy and Economic Viability of Organic Herbicides in a Young, High-Density Apple Orchard”, has earned a few awards as both an undergraduate student and graduate student. Scientific experimentation and data collection with appropriate analysis and application remain essential elements to all successful agricultural endeavors. By becoming an expert in organic pesticides, Aaron hopes to give back to sustainable agriculture through extension and extension-like work.  Pests are major concerns for all crops and reducing long-lasting synthetic pesticide residues and resistant pest genotypes will aid in all aspects of crop production. 

Brook Brouwer, Washington State University

Dr. Brook Brouwer is San Juan County WSU Extension Director and Regional Agricultural Specialist. He has a background in crop science, barley breeding and crop variety evaluation for organic production and local food systems. Current programs include addressing production challenges on diversified farms, crop variety evaluation, improvement of organic forage production and supporting local food system development.

Addie Candib, American Farmland Trust & Puget Sound Agrarian Commons

Addie Candib oversees American Farmland Trust’s programs in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. She has worked at the intersection of agriculture and the nonprofit sector for over 10 years. She began her career in farmland protection at the Community Farm Land Trust in Olympia, Washington, and she has been passionate about farmland access and affordability ever since. Addie is trained in mediation and conflict resolution, and volunteers as a facilitator and mediator with a community-based dispute resolution center. Addie holds a Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College and a Master of Public Administration from The Evergreen State College, where her capstone work explored financing strategies for farmland protection. She lives with her family in Bellingham, WA.

Margaret Clark

Margaret farmed in Seattle & on Bainbridge Island in the mid 1980’s, selling herbs & salad greens retail and wholesale as name “Gaea or ‘seasonal greens.’ She was Organic Certification #16.  She worked at Charlie’s Produce while farming. After moving to Bainbridge, she worked at Town and County Market, and was soon able to convinced the Produce Manager to carry and label Organic Produce, which he initially called a dirty word. Town and Country became the first conventional supermarket in the State to carry organic produce. She served on the first Washington State Organic Advisory Board working with Tilth Producers pass legislation defining organic and creating the second state  certification program.  With Oregon Tilth and CCOF they created harmonized  rules that made interstate commerce of organic products easier.  They also helped draft the first National Organic Legislation.  Appointed as a member of the first NOSB (USDA National Organic Standards Board) she worked for three years as its ViceChair and Chair of Accreditation. Following this she got her law degree from the University of Washington, while surviving a stem cell transplant for breast cancer. She then worked with Oregon Tilth. In 2002 she moved to Kauai, HI, working in Conservation at the National Tropical Botanical Garden, where she developed the Seed Bank and Lab, as well as compiling reviews of endangered plants for Fish and Wildlife Service, a Collections Policy and other conservation projects and reports. She remains an avid gardener and loves to recommend books.

Sara Collier, University of Washington

Sarah Collier is an Assistant Professor with the UW Food Systems, Nutrition, and Health program, with expertise in sustainability and resilience of agricultural production systems.

Lynn Coody

Lynn S. Coody has been an active participant in the organic industry since 1974, serving in many leadership positions in her home state of Oregon, nationally with the Organic Trade Association and other groups, and internationally with IFOAM. She is proud to have been a founder of, and active contributor to, Oregon Tilth, Organic Materials Institute, and Oregon Organic Coalition.  In 1982, Lynn established Organic Agsystems Consulting, a firm that provides technical assistance to producers and regulatory agencies in the organic food trade. In recent years, many of her consulting projects have focused on assisting domestic and international certifiers with compliance with the accreditation requirements of the USDA's National Organic Program. A notable highlight has been her work as a visiting professor at the Institute of Mediterranean Agriculture for 15 years, where she taught a short course on organic regulation and oversight to students working toward their Master’s degree in Organic Agriculture. Her current focus is the Organic Produce Wholesalers Coalition, where she serves as Senior Policy Analyst, providing analysis and recommendations about issues before the National Organic Standards Board. In 2019, OTA honored Lynn with its Leadership Award for Growing the Organic Community. In 2020, Lynn received the Sustie Award from the Ecological Farming Association which “honors those who have been actively and critically involved in ecologically sustainable agriculture.”

Diane Dempster

Diane retired from Charlie’s Produce, Seattle where she managed their purchasing program for local organic growers called Farmer’s Own as well as doing sales, purchasing, and organizing events. Previously she worked for two different growers’ co-ops and has over 35 years working with growers and the organic produce industry. She served on the Boards of Tilth Producers of Washington and PCC Farmland Trust. She served on the Organic Advisory Board for the WSDA Organic Program and helped draft the organic handler standards. She currently serves on the Board of Friends of Clark County, the Clark County Food Systems Council, the state Food Policy Forum and Tilth Alliance.  She is putting her food distribution skills to use procuring food for East West Food Rescue and SW Washington League of United Latin America Citizens. She and her partner Chris live in Vancouver, WA.

Liz Gillispie, Badger Mountain Vineyard

Dr. Liz Gillispie is an avid soil lover from North Carolina State University and has extensive experience researching the role of soils on the fate and transport of contaminants and nutrients in North Carolina, Cambodia, and Washington. She has worked at Badger Mountain Organic Vineyard & Powers Winery for over a year and is working with the vineyard team to apply her knowledge of soil health to create a more sustainable, regenerative farm.

Rhys-Thorvald Hansen, Puget Sound Agrarian Commons

Rhys-Thorvald is an artist and facilitator working within the intersections of community care, folk art, food systems and land justice. They live and work on Coast Salish lands along the northwest Washington coast. A long-time food systems advocate, Rhys-Thorvald has worked in a variety of capacities in food systems, including CSA farmer, personal chef, poultry processing, retail food cooperatives, and wholesale market development.

Elizabeth Hayes, Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Elizabeth was raised in research agriculture fields and greenhouses in the Willamette Valley. She has worked in food and farming systems in the PNW for the last decade. She has been the director at the Center for 2 years.

Robin Hones, Cascadia Greens

After a too-long corporate career I transferred into farming full time 7 years ago. My specialty is growing unusual vegetables or growing vegetables in novel contexts. I hold a Permaculture Design Certificate, sell at a variety of local Farmers Markets and restaurants, and my passion is urban agriculture.

Gretchen Hoyt, Alm Hill Gardens

Gretchen Hoyt has been organic farming since 1971 and is still at it part time.  She and her family partners have taken Alm Hill Gardens from upland hayfields to year-round vegetable, flower, and fruit production, going from selling exclusively to canneries, through wholesalers to grocery stores, and now to farmers markets as their main outlet. As one of the first farms to use organic methods, before much research was available, she learned minimizing weed, insect, and disease damage by the seat of her pants. Regulations have expanded from a 3-page organic certification process to today’s lengthy recordkeeping nightmare.  Experiencing a record two week stretch of no rain as a girl to now going several months with no precipitation has pressured Alm Hill Gardens to adapt and adjust their product mix to meet the times.  Lots of changes over the years. Gretchen came upon raising plants by accident as a young woman, knew it was her calling. She continues to this day to get out of bed looking forward to the rewards of seeing her plants thriving in the living soil she has helped produce. 

Rawley Johnson, Early Bird Farm

Rawley is the owner of Early Bird Farm in the Puyallup Valley, WA.  We grow 2 acres of vegetables for CSA and farmers markets.  Our 500 laying hens are carefully rotated around pasture and fallowed vegetable fields, helping rejuvenate our soil for future crops and providing amazing quality eggs for our customers.

Shellie-Ann Kerns, Bunkhouse Acres

Shellie-Ann Kerns operates Bunkhouse Acres, a 20-acre garlic and vegetable farm that straddles Mason and Grays Harbor Counties. She was born in Jamaica to subsistence farmers who seasonally traveled to the US and Canada as migrant farm workers. She is passionate about feeding her community, and delved into farming full time after the pandemic exacerbated the lack of healthy, nutrient-dense food in rural western Washington where she has lived since 2013.

Lav Khot, Washington State University

Lav Khot is an associate professor and precision agriculture scientist at Washington State University. He is the interim Director of WSU AgWeatherNet. A WSU faculty member since 2013, Khot studies sensing and automation technologies to support fruit and berry crop production. His work helps growers better monitor and manage their crops using precision horticulture engineering technologies. These efforts help ensure optimal use of resources, such as chemicals, water, energy, and labor, as well as improved produce quality.

Billy Mitchell, National Farmers Union Local Food Safety Collaborative

Billy Mitchell is the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) training coordinator at the National Farmers Union and works closely with the Local Food Safety Collaborative, an FDA-funded initiative to provide training, education, and technical assistance to local food producers. Billy loves produce safety and the ability it gives you to be curious about your farm and engage with it in new ways, lowering your risks and finding new ways to benefit your farm, yourself, and your community.

Zsofia Pasztor, Farmer Frog

Zsofia Pasztor is one of the founders and executive co-directors of the non-profit organization, Farmer Frog. She teaches restoration horticulture, urban agriculture, aquaponics, and low impact development at several local colleges and abroad. She trains professionals about sustainable site management, small scale integrated agriculture, community development and natural resource conservation. She is a TEDx presenter, an author of several manuals and the book Rain Gardens for the Pacific Northwest, an award-winning landscape designer, certified Blue Economy consultant, Caring Economy consultant, Low-Impact-Development (LID) designer and construction consultant, professional horticulturist, permaculture designer, Filtrexx designer, commercial urban agriculturist, tree risk assessor, and arborist. She recently helped found the Fresh Food Coalition and oversees the distribution of the food and supplies in 36 states to over three million people in need.

Rachel Perlot, African Community Housing & Development

Rachel Perlot manages fundraising and food access programs for ACHD. She is passionate about supporting small farmers and increasing access to affordable healthy food; she has managed the Delridge Farmers Market since it opened in June 2021. Ms. Perlot has a BA from the University of Washington, and is a member of the King Conservation District Advisory Committee and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Ms. Perlot runs Bad Weather Farm, an urban microfarm in North Seattle, and is also a freelance wedding and event planner.

Laura Raymond, Washington State Department of Agriculture

Laura Raymond was raised in the Northwest but fell in love with agriculture while far from home on the prairies of the Midwest and hillsides of Latin America. After a stint in global development, she focused closer to home and has dedicated her career to working for vibrant regional food systems. Laura leads WSDA’s Regional Markets team which helps farms and agricultural businesses connect with markets that are a good fit for their scale and products. WSDA’s Regional Markets includes the Small Farm Direct Marketing and Farm to School programs. She has an MBA in Sustainable Business.

Ada Snyder, High Mowing Organic Seeds

Ada Snyder joined High Mowing in 2014 and has over a decade of experience in the seed industry working both in sales and in the field doing product development. Her current work includes visiting farms, meeting with growers and learning their farming systems to help find varieties that thrive in their unique conditions. Ada seeks to help growers overcome some of the diverse challenges of farming by offering the best possible organic seeds, service and resources. Ada is located in Mount Vernon, Washington.

Anne Schwartz, Blue Heron Farm

Anne Schwartz graduated with a degree in Animal Science from Washington State University, (WSU) in 1978 and has been farming in the Skagit Valley in WA since. Blue Heron Farm produces certified organic vegetables and berries marketed regionally.  Anne was active with organic certification issues at the state and national levels for over 25 years.  Anne was an active advocate in the creation of the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR), at WSU, and has served on their Advisory Council since 1989.  She served on the Board of Tilth Producers of WA for 35 years, and was recently reelected to Tilth Alliance Board.  She continues to serve on other non-profit boards to promote organic and sustainable agriculture research, and regional food systems.  Her latest focus, inspired 40 years ago by the failures of cost/benefit accounting taught in Ag Econ classes to adequately value "externalities", is to create an Initiative to integrate True Cost Accounting into the research and teaching structure of the College of Agriculture at WSU.  In her spare time, she trains her Border Collies to work livestock.

Ariana Taylor-Stanley, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Ariana serves as the Associate Director of Grassroots Organizing for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. She also co-owns and operates Here We Are Farm in Trumansburg, NY, growing vegetables for CSA and farmers markets.  She is active in her community as a chapter leader of Showing Up for Racial Justice and the National Young Farmers Coalition. Before moving east, Ariana was the Policy Coordinator for Tilth Alliance!

Cheryl Thornton, Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Cheryl was the co-owner and operator of Cloud Mountain Farm from 1985 to 2011. She co-managed all operations of the farm including retail nursery, landscaping, fruit, and vegetable production, specializing in finance marketing and education.  In 2011 she helped turn the farm into a 501c3 non-profit organization and is still the Finance Director and market Development Coordinator. In 2021 she took on a job with NW Agriculture Business Center as the Project Manager for a Food System Partnership grant.  She also serves on the boards of the Whatcom Community College Foundation, Nooksack Valley School Board. Steering Committee for the Whatcom Food Network and the Washington State Farm to School Network.  She is past Board member of the Community Food Coop, Everson-Nooksack Chamber of Commerce as President, Coalition for Healthy Communities, Woodring College of Education at Western Washington University, Sustainable Connections, Advisory member of PDR Board of Whatcom County and a Farm Mentor for the Food to Bank on Program. 

Tom Thornton, Cloud Mountain Farm Center

He has grown diversified tree fruit, table and wine grape production for over 40 years in NW Washington, that included ongoing evaluations of best varietals and training systems suited for organic production. He has taught 100’s of fruit production workshops on farm and off. Tom is retiring from the Center at the end this year.

Karen Ullman, Washington State Department of Agriculture

Karen Ullmann is an Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Regional Markets Program at the Washington State Department of Agriculture. She develops resources and leads trainings in partnership with regional stakeholders to help growers understand current marketing and regulatory requirements that impact the handling of fresh produce. Karen is passionate about public health, environmental stewardship and regional food economies. She is currently studying to receive an MBA from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

Sarah Wagstaff, SUOT Farms

Sarah Wagstaff is the farmer & owner of SUOT Farm & Flowers.  Home to not only a no-till urban farm in the hub of Skagit Valley WA, it is also a hugelkultur demonstration garden, education workspace, & full-service floral studio.  SUOT stands for Small Units Of Time because we know that we aren't able to accomplish everything we want to in one day, but little by little, we will get there together!  Since 2015, she has committed to providing her customers, clients, & community with the mindfully grown  flowers, fresh local bouquets, & uniquely stunning arrangements in compostable/recyclable packaging. Proud to be a local woman owned business, her flowers are 100% locally grown in WA and she strives to host, promote, & carry other women artists/makers in her retail studio.

Luke Woodward, Northwest Agriculture Business Center

Luke Woodward has been employed with NABC since 2015. He is an experienced farmer with an intimate working knowledge of farm business management and financing. His proficiency with Excel, record keeping, business and financial planning has led to a successful grant track record, including both Planning and Working Capital VAPG applications for farm clients. Luke’s NABC current and past projects include providing technical assistance to The Hmong Association of Washington in their efforts to assist Hmong Farmers in forming a marketing cooperative; organizational development for Wakulima USA, a non-profit organization that advances small business development and food sovereignty for low income immigrants and people of color in the Puget Sound region; SnoValley Tilth’s Experience Farming Project, a land access and farm training program; Falling River Meats, the Snoqualmie Valley Farmers Cooperative, and the Puget Sound Food Hub. He is a former Seattle Tilth board member, and a former Snoqualmie Valley Tilth board president. Luke, his wife Sarah, and their daughter Pearl live in Duvall, WA where they own and operate Hearth Farm and The Grange, a farm to table restaurant.

Document Actions
powered by Plone | site by Groundwire Consulting and served with clean energy