Who We Are

In 2016 farmers from across the country came together to launch the Organic Farmers Association to unite organic farmers for a better future together. Rodale Institute supports this initiative as fiscal sponsor and partner with the Organic Farmers Association’s farmer leadership.

The mission of the Organic Farmers Association is to provide a strong and unified national voice for domestic certified organic producers. With the purpose to build and support a farmer-led national organic farmer movement and national policy platform by: developing and advocating policies that benefit organic farmers¹; strengthening and supporting the capacity of organic farmers and farm organizations; and supporting collaboration and leadership among state, regional and national organic farmer organizations.

Guiding PrinciplesBylaws

¹OFA acknowledges that across the country different terms are used within the agricultural community. When OFA uses the term “organic farmers,” it includes certified organic farmers and ranchers as well as organic producers exempt from certification (grossing under $5,000 annually).

About Rodale Institute 

Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach. For seventy years, the Institute has been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing findings with farmers and scientists throughout the world, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about how going organic is the healthiest option for people and the planet. Learn more at RodaleInstitute.org.

Organic Farmers Association Staff

Kate Mendenhall, Director of Organic Farmers Association

Kate Mendenhall worked with Pesticide Action Network and CUESA at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco before traveling to the east to work for NOFA-NY for a decade, the last five years as their Executive Director. Now Kate lives in her hometown in Okoboji, Iowa working with the Iowa Organic Association and starting her own organic mixed livestock farm. Her nationwide experience and dedication to organic farmers throughout her career makes leading the Organic Farmers Association the logical next step and she’s ready to advocate for what farmers need and want from the ground up!

Mark Rokala, Policy Director

Mark Rokala has over 28 years of experiences in agriculture policy, including twenty-three working on state and federal agricultural policy. He worked for seven years as a congressional staffer on Capitol Hill and sixteen years as a lobbyist in DC focusing on agricultural and food policy.

Mark will serve as Policy Director and lead policy work, under the direction of the newly elected policy committee and coordinating closely with the Organic Farmers Association staff and Governing Council. Mark will be leading work on the farm bill, helping identify Organic Farmers Association farmer members’ policy priorities, connecting members with Congressional leaders, and ensuring that our federal policies help support thriving independent organic farmers.

Organic Farmers Association Steering Committee

Michael AdsitFarmer
Plymouth Orchards & Cider Mill
Isaura Andaluz, Board Member
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association
John Bobbe, Executive Director
Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing
Dave Colson, Farmer
New Leaf Farm
Jack Erisman, Farmer
Goldmine Farm
Renee Hunt, Program Director
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
Phil LaRocca, Farmer
LaRocca Vineyards
Member, California Certified Organic Farmers
Nick Maravell, Farmer
Nick’s Organic Farm
Maddie Monty, Policy Advisor
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont
Jeff Moyer, Executive Director
Rodale Institute
Farmer, Skyhollow Farm
Theresa Podoll, Farmer
Prairie Road Organic Seed
Bob Quinn, Farmer
Quinn Organic Farm
Judith Redmond, Farmer
Full Belly Farm
Jim Riddle, Farmer
Blue Fruit Farm
David Runsten | Policy Director
Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF)
Michael Sligh, Program Director
Rural Advancement Foundation International
Will Stevens, Farmer
Golden Russet Farm
Jennifer Taylor, Farmer
Lola's Organic Farm

The Organic Farmers Association Steering Committee is an appointed interim body, serving the Organic Farmers Association from October 2016 until March 2018.  The committee will be replaced with an elected Governing Council.

Organic Farmers Association Advisory Committee

Harriet Behar, Senior Organic Specialist
Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Services
John Bobbe, Executive Director
Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing
Joyce Ford, Farmer
Blue Fruit Farm
Steve Gilman, Policy Coordinator
Northeast Organic Farming Association, Interstate Council
Liana Hoodes, Policy Consultant
Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York
Renee Hunt, Program Director
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
Faye Jones, Farmer
Morning Glory Farm
Former Executive Director of MOSES
Ed Maltby, Executive Director
Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Association
Maddie Monty, Policy Advisor
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont
Ted Quaday, Executive Director
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Bob Quinn, Farmer
Quinn Organic Farm
Jim Riddle, Farmer
Blue Fruit Farm
Michael Sligh, Program Director
Rural Advancement Foundation International

Organic Farmers Association Policy Committee

Kenneth Kimes, Farmer | Mark McAfee, Farmer
California Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Michael Adsit, Farmer | Hannah Smith-Brubaker, Farmer
Midwest Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
David Runsten, Policy Director
California Region Organization Representative (Advisory- Non-Voting)
Casey Trinkaus, Livestock & Poultry Specialist
Midwest Region Organization Representative (Advisory- Non-Voting)
Bob Quinn, Farmer | Pryor Garnett, Farmer
Western Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Laura Freeman, Farmer | Jennifer Taylor, Farmer
Southern Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Kristina (Kiki) Hubbard, Director fo Advocacy
Western Region Organization Representative (Advisory- Non-Voting)
Michael Sligh, Program Director
Southern Region Organization Representative (Advisory- Non-Voting)
Francis Thicke, Farmer | Harriet Behar, Farmer
North Central Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Rodney Graham, Farmer | Dave Chapman, Farmer
Northeast Region Farmer Representatives (Voting)
Matthew Miller, Policy Committee Member
North Central Region Organization Representative (Advisory- Non-Voting)
Edward Maltby, Executive Director
Northeast Region Organization Representative (Advisory- Non-Voting)

Organic Farmers Association Steering Committee Biographies

Jim Riddle, Officer: Chair | Farmer: Winona, Minnesota

For more than 30 years, Jim Riddle has been an organic farmer, gardener, inspector, educator, policy analyst, author and avid organic eater. Jim was founding chair of the Winona Farmers Market Association and the International Organic Inspectors Association, (IOIA), and co-author of the International Organic Inspection Manual. Jim served on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Organic Advisory Task Force for many years and was instrumental in passage of Minnesota’s landmark organic certification cost-share program, which now is a Farm Bill program that provides 75% reimbursement for organic certification costs nationwide. Jim worked for the University of Minnesota as Organic Outreach Coordinator and as Organic Research Grants Coordinator for Ceres Trust. Jim owns and operates Blue Fruit Farm, where he and his wife grow blueberries, black currants, elderberries, aronia berries, honeyberries and more. Jim served on the Leadership Team for eOrganic, the national Extension Community of Practice for organic agriculture and on the Citizens Board of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Jim is former chair of the USDA National Organic Standards Board and is a leading voice for organic agriculture.

Theresa Podoll, Officer: Vice-Chair | Farmer: Fullerton, North Dakota

Theresa Podoll farms with her extended family as part of Prairie Road Organic Farm near Fullerton, ND. Certified organic since 1977, the Podolls raise a variety of small grains, including buckwheat, oats, triticale, and grey proso millet. They began producing certified organic vegetable seed in 1997, now marketed under their own label, Prairie Road Organic Seed. Many of the varieties they offer were actually bred on their farm for delicious flavor, appearance, and agronomic performance under organic management and in northern climates with shorter growing seasons. In addition, they produce seed of their favorite heirloom varieties, always selecting and improving the varieties through selection and saving seed from the very best performing plants. The Podolls were honored with the 2014 MOSES Organic Farmers of the Year award. Theresa has been an active member of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society’s Farm Breeding Club, working to develop farmer-breeder partnerships to address the plant breeding and plant variety improvement needs of organic farmers.

Judith Redmond, Officer: Treasurer | Farmer: Guinda, California

Judith grew up in California and is a co-owner of Full Belly Farm, a 350 acre certified organic farm in Yolo County that grows vegetables, fruits, nuts, and flowers. Sheep and egg-laying chickens are integrated into the rotation, creating a very diversified cropping model. The farm offers a full range of educational programs for children and adults, including internships, school visits, farm camp, farm dinners and the annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival. Full Belly Farm was awarded the Leopold Conservation Award in 2014. Judith has been involved as an advocate for family farmers for many years and serves as an advisor or on the Board of several organizations (Community Alliance with Family Farmers, California Agriculture Climate Action Network, State of California Environmental Farming Science Advisory Panel and the Capay Valley Volunteer Fire Department). Judith earned a Master’s of Science Degree from UC Davis with a specialty in biological control of plant pathogens.

Maddie Monty, Officer: Secretary | Organization Representative: Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT)

Maddie Monty has been working as Policy Advisor for NOFA Vermont since 2014. Before joining the staff at NOFA-VT, Maddie worked in various capacities in outdoor education, agriculture, and food policy in Utah, Colorado, and Vermont. Her experiences working on organic vegetable farms in Utah and Colorado inspired her to engage in changing the way our food is produced and how our farm policy is made. In 2014, Maddie moved back to Vermont (her home state) and worked with the VT Right to Know GMOs Coalition to help pass the state’s first-in-the-nation GMO labeling law prior to joining the NOFA-VT staff. Maddie has a BS in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont and a Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School.

Bob Quinn, Officer: Member | Farmer: Big Sandy, Montana

Bob Quinn lives on a 4000-acre family owned and operated farm and ranch (est. 1920) near Big Sandy, Montana. He earned a BS in botany and a MS in plant pathology from Montana State University and a PhD in plant biochemistry at the University of California at Davis, California in 1976. He returned to the family farm in 1978. In 1986 Bob planted his first organic certified crop and was farming the entire farm organically by 1989. In 1986 he introduced to the natural food industry an ancient grain similar to durum wheat. He marketed this grain under his own brand name, Kamut and required that the grain must always be grown organically to use his trademark. Now over 4500 different Kamut brand products are being marketed throughout the world providing a new high value crop for over 250 organic farmers in Montana and neighboring states and provinces in Canada. Bob has served organic farmers in many leadership capacities over the years including President of Montana’s first OCIA chapter and a member of USDA’s first national Organic Standards Board as well as MT Dept. of Ag’s first organic certification advisory board. He is a member of the Organic Trade Association’s farm advisory committee (FAC) and is a lifetime member of the Montana Organic Association. In the fall of 2013 he received the national Organic Pioneer Award from the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania. Bob has been married for over 45 years. He and his wife, Ann, have four daughters, one son and 17 grandchildren.

Michael Adsit | Farmer: Plymouth, Michigan

Michael Adsit and his family run certified organic Plymouth Orchards & Cider Mil just outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michael joined the orchard in 2013. Since 1977, Plymouth Orchards has been the local cider mill for families to enjoy fresh-pressed, award winning apple cider, fresh-made donuts, crispy caramel apples and a fun farm experience. They offer scenic tractor wagon rides through our beautiful orchard including a stop at the pumpkin patch and straw bale maze. In addition to farming, Michael serves as the president of Lattimore Construction as a General Contractor & Green Builder. He also has a history in marketing and policy. From 1982-1984, he was the director of Marketing at HLW International, LLP in NYC. From 1979-1982 he was the Director of Marketing at Burt Hill in Pittsburg, PA. From 1972-1977 he served as Assistant to the Governor and Illinois Director of Energy for the State of Illinois.

Isaura Andaluz | Organization Representative: Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA)

Isaura Andaluz is a board member of OSGATA. She is also the Executive Director for Cuatro Puertas (CP), a non-profit organization founded in 2002, that works with communities internationally to reinvest locally held assets and build natural capital. Through its program – The Whole of Seed – CP works to help farmers develop seeds appropriate for their region. As stewards of the Arid Crop Seed Cache, New Mexico’s largest collection of native and drought tolerant plants, CP is working to reintroduce these seeds into the communities. Isaura also currently sits on the board of the American Origin Products Association and served on the AC21committee from 2011-2016. Isaura helped to establish Slow Food in New Mexico and the Save NM Coalition to help protect native crops. Isaura herself is an organic grower and beekeeper and has worked in community economic development for over 30 years.

John Bobbe | Organization Representative: Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM)

John Bobbe is Executive Director of Organic Farmers Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM). OFARM is committed to the promotion of fair, equitable, and profitable farm gate prices for all segments of organic production. In the 1990s as National Farmers Organization’s agricultural economist, John worked on ag policy analysis and development at the state and national levels including international trade. His work includes economic research, development of working papers and testimony before appropriate government bodies including the U.S. Congress and USDA. John holds a master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri Columbia and a BS in agribusiness from University of Wisconsin-River Falls. John lives with his wife on his family’s farm in Wisconsin.

Dave Colson | Farmer: Durham, Maine

As owner/operator of New Leaf Farm Dave was an early advocate for local and organic foods. For over thirty years Dave and his family have produced vegetables and herbs for natural food stores and restaurants, marketing their Certified Organic products since 1985. Dave has a BA in Agriculture and has presented at numerous farm conferences over the years as well as being a featured farm in the Northeast Organic Network (NeON). The Colson Family has hosted dozens of farm apprentices, many of who have gone on to start their own organic farm operations in Maine. New Leaf farm was an early adapter of green manure rotations for fertility, utilization of hoophouses for tomato production as well as introducing mesclun salad mix to Portland area restaurants. In 2011 Dave took a position with MOFGA to utilize his experience in agriculture to work with farmers in Maine to access resources to make their operations successful. MOFGA is one of the largest organic farming organizations in the country with over 11,000 members and over 500 Certified Organic farms and processors. As Director of Agricultural Services Dave oversees programs and Staff that work directly with farmers to aid in production, marketing, business planning and food safety challenges. Dave’s current farming involves hay production, a small orchard and family gardens.

Jack Erisman | Farmer: Pana, Illinois

Jack Erisman has been farming in the Pana area since 1963 on family land. He stopped using synthetic insecticides and anhydrous ammonia in 1969, and in 1988 began the transition to certified organic, which was completed in 1996. Using a double seven-year rotation, Jack grows corn, soybeans, oats, and grass/legume hay. He also raises over 250 head of cattle that are part of the rotation scheme for pasture, which became certified organic in 1993. He sells his products direct to consumer, processors, and livestock operations, and through grain brokers. Recently, Jack has worked with The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, to implement a humid climate trial of the intermediate wheatgrass Kernza, a wheat variety that is hoped to be a commercially viable perennial alternative to annual grain production. Jack was instrumental in the formation of the earliest sustainable agriculture organization in the state—the Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Society (ISAS). Jack helped other regionally based farmer-led organizations grew out of ISAS, with on-farm research and field days being the main activities. Later, these groups joined forces under an umbrella group called the Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Network (ISAN). He is considered a driving force in the Illinois sustainable farming movement.

Renee Hunt | Organization Representative: Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA)

Renee Hunt has served as OEFFA’s Program Director since 2008 where she oversees the education program, including its policy work. Previously, Renee worked as the Executive Director for the Illinois Stewardship Alliance where she nurtured the grassroots to advocate for sustainable agriculture and worked on state and federal policy issues. She took leadership roles in both the Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (MSAWG), and the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture, and served on executive committees for both coalitions. During the 1990s, she organized citizens to fight large-scale hog operations being established in Illinois and advocated for stronger regulations of these industrial operations. Renee has served on the boards of Illinois Environmental Council; the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR SARE) Administrative Council, and, prior to joining the OEFFA staff, started an organizational chapter and served as its representative to OEFFA’s board. A graduate from the University of Illinois with a degree in journalism, and coursework completed for a master’s in environmental studies, Renee and her husband, Spencer have been married for 20 years and have three children.

Phil LaRocca | Farmer: Forest Ranch, California

Phil and his wife Judy have been farming LaRocca Vineyards since 1984. They started farming 110 acres of unkept Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wine grapes and transformed the vineyard to a thriving, successful certified organic operation. LaRocca Vineyards is located at 2600 feet elevation on the lower southern slopes of Mount Lassen, where the soil is rich in minerals. In 1991 LaRocca Vineyards released its first organic wine, under LaRocca Vineyards label. Today, Phil farms with the next generation of the LaRocca family. Philip has been a member of California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) since 1975 and was elected president in 1997. He was a major influence in the writing of the American Organic Standards and National Organic Program standards. Phil LaRocca has a Bachelor of Arts from California State University in San Jose and a Master’s degree from California State University, Chico. He and Judy have been married for over 40 years and have three children and four grandchildren.

Nick Maravell | Farmer: Buckeystown, MD

Nick has been farming organically for more than 40 years, starting on a commercial scale in 1979. Concerned about the soil, environment, energy conservation, and fresh, local, healthy food, he began by selling vegetables to restaurants, local food co-ops, and at farmers markets. Nick’s Organic Farm uses a diversified grass based organic farming system, with an 8-12 year rotation, and direct markets to consumers and other farms. The farm now mainly produces crops and livestock, including grassfed beef and free range poultry, food and feed grade corn and soybeans, barley, forages, organic seed and ground organic feeds. Committed to developing local and regional food systems, Nick has helped establish and operate several farmer cooperatives. He has conducted on-farm research in cooperation with USDA and Land Grant Universities, and work on a national organic research agenda and national legislation to fund on-farm organic systems research. He has been active in many local, state and national groups dedicated to organic and sustainable agriculture, and was instrumental in establishing the MD Dept. of Agriculture organic certification program in 1990. Nick speaks at conferences, is quoted in the press, appears on local and national media, and has been called to testify on organic issues in the US House and Senate and at the state level. Nick served a five-year term on National Organic Standards Board (2011- 2016). Nick and his wife Tory have one son and one daughter.

Jeff Moyer | Organization Representative: Rodale Institute (OFA Fiscal Sponsor)

Jeff Moyer is a world renowned authority in organic agriculture. His expertise includes organic crop production systems with a focus on weed management, cover crops, crop rotations, equipment modification and use, and facilities design. Jeff is perhaps most well-known for conceptualizing and popularizing the No Till Roller Crimper for use in organic agriculture. In 2011, he wrote Organic No-Till Farming, a publication that has become a resource for farmers throughout the world. Jeff brings a farmer’s perspective and approach to issues in organic agriculture. He is a past chair of the National Organic Standards Board, a founding board member of Pennsylvania Certified Organic, the Chairman of the Board of Director of The Seed Farm, part of the Green America Non-GMO Working Group, a Project Member of The Noble Foundation’s Soil Renaissance project, and a Board Member of PA Farm Link and IFOAM North America, among other organizations. In September 2015, Jeff was appointed as Executive Director of Rodale Institute after spending the last four decades at the Institute, helping countless farmers make the transition from conventional, chemical-based farming to organic methods.

Michael Sligh | Organization Representative: Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI-USA)

Michael Sligh has worked for over 30 years as a Program Director for RAFI-USA where he manages policy, research and education for the promotion of organic, agro-biodiversity, organic seed development, and a wide-range of food justice, fair trade and other value-added food labeling, policy and marketing issues. Michael comes from a long-line of West Texas farmers and ranchers and farmed organically on a large-scale during the 1970s. Michael is a part-time organic farmer and a trained anthropologist. He has been very involved in many aspects of domestic and international agricultural policy and practice development, organizing, food labeling, standards, certification and accreditation work over the years, including: Founding Chair of the USDA/ National Organic Standards Board, A founder of Domestic Fair Trade Association, National Organic Coalition, and Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, Founding member of National Family Farm Coalition and National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Board member of the International Organic Accreditation Service, Former NGO delegate to UN Codex/FAO/WHO Food Labeling Commission and WTO, Founding partner of Agricultural Justice Project, which has developed domestic fair trade standards for North America. Michael lives, farms and works from North Carolina.

David Runsten | Organization Representative: Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF)

David Runsten is the Policy Director at the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) in Davis, California, a California statewide organization that works to develop sustainable agriculture and local food systems. In addition to his policy advocacy for family farmers, he has created and manages outreach programs at CAFF on water use, food safety, and climate-related agricultural practices. He is the co-chair of the Food Systems Integrity committee and on the executive committee of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. He is on the board of the California Climate and Agriculture Network, the California Institute for Rural Studies, and the Welte Institute for Oaxacan Studies. He was previously the Associate Director of the North American Integration and Development Center in the School of Public Affairs at UCLA from 1995 to 2006, where his research focused on NAFTA, contract agriculture in Mexico, fair trade coffee in Oaxaca, regional competitiveness of the produce industry, living wages in Los Angeles, and immigration and farm labor in California.

Will Stevens | Farmer: Shoreham, VT

Will and his wife Judy Stevens own Golden Russet Farm in Shoreham, VT, and have been growing organic vegetables commercially since 1981, certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers since 1987. From the farm’s beginning, their mission has been to provide good quality food to people at reasonable prices. Since 2003, the farm’s focus has been on “hyper-local,” where approximately 90% of their produce has been consumed within 20 miles of the farm. They market their produce at their farm stand, CSA, at local food markets and restaurants. Will has served in numerous public service arenas including Vermont Organic Farmers, Shoreham’s Town Planning Commission, Select and Zoning Boards, and has been elected Town Moderator every year since 2004. Will also served four terms in the Vermont Legislature. He was on the House Agriculture and Forest Products Committee all eight years, and served the last four as ranking member. He is especially proud of two programs that came out of his committee during that time: the Farm to Plate and Working Lands Initiatives. Will holds a BA in studio art, with a specialty in blacksmithing from the University of Vermont. He and Judy have three children.

Jennifer Taylor | Farmer: Glenwood, Georgia

Jennifer Taylor is an associate professor in the Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Agriculture and Food Sciences (CAFS) and served on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, the Honorable Tom Vilsack January, 2011 – January, 2016. She also farms in Southern Georgia at Lola’s Organic Farm. The farm is USDA Certified Organic family owned/operated farm located in beautiful Glenwood, Georgia. They sell organic fruits and vegetables and host workshops. Lola’s Organic Farm is named after Taylor’s grandmother, a sharecropper who eventually bought it and farmed successfully. Taylor’s interest in agriculture was sparked by the joy her grandmother took from farming. “I think she would be happy to see what we’re doing on the farm… she would be tickled,” Taylor said. At Florida A&M University, Taylor serves as the coordinator of the FAMU Statewide Small Farm Program. Her role on the NOSB included serving as a member of the NOSB Policy Development Committee, and she was assigned to chair the Materials Committee. Through her responsibilities in the FAMU Cooperative Extension Program, Taylor has made a major impact on the organic farming community in North Florida through growing initiatives such as the various growers’ markets in the Tallahassee community, bio-fuels awareness and development, and many sustainable agriculture initiatives to support limited-resource farmers and their families.