Our Team

Kate Mendenhall, Executive Director

Kate Mendenhall has served as the Executive Director of Organic Farmers Association since it was founded in 2016. Before OFA, she built a career working with organic farmer organizations from California (CUESA & PAN), New York (NOFA-NY), and Iowa (IOA) getting to know what organic farmers need to be successful in different regions and markets. She now lives in her hometown of Okoboji, Iowa where she balances running a small diversified organic livestock farm, raising two kids, and leading OFA. Her nationwide experience and dedication to organic farmers throughout her career make leading the Organic Farmers Association her dream job and she is a fierce advocate for what organic farmers need and want from the ground up!

Kate(at)OrganicFarmersAssociation.org | 202-643-5363

Lily Hawkins, Policy Director

Lily Hawkins is thrilled to serve as OFA’s Policy Director to advocate for organic farmers. Raised in Pennsylvania farm country, she joined OFA in 2022 after three years as the Maryland Senior Organizer with Food & Water Watch. During her time there she worked with a broad-based coalition, including farmers, on strategic campaigns to push Maryland toward a more just and sustainable food system, and towards 100% clean renewable energy. She led the successful grassroots effort to pass legislation allowing the first community choice energy aggregation pilot program in the state, which will bring affordable clean energy to electricity consumers. Prior to moving to Washington D.C. to join Food & Water Watch, Lily served as the inaugural president of SOMA Action, a volunteer-run political advocacy organization in New Jersey.

Lily(at)OrganicFarmersAssociation.org | 267-231-2216

Julia Barton, Farmer Services Director

Before joining the Organic Farmers Association team, Julia Barton worked as the Organic Policy Specialist with the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) where she supported farmers transitioning to organic for 9 years. She brings extensive knowledge of what farmers need to be successful during the organic transition process, organic certification process, and working within the organic market. She and her husband run Octagon Acres, an organic vegetable operation and homestead in northeastern Ohio.  Julia(at)OrganicFarmersAssociation.org

Ryann Monteiro, MPH, CHES, Racial Equity Project Manager

Ryann Monteiro is an Black Indigenous (Cape Verdean- Aquinnah Wampanoag) public health practitioner and educator who is passionate about food and health literacy, just food systems & dignified food assistance. Ryann describes the three pillars that drive her work are: community, culture, and connection and believes that the foundation for a thriving community is one that values relationships and responsibility to the land and each other. She aims to add value by creating and holding space for historically marginalized communities to be active participants in the food system by voicing and advocating for community specific needs and values. Her experience in the equity space is centered on the belief that just food systems must honor the land that produces food, the hands the harvest it, and the cultures it originates from.   Ryann is based in the Boston area and leads OFA’s coalition work on racial equity.

Ryann(at)OrganicFarmersAssociation.org | 508-287-1279

Harriet Behar, Farmer Services Consultant

For over 40 years, Harriet has been an organic educator (UW Madison, MOSES) and an organic inspector, visiting thousands of organic operations. She was the chair of the National Organic Standards Board in 2019. Organic inspectors, farmers, ranchers, bankers, USDA personnel, crop insurance agents, retail stores, veterinarians, extension agents and more have benefited from her deep knowledge of organic methods and regulations through written materials, webinars and in-person workshops. Harriet worked at the cooperative that became Organic Valley for their first 8 years, as the marketing coordinator and a management team member. She and her husband have managed a certified organic farm since 1989, growing bedding plants, vegetables, herbs and small grains as well as small scale commercial operation selling eggs and honey.


Madison Letizia, Communications Manager

Madison is an impassioned supporter of real, healthy food who found her way from the farm, to the city, and back to the farm so to speak. After years of working in communications and development she found a need to bring more attention to sustainable agriculture practices, accessible farmland, food equity, and healthy local food systems. Today, she uses her experience to propel those missions forward through sharing stories of the people trying to improve our communities, health, and land. Madison is based in Cleveland, Ohio and leads OFA’s communications strategy work.


Amber Lippon, Membership and Outreach Coordinator

Amber brings extensive nonprofit administrative expertise to OFA.  She manages our membership and donor program and supports our online presence.  Amber provides similar nonprofit administrative leadership for a local environmental organization and also manages a local natural food store where she lives in northwest Iowa with her husband and three daughters.