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.

Our Mission

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:

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.  She worked as the Managing Director for the Iowa Organic Association for three years while starting her own organic livestock farm. She continues to farm while leading Organic Farmers Association.  Her nationwide experience and dedication to organic farmers throughout her career makes 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!

Patty Lovera, Policy Director

Patty Lovera joined Organic Farmers Association as Policy Director in 2020.  She brings an impressive background in grassroots organizing on farm and food issues and lobbying in Washington, D.C. as well as extensive knowledge of organic farm issues.  Previously, Patty helped start and grow Food & Water Watch (FWW), serving as their Food and Water Program Director for 14 years. In this role, she represented FWW in the National Organic Coalition.  Patty has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Lehigh University and a master’s degree in environmental policy from the University of Michigan. Before joining FWW, Patty was the deputy director of the energy and environment program at Public Citizen and a researcher at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice.

Organic Farmers Association Governing Council

Farmers – Voting

California Farmer Representatives
Judith Redmond, Farmer
Full Belly Farm, Guinda, CA

Steve Beck, Farmer
Kings River Produce, Inc., Hanford, CA

Midwest Region Farmer Representatives
Dave Bishop, Farmer
PrairiErth Farm, Atlanta, IL

Abby Lundrigan, Farmer
Turner Farm, Cincinnati, OH

North Central Region Farmer Representatives
Mike Kelly, Farmer
High Meadow Farm, Johnson Creek, WI

Harriet Behar, Farmer
Sweet Springs Farm, Spring Valley, WI

Western Region Farmer Representatives
Nathaniel Powell-Palm, Farmer
Cold Springs Organics, Bozeman, MT

Marcia Litsinger, Farmer
Churchill Butte Organics, Silver Springs, NV

Southern Region Farmer Representatives
Jennifer Taylor, Farmer
Lola’s Organic Farm

Loretta Adderson, Farmer
Adderson’s Fresh Produce

Northeast Region Farmer Representatives
David Colson, Farmer
New Leaf Farm

Maryrose Livingston, Farmer
Northland Sheep Dairy

Advisory – Non-Voting

California Organization Representative
Phil LaRocca, Chair
California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)

Midwest Region Organization Representative
Renee Hunt, Program Director
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA)

North Central Region Organization Representative
David Perkins, President
Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)

Western Region Organization Representative
Becky Weed, Board of Directors
Montana Organic Association (MOA)

Southern Region Organization Representative
Keith Richards, Program Director
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG)

Northeast Region Organization Representative
Ed Maltby, Executive Director
Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA)

Sponsor Seat
Sam Malriat
Rodale Institute

Organic Farmers Association Policy Committee

Farmers – Voting

California Region Farmer Representatives
Kenneth Kimes, Farmer
Greensward/New Natives, LLC, Aptos, CA

Mark McAfee, Farmer
Organic Pastures, Fresno, CA

Midwest Region Farmer Representatives
Michael Adsit, Farmer
Plymouth Orchards & Cider Mill, Plymouth, MI

Dave Campbell, Farmer
Lily Lake Organic Farm, Maple Park, IL

Western Region Farmer Representatives
Nate Lewis, Farmer
Oyster Bay Farm, Olympia, WA

Pryor Garnett, Farmer
Garnetts Red Prairie Farm, Sheridan, OR

Southern Region Farmer Representatives
Laura Freeman, Farmer
Mt. Folly Farm, Winchester, KY

Jennifer Taylor, Farmer
Lola’s Organic Farm, Glenwood, GA

North Central Region Farmer Representatives
DeEtta Bilek, Farmer
Tom and DeEtta Bilek Farm, Aldrich, MN

Harriet Behar, Farmer
Sweet Springs Farm, Gay Mills, WI

Northeast Region Farmer Representatives
Luke Gianforte, Farmer
Gianforte Farm, Cazenovia, NY

Dave Chapman, Farmer
Long Wind Farm, Easy Thetford, VT

Advisory – Non-Voting

California Region Organization Representative
David Runsten, Policy Director
Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Davis, CA

Midwest Region Organization Representative
Molly Gleason, Communications Director
Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Springfield, IL

Western Region Organization Representative
Cara Loriz, Executive Director,
Organic Seed Alliance, Port Townsend, WA

Southern Region Organization Representative
Michael Sligh, Program Director
Rural Advancement Foundation International, Pittsboro, NC

North Central Region Organization Representative
Roz Lehman, Executive Director
Iowa Organic Association, Des Moines, IA

Northeast Region Organization Representative
Maddie Kempner, Policy Director
NOFA- VT, Richmond, VT

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

Ed Maltby, Executive Director
Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Association

Maddie Kempner, 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 Governing Council Biographies

California

Judith RedmondFarmer – Treasurer
Full Belly Farm

I am a co-owner of Full Belly Farm. We have been farming organically since 1985, growing vegetables, fruits, flowers and egg-laying chickens. I believe that collaboration, integrity and coalition-building are a critical part of public discourse, but without an organization speaking out with the authentic point of view of organic farmers, the regulatory structure will continue to favor non-organic models. We need to protect the meaning and integrity of the Certified Organic label, and support the work of family farmers on the NOSB. It is also important that organic agriculture gets a fair share of public research funds.

Steve BeckFarmer
Kings River Produce, Inc.

I have been farming organically since 1990, I have farmed in California, Arizona and Mexico. I enjoy the challenges of organic production and how important it is to feed the soil and not the plant. I believe that the organic community needs to stand united and be transparent in our dealings to show our integrity here in the USA and our commitment to organic production. We must bring all of our voices together, whether we produce plants or livestock organically because we can help each other get into new markets. As a member of the California Organic Products Advisory Committee I help write and evaluate many of the State Organic Program current and future laws and regulations here in the State of California and I believe that this experience will help me make informed and solid decisions at a national level with the OFA Governing Council.

Phil LaRoccaChair
California Certified Organic Farmers, CCOF

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.

Midwest Region

Dave BishopFarmer 
PrairiErth Farm

PrairiErth is a 300-acre farm with diverse crops and livestock and has been certified organic since 2004. Dave and his family also run the 100-acre farm where Dave grew up. Over these combined 400 acres, the Bishops grow organic corn, soybeans, oats, wheat, livestock forages, vegetables, fruit, and flowers and produce organic beef, pork, eggs and honey. They sell at local farmers’ markets and to restaurants and stores. They also offer a vegetable CSA and winter CSA. PrairiErth Farm has been participating in research with the University of Illinois for many years. Current research is studying the impact of various cover crop mixtures on weed suppression, soil microbial activity, and field productivity. The Bishops are passionate about growing organically, a system Dave adopted after years of conventional farming. Dave said he sees organic farming as a way to limit “our ecological footprint by caring for the earth, not just for us, but for future generations.” They’ve reduced their “footprint” even further by using solar-powered pasture fencing and livestock watering systems. Dave has lobbied in DC with NSAC for organic and local food issues, both in writing the farm bill and in the appropriations process. He currently serves as President of the Illinois Food, Farms, and Jobs Council, a Governor appointed entity created to advise the Governor and the Legislature on agricultural issues.

 

Renee Hunt, Program Director – Secretary
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA)

I currently serve on the OFA Steering Committee and would like to continue my service on the Governing Council. I’ve worked for sustainable and organic farm groups for almost two decades in education and advocacy work. While national coalitions (which I’ve actively been a part of/taken lead roles in) are helping to advance organic farmer policy issues, it’s become clear to me, and to OEFFA, that organic farmers need a seat at the table, and their own voice in the policy arena and in the media. I have a strong knowledge base and can plug in our organization’s expertise on organic farming and organic certification to the OFA process. We have a strong communications and outreach component, and OEFFA is willing to provide part of my time to contribute to OFA’s advancement.

North Central Region

Mike KellyFarmer 
High Meadow Farm

My family and I started a Community Supported Agriculture program in 2009, and today raise certified organic veggies, poultry and sheep on our gorgeous, well-maintained 40 acre certified organic farm with the help of farm friends, volunteers and employees. Our CSA has over 200 members, we also sell wholesale accounts, and have workplace CSA relationships with local businesses. I served on the FairShare CSA Board of Directors and currently serve as a county supervisor with Jefferson County and on the Farmers Union water committee.  Prior to farming, I had a career as a utilities superintendent.  I am very interested in promoting organic agriculture and do that from my work on the farm and through my position as county supervisor.

Harriet Behar, Farmer
Sweet Springs Farm

I currently serve on the OFA Policy Committee and have been involved with federal, state and local policy advocacy for over 20 years. I worked with MOSES for many years as their Organic Specialist and was an active member of NSAC and NOC. I work with the University of Wisconsin Extension on their organic grain project (OGRAIN).  I am also an approved produce safety alliance trainer for food safety.  I am the co-chair of the WI Organic Advisory Council, serve on my county conservation committee and am the chair of my town plan commission. I am on the WI NRCS State Technical Committee. I am the Vice Chair of the National Organic Standards Board. I have run a certified organic farm since 1989.  Over the years as an organic inspector and educator, I have visited over 2000 organic farms and processing facilities around the world, but mostly in the Upper Midwest, from which I have gained knowledge of the common sense methods used on organic farms to meet their management challenges.

David Perkins, President
Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Services (MOSES)

David, his wife, Barb, and their three children established Vermont Valley Community Farm in 1994, a CSA which now has over 2,000 members. Certified organic since 1999, the farm expanded its mission in 2003 to include organic seed potato production. David has spoken across the country on CSA, vegetable production and financial management, and remains committed to assisting beginning farmers. He has served on several boards. Prior careers include legislative budget analyst, agriculture policy analyst and agronomist.

Western Region

Nathaniel Powell-PalmFarmer
Cold Springs Organics

I am a certified organic grain and beef cattle producer located in Bozeman, MT. As a first generation farmer and rancher, I started my operation in 2004 and received organic certification in 2008. From my original leased 10 acres in 2004 my operation today consists of 875 acres on which I produce organic small grains and grass finished beef cattle. In addition to my farm, I work as an IOIA trained independent organic inspector. Currently contracted with 6 Accredited Certifying Agencies, I inspect approximately 225 operations per year. I have inspected organic operations to the NOP standard in 36 states for all three scopes (crops, livestock, and processing). I hold a BS in Environmental Science, with a focus on soil and water resources from Montana State University. My training as an agronomy researcher and my research history in soil chemistry has allowed me to hone a strong analytical skill set directly related to organic production agriculture. I believe my 9 years as a certified organic beef and grain producer has equipped me with significant technical expertise in organic production. My experience as an organic inspector has allowed me to examine operations, and listen to the concerns of organic producers in every region of the country. If selected to serve on the Governing Council, I would bring both my expertise as a producer and broad experience as an organic inspector to my work with the OFA. Lastly, as a young farmer, I have experienced first hand the challenges of starting a successful farming business and have spent most of my time farming certified organic. As the organic production community expands to include more and more young growers, I will bring a view point and understanding to my work with the OFA that will align closely with a quickly grower sector of the industry.

 

Becky Weed, Board of Directors
Montana Organic Association (MOA)

Becky Weed and her husband Dave Tyler have owned and operated Thirteen Mile Farm in Southwest Montana for thirty years (certified since 1999). They primarily run a certified organic grassfed sheep flock, although their operation has included a wool processing mill (2003-2017), as well as grassfed organic cattle and small-scale commercial vegetables intermittently. One of Becky’s employees is purchasing and continuing the wool mill, opening up time for Becky to return her focus more fully to her land, integrating crops and livestock, and to agriculture more broadly. Becky has served on the Montana Board of Livestock, and the boards of the Wild Farm Alliance, People and Carnivores, and has recently joined the board of the Montana Organic Association. She also served on the Conservation & Science Board of a very large ranch operation in Central Idaho, Lava Lake Land & Livestock, continuing her lifelong interest in the interface of agriculture and conservation. Before becoming involved in agriculture, Becky worked for more than ten years as a geologist with degrees in the Geological Sciences from Harvard (B.A.) and University of Maine (M.S.). That mixed background in research in some of the wildest places on earth, along with hazardous waste cleanup in some extremely urban locations continue to influence Becky’s perceptions and hopes for agriculture. Since 2002, The Montana Organic Association has been the voice of Montana’s organic community. MOA believes that the organic movement is the one best hope for keeping small family farms viable while providing clean, nutritious, and safe food to the community; helping secure our food system by supporting farm diversity; and contributing to a healthier environment which helps protect our precious wildlife and natural resources. MOA’s mission is to advocate and promote organic agriculture for the highest good of the people, the environment and the state’s economy.

Southern Region

Jennifer TaylorFarmer – Vice President
Lola’s Organic Farm

Jennifer Taylor currently serves on the OFA Steering Committee and us the Vice Chair of the OFA Policy Committee.  She would like to continue her service on the Governing Council. 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.

Loretta Adderson, Farmer
Adderson’s Fresh Produce

I am a retired Nutritionist with over 20th years of service with Pennsylvania State University Cooperative Extension Services, Pennsylvania Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs, Fort Valley State University Food Service Director and Board Director at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. In 2001, I found LS Adderson, Inc. Food & Nutrition Consulting and in 2007 came back to our Family Owned Farm and started Adderson’s Fresh Produce with my husband. Our mission is to grow healthy food and preserve land. We are active members of Georgia Organic and Augusta Oasis. In addition to managing our 56 acres organic farm, we conduct training and workshops for new and transitioning farmers in organic production. Our farm is multi-generational and definitely a Millennium Farm.

Northeast Region

David ColsonFarmer – President
New Leaf Farm
I currently serve on the OFA Steering Committee and would like to continue my service on the Governing Council. As owner/operator of New Leaf Farm I was an early advocate for local and organic foods. For over thirty years our family has produced vegetables and herbs for natural food stores and restaurants, marketing Certified Organic products since 1985. I have a BA in Agriculture and have 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 I took a position with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association to utilize my 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 I oversee programs and staff that work directly with farmers to aid in production, marketing, business planning and food safety challenges. My current farming activities involve hay production, a small orchard and family gardens.

Maryrose LivingstonFarmer
Northland Sheep Dairy

I run Northland Sheep Dairy, a small, certified organic 100% grass based farm located 30 miles east of Ithaca, New York. We milk a small flock of crossbred sheep selected to thrive on our native pastures.  We produce truly handmade sheep cheese on the farm, using only our own raw sheep milk from 100% grass fed animals and aged in our own cheese cave.  I am the shepherd and cheesemaker and my husband works the farm with his team of draft horses and mules. I am a longtime board member and currently serve as the Vice President of Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY).   I see organic farming as a grassroots movement for social and environmental change and I want to work to make sure that our base (farmers) is well represented. I come from a background in labor organizing, so I’d like to work with other activists in organic farming to mobilize for positive change!

Ed Maltby, Executive Director
Northeast Organic Producers Alliance

Ed, Executive Director of the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, is a producer with over 50 years experience managing conventional and organic dairy, beef, sheep and vegetable enterprises on a variety of different farms in Europe and the United States. For the past thirty years, Ed has worked with regional farms to cooperatively market their products into mainstream markets, ranging from direct marketing of lambs and organic produce, to establishing a cooperative of dairy farmers who direct market their own brand of milk in Western Massachusetts. Since 2005, Ed has worked as Executive Director of the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA, www.nodpa.com), an organic family farm member organization dedicated to preserving organic integrity and a sustainable pay price for farmers. He worked with groups in the Midwest and West to help form a national umbrella organization, Federation of Organic Dairy Farmers (FOOD Farmers), to provide a national voice for organic dairy family farms. Since the start of his tenure, the organization has developed into a recognized able national voice on organic dairy policy. Ed has served on the National Organic Coalition Board and Executive Committee; has taken a lead in creating NOP rules for Organic Dairy; advocates in DC for important policy development and implementation within the USDA; and extensively contributed to the written body of organic dairy policy. In addition, he was one of the leaders who successfully defeated the industry supported federally mandated Organic Check-Off with the No-Organic Check-off campaign. Ed Maltby was the organic dairy industry representative on the USDA’s Dairy Industry Advisory Committee, convened during the Obama administration in response to the economic crisis facing the US dairy industry. He is also the General Manager for an organically certified slaughterhouse in central Massachusetts.