Staff

 

NOFA-NY, Inc. Staff

 

Anne Ruflin

Executive Director

Anne is a lifelong resident of Upstate New York with a genuine passion for local organic and sustainable farming, gardening and eating!  Anne is joining NOFA-NY in mid-April 2014 and comes with many years of experience in executive leadership and not for profit administration.  While much of her professional career has been centered in not-for-profit health care, she has lived on several small farms over the years where she has, in her “spare time” tried her hand at a variety of agricultural endeavors such as raising goats, chickens, and ducks, growing and harvesting hay, harvesting wild berries and apples, and making maple syrup.  Today she lives in the beautiful Finger Lakes region with her husband, Chris, several horses and two beloved dogs.   When she is not working she enjoys riding her horses and experimenting with new varieties and organic growing techniques in her flower, vegetable, and fruit gardens.  


Nancy Apolito

Finance & HR Manager

Nancy’s love of numbers and great people skills make her an ideal person to serve as our Finance & Human Resource Manager. She has a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from LeMoyne College and a MBA in Finance and Marketing from Rochester Institute of Technology. She co-owned a company where she was Chief Financial Officer for 14 years before leaving to get her teaching certification from Nazareth College.  She taught chemistry for several years before joining NOFA-NY.   When she isn’t working in Quickbooks, she’s at home with her family in her beautiful garden on Honeoye Lake.

 

 

Marne Coit

Education Director

Marne has worked in various aspects of sustainable agriculture and food systems all her adult life. Her experience ranges from apprenticing on diversified organic farms to working in food law and policy. Marne holds a JD and MSEL from Vermont Law School, and an LLM in Agricultural & Food Law from the University of Arkansas. She has written a number of articles on law and policy related to local food systems and sustainable agriculture.  Marne brings her passion for and wealth of knowledge of sustainable agriculture to the Education Team as its Director.  In this role, she oversees all our programs that provide support and education to organic and sustainable farmers including coordinating the Winter Conference and Field Days.

Maryellen Sheehan

Organic Fruit & Vegetable Coordinator

Maryellen grew up in Indiana working with horses. In 1998, she moved east and started working at Gould Farm in western Massachusetts. After a stint working in agriculture in Russia, she came to New Hampshire to work on a diversified farm where she met her husband, Matt.  Somehow along the way she found the time to earn a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Antioch New England.  In 2012, she and Matt founded Hartwood Farm in central New York where they run a CSA and sell produce at area farmers markets.  As part of the Education Team, Maryellen brings her love and extensive knowledge of farming to her position as Organic Fruit & Vegetable Coordinator.

Rachel Schell-Lambert

Beginning Farmer Program Coordinator

Rachel has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Plant Science.  Her long-time interest in sustainable farming, food systems, and food security led her to work as an agriculture extension agent with the Peace Corps in Bolivia and Panama after college.  Before joining NOFA-NY, she worked as a farmhand on a diversified CSA farm in Vermont and with children and teens at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  She loves working collaboratively with farmers whom she views as great teachers, mentors, innovators and researchers.  Her passion for sustainable agriculture and for strengthening the beginning farmer community in New York State—not to mention a love of collecting data—makes her a happy member of the Education Team as its first Beginning Farmer Program Coordinator.

Bethany Wallis

Dairy & Livestock Coordinator

Raised on a dairy farm, Bethany earned an associate’s degree in Agricultural Business from SUNY Morrisville and a bachelor’s degree in Dairy Science from Cornell University. Bethany was first introduced to organic agriculture while managing the CSA at Grindstone Farm.  Since joining NOFA-NY in 2006, she has served in a variety of positions and has found her way onto our Education Team as Dairy & Livestock Coordinator—a position that she feels best utilizes her skills and knowledge.  When not coordinating the Organic Dairy & Field Crop Conference or planning Field Days, Bethany is raising her four children and helping her husband on his family’s dairy farm in Pulaski, NY.

Robert Perry

Grain & Field Crops Coordinator

After studying horticulture, Robert settled on milking cows, running greenhouses, producing maple syrup, growing certified organic vegetables, starting a CSA, and serving on the NOFA-NY Standards Board.  He has worked for many years as an organic inspector for NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC.  He has been involved with NOFA-NY since its founding in 1983 and is really excited to see the new crop of staff that have come on board to guide the organization into the future.  Currently, Robert is part of the OREI Value-Added Grains Program.  Robert brings his wealth of experience and knowledge to the Education Team as Grain & Fields Crops Coordinator.  When he isn’t planning Field Days or coordinating the trade show at the Winter Conference, he’s a fifth-generation farmer in Homer, NY.

 

CeCe Bowerman

Membership & Development Coordinator

CeCe is the newest staff member of NOFA-NY. Originally from upstate NY, she received a BS in Outdoor Education from Unity College in Maine, and then headed out west to teach children about nature. She worked as a naturalist, educator and program coordinator before earning an MS in Environmental Education from Western Washington University. Her interest in grant writing and database management paired nicely with her lifelong appreciation for sustainably grown food when she began fundraising for an organic farmland trust in Washington State. Her desire to move home to New York came to fruition when she joined NOFA-NY, where she will help more people join the movement to build a sustainable, regional food system. 

 

Stephanie Backer-Bertsch

Registration Coordinator

Stephanie has been interested in sustainable food systems since she was a young child picking peaches and pears from her grandparents’ urban backyard . She has channeled that interest into various positions including working at area farmers markets and as a manager at the Lexington Food Co-op in Buffalo. She has a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Buffalo in Nutrition and is also a registered yoga teacher. Her love for organic food and promoting holistic wellness make her a great addition to our team. When she is not registering people for the Winter Conference or Field Days, she’s transforming local bounty into elaborate feasts for her friends and family and teaching people how to stand on their head.

Sondra Gjersoe

Administrative Assistant


Sondra's interest in sustainable food systems began ten years ago when she actively pursued transforming herself to reflect a healthier and holistic lifestyle. Now she is healthier than she has ever been. She attributes her success mainly to the amazing organic foods grown in our region and wants to share her passion and gratitude with others. Sondra spend several years as an administrative assistant for the American Red Cross, where she also enjoyed teaching First Aid and CPR and assisting with fundraisers. When she is not providing administrative support to our various programs and projects, she can be found out and about on her bicycle or sharing her passion for delicious, healthy food with friends and family.