Board and Staff

Board of Directors

NOFA-NY is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, the majority of whom are farmers. The Board supports the work of NOFA-NY and provides mission-based leadership and strategic governance. Their role is to monitor the performance of NOFA-NY, provide fiduciary oversight, set the strategic direction for the organization, and serve as NOFA-NY ambassadors.

Board members come from the membership of NOFA-NY and may serve up to 2, consecutive 3-year terms. Each year members are asked to submit nominations to the board, which are then reviewed by the Board of Directors and voted on by the membership at the annual meeting. 

President

Phil Barbato, Biophilia Organic Farm, Riverhead, NY

Born on a conventional vegetable farm on Long Island, Phil learned the basics of farming first-hand from his father, uncles, and hard-working Puerto Rican farmhands who lived on the farm for the entire growing season. He learned weeding, hoeing, harvesting, and tractor work: maintenance, disking, cultivating, spraying. It was obvious that Phil loved farming and wanted to make it his career, but Dad advised against it, saying the work was too hard and the rewards too small. So, Phil followed his Dad's advice and earned bachelors and masters degrees in Environmental Engineering. At that time, the Vietnam War was on, and Phil joined the Air Force ROTC and became commissioned officer Bioenvironmental Engineer, stationed on a SAC base in northern Maine for four years. He was then lucky enough to land a job with the NY State DEC at the Region 1 office on Long Island. He spent 17 terrific years there working on water protection and enforcement, attaining the position of Regional Water Engineer. After this, he worked for a major cosmetic company, headquartered on Long Island, helping them establish a company-wide program for environmental protection and employee safety at plants in the US and 5 other countries. It was during that time, that Phil decided to purchase a small preserved farm and begin, part-time on weekends and evenings, to build an organic vegetable operation. His Dad thought him crazy, saying he couldn't grow vegetables without chemicals. But Dad's mind was soon changed when he tasted some of Phil's first tomato varieties and he became a strong advocate for the organic farming methods. After 15 exciting and rewarding years with the major cosmetics company, Phil was able to retire early, in 2006, and devote his energy to his family and full-time organic farming. He loves being part of the forward-looking community of organic farmers, gardeners, and consumers. He continues to advocate for healthy soil, healthy environment, healthy food, and healthy people. The 2017 season will be Biophilia Organic Farm's 18th year as a certified organic farm.

Vice President

Maryrose Livingston, Northland Sheep Dairy, Marathon, NY

Maryrose and her husband, Donn Hewes, own Northland Sheep Dairy. The farm is the oldest sheep dairy in the country -- producing 100% grass-fed raw milk cheeses, lamb, mutton and wool products in Marathon, New York. Maryrose began her farming career milking high producing Holstein cows in Michigan and Indiana. She then worked as an environmental regulator in order to finance her own farm. Maryrose has served two previous terms on the NOFA-NY Board of Directors, and acted as Board President from 2012 - 2015.

Treasurer 

Chris Browder, Browder's Birds, North Fork, NY

Chris, a native of North Carolina, has lived in New York for over 20 years. He’s a former Bank of America corporate and investment banker, but prefers the life of a farmer including getting dirty every day, sleeping like a rock at night, planning and more planning and meeting lots of great people. Chris and his wife, Holly, decided to launch a pastured poultry business for the 2010 season and signed a lease with the Peconic Land Trust for a 5 acre parcel of preserved farmland in Southold. At the close of 2012, they purchased a new 16-acre farm and home in Mattituck! In January of 2014 he was elected to the Board of Directors of NOFA-NY serves as Treasurer.

Secretary

Karen Meara, Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP, Brooklyn, NY

Karen is an Associate at Carter Ledyard and Milburn, LLP in New York City. She is part of the Environmental Practice Group and the Litigation Department. Before graduating from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Karen worked for over a decade in New York City government. She served most recently as the Director of City Legislative Affairs in the Office of the Mayor, and has also worked for the New York City Housing Authority and the City Council Finance Division. She holds two degrees from the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Science; a B.S. in International Agriculture and an M.S. in Development Sociology. In addition to her classroom studies, Karen worked on an organic farm in Maryland and studied cooperative agriculture in Kenya. Karen lives in Brooklyn with her family and buys most of their food from green markets near work and home. She enjoys hiking, gardening, making music and spending time in the Adirondacks.

Board Members

Onika Abraham, Farm School NYC, New York City

Onika is Director of Farm School NYC and founder of A Farmers Yoga, is a farmer and educator with more than 10 years of experience in nonprofit management and an MBA in marketing and entrepreneurship. She completed the Farm and Garden Apprenticeship and Certificate in Ecological Horticulture at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) in Santa Cruz and her yoga teacher certification is from Kripalu School of Yoga. Onika is a founding member of Black Urban Growers and the SeedKeepers Collective and lives and gardens in beautiful Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

Liz Bawden, Bawden Farms, Hammond, NY

Liz farms with her husband and son in Hammond, NY where they milk 60 cows and produce hay for sale. They have been certified organic with NOFA-NY since 2000. Her background before coming to full-time farming in 1996 was as an education coordinator at parks and nature centers in Massachusetts, Texas, and Ontario. Liz has been an active participant in NODPA (Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance), serving as President for the last 4 years. She is also a member of the NY Organic Task Force. Liz is an avid gardener, handspinner and knitter, pretty good tractor driver, and gets along well with round balers.

Laura Colligan, Dirt Rich Farm, East Aurora, NY

Laura Colligan has been involved with NOFA-NY since she was thirteen, when, in 2008, she first attended the NOFA-NY Winter Conference. During that time, she was first becoming interested in farming learning how to cook seasonally with vegetables from the CSA her family belonged to and also due to raising turkeys and chickens on pasture and selling their meat and eggs. Annual attendance at the Winter Conference was her first form of farming education.

After she finished high school, she continued her sustainable agriculture education by spending three years working on organic farms in Michigan, Vermont, and the Hudson Valley. She then returned to her native East Aurora (near Buffalo) to start Dirt Rich Farm in 2015. She supplies vegetables to about 36 households each year with her CSA and also sells produce to local restaurants and co-ops.

Laura is excited to help give back to the organization that helped shape her path in life as a NOFA-NY board member.

Elizabeth Henderson, Peacework Organics, Newark, NY

Elizabeth Henderson farmed at Peacework Farm in Wayne County, New York, producing organically grown vegetables for the fresh market for over 30 years. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY), co-chairs the Policy Committee, and represents the NOFA Interstate Council on the Board of the Agricultural Justice Project. For 20 years, from 1993 – 2013, she chaired the Agricultural Development Board in Wayne County and took an active role in creating the Farming and Farmland Protection Plan for the county. In 2001, the organic industry honored her with one of the first “Spirit of Organic awards, in 2007, Abundance Co-op honored her with the “Cooperating for Communities” award and in 2009 NOFA-NY honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award and then a Golden Carrot in 2013.  In 2014 Eco-Farm presented her with their “Advocate of Social Justice Award, the Justie.” Her writings on organic agriculture appear inThe Natural Farmer and other publications, she is the lead author of Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture (Chelsea Green, 2007), with a Spanish language e-book edition in 2017, and co-authored Whole Farm Planning: Ecological Imperatives, Personal Values and Economics with farmer Karl North (2004). She also wrote A Food Book for a Sustainable Harvest for the members of Peacework Organic Community Supported Agriculture (aka GVOCSA) in its twenty ninth year in 2017.

Patty Lovera, Food & Water Watch, Washington, DC

Patty is the Assistant Director of Food & Water Watch. 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 Food & Water Watch, 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.

Anu Rangarajan, Cornell University, Freeville, NY

Anu is the Director of the Cornell Small Farms Program. She grew up growing vegetables and flowers for her family. Her love of horticulture led to degrees from Michigan State (BS, PhD) and University of Wisconsin (MS), in floriculture and vegetable production. She has been at Cornell since 1996, as statewide specialist for fresh market vegetable production. Her research interests include tillage, compost use and soil quality in vegetables and organic production systems. In 2005, she joined the ranks and started a small farm in Freeville NY. Anu joined NOFA-NY’s Board of Directors in 2015.

Matt Volz, Greyrock Farm, Cazenovia, NY

Matt was born in Washington, D.C. and moved to Cazenovia shortly afterwards. He attended Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT, and studied philosophy and began working on farms. In his junior year of college, he connected with a couple from across Lake Champlain in Essex, NY. Matt worked with Mark and Kristin Kimball at Essex Farm during his last two years of college and continued to work there for another two years after graduating. In 2009, he moved back to VT and worked on a few farms. In the Spring of 2010, Matt was introduced to Kaye Osborne and a few months later moved back to Cazenovia to start the Greyrock Farm CSA. Matt joined NOFA-NY’s Board of Directors in January 2016.


Management Committee

The Certified Organic Management Committee is appointed by the NOFA-NY Board of Directors to oversee the operation of NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC. Members must be qualified and free of conflicts of interest as determined by the National Organic Program requirements. They cannot be connected with operations that are certified by the LLC.

Certified Organic Volunteer Management Committee

Richard Andrus, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
Liana Hoodes, Agriculture Policy Consultant, Pine Bush, NY
Gordon Thompson, Coughlin & Gerhart L.L.P., Kirkwood, NY
Arby Swift, Farm Credit East, Port Crane, NY
Sandy Crawford, Tioga State Bank, Rome, PA
Erin Summerlee, Food and Health Network of South Central NY, Whitney Point, NY


Staff

Administration

Andrianna Natsoulas - Executive Director

Andrianna Natsoulas has been a social and environmental activist for over two decades. She has created and implemented programs at several organizations, including Greenpeace, Food & Water Watch and the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance. Andrianna has coordinated with the global food sovereignty movements and has served on national and international boards and steering committees to protect fishing rights, fight trade agreements and build alliances. She has developed policy initiatives at the federal and regional levels to ensure farmers and fishermen can provide local and culturally appropriate food to their communities. She also wrote the book, Food Voices, Stories from the People Who Feed Us, which tells the stories of farmers and fishermen across five countries. In August of 2016, Andrianna joined NOFA-NY as the Executive Director and now lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley. 

Nancy ApolitoOperations Director

Nancy is NOFA-NY's Operations Director, after starting with the company as Finance & Human Resources Manager. Her four years with NOFA-NY and her understanding of the workings of the organization make her an ideal Operations Director. In addition to having served as a corporate CFO for 14 years, she has a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from LeMoyne College and a MBA in Finance and Marketing from Rochester Institute of Technology. Nancy believes that supporting sustainable agriculture is vital to help more people have access to fresh food. She's at home with her family in her beautiful garden on Honeoye Lake.

Lori Kenyon – Certification Director

Lori grew up in Upstate New York where she spent as much time as possible outdoors, including working on her grandparents’ dairy farm. She and her husband have a large vegetable garden that supports their love of cooking with fresh foods. Lori brings over 20 years of management experience to her position as NOFA-NY Certified Organic’s Certification Director. She joined our team from Northeast Rehab, Inc., where she served as Operations Manager, overseeing all daily operations including accreditation requirements. Prior to that, Lori enjoyed a long and successful tenure with Dick’s Sporting Goods, where she held various management positions in Purchasing and Distribution. Lori brings extensive experience in sound financial responsibility, organization and employee development, deadline management, and customer service, all within a rapid growing environment.  

Valerie RezmerskiCertification Office Manager

Valerie started working at NOFA-NY Certified Organic in May 2014 as the Office Manager. Val handles all areas of finance and human resources for NOFA-NY. Her previous work experience as a Finance & Operations Coordinator to Northeast Rehab, Inc. for 14 years, and Barney & Dickenson for eight years, provides her with a strong background in all areas of finance, human resources, and small business operations. She attended Broome Community College in both the accounting and executive secretarial programs. Valerie has resided in Apalachin, NY for the past 20 years with her husband Chris, son Nolan, daughter Morgan, and granddaughter Mackenzie. Val spends most of her spare time attending Nolan’s baseball and basketball games, as well as enjoying her new granddaughter.

Donna Hickling - Finance Manager

Donna is NOFA-NY’s Finance Manager responsible for accounting and reporting.  Originally from Wisconsin, Donna earned a BA in Economics from Indiana University and a MBA in Accounting and Marketing from Rochester Institute of Technology.  Having grown up with summer vacations at her grandparents’ farm, she understands the work that goes into the food we eat.  When not at NOFA, you can find Donna teaching at Monroe Community College and Genesee Community College, reading, hiking, riding her bicycle and slowly working towards transforming her backyard to New York State native plants.

Valerie Burba - Administrative Assistant

Valerie joined NOFA-NY in March 2017. Growing up with her grandfather planting various gardens has taught her the importance of growing your own food. She grew up in Fairport, NY spending summers sneaking into the garden eating fresh grown veggies and going on camping adventures. Valerie is passionate about nature and she loves the beauty of the outdoors. She has office experience, graduated with an Associate of Applied Science in Tourism Management, and serves on the Board of Directors for South Macedon Fire Department. Valerie now resides in Palmyra, NY and is married with three beautiful, wonderful, energetic children. She loves camping, fishing, reading, music, and going on adventures with her family.

Education

Bethany WallisEducation Director

Raised on a pasture-based 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 worked in a variety of positions and now serves our the Education Director. Bethany continues to work on dairy and livestock programming, overseeing the Organic Dairy & Field Crop Conference and planning dairy and livestock field days. Bethany also organizes the food donation program for our annual Winter Conference. When not in the office, Bethany raises her four children and helps her husband on his family’s dairy farm in Pulaski, NY.

Robert PerryGrain & Field Crops Coordinator

A fifth-generation farmer in Homer, NY, Robert has been involved with NOFA-NY since its founding in1983. After studying horticulture, Robert settled on milking cows, running greenhouses, producing maple syrup, growing certified organic vegetables, and running a CSA. Robert has served on the NOFA-NY Standards Board, and worked for many years as an organic inspector for NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC before joining NOFA-NY Inc. as our Grain and Field Crop Coordinator. Today he oversees grain and field crop conference workshops and Field Days, and coordinates NOFA-NY’s renowned Winter Conference Trade Show. An integral leader within the OREI Value-Added Grains Program, Robert brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to answer grain and field crop questions from all over the state.

Paul Loomis – Organic Farmer Marketing Coordinator

A lifelong resident of NY, Paul has a Bachelor’s of Science from SUNY Brockport where he focused on applied research in agricultural food systems. Interested in nature, self-resilience, and conservation, Paul began homesteading with his family in 2004. While working in security management, he laid the groundwork for his career as a full-time farmer and discovered firsthand the dedication and commitment that goes into running a viable farm business. As NOFA-NY’s Organic Farmer Marketing Coordinator, he shares his passion for strong farm networks, healthy food, and land stewardship with our community of farmers and consumers. In his spare time, Paul runs Growing Family Farms in Spencerport, NY, a meeting place for family and friends, and harvesting and preparing full meals from gardens.

Jessica Donovan – Events Coordinator

Jessica Donovan is the Events Coordinator at NOFA-NY. Having spent the last ten years as an event planner and graphic designer in Manhattan, Jessica decided to leave the busy city behind for a calmer, quieter life in Syracuse, NY. Over the past several years, she has put a strong focus on health, fitness and eating organic and is excited to put her professional skills to work for an organization that shares her values. Jessica has an MA in Journalism from Syracuse University and a BA in Mass Communications from Virginia Wesleyan College. In her free time, Jessica enjoys exploring all that upstate NY has to offer and spending time with family and friends.

Maryellen SheehanVegetable Coordinator

Maryellen Sheehan grew up working with horses and reluctantly helping in the family garden in Indiana before starting farming in 1998. She worked on diversified livestock and produce farms in Massachusetts, Russia, and New Hampshire before starting a market farm on leased land in NH in 2002. After six years operating the South Village Garden and relearning science during an MS program in Environmental Studies, she moved to NY in 2008 to manage a Hudson Valley vegetable farm. Maryellen and her husband started Hartwood Farm in Fenner, NY in 2012, where they produce five acres of vegetables for year round farmers markets and CSA. Maryellen is particularly interested in the adaptation of organic farming systems to deal with new pest, disease, safety, economic, and climate challenges, and she is excited to be back as a part of NOFA-NY’s education team helping farmers across the state on vegetable and food safety programming.

Allie StrubFruit Coordinator

Allison grew up on a small family dairy farm nestled in the heart of the Finger Lakes, where her passion for agriculture was ignited. Allie obtained her Associates degree in Agronomy at SUNY Morrisville and later transferred to Cornell University where she received her B.S. in Crop Production and Management through the Agricultural Sciences program. She graduated and entered the Agriculture Industry working for a private crop scouting consultant. In 2016, Allison started her own Farm Service business where she focused on helping to implement Food Safety Regulation on farms as well as practice IPM based crop scouting, spray management, and operations management. She has experience with both Organic and Conventional farming operations and is looking forward to working with NOFA-NY!

Community Engagement

CeCe Bowerman - Community Engagement Director

CeCe received an MS in Environmental Education from Western Washington University, and has worked as an outdoor educator, grant writer, and fundraiser for environmental nonprofits in New England and the West Coast. She returned to her home state of NY in 2014 to become part of the growing organic farming movement here. As NOFA-NY’s Community Engagement Director, CeCe manages data and member communications to help more people stay engaged in our work. She believes serving the individuals, businesses and foundations that make NOFA-NY’s work possible is powerful and rewarding work. When not in the office, CeCe enjoys riding her bike on flat roads, coaxing seeds to sprout, and knitting with wool.

Amy Blum - Communications Consultant

Amy is the Communications and Public Relations Consultant for NOFA-NY.  Through her Amy Blum PR business, she has many years of public relations, marketing and branding experience with dozens of local through national non-profits, including arts, cultural and sporting organizations and events as well as for-profit companies. Her writing and photography has appeared in various publications. Amy received her bachelor of arts degree from SUNY Buffalo, and has an ongoing passion for music, great writing, books, organic food, and a healthy environment. She is a CSA member and loves experimenting with her food basket. Her gardening claim to fame is that she has coaxed indoor plants to flower during the winter.

Cate Gagné - Communications Coordinator

Cate is the Communications Coordinator at NOFA-NY. Originally from Albany, NY, Cate received her B.S. at Rochester Institute of Technology and fell in love with Rochester. Cate’s passion for getting her hands in the dirt started at a young age, gardening with her mom. Cate is excited to put her experience in marketing, communications and design to good use with an organization whose values are so similar to her own. Cate is a CSA member who is passionate about eating local, helping the environment and supporting farmers. Cate spends her free time reading, cooking, hiking, listening to music and frequenting local breweries and eateries with her husband.

Policy

Liana Hoodes - Policy Consultant

Liana Hoodes has worked on a wide range of organic and sustainable agriculture policy issues since 1994. She was the organic policy coordinator for the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture from 1994 through 2006. In that capacity she facilitated the successful effort to garner hundreds of thousands of comments to repeal and re-write the first organic regulation.  From 2003 to 2015, she was the Executive Director of the National Organic Coalition and currently serves as their policy advisor. She has worked extensively on Farm Bills, annual appropriations, as well as on the implementation of the Organic Foods Production Act at the USDA National Organic Program and on organic standards at the National Organic Standards Board. She currently works on a variety of federal, state and local policy issues to support and advance organic and sustainable food and agriculture. Liana is currently the Policy Advisor to NOFA-NY. She grows organic food and lives with her family in Ulster County, New York.

Certification

Jessica TerrySenior Certification Specialist

Jessica grew up on a farm in the Mohawk Valley region of Central New York raising beef cattle, goats, chickens, rabbits, field crops, and vegetables. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Plattsburgh State University, spent five years in graphic design with the Oneida Indian Nation, and volunteered in Peru and Ecuador teaching English and encouraging eco-tourism. Jessica joined NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC in 2008 and has been helping producers and consumers navigate the ins-and-outs of organic certification ever since. Jessica is a dedicated and hardworking member of the certification team who is proud to support the organic community and a healthier environment. In her free time, Jessica enjoys cooking, gardening, and exploring areas both near and far with her husband and two sons.  

Heather Orr - Senior Certification Specialist

Heather became interested in agriculture at a young age. She was raised on a dairy farm and worked at a farm store selling a variety of fruits and vegetables. Heather attended college for business and has been with NOFA-NY since 2006. She has worked in a variety of positions, including Certification Specialist and Dairy Certification Coordinator, and is presently a Senior Certification Specialist. In Heather’s current position, she specializes in dairy/livestock—performing many certification tasks such as file review, product review, certification training and guidance to staff while handling complaints and setting procedures and policies. She enjoys working with producers and feels it helps bring her back to her agricultural roots. When not working at NOFA-NY, Heather enjoys four wheeling, fishing, and gardening, and helping out with her family’s farm.

Lisa Engelbert - Program Administrator

Lisa has been with NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC since 2002, and has been involved at the local, state and national level. During her tenure at NOFA-NY she has worked with many dairy farms as they made the transition to organic farming. In her current part-time role as Certification Program Administrator, she conducts product reviews and serves in a support role to the certification program. Along with her husband and sons, Lisa owns and operates Engelbert Farms LLC, a certified organic dairy farm, also producing organic beef, pork, veal, 20 varieties of organic cheese and small-scale vegetable production. Lisa handles the marketing and promotion for the farm and opened an on-farm store in 2010 to sell Engelbert Farms organic products directly to the public. 

Ashleigh Knecht – Handling Certification Coordinator

Ashleigh joined NOFA-NY Certified Organic in March of 2015 as a Certification Coordinator. Her previous work experience as a foreman and installation coordinator at ANC Heating & Air Conditioning provides her with a strong background in data management, effective communication, and meeting deadlines. She is also the owner and operator of Knecht Farm where she raises show horses and beef cattle. She graduated from the State University of New York at Cobleskill with a Bachelor of Science degree in AgriBusiness Management, along with an Associate in Science degree in Animal Industry. In her spare time, Ashleigh enjoys working on her farm and is an avid barrel racer competing on the state and national level.

Erika WordenDairy Certification Coordinator

Erika has been employed with NOFA-NY Certified Organic since January 2012 as the Dairy Certification Coordinator. Her experience working on her family’s organic dairy farm, and as a herdsperson on conventional dairies in New York, provides her with a strong background in milk production and quality, pasture management, and herd health. Erika graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science with a concentration in the study of dairy cattle and farm business management. She works with producers to help answer their certification questions and organizing and inputting data from producer files. In her spare time, Erika enjoys farming and working with her cows along with traveling and pasture walks.

Krtisten Barker - Crop & Livestock Certification Coordinator

Kristen joined the NOFA-NY team in early 2017 as Office Assistant and became Certification Coordinator in July 2017.  . Spending many years in a high volume call center both on and off the phones, Kristen brings with her a strong skillset of communication, organization, financial and customer service skills. Kristen studied Equine Science and Management at Morrisville State College. When not at NOFA-NY, Kristen manages a private horse stable in Northern PA. Kristen also spends any free time competing at barrel races at the local and state level with her horse as well as spending time with her mini donkey.

Lauren TontiCertification Specialist

With a passion for entomology and stream ecology, Lauren studied at her hometown community college in NJ. She moved to Binghamton in 2007 to study Environmental Studies/Natural Resources and received a Bachelor’s Degree in 2010. She was exposed to agriculture through various experiences which were a motivating factor in co-launching the Binghamton Urban Farm, a program of VINES. For over five years she managed a market garden, youth program, and educational programs with VINES. Lauren joined the NOFA-NY Certified Organic team in September 2014 and is excited to be part of a group of people all working hard to promote organic agriculture. Aside from verifying organic integrity, Lauren enjoys sewing, deer hunting, growing/preserving food, and singing in a nine-piece band.

Rebecca Heller-Steinberg – Certification Specialist

Rebecca joined NOFA-NY as a Certification Specialist in 2014. Prior to that, Rebecca worked in health education before her love of eating led her to food and farming work. She helped start and co-managed the Binghamton Urban Farm, a project of Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments (VINES), and coordinated Binghamton Farm Share, a modified CSA designed to increase food access for people with lower incomes. Rebecca also started a winter local food business which she ran for two years, where she sourced local produce, cheese, pasta and other hard-to-find local items. In her work with NOFA-NY, Rebecca enjoys learning more about the wide variety of organic farms and farming practices in New York State. In her free time, Rebecca likes hunting for mushrooms, making herbal medicine, tanning hides, and eating ice cream.

Pamela Coleman – Certification Specialist

Pam has always been an environmentalist and gardener. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in ecology, a Master’s Degree in vegetable crops from Cornell, and a Ph.D. in plant pathology from University of California at Davis. In her varied career, Pam has conducted pesticide research on conventional farms, delved into the politics of science as a policy analyst, and seen the diversity of our food system as an organic inspector. She has a keen understanding of the pressures on our food system and how it affects the nutrition in our food, the toxins in our environment, and ultimately our health. Pam works as a Certification Specialist at NOFA because organic practices are essential for long-term food production.  When she’s not trying to change the world, Pam likes to garden, cook, read, practice yoga, and enjoy nature.

Elena BraiottaCertification Specialist

Elena is a proud advocate of the health and wellness field. After attending massage schools in Ithaca, New York and Ontario, California, she discovered a true passion to help heal others holistically. In addition to her massage therapy practice, working for NOFA enables Elena to make a contribution to this mission. Elena firmly believes that in taking care of our bodies and in achieving vibrant health, proper nutrition with quality food is essential. The field of organics meets this need and allows access to food that is untreated, unprocessed and hormone free. Elena is grateful to be part of this effort, as a member of the NOFA-NY team.

Katherine CarestioCertification Specialist

Katherine was born and raised in Nebraska—a landscape that motivated her to become a first-generation farmer. Although she is a Midwesterner at heart, the Agriculture, Food and Environment program at Tufts University drew her to the Northeast. After receiving a Master of Science, she developed her skills in agricultural resource management as the Assistant Farm Manager of a 950-acre certified organic grain farm in the Finger Lakes of New York State. With more than seven years of experience in sustainable agriculture, Katherine is passionate about soil science and restorative/regenerative farming. She believes in organic agriculture as a tool for addressing environmental health and is grateful to be part of the NOFA-NY Certified Organic team. Likewise, Katherine and her husband are beginning the journey of land stewardship on their 67-acre farm. She is a devoted student of yoga and Ayurvedic medicine, and enjoys attempting to weld and bake beautiful pies.

Abigail SimoninCertification Specialist

Abigail joined the NOFA-NY Certified Organic team in 2016. Originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Abigail grew up inspired by a thriving agricultural community. Abigail received a B.S. in International Agriculture and Rural Development from Cornell University. She has experience in tropical agriculture in addition to work on organic vegetable farms in New York and Pennsylvania. Abigail helped design a young farmer training program in Lesotho, southern Africa focused on improving soil management, yields, and community food security. She is always interested in supporting new farmers and learning from experienced ones. As a Certification Specialist with NOFA-NY, she enjoys learning from diverse farms and supporting good food in economically viable food systems. In her spare time, Abigail enjoys all things creative, often found weaving, quilting, knitting, canning, soap-making or trying something new.

Kaysha HaileCrop and Livestock Certification Coordinator Assistant

Kaysha joined the certification team in 2017. She is excited to be supporting producers who diversify the food market and carry the skills and knowledge of organic cultivation. Kaysha is passionate about sustainability, social justice, and food sovereignty. She is a tribal member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation and holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies from Binghamton University. Prior to working with NOFA-NY Kaysha participated in a range of ventures including a reforestation effort in Costa Rica, a food cooperative, a campaign to end corporate personhood, the sustainable energy movement, a housing cooperative, and local community gardens. Kaysha grew up in Schenectady County with her mother, sister, and dog. On her free time, Kaysha loves to dance, bake, create, travel, and dream up projects to combine her many interests and passions.

Nancy Sellers - Dairy Certification Coordinator Assistant

Diverse experience working in education, corporate accounting, Biodynamic/Organic farming on a CSA, homesteading in the suburbs of NYC keeping goats for milk, chickens for eggs/meat, large vegetable gardens, environmental conservation.

Keri WaymanCertification Assistant

Keri was raised around agriculture in Chenango County, NY. Spending much of her younger years deeply involved in the local 4-H program, Keri developed a love for horses and livestock. She studied Animal Science at Cornell University and joined NOFA-NY in 2010. Keri has a small farm where she raises horses, goats and sheep and maintains a small garden.

Shelby Lawton - Office Assistant

Shelby joined the NOFA-NY team in August 2017 as Office Assistant.