Monday and Tuesday Speakers

Hilton UF Conference Center - Gainesville, Florida

Monday

Tuesday

Elizabeth Henderson

Elizabeth Henderson

Elizabeth Henderson

Elizabeth Henderson farmed at Peacework Farm in Wayne County, NY, producing organically grown vegetables for the fresh market for over 30 years. She is on Board of NOFA-NY and represents NOFA Interstate Council on Board of the Agricultural Justice Project (AJP). She wrote Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture and Food Book for a Sustainable Harvest for the members of Peacework Organic CSA in its 29th year in 2017. 

Angie Lavezzo

Angie Lavezzo

Angie Lavezzo

As a gardener for over 20 years and a seed saver for 10 of those years, the magic of a sprouting seed is still Angie's favorite thing. Taught from an early age to question the logic of big agriculture, the quest for truth and alternatives led her to her job working as General Manager for Sow True Seed. This gives her a perfect outlet for her passion for seeds and plants, and provides a good balance to her home life, where she is a farmer, beekeeper, maker of things, and an avid reader.

Emily Sylvestre

Emily Sylvestre

Emily Sylvestre

Emily is currently farming for a second season at Swallowtail Farm in Alachua, Florida, after completing a 10 month apprenticeship during the 2016-2017 season. Originally from Minneapolis, Emily studied Environmental Studies, Geography and African Studies at Macalester College. While in college, she developed a strong interest in social justice, agriculture and food systems. After graduating in 2016 she started looking for farm work and like many young aspiring farmers, she used an apprenticeship as a chance to gain experience. Emily is passionate about food justice, community and education. She hopes to continue learning about and growing food for many years to come. 

Kevin Athearn

Kevin Athearn

Kevin Athearn

Kevin Athearn is a Regional Specialized Extension Agent primarily serving North Florida. He has lived and worked in various parts of the United States, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maine, and Florida. He has a Ph.D. in agricultural economics, and some of his prior research focused on the economics of organic production and labeling. In his current position he provides research-based information, analysis, and Extension education to assist farmers with business start-up, marketing, and financial management.

Erin Silva

Erin Silva

Erin Silva

Dr. Silva is an Assistant Professor in the Plant Pathology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Her research and extension program focuses on sustainable and organic cropping systems, including cover crops and cover crop-based no-till production, the impact of organic management on soil biological and physical properties. Her teaching responsibilities include, “Food, Sustainability, and Climate Change” and “Organic System Health”. With Anders Gurda, Erin has launched a comprehensive organic grain training program for farmers in the upper Midwest, “OGRAIN”. Erin works closely with organic farmers and industry members both in Wisconsin and the U.S. and serves as co-facilitator of the Wisconsin Organic Advisory Council.

Mario Velasco

Is Food Safety/GAPs Program Director at QCS. Mario earned his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. Mario has more than 17 years of experience working in high managerial positions and commands a high level of experience in supervision and coordination of private/public and private/private collaborations, project/budget management, project development, R&D+I, and technical directing and marketing.

He likes working at QCS because of its dynamism and the interaction between our two main divisions – Food Safety/GAPs and Organic – to better serve the food industry domestically and abroad. The department is willing to help everyone so every working day worth it at the office. He enjoys the outdoors and water sports.

Marty Mesh

Marty Mesh

Marty Mesh

In 1987, Mesh helped form Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers (FOG), a nonprofit organization, and, in 1995, became FOG’s Executive Director. Mesh has served on the Board of Directors for many organizations, including multiple terms on the Organic Trade Association and the Accredited Certifiers Association. He was on the Organic Steering Committee for the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture and then later on the Campaign Board. He served as a charter board member for the widely-utilized Organic Materials Review Institute. Mesh was also on the steering committee that helped form the Southern Sustainable Agricultural Working Group and served on its board for nine years.

Mike Meier

Mike Meier

Mike Meier

Mike is co-owner and head farmer at Ground Floor Farm, an urban farm, café, and community space in downtown Stuart. Before farming in south Florida, Mike was the farm manager at Brooklyn Grange in NYC and farmer at Seven Arrows in Rumson, NJ. Mike has organized with the Greenhorns, Farm Hack, and the National Young Farmers Coalition. Mike's current research focuses include added-value production as well as appropriate small calorie crop production.

 

Gerry Cohn

Gerry Cohn

Gerry Cohn

Gerry Cohn is the Southeast Region Pool Manager with CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley, the largest organic farmer-owned cooperative in North America.  He lives in North Carolina and serves as the primary liaison between CROPP and the 25 farmer members in the Southeast, providing technical assistance in grazing and forages, milk production, animal health, and business planning issues. Prior to joining Organic Valley, Cohn worked with the Rural Advancement Foundation International and American Farmland Trust.

Jennifer Tucker

Jennifer Tucker

Jennifer Tucker

Jennifer Tucker is Associate Deputy Administrator of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) in Washington DC. She has been the second in command at the NOP for six years, guiding communications and outreach, training, technology development, and operations for the program. Before coming to NOP, she was a consultant specializing in strategic planning, communications, and leadership and team development. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Science and a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies.

 

Ute Albrecht

Ute Albrecht

Ute Albrecht

Albrecht is Assistant Professor of Plant Physiology at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC), University of Florida/IFAS, in Immokalee. Her research and extension activities at SWFREC focus on the physiology of citrus and vegetables and ways to improve production by using alternative plant health materials and other methodologies. One of the priorities of her citrus program are the effects of different rootstocks on tree health and productivity and other strategies to mitigate the impacts of the devastating disease citrus greening. She is also exploring whether use of different soil amendments, such as beneficial bacteria and fungi, seaweed extracts, and humic substances, can improve root health and mitigate plant stress induced by disease or other adverse conditions.

Ramkrishnan Balasubramanian

Ramkrishnan (Ram) Balasubramanian earned his Ph.D. in Crop Sciences, Masters in Agricultural Engineering, and Masters in Ecological Agriculture. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration.Ram is an ISO 9001 Lead Auditor with extensive food safety/GAP and organic auditing experience. Additionally, Ram specializes in organic aquaculture standard and curriculum development. Ram is a FSPCA Lead Instructor for the Foreign Supplier Verification Program and Lead Certified Trainer for the Produce Safety Rule. Ram has served in on numerous boards of directors including serving as the Organic Material Review Institute Board Chair. He has has farming roots with experience in producing both crops and livestock. Ram is a firm believer in family values and family first and, in his free time, he loves swimming, spicy food, organic gardening and growing rare exotic and medicinal plants.

 
Erin Silva

Erin Silva

Erin Silva

Dr. Silva is an Assistant Professor in the Plant Pathology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Her research and extension program focuses on sustainable and organic cropping systems, including cover crops and cover crop-based no-till production, the impact of organic management on soil biological and physical properties. Her teaching responsibilities include, “Food, Sustainability, and Climate Change” and “Organic System Health”. With Anders Gurda, Erin has launched a comprehensive organic grain training program for farmers in the upper Midwest, “OGRAIN”. Erin works closely with organic farmers and industry members both in Wisconsin and the U.S. and serves as co-facilitator of the Wisconsin Organic Advisory Council.

Someone else

Dr. Silva is an Assistant Professor in the Plant Pathology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Her research and extension program focuses on sustainable and organic cropping systems, including cover crops and cover crop-based no-till production, the impact of organic management on soil biological and physical properties. Her teaching responsibilities include, “Food, Sustainability, and Climate Change” and “Organic System Health”. With Anders Gurda, Erin has launched a comprehensive organic grain training program for farmers in the upper Midwest, “OGRAIN”. Erin works closely with organic farmers and industry members both in Wisconsin and the U.S. and serves as co-facilitator of the Wisconsin Organic Advisory Council.