2023 Speaker Bios

By November 22, 2022VABF News

Sessions by track  |  Speaker session schedule | Speaker Session Summaries 

Janet Aardema
Broadfork Farm
Janet describes farming success as 50% soil and 50% systems. Appropriately managing both allows one to meet their farming goals! As co-owner of Broadfork Farm with her husband and partner Dan Gagnon, Janet enjoys helping others learn practical farming information with her pragmatic approach grounded in realism. Drawing on her experience growing vegetables for market customers since 2011, Janet teaches learners to adopt systems-based-thinking in order to apply knowledge to the unknown future events inherent in farming. Learning from soil and plants while walking gently on the shared earth, living mindfully while surrounded by vegetables and flowers, and mothering four children in the context of both makes for a life simultaneously uber rich, challenging, and ceaselessly full of learning opportunities. With patient explanations and a strong attachment to honesty and integrity, Janet thrives on helping others learn about growing and selling vegetables.   

At Broadfork Farm, Janet and Dan grow intensively on just two acres while harvesting and packing for 200 Farm Shares each week plus a robust farmers’ market stand, an on-site FarmStand, and two local grocery stores. 

Jason Aldrich
Undoing Ruin 
Jason Aldrich is a punk-plant fusion dude with a passion for flowers.  Jason is a graduate of the Horticulture and Sustainable Agriculture programs at J. Sargeant Reynolds. He operates “Undoing Ruin”, a conservation landscaping company in the city of Richmond, and is the Vice President of the Virginia Native Plant Society Pocahontas chapter. Jason has successfully turned his joy into his day job by undermining the dominant paradigm of exploitative land use. 

Dominica Carpin
delli Carpini Farm
I started my farm 8 years ago after a layoff from Capital one’s Commercial Bank. Beginning at a friend’s 1500 square foot deer-proof garden.  I quickly outgrew the space and move to acreage another friend had in Montpelier Virginia. I landed at my current site 7 years ago, 12 acres of former organic beef cattle land. Initially I did 100% farmers markets then added a 22 member csa. Always an avid cook I started to pursue the restaurant trade and built the business up to 75% of my gross sales. Some of the most noted Richmond restaurants are my customers: Gersi, Shagbark, The Lobby Bar, Brenner Pass, Broken Tulip, Alewife, The Roosevelt and Grisette.  I keep 10% of the farm in Meadow plantings and treated as an ecosystem to attract pollinators and other beneficial insects. My farm is a bumble bee sanctuary. I plant by the moon, follow the almanac and the zodiac. My farm is plastic free. I did not use plastic mulch, landscape fabric, drip tape or high tunnels. I’m concerned about microplastics in the soil, food supply and water supply. I’m appalled at how dependent most of my peers are on petroleum products. I’m proud to have a low plastic footprint.  In an effort to be more sustainable I’ve added recyclable clamshells to my packaging as well as kraft paper bags.  I use only OMRI listed inputs.  The only crop I spray is potatoes and I only use an organic control.

Michael J. Carter, Jr.

Michael Carter Jr. is an 11th generation farmer in the United States and is the 5th generation to farm on Carter Farms, his family’s century farm in Orange County, Virginia where he gives workshops on how to grow and market ethnic vegetables. With Virginia State University, he works in the capacity of the Small Farm Resource Center Coordinator for the Small Farm Outreach Program. He sits on the board of directors of the Virginia Association of Biological Farmers (VABF) and Virginia Foodshed Capital respectively. Michael was recognized as a 2020 Audubon Naturalist Society Taking Nature Black Regional Environmental Champion, and the 2020 VSU Small Farm Outreach Agent of the year. He acquired an agricultural economics degree from North Carolina A&T State University and has worked in Ghana, Kenya and Israel as an agronomist and organic agricultural consultant. Michael presently consults with numerous governments, organizations, and individuals throughout the region and nation on food access, food security/insecurity, market outreach, social and economic parity/equity/evaluation programs, racial understanding, immersion, history and cultural trainings, among other areas. Carter Farms has birthed Hen Asem (Our Story) and Africulture, the 501 c3 arm of Carter Farms that teaches, shares and expounds on the contributions of Africans and African Americans to agriculture worldwide and the many stories that history almost forgot.

Ben Casteel
Virginia Highlands Community College
Born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains, Ben is a proud Southwest Virginian with roots that run the extent of the southern range.  Before becoming the Program Coordinator for Horticulture and Agriculture at Virginia Highlands Community College, he owned and operated Appalachian Wildside, LLC  — a hybrid farm / landscaping business with a tagline of “preserving biodiversity one back yard at a time.”  

Cindy Conner
Homeplace Earth
Cindy Conner researches how to sustainably grow a complete diet in a small space at her home near Ashland, VA, and has produced videos on cover crops and garden planning. Cindy, a former market gardener, was instrumental in establishing the sustainable agriculture program at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Goochland, VA and taught there from 1999-2010. She is the author of Grow a Sustainable Diet and Seed Libraries. Her newest interest is to go from seed to garment with cotton and flax/linen grown in her garden. HomeplaceEarth.com

Amy Crone
MarketLink
Amy Crone is the Project Manager for MarketLink, a national initiative developed in collaboration with USDA to increase acceptance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at farmers markets. MarketLink, a program of NAFMNP, is the only app-based means of accepting SNAP available, & since its start in 2013 has enabled sales of more than $39m in SNAP and more than $90m nationwide in overall electronic sales by farmers markets and direct marketing farmers. Formerly, she was the Executive Director of the Maryland Farmers Market Association (“MDFMA”), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, which she founded in 2012. Crone is a nationally recognized expert on federal nutrition assistance programs, who has experience in speaking to a variety of audiences across the country about farmers market and agricultural issues. She lives on a small farm in Maryland with her husband and two children.

Pam Dawling
Twin Oaks Community
Pam Dawling is the author of two books: Sustainable Market Farming: Intensive Vegetable Production on a Few Acres, and The Year-Round Hoophouse. She also writes for Growing for Market and Mother Earth News. Pam has grown vegetables for over 25 years at Twin Oaks Community in central Virginia, where the gardens feed 100 people on 3.5 acres. She blogs at www.sustainablemarketfarming.com

www.facebook.com/SustainableMarketFarming

Cathy Day & Mark Schonbeck
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition & Organic Farming Research Foundation
Cathy Day is the Climate Policy Coordinator for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. She previously taught in the Environmental Studies and Sustainable Food Systems programs at Stetson University, where she also co-directed the Sustainable Farming Fund. She holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where her research focused on the potential for farm transformation in the face of climate change in New Mexico and the ways in which farmers’ networks shape decision-making. Her previous work includes research on climate adaptation and vulnerability in Niger, time as a Peace Corps agricultural extension volunteer and regional leader, and teaching science in the public school system.

Mark Schonbeck is a Research Associate at Organic Farming Research Foundation.  In this capacity, he reviews research findings related to organic agriculture, resource conservation, and climate, and develops educational materials on soil health, climate resilience and mitigation, and crop, weed, and nutrient management for organic systems. He has 35 years’ experience as researcher, consultant, educator, and advocate for sustainable and organic agriculture.

Maureen Diaz
Weston A. Price Foundation
Maureen Diaz, wife and mother to a large family, spent years homesteading and raising most of her family’s food while studying and practicing regenerative farming practices, nutrition and non-toxic healing modalities. In 2001 this led her to the work of the late Dr. Weston A. Price and the foundation bearing his name.

Since that time Maureen has continued to learn and share with others what she has found to be true and effective. To that end for many years she has worked with and for the Weston A. Price Foundation and in 2021 co-founded God’s Good Table alongside her eldest daughter, Erin. Her goal as always remains this: to help others in the recovery and building of health for individuals and their families, while educating others in simple, regenerative practices for small-scale growing of foods, the preservation and preparation of sustainable foods, and using food as medicine. 

A Virginia mountaintop is now home to the Diaz family, where together they enjoy gardening, hiking, kayaking, and welcoming people from near and far to their table.

Jay Dunbar
River Ridge Organics
Jay Dunbar founded River Ridge Organics in 2015 on 2 acres of bottom land in Grayson County, VA. Using organic and regenerative farming principles, the berry farm supplies organic raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries to retail markets, regional craft breweries, bakeries, and other value-added producers. Since 2015, Dunbar has expanded to 10 acres of organic berry production and developed a line of small-batch organic berry jams, freeze-dried berries, and organic berry syrups. 

In addition to his farm work, Jay is a member of the advisory council to the Virginia Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Coalition and a private consultant on organic production, food-safety certification, value-added production, and small-fruit production.

Karen Fetty
Hanover-Caroline SWCD
Karen is a Randolph-Macon alumna with degrees in biology and education and has a wide array of experience in environmental education. For the last five years Karen has worked as the education specialist with Hanover-Carolilne Soil & Water Conservation District, helping residents and K-12 populations learn how to “Save the Bay,” by implementing voluntary best management practices to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution and protect local waterways and other natural resources. She is now working on a new project with local school districts to design systemic Environmental Literacy Plans. Prior to joining the SWCD, Karen taught in Caroline County Public Schools for eight years, primarily as a middle school science teacher. She also worked as a gardener at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond for two summers and founded/led a middle school environmental studies 4-H club at the Garden in the late-nineties. 

Ben Friton
The REED Center for Ecosystem Reintegration
Ben Friton is a father, partner, soil ecologist,  consultant and educator from the Washington DC area. For more than a decade he was a speech professional working with politicians, Heads of State, CEO’s, and philanthropic icons from around the world. In 2010, with the goal of helping to increase educational awareness and hyper-local food resiliency, he co-founded a nonprofit called Can YA Love. Using biomimicry and his patented vertical gardening systems, he works to help people restore degraded lands into thriving, functioning ecosystems that also meet the acute needs of people. In 2014 he joined ‘Forested,’ a community-scale research food forest, to help develop the most ecologically-sound agro-ecosystem possible… a system that improves soil and water quality, without requiring irrigation nor synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

He is now launching his newest project, a non-profit called The REED Center for Ecosystem Reintegration headquartered on a 150+ acre farm called Morning View Food Forest in Middletown, Maryland, where he will demonstrate transitional agroecology and some examples of how humans can reintegrate with, and improve the ecosystems that we rely upon. 

Dan Gagnon
Broadfork Farm
Dan has been growing vegetables for 25 years, first as a gardener and now as a professional market grower.  Dan has been farming as co-owner of Broadfork Farm with his wife and partner Janet Aardema since 2011 in Chesterfield County, Virginia.  Dan and Janet have worked to build a resilient farm business that can handle both an unpredictable climate and an uncertain economy. Dan’s approach to teaching and presenting is to provide nuts and bolts tangible information that growers can apply to make their farm’s operations more profitable, efficient, and resilient. Dan resists a one-size-fits-all approach to farming and tries to assist growers to leverage their gifts and resources while minimizing their deficiencies and liabilities.

At Broadfork Farm, Dan and Janet grow intensively on just two acres while harvesting and packing for 200 Farm Shares each week plus a robust farmers’ market stand, an on-site FarmStand, and two local grocery stores. 

Sam Hedges
Local Environmental Agriculture Project
Local Environmental Agriculture Project (LEAP) is a Roanoke-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Founded in 2009, LEAP’s mission is to create an equitable food and farming system that prioritizes health and abundance. LEAP programs include two farmers markets, a mobile market, a farm share, a food hub, a commercial kitchen, four community gardens, and robust nutrition incentive programs. LEAP also works with community partners from across the region on initiatives such as farm to community and food system development. LEAP is the lead organization for Virginia Fresh Match, a statewide network of markets and retail outlets that make fruits and vegetables more affordable for SNAP participants.

Michelle Hochkeppel
High Mowing Organic Seeds
Michelle came to High Mowing in fall of 2021- motivated by her passion for quality, flavorful vegetables and flower production. After growing up in Virginia and attending college in Washington, D.C., she moved out west and has spent the last decade working in various elements of the food system. She arrived at growing through her love for food and her work in the restaurant industry; she has since worked on a wide range of diversified vegetable farms in Georgia, Oregon, Idaho, Vermont and abroad in Ecuador and Chile. Michelle gets excited about season extension, new varieties and sharing techniques with other growers. In her time off, when she isn’t in the field, Michelle is usually enjoying the outdoors through biking, skiing, or swimming.

Cerruti Hooks
University of Maryland
Cerruti RR Hooks is a Professor & Extension Specialist at the University of Maryland. He has a MS degree in Weed Science from NC State University and a PhD in Entomology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His research program is multidisciplinary and involves the use of conservation tillage and habitat manipulation to influence above and below ground pest and beneficials. His research is conducted in conventional and organic  cropping systems.

April Jones
Pinehurst Farmers Market
April Jones is the founder of the Pinehurst Farmers Market, and is originally from Akron, Ohio and advocates for her community as part of the food justice and food sovereignty movement. She is passionate about community gardens, and farmer markets. She is a writer, public speaker, consultant, blogger, recipe developer, book reviewer, event planner and more. She contributes content to her blog Frolicking Americana, and to national and international magazines, Mother Earth, Country Lore, The Natural Farmer, Grit, Growing for Market, Ark Republic, Ecoparent Magazine, Growers and Co., Farmers Market Coalition writer, An Emerging Leader in food and agriculture nominee.

Mark Jones
Sharondale Mushroom Farm

Mark Jones is the owner and mycologist at Sharondale Mushroom Farm in Cismont, VA.  Sharondale grows the highest quality certified organic mushrooms and organic mushroom spawn.  Sharondale Farm mushrooms are recognized as Virginia’s Finest by VDACS, and the farm is a United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary.  Sharondale offers workshops, tools and supplies for mushroom and microbial cultivation.

Thomas Kuhar and Tim Kring
Virginia Tech
Dr. Tom Kuhar is a professor of entomology at Virginia Tech, where he researches integrated pest management in crop systems.  He has over 25 years of experience in the field, has published 140 peer-reviewed papers, 6 book chapters, and trained over 30 graduate students.  Dr. Tim Kring is the head of the department of entomology at Virginia Tech. He has had an accomplished career working in the area of biological control. He was a former President of the International Organization for Biological Control, and has been recognized with the Distinguished Scientist Award, International Organization for Biological Control, 2013 and the Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management, Entomological Society of America, SE Branch, 2009.  

Chris Lent
National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)
Chris Lent is an Agricultural Specialist working out of the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s Northeast regional office. He operated an organic vegetable farm for ten years and also worked in the fields of energy efficiency, solar installation, and organic farm inspection. His work at NCAT has focused on farm energy, organic vegetable production, local food systems, high tunnel management, and urban agriculture. Chris most enjoys helping farmers find practical solutions that can help build resilience into their farms. He lives with his wife and their son in a self-built straw bale home in Pennsylvania.

Stewart Lundy
Perennial Roots Farm
Stewart has been farming with his wife Natalie for twelve years on the eastern shore of Virginia. They raise heritage breed cattle, hogs, sheep integrated with a diverse CSA market garden. Stewart specializes in DIY homegrown biodynamic methods for farmers and gardeners to create their own fertility with drastically reduced input costs.

Maggie Moomaw
Irvington Spring Farm
Before Maggie could talk, she was crawling through rows of zinnias, dahlias and sunflowers. She is the current manager/operator of Irvington Spring Farm, a specialty cut flower farm, founded on her family’s land in Lynchburg, VA. Maggie pursued an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies, but devoted a majority of her time to the Outdoor Adventure Program. She pursued outdoor education full time post college as a kayak guide and naturalist, but her deep love of flowers never waned. 

Over the past three years, Maggie and her team have pivoted from 25 years of conventional farming practices toward regenerative systems. Today, the farm does not use pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers. Instead, the incorporation of practices like minimal tillage, interplanting, cover cropping, and Korean Natural Farming methods has helped Maggie transform Irvington Spring into an ecologically and economically sustainable farm business.  

Maggie started a flower CSA that is 75 shares and growing. She designs and manages an online flower shop in addition to teaching in-person classes focused on regenerative flower farming, sustainable gardening, and flower arranging. She strives to fill her community with beauty, one bouquet at a time. 

John Munsell
Virginia Tech

John is a Professor of Forest Management at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). He holds a BA from Tulane University and MS and PhD from the State University of New York. John studies the environmental, social, and economic benefits of sustainable forestry and polyculture farming practices with communities from Appalachia to Cameroon. He is author of more than 60 refereed publications, past president of the Association for Temperate Agroforestry, co-author of The Community Food Forest Handbook published by Chelsea Green, and lead author of the urban and community agroforestry systems chapter and co-author of the forest farming chapter in North American Agroforestry: An Integrated Science and Practice, 3rd ed. John chaired the 15th North American Agroforestry Conference in Blacksburg and represented North America during the concluding “road map” plenary session at the 4th World Congress on Agroforestry in Montpellier, France. In 2019, John received the Outreach and Education Award from the Association for Temperate Agroforestry for extraordinary accomplishments in the field of agroforestry education and engagement.

Jeff Poppen
Barefoot Farmer, Long Hungry Creek Farm  
Jeff Poppen, the Barefoot Farmer, lectures and consults widely, helps get new farms going, and has a long list of young farmers he has mentored. His style of old time farming comes from the study of how farms were managed before artificial fertilizers, and from 45 years of operating Long Hungry Creek Farm in Red Boiling Springs, TN. The 250 acres farm supports 40 head of cattle, an eight-acre market garden, and a vibrant community supported agriculture (CSA) program. Jeff has made a living by selling what he grows and, like his animals, gets his food from the farm.

Carolyn Quinn
Dug In Farms
Carolyn Quinn is the owner and operator of Dug In Farms, an eight acre produce and flower farm located between White Stone and Kilmarnock, Virginia. The Dug In Farms’ Market, started on a picnic table with an honor box in 2015, is now open seven days a week from March through Christmas Eve.  The Market sells fresh produce, flowers and farm products, all grown or procured on the Northern Neck. The Dug In Farms Nursery, opened in 2020, specializing in native and pollinator friendly plants. The farm employs eight part-time employees and a committed volunteer labor force.  

Dug In Farms has been voted the Best of Virginia (Eastern Region) Farmer’s Market for three years in a row. In 2020, Carolyn was awarded Farmer of the Year by the Virginia State University Small Farm Outreach Program.

Carolyn has been a full-time resident of the Northern Neck since 2006.  She moved to the Northern Neck from Washington, DC where she was a government relations executive specializing in Defense and Homeland Security research and development policy. In here spare time Carolyn shares her life with her beloved Australian Cattle Dog, Doug and her partner, Albert. 

Steve Rideout
Local Environmental Agriculture Project

Dr. Steve Rideout is a Professor of Plant Pathology within Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences.  Steve was born on a family farm in Dinwiddie County and is an alum of NC State, Virginia Tech, and University of Georgia.  He started his tenure with Virginia Tech in 2005 at the Eastern Shore Ag. Res. and Ed. Center (ESAREC).  He served as the ESAREC’s director from 2011-2020, before relocating to Blacksburg in July 2020.  Since 2005, Steve has served as the Commonwealth’s research and extension vegetable plant pathologist focusing on all aspects of plant disease management.  In 2018, Steve received a Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Virginia Potato and Vegetable Growers and in 2021 was awarded the Virginia Tech’s Alumni Association’s Excellence in Extension Award.  

Lee Rinehart
National Center for Appropriate Technology

Lee Rinehart is a graduate of Texas A&M University, where he studied animal science and agricultural education. He currently works as Interim Regional Director and agriculture specialist in the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s Northeast Regional Office, where he focuses on pasture and rangeland ecology and grazing systems. He has served as county Extension agent in Texas and Montana, organic farm educator in Pennsylvania, and cattle ranch manager in central Texas. His specialty is developing grazing plans and assisting producers in using animals to renovate pastureland. 

David & Nicole Schauder
Permaculture Gardens (Bethany Farm, Leesburg)
Nicky and Dave Schauder are passionate about helping families grow their food.

Their garden journey began when their kids were diagnosed with “failure to thrive” due to multiple food allergies. Because of these health issues, they felt called to grow organic at home and have supplied 25% of their fruits and veggies from their tiny townhouse backyard.  

Their mission is to help families grow their food, medicine and find God through ecological gardening.

They do this primarily through their Permaculture Gardens at growmyownfood.com, a website filled with garden resources such as free webinars, blogs, and “Grow-It-Yourself/GIY” – a garden membership program that helps simplify and strategize backyard garden success!

Their most recent project is SAGE: A Permaculture Garden Designer coming on Kickstarter soon! 

Permaculture Gardens has received the “Most Sustainable Brand” award at the Green Festivals. In addition, Nicky & Dave’s work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Permaculture Research Institute – Australia, and Mother Earth News Fair.  They speak about permaculture in small spaces at health expos, university symposia, podcasts, and local gardening clubs. They also volunteer at their neighborhood Title 1 schools, where they run after-school garden programs for kids.

They have just moved into a 3-acre farm in Leesburg (Bethany Farm) and are excited about all the possibilities that come with stewarding a larger property!

Ed & Maya Skopal
I-TAL Acres Medicinal Herb Farm & Apothecary
Maya has a Master’s degree from Northern Arizona University in Health, Nutrition, Food, & Exercise.  Ed has a Master’s degree from VA Tech in Political Sociology.  In 2008/2009 we lived on the island of St. Martin, with the Rastafari Solidarity Organization, our first immersion in food forest and medicinal herb gardens.  We have been immersed in the wilds of the Blue Ridge Mountains for the past 13 years, care-taking, learning, observing, connecting, grounding, wildcrafting, and cultivating over 115 species of medicinal plants.

Chris Smith
Utopian Seed Project
Chris Smith is the executive director of The Utopian Seed Project and long time employee at Sow True Seed. As an enthusiastic grower and permaculturalist from a green-thumbed family, Chris has immersed himself into the world of seed and southern growing since moving to Asheville NC in 2012. Chris is experimenting with landraces, selective seed saving, crop and variety trials, seed grow outs and edible seed oils. Chris is an active garden writer and has a small obsession with okra. In 2019 he published his first book, The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration.

Cam Terry
Garden Variety Harvests
Cam Terry moved across the country to Roanoke, VA with the express intent of starting an urban vegetable farm business. Armed only with some backyard gardening experience and a passion to provide sustenance, he gained most of his horticultural knowledge in books and YouTube videos. Now finishing his fifth year in full-time farming, Cam is excited to expand the farm enterprise having secured long-term tenure on the perfect urban farm hub location.

Emilie Tweardy
Appalachian Sustainable Development
Emilie Gooch Tweardy is a greenhorn farmer, Permaculture teacher, mother to 2 boys and entrepreneur.  She is co-owner of both ShireFolk Farm and the Shenandoah Permaculture Institute and works as an Agroforester for Appalachian Sustainable Development.  She grew up in Bemidji, MN where she developed her love of nature in the great Northwoods along the Mississippi River.  She migrated westward after a failed first year in college, then went to massage school in CA and became a raft guide in the Southwest.  After these absolutely essential goosenecks, she returned to collegiate life and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Natural Resources Management from Colorado State University in 2011.  Since then she’s been exploring the world of sustainable agriculture with her husband Logan, learning all that she can about Permaculture, and enjoying every moment.  She is also an avid fermentista and spends a lot of time working with woody perennial propagation in her newly-registered plant nursery.  She is brimming with gratitude for her lifestyle of learning, loving, and living the good life.

Ira Wallace
Ira Wallace is an organic grower, author, speaker, visionary and worker/owner of the cooperative Southern Exposure Seed Exchange where she coordinates outreach, education and new seed grower contracts. Ira serves on the board of the Organic Seed Alliance. She is the author of 6 regional gardening books and numerous magazine articles. Ira is a proud supporter and mentor to the emerging Ujamaa Cooperative Farmers Alliance.

Leah M. Webb, MPH
Leah is an avid gardener and edible landscaper residing on her ¾-acre urban homestead in the mountains of western NC. Leah studied soil processes and food systems for seven years before starting her career in health and gardening education in 2009. Her practical approach to whole foods cooking and gardening is inspired by the complexities of raising two children with unique medical needs. Learn more about her approach in her two books, The Seven-Step Homestead and The Grain-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free Family Cookbook. Find her online at LeahMWebb.com.

Bill Whipple
Acornucopia Project, W.T. Farm, Nutty Buddy Collective
Bill Whipple has been growing diversified fruit and nut orchards on his farm in West Virginia for 35 years and during that time saplings have grown to timber, and many new species have arrived to the farm. He has worked coordinating community edible forests, founded the Acornucopia Project, and is a member of the Nutty Buddy Collective.

John Wilson
Drishti Compost
John has been growing food and making compost since 1995 as a business. He is now starting a new business making compost with partners on a larger scale taking food scraps from restaurants and homes in VB . He cares a great deal about soil health , how it can affect climate co2, the use of compost and bio-char in the soil, and the improvement of human and animal health. He also believes that urban agriculture needs to play a bigger role in our food system.

Erin Worrall
Certified Naturally Grown
Erin Worrall is a homesteader and market gardener in Blacksburg, Virginia, where she raises dairy cows and goats, pastured pork, beef, and chicken, 1/3 acre of vegetables, a small orchard, and four children on her family farm. She teaches online sourdough workshops and enjoys knitting, quilting, and cooking with the foods she grows. At Certified Naturally Grown she helps provide educational and community-building opportunities for member farmers through workshops, events, and social media engagement. 

More about Erin at: https://thecedarchestfarm.com/about