Sebastian Aguilar, Greenbank Farm, PresidentSebasitan is the farm program director at the Greenbank Farm training center on Whidbey Island, WA, where he teaches begining farmers small-scale organic commercial vegetable production and business skills. He has farmed organic vegetables for the past 13 years with his wife Kelly and together they have three children and live in Ashland, Oregon. Sebastian has saved seed on a small scale since he began farming and has recently began growing vegetable seeds on contract. Sebastian is also involved in several variety trials in partnership with OSA and is excited to now join the board and help OSA continue to provide agriculture with a sustainable and diverse crop genetics base.
Atina Diffley, Organic Farming Works, Vice President
Atina is an experienced organic vegetable farmer who has been actively involved in the local and organic food community as a migrant laborer, co-op produce manager, organic farmer, educator, consultant, seed breeder and activist since 1979. She provides consulting services to organic farmers though her business, Organic FarmingWorks LLC. She presently serves on the board of Minnesota Institute of Sustainable Agriculture, as Vice President of the Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Services Board, and as Vice President for the Organic Field School at Gardens of Eagan.
Tony Kleese, The Earthwise Company, Secretary
Tony has been active in the development of local and organic food systems in the Carolinas as a farmer and an activist since 1989. He’s managed several organic vegetable and cut flower operations across North Carolina and is a founding member of Eastern Carolina Organics, www.easterncarolinaorganics.com. He helped develop the USDA's National Organic Standards as Coordinator of the Organic Trade Association's Organic Certifiers Council in the late 90s. He’s been the Coordinator and an Instructor, and still serves on the Advisory Board for the Sustainable Farming Program at Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro, NC. Much of his work has revolved around the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA). He has served as Certification Chair (4 years), on the Board of Directors (6 years, 3 as president), Organic Farm Inspector (8 years), and Executive Director (7 years). During the executive director years he focused attention on southeastern organic seed needs through a seed saving project. Today, Tony manages the food projects side of The Earthwise Company a community and agriculture development company focused on creating places that sustain and enrich human life and the natural systems that support it.
Zea Sonnabend, California Certified Organic Farmers, Treasurer
Zea has been an organic farmer, gardener, inspector, educator, policy analyst, organizer, and consumer or the past thirty years. She grew older, wiser, and organic figs in Tehama County, CA from 1982 - 1989. She is currently an organic farm inspector and materials policy advisor for California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), and coordinates the Ecological Farming Conference at Asilomar, CA every January. She helped write the first certification handbook and materials list for organic farming in California, is a founder of the Organic Materials Review Institute, and has worked for the USDA and NOSB as a contractor to develop the National List. She is a lifetime member of the Seed Saver's Exchange and has taught classes in Seed Saving at the UC Davis Student Farm and at the UCSC Farm and Garden since 1986. She has a Masters of Science in Plant Breeding from Cornell University.
Amy Grondin, Sustainable Seafood Consultant
Since 1993 Amy Grondin has worked on boats in the Alaska Salmon industry as a fish buyer, micro-processor of wild salmon and a commercial fisherman. When not on the water, she is a Sustainable Seafood Consultant and Commercial Fishing Outreach Specialist. A long time member of Slow Food and the Chefs Collaborative, she advocates for sustainable local food systems and has great concern for the sustainability of ocean resources.
Frederick Kirschenmann, Ph.D., Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
Fred is a longtime leader in national and international sustainable agriculture and Distinguished Fellow for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. From July 2000 to November 2005, he served as the Center's second director since its creation in 1987. Kirschenmann came to the Center from south central North Dakota where he operated his family's 3,500-acre certified organic farm. Kirschenmann holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Chicago, and has written extensively about ethics and agriculture. He has held national and international appointments, including the USDA's National Organic Standards Board. He also is a board member for the Food Alliance, Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area, The Nature Institute, and the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture at the Rockefeller Center in New York. He chairs and is a charter member of the Whiterock Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that manages a 1,300-acre conservation area in west-central Iowa.
David Lively, Organically Grown Company
David has been involved in the organic agricultural movement and organic produce trade since 1979, as a gardener, a farmer, and employee of Organically Grown Company (OGC). At OGC, David has worked with growers to plan and execute production and as a warehouser, account representative, buyer and marketing director. He has also served as a certification inspector, on the leadership council of the Oregon Organic Coalition, and on the boards of OGC, Oregon Tilth and by Governor Robert’s appointment, the Center for Applied Agricultural Research.
Sean Schmidt, Futurish
Sean Schmidt is a farm boy living in the big city. He learned his first lessons in respecting people and the environment from his grandmother, Rosie, while growing up on a small family farm in Nebraska. Sean holds BS degrees in animal behavior and conservation biology, as well as a MA in Policy Studies in which he focused on human health and environment in international trade. Sean has participated in field research projects throughout the world including studies on terrestrial amphibians in Washington State, snow leopards in India, and Sandhill cranes in Cuba. Sean has served in multiple roles in the corporate and university settings where he started initiatives such as Sustainable Business and Development at Nordstrom and Sustainability and Medicine at the University of Washington. Sean has spent over 20 years in the nonprofit sector volunteering and serving on boards for many nonprofits. Sean co-founded the Sustainable Style Foundation in 2003 to promote sustainability efforts in 15 different design industries. In 2006 he started a website and blog called Future-ish that focuses on the science, design, and culture shaping the future. Not surprisingly, organic food systems have been part of all of these efforts so he is thrilled that he gets to be a seed geek officially now.
Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Ira is a worker/owner of the cooperatively managed Southern Exposure Seed Exchange where she coordinates variety selection and seed grower contracts. She is committed to increasing the number of small organic seed growers and supporting the formation of a southeastern seed growers cooperative. Ira is a member of Acorn Community which farms over 60 acres of certified organic land in Central Virginia, growing seeds, alliums, hay, and conducting variety trials for Southern Exposure. She is also a principal organizer of the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello, was involved with the SARE-sponsored Saving Our Seeds Project and organizes and presents at events sponsored by the Virginia Association of Biological Farmers (VABF), Virginia Master Gardeners, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA), and Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG).
“OSA is a convener, partner, and leader in creating the alternative -- a regionally based seed system by us and for us. Collaboration in their spinach breeding work has given me hands-on experience through which I've gained both skills and confidence as a seed grower.”
Common Ground Farm