Bonnetta Adeeb, Steam Onward & Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance
Ms. Adeeb is the Founder & President of STEAM ONWARD, Inc., a Non-profit 501(c3) organization in Southern Maryland which serves as Incubator for Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance (UCFA). Ms. Adeeb is also a Commissioner for the Cooperative Garden Commission (CGC) a grassroots collective working towards food sovereignty in response to the Covid 19 pandemic. Ms. Adeeb, now retired from teaching was an educator for 37 years. She taught social studies and Career Research and Work-based Learning, a school-to-work educational program.
Steam Onward, Inc.The mission of Steam Onward is to increase the number of minority and under-served youth pursuing higher education in STEM related fields, in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The “A” in Steam Onward is a reminder that the arts also utilize science and technology. Steam Onward achieves our mission by providing youth in Charles County and Prince George’s County, Maryland with after-school hands-on experiential learning opportunities in five program areas.
Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance (UCFA) is a collective of emergent and seasoned growers who cultivate heirloom seeds and grow culturally relevant plants for food, healing, and textiles. Ujamaa recognizes the need for increased diversity in farming and the seed industry, and the need to provide more opportunities and support for growers from historically oppressed and marginalized communities. To this end the UCFA is working to bridge the gap between prospective growers and seed companies.
Cooperative Garden Commission Nationally Cooperative Garden Commission (CGC) has been able to serve folks through 257 seed hubs in 41 states. CGC has supported approximately 12,000 gardens and assisted around 100,000 people in need. CGC has a land sovereignty initiatives and rematriation of seeds to Indigenous communities and communities of color.
Jay Bost, GoFarm Hawaii
Jay Bost got hooked on seed as a student at Prescott College and went on to spend time getting further inspired at Elixir Farm in Missouri, Seeds of Change, and Abundant Life Seed. A love of tropical agriculture led him to Hawaii, where he spent the last 10 years, training new farmers with GoFarm Hawai’i, growing seed with the Hawai’i Seed Growers Network, and organizing two Variety Showcase events with the Culinary Breeding Network. A long curiosity about breeding was encouraged by the late Dr. James Brewbaker, who pushed Jay down the maize rabbit hole. Wanting to know more, Jay recently participated in the UC-Davis Plant Breeding Academy where he learned what he thought he wanted to know and so much more. The desire for seasons, native birds, lower population density, and hopefully lower pest and disease pressure, sent Jay and family recently to Boone, North Carolina where they are in the infant stages of their new farm which will include seed.
Alice Formiga, eOrganic
Alice Formiga is an Assistant Professor of Practice at Oregon State University. Alice is the program director of eOrganic, which publishes science-, experience-, and regulation-based information on certified organic farming and research, and conducts outreach for organic research projects. She formerly worked for Renee’s Garden Seeds and on organic vegetable farms in the U.S. and Germany.
Rue Genger, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Rue Genger has worked with organic vegetable farmers in the Upper Midwest for the past 15 years. As a scientist in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Horticulture, Rue is part of the Seed to Kitchen Collaborative, a group of direct-market growers, plant breeders, and chefs who come together to select vegetable varieties with great flavor that are adapted to Upper Midwest growing conditions. In a previous position with the UW-Madison Department of Plant Pathology, Rue collaborated with Seed Savers Exchange to produce disease-free seed potato stock for over 80 heirloom varieties and facilitated participatory trials of these varieties through a network of organic farmers and gardeners. Their research interests include collaborative plant breeding for organic systems, seed systems for potatoes and other vegetatively propagated crops, and reduced tillage methods for climate resilient organic vegetable production.
Nate Kleinman, Experimental Farm Network
Rebekah Korenowsky Woods, Organic Seed Alliance
Rebekah Korenowsky Woods joined Organic Seed Alliance as the Information & Events Coordinator in 2021. In this role, Rebekah connects people to resources and to each other through the Organic Seed Commons, biennial Organic Seed Growers Conference, and other events and programs. As a systems-thinker and problem-solver, Rebekah has previously conducted research and restoration at the land-water-human interface and stewarded collaborative community relationships for several environmental nonprofit organizations. Rebekah’s education includes a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geology from Ohio University and coursework in the Master of Environmental Studies program at The Evergreen State College. On the creative side, Rebekah is also a fiber artist who uses natural materials and home-grown or scavenged dyes to create simple, functional pieces. Rebekah lives in Port Townsend, Washington and uses she/her and they/them pronouns interchangeably.
Michael Lordon, Organic Seed Alliance
Michael Lordon began working with Organic Seed Alliance in 2021, supporting the research and education program as the Midwest Research and Education Associate. He has over five years professional experience in the organic seed industry working with Nature & Nurture Seeds, helping to grow the business, the seeds, and the community. Michael has a master’s degree focused on conservation ecology from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment, a bachelor’s degree in biological science from DePaul University, and is the co-author of multiple peer-reviewed articles in the field of population and community ecology. Currently, he’s involved with several Midwest-based seed projects, including growing the organic seed breeding network in the region. Michael wants to create accessible spaces for learning and exchange while exploring research questions involving agroecological data and human stories. He is committed to helping seed growers make decisions when confronted with both environmental and social dilemmas.
Cara Loriz, Organic Seed Alliance
Cara Loriz is executive director of Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) and serves on the Organic Seed Commons advisory committee. She is excited to contribute to this conference and our collective efforts to advance organic seed research, education and advocacy. Her work focuses on broadening the reach of OSA and on cultivating new and lasting relationships with partners and supporters. Her interests in organic seed are rooted in a love of gardening and were nurtured during her tenure as executive director of Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, a nonprofit farm and historic site on Shelter Island, New York.
Cathleen McCluskey, Organic Seed Alliance
Cathleen McCluskey has the honor of leading the Organic Seed Growers Conference Planning Committee and the Organic Seed Commons Advisory Committee, and is the outreach director for Organic Seed Alliance. She has worked on food sovereignty campaigns; helped launch a local seed library; and researches the social, biological, and economic impacts of on-farm genetic diversity. Cathleen holds an MS degree in Agroecology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and is pursuing graduate studies in environment and resources through the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Petra Page-Mann, Fruition Seeds
Growing up in her father’s garden in the Finger Lakes of New York, Petra believes each seed and each of us is in the world to change the world. In 2012, she co-founded Fruition Seeds in 2012 to share the seeds, skills and inspiration growers need to be more successful in the Northeast, re-imagining a culture of curiosity and care centering seeds of resilience and justice. If she’s not farming she is singing, skiing, snuggling her dogs or sharing a feast with a friend.
Natalia Pinzón Jiménez, Farmer Campus
Natalia is the co-founder of Farmer Campus where she offers consulting in distance learning pedagogy and evaluation in agriculture. As a Colombian immigrant working in three continents, Natalia has seen the diversity of ways that farmers and peasants are impacted by and respond to globalization and climate change. She thus is specializing in agroecology as a means to reduce global climate risk in her Ph.D. research at UC Davis. As a biologist and science education specialist, Natalia has created three web-based learning communities, 30 online curriculum modules, and led six online certificate programs, supporting over 1,500 multicultural farmers. Natalia never turns down cocoa or a good backpacking trip.
Karl Sutton, Fresh Roots Farm
Karl Sutton and his wife, Darci Jones, own and operate Fresh Roots Farm in Polson, Montana. Certified Organic since 2012, Fresh Roots Farm specializes in vegetable and flower seeds, berries and popsicles. Fresh Roots Farm is a founding member of Triple Divide Organic Seeds, whose mission is to develop plant varieties that grow well in Montana and other northern latitudes. Karl is a former cooperative business specialist, high school teacher and wilderness guide. Karl enjoys skiing and riding his fat bike as much as possible in the winter and floating rivers, paddle boarding and climbing mountains as much as the farm allows.
Alexis Yamashita, Ujamaa Farming Cooperative & Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Alexis Yamashita is a Co-Director of Ujamaa Farming Cooperative Alliance and a member of the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange management team. Her seed work is centered around supporting BIPOC communities in accessing and reclaiming culturally meaningful foods, which is nourished by her Japanese American family history.