Cara Loriz, Executive Director
Cara Loriz joined the OSA team as executive director in 2016 after leading the start-up of Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, an organic farm on Shelter Island, New York. Cara holds degrees in geology and technical writing, and taught environmental science and geology in California, Utah, and Ohio. She also served as editor of the local newspaper on Shelter Island before joining the nonprofit farm world. With two daughters off to college, Cara happily made the move to Port Townsend in 2015 with her husband Mike, and enjoys gardening and fixing up their Uptown Victorian, easily identified by the chicken tractor in the yard.
Micaela Colley, Program Director
Micaela Colley leads OSA’s research and education programs focused on organic seed production and organic plant breeding. She is the author of several publications. Micaela frequently teaches and speaks on organic seed topics and collaborates on research projects nationally. Micaela is also pursuing a PhD focused on organic and participatory plant breeding under Dr. Edith Lammerts van Bueren at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
Jared Zystro, Research & Education Assistant Director
Jared is OSA’s research and education assistant director. He has a master’s degree in plant breeding and plant genetics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Jared has worked in the organic seed industry for over 15 years, managing seed production at two farms and conducting research and education projects with OSA. He currently manages OSA’s regional development in California, conducts participatory breeding projects and variety trials, and teaches farmers about seed production and plant breeding at workshops, conferences, and field days. Jared is also a PhD candidate in the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics program, where he is studying efficient methods of developing new organic sweet corn varieties. He lives in the coastal town of Arcata, CA, with his wife and son.
Kristina (Kiki) Hubbard, Advocacy & Communications Director
Kristina (Kiki) Hubbard is the director of advocacy and communications for Organic Seed Alliance. Kiki’s worked on seed policy issues in the areas of antitrust, biotechnology, intellectual property, and organic regulation for 15 years. She currently leads efforts to promote policies and actions that support organic seed systems, including managing OSA’s State of Organic Seed project. Kiki lives in Missoula, Montana, with her husband and son.
Cathleen McCluskey, Communications & Outreach Associate
Cathleen McCluskey is the communications and outreach associate at Organic Seed Alliance. She is a graduate of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where she studied Agricultural Systems Analysis, coordinated food sovereignty campaigns, and organized for federal-level public engagement regarding issues of market concentration in the agriculture sector. Cathleen supports OSA communications, leads the organization’s design work, and is the chair of the biennial Organic Seed Growers Conference. She is also currently pursuing graduate studies through the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Agroecology Program.
Laurie McKenzie, Research & Education Associate, Northwest Region
Laurie McKenzie is Research and Education Associate for the Pacific Northwest region and one of OSA’s vegetable breeders. She manages OSA’s research farm in Chimacum, WA, where she conducts breeding projects, vegetable variety trials, and seed production on a variety of crops. Laurie has authored and co-authored several publications and taught dozens of classes and workshops on seed production and plant breeding. She received her M.S. in Horticulture and Plant Breeding from Oregon State University in 2012 and has over a decade of farming and seed production experience. Laurie focuses on breeding for organic production systems using participatory strategies. She is currently working on several collaborative breeding projects focused on cabbage, kale, carrots, Swiss Chard, and purple sprouting broccoli. In her spare time Laurie enjoys creating her budding homestead, playing with her farm animals, and growing flowers in the garden.
Jennifer Turney, Financial Manager
Jennifer Turney brings years of financial management experience to the OSA team. She has created and maintained systems for a diversity of non-profit and for-profit businesses including creating tools for budgeting, financial tracking, grant management, and state and federal compliance. She also brings a wealth of personal experience in farming and the arts including fiber arts, landscaping, and food preservation. She resides in Port Townsend, Washington with her two lamas, three sheep, and apple orchard on a historic homestead.
Steve Peters, California Research & Outreach Associate
Steve has been involved with agriculture since he was a child. His journey began as a gardener and then a farmer, research agronomist, seed production and development manager, educator, and seed advocate. Steve works for OSA in California and Intermountain West states to help farmers establish regional seed hubs based on public domain seed production and improvement.
Leyla Cabugos, Assistant Regional Outreach Coordinator
Leyla Cabugos serves as OSA’s assistant regional outreach coordinator in California. Leyla supports a network of regional seed hubs across the state to help organic specialty seed producers improve their production practices and access new markets. She also supports plant science researchers as a library fellow at the University of California, Davis. Leyla holds an M.S. in botany from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa and a B.S. in botany from Humboldt State University.
Amber Keeney, Southern California Hub Coordinator
Amber Keeney is OSA’s Southern California Hub Coordinator and part of our California regional support team. Amber has studied organic seed production and small farm economics, and worked on the student farm as part of the Organic Farm School on Whidbey Island, Washington.
Tessa Peters, Research & Education Associate, Intermountain West
Tessa Peters is OSA’s Research and Outreach Associate for the Intermountain West region. She assists in developing educational opportunities for those in the Intermountain West interested in growing and promoting organic seed systems. She worked on organic farms in North and South America before becoming a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin—Madison working with Dr. Bill Tracy. Her work is focused on variety development for organic growers. She is the co-chair of the board of directors of the Society for Organic Seed Professionals, which supports the professional development of people involved in the organic seed industry. She lives, hikes, and backpacks in Missoula, MT, with her husband and son.
Kitt Healy, Research & Education Associate, Midwest
Kitt Healy is OSA’s Research and Education Associate for the Midwest region. She holds a joint Masters degree in Agroecology and Organic Horticulture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied with Dr. Julie Dawson. Kitt’s masters research focused on conducting tomato variety trials for short-season organic production, and engaging chefs and local farmers in participatory breeding and evaluation projects. She designs and delivers educational content focused on on-farm trials and participatory plant breeding, while growing the organic seed community in the region. She lives in Minneapolis, MN.