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April Boucher - Common Ground Country Fair Director

April grew up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where she spent most of her time exploring the landscape and coordinating logistics at Storyland. In 2006, she earned a B.A. in Human Ecology from the College of the Atlantic where she specialized in agriculture, animal behavior, and ecology. She has had many interesting experiences working on farms and conducting wildlife research. Her job as the Fair Director allows her to work with a variety of dedicated volunteers and exhibitors, coordinate details, and organize an event that brings people together to share ideas and support the community. This blends well with her interests and she is gaining knowledge and experience raising livestock, farming with draft horses, and working in the woods. She is also on the Board of the Maine Association of Livestock Exhibitors.

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Laurah Brown - Administrative Assistant

Laurah grew up in Belfast, where she spent a good deal of time at her father’s veterinary hospital, and that experience led her to create products for animal lovers and their companion animals. "I moved to Vassalboro with the goal of developing a niche product line using organic gardening practices. I followed my passion of loving cats. I then spent 20-plus years creating and marketing a value-added product line." Creating that line enabled her to keep her great grandparents' farm in agriculture and not development – and to sell those organic gifts at the Common Ground Country Fair. "I am happy to now be working at MOFGA," says Laurah. When you call or visit MOFGA, her voice is most likely the one that will greet you now.

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John Chartier - Agricultural Specialist - Aroostook County

John is proud to have grown up on a mixed crop and livestock farm in Kansas. “I grew up knowing what it is like to go to bed with the satisfaction of being completely spent doing something I love, and to know that after a little rest I will be excited to do it again the next day”. John recently invested 3 years running Farm Camp for Frost Valley YMCA in the Catskills of NY. In this role he oversaw and led all operations which included a 2 acre organic garden, a kitchen utilizing mostly on-site grown meats and veggies, a zoo worth of farm animals, nursing staff, and 15 camp counselors who took care of/educated the 56 (8-15 year old) kids that lived at Farm Camp in the summer. John and his wife Amy worked on Goranson Farm in southern Maine in 2006, the year after they through hiked the AT. John's role with MOFGA is to provide a “one stop shop” for northern Maine farmers and gardeners to get information and MOFGA services. To relax John loves to wrestle with his kids, read Wendell Berry, go hiking, run, bike or just sit still and enjoy nature. He is also working to develop a farm on Happy Corner Road near Patten.

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Joan Cheetham - Certification Specialist

Joan reviews client files, does inspections and reviews inputs. She grew up on a small dairy and sheep farm in southern Maine, tending her first garden plot at age five. She studied botany and agronomy in college and holds a doctorate in crop physiology from Iowa State University. Cheetham has worked on agricultural research farms in Connecticut and Iowa, and at Wilson College in Pennsylvania taught biology, agronomy and environmental studies for eight years. At Wilson College she also helped to establish the Center for Sustainable Living on farmland owned by the college, including initiating one of the first CSAs in Pennsylvania. She homesteads with her family on land in Monroe and volunteers as a board member of the Good Life Center in Harborside.

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Janice Clark - Finance Administrator/Advertising Manager

Janice was born and raised in Maine and lives in Vassalboro in a farmhouse on 80 acres of land. She has five married children and 17 grandchildren. She and her husband garden organically and raise and sell garlic. Janice worked as bursar at Oak Grove-Coburn School in Vassalboro for sixteen years. When the school closed in June of 1989, she became MOFGA's Office Manger. A few months later she also assumed the duties of Advertising Manager. At that time, MOFGA had five paid employees and Janice has watched the staff grow to 19. She has watched MOFGA grow in membership and fulfill a dream to procure its own permanent site in Unity. She enjoys vegetable canning, kayaking and cross-country skiing.

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Dave Colson - Agricultural Services Director

While Dave currently leads MOFGA’s Agricultural Services Program, he has worked with MOFGA in countless ways since 1985 when his family's New Leaf Farm in Durham first got organic certification. Dave joined MOFGA's Board of Directors the next year and served for 18 years, including terms as Board President and Vice President. Dave also has been a member of the Finance, Apprenticeship, Certification and Ag Services committees. He has provided yeoman's service over the years as a traffic and parking volunteer at the Common Ground Country Fair. New Leaf Farm is a celebrated source of organic vegetables, fruits and herbs for markets and restaurants in the greater Portland area. The Colson Family has hosted dozens of farm apprentices, many of whom have gone on to start their own organic farm operations in Maine. Now, as a member of MOFGA's staff, Dave is scaling back farm production somewhat, providing leadership to an evolving Ag Services staff, and sharing the wealth of knowledge that he has gained through decades of organic farming in Maine.

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Jean English - Editor - "The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener"

Jean English has a B.A. in Psychology and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Plant and Soil Sciences from the University of Massachusetts. The focus of her graduate research was plant mineral nutrition. She worked for Cooperative Extension at the University of Kentucky and has taught horticulture and organic gardening at UMass and Smith College and is an adjunct instructor at Unity College. She and her husband moved to Maine in the 1980s, where Jean became a freelance writer and editor. Her articles have appeared in "Horticulture," "The Christian Science Monitor," "Mother Earth News," "Organic Gardening" and other publications. She has written a gardening column for local Maine papers since the mid-1980s and has edited "The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener" since 1988. Many of these articles are posted at bayberrymaine.com. She and her family raise organic Christmas trees, and she grows nursery stock for Fedco Trees and fruits and vegetables for family consumption.

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Read "The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener"

Kristen Farrell - Operations Assistant, MOFGA Certification Services

Kristen Farrell is the Operations Assistant for MOFGA Certification Services, keeping client records up to date, assisting with the website, and serving as the phone and e-mail point of contact for the office. Kristen grew up in Groton, Massachusetts and the island of Kwajalein in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. She attended Providence College and Hartford Seminary, and served for a year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Her professional experience centers around higher education and public libraries. Kristen moved to Maine in the fall of 2013, and currently lives in Waterville with her husband Eric (who works at Unity College) and their daughter, Abigail. A novice gardener and aspiring herbalist, Kristen is excited to absorb the knowledge and energy of the MOFGA community.

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Jake Galle - Inspector / Materials Reviewer - MOFGA Certification Services, LLC
Jake grew up on a sheep farm in Bowdoinham, ME. In 2001 he earned a BA in Art History from Plymouth State University and in 2005 a MFA in video, performance, and installation from Vermont College of Fine Arts. After many years of traveling between artist residencies and stints on farms, Jake found himself in Virginia. For a year he worked at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in the vegetable gardens and in the wooded grounds surrounding. The following year he worked at Smith Meadows Farm in Berryville, VA – a grass-based livestock farm raising beef cows, sheep, hogs, layers and broilers. In 2009 Jake returned to Apple Creek Farm, his family’s farm in Bowdoinham, ready to work with his father and share his experiences from the past 5 years. They raise sheep for meat, breed stock, and wool, beef cows for meat and breed stock, and chickens for eggs and meat all on a grass/pasture-based system.

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Katy Green - Organic Transitions Coordinator

Katy hails from Mt. Desert Island, ME. She graduated from the University of Maine at Orono in 2005 with a degree in Ecology and Environmental Sciences. While there, she worked at the University's Rogers Farm before heading off to work for Cornell Cooperative Extension on agricultural water quality projects. After a few years in lake effect snow country Katy decided it was time to return to the coast of Maine. She now enjoys working at MOFGA where she is helping people transition to organic production and connect with conservation programs. She lives in Belfast with her partner Dan and their miniature dachshund Wolverine.

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Chris Hamilton - Associate Director

Chris served a brief term on MOFGA's Board of Directors before joining the staff to focus on fundraising, policy, and organizational management. He lives on an organic farm in Whitefield with his wife Patti. They raise organic meat and dairy goats. Chris and Patti first became involved with the Common Ground Country Fair in the early 1990s. Chris grew up in Maine, attended College of the Atlantic, and went on to get a Masters degree in Resource Management, Planning and Policy at the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources. He has an extensive background in fundraising and public policy. His position prior to working for MOFGA was raising money for LifeFlight, Maine’s emergency medical helicopter service. He was also the director of the Bahamas National Trust where he managed the country’s national parks. He worked for Maine Coast Heritage Trust for nine years on public relations, public policy and fundraising. Chris was the founding treasurer of the Maine Farmland Trust. Since about 2001, Chris has been a volunteer homefries cook in the Common Kitchen at the Fair, working under the supervision of Patti, a Common Kitchen Coordinator. Patti also runs the kitchen at many other MOFGA events.

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Grace Keown - Database Manager

Grace grew up in New Jersey and has lived in Arizona; Long Island, New York; and parts of New England. She and her family moved to Maine in 2004 to start homesteading and living more sustainably and simply. She and her family have a farmstead in the Dixmont hills, where they’re revitalizing the soil, bringing back a 90-year-old apple orchard (mostly Wolf River and cider apples), raising dairy goats, pigs and chickens, growing some of their own vegetables and berries organically, and supporting local agriculture and sustainability. Grace graduated from the State University of New York at Stony Brook with a B.A. in Studio Art and Art History. She is a member and co-founder of Dirigo Road Gallery, president of the Valley Arts Alliance, and has taught workshops in drawing and wire-jewelry making. Grace won MOFGA’s 2008 Common Ground Country Fair artwork contest with her Hay Barn illustration and her Oxen Team artwork appears on the 2013 poster.

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Anna Libby - Volunteer Coordinator

Anna Libby grew up on a small farm in Mt. Vernon, Maine, and currently lives in Lubec. She has coordinated volunteers and developed volunteer programs at other nonprofits for several years, including two years in AmeriCorps VISTA programs.

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John McIntire - Shop & Equipment Manager

John is a long-time MOFGA member and volunteer. Before joining the MOFGA Staff, he worked as a mechanic in Montville. He now keeps our heavy equipment in working order at the Common Ground Education Center. With his partner Nancy Rosalie, another wonderfully dedicated MOFGA volunteer, John lives off-the-grid, across the road from our headquarters. John is an integral part of the contra dancing community in the Northeast, networking with musicians and calling dances regularly.

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Anna Mueller - Events Coordinator

Anna was born in Germany and moved to the United States in 1999. Her family moved from Florida to Massachusetts and then to Texas before Anna returned to New England for college, with her cowgirl boots in tow. Anna and her partner’s passion for farming led them to discover MOFGA, and they quickly participated in the organization’s apprenticeship and journeyperson programs. Thanks to MOFGA’s support, Anna and Sean Murphy were able to establish Murphy Family Farm in 2013 in Freedom, Maine. Anna graduated from Unity College in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental writing and media. She hopes to help offer the same education and support that was offered to her by MOFGA through her position as the events coordinator.

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Tim Nason - Publication Production and Website Maintenance

Tim was born in New Hampshire and grew up in Boston and its suburbs, but moved to North Berwick, Maine, in 1972 to homestead and start a family (ultimately 6 daughters). In 1974, aged 22, he took on production of MOFGA's mimeographed newsletter, which MOFGA soon expanded into a tabloid entitled "The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener (The MOF&G)." Tim has designed (and for 7 years edited) the paper almost continuously since then. He posts "The MOF&G," and maintains parts of our website, and now manages mofga.net. He and his wife Susan cultivate flower and vegetable gardens in Dresden on their 75 acre farm. Tim enjoys designing publications, reading and writing fiction, and contemplating "sense of place" in a digital age.

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Kate Newkirk - Associate Director of Processing/Handling, MOFGA Certification Services, LLC

Since 1999 Kate and her husband Peter have operated WinterGreen herbs & vegetables a certified organic farm in Winslow, ME. Kate works part-time as Associate Director of MOFGA Certification Services LLC. Before coming to MOFGA Kate spent 20 years working as a Soil Scientist and Research Associate at The Ecosystems Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA and the Virgnia Cooperative Soil Survey Program at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, among others. Kate received a Master of Science in Agronomy (1987) and a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy (1978) from Virginia Tech.

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Pheonix O’Brien, Farmer-in-Residence

Pheonix O'Brien, our new farmer-in-residence, has been farming in Maine since 2006, mainly at Freedom Farm in Freedom. He then spent one year at Mandala Farm in Gouldsboro, Maine. He also spent a year in Kentucky at horseshoeing school. On MOFGA’s grounds, Pheonix intends to grow dry beans, corn, peas, hay and root vegetables to be sold wholesale. As a sideline he shoes horses and fixes horse-drawn machinery for resale.

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Heather Omand - Organic Marketing and Business Coordinator

Heather Omand, MOFGA's new organic marketing and business coordinator, will provide business and marketing support to organic farmers, support direct-to-consumer markets, work on developing and supporting farm-to-institution and other wholesale markets, and provide other types of technical assistance and market research. She will also be working on MOFGA's organic price reports, the Farm Beginnings training program and other projects as they arise. She graduated from UMaine Orono in 2014 with a master in business administration degree and a concentration in business and sustainability. Previously, she received a bachelor's degree in anthropology and worked as an archaeologist. Heather and her husband currently operate a small business and permaculture homestead in Greenbush, Maine, with greenhouses, ducks, chickens, guinea fowl and 30 raised beds. They are conducting market research and evaluating potential business plans with the hope of having a viable, farm-based business in the Unity area in 10 years.

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Don Pendleton - Buildings and Grounds Assistant

Don has spent more than 25 years in the environmental services and health and safety fields, specializing in emergency response, hazardous materials and major oil spill cleanups, and has been a trainer in those fields to a wide spectrum of audiences. He has a class A commercial diver’s license and extensive marine and commercial fishing experience. He moved to Maine after spending most of his life on Long Island, New York, where he raised pigs in his suburban backyard, much to the dismay of his neighbors. He now happily farms without any close neighbors, grows in a four-season NRCS high tunnel and would one day like to raise hundreds of turkeys. He is very happy to be working for MOFGA.

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Ellis Percy - Fairgrounds Logistics Coordinator

Ellis has been farming in Maine since the mid-1970s, raising beef and hogs, and running a specialty foods business making maple syrup, dilly beans, pickled fiddleheads and garlic, and Beyond Coffee. Ellis came to MOFGA through the Common Ground Country Fair, and served as a volunteer on the Fair Planning Team, the Fair Steering Committee, the MOFGA Board, and the Buildings & Grounds Committee, which he now chairs. Ellis was a key player in the search for a permanent home for MOFGA, discovering the 250+ acres of land that is now the Common Ground Education Center. Each September, Ellis settles in at MOFGA to coordinate Fair Set-up and Clean-up. Ellis and his wife, JoAnn, live in Jefferson.

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Ted Quaday - Executive Director

An organic food advocate, Quaday has dedicated the past 15 years to working for family farms and sustainable agriculture. He is a former program director at Farm Aid, where he worked with family farm and good food advocacy organizations throughout the country. Before dedicating full-time efforts to advancing the food movement, Quaday's professional experience took him from work as a broadcast journalist to advocacy on economic and environmental justice issues and work for political campaigns in North Dakota and Massachusetts. Quaday helped found the Farmer-to-Farmer Campaign on Genetic Engineering in Agriculture and served on the steering committee for the Genetic Engineering Action Network. He also co-chaired and served on the steering committee for the Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders group. Read more.

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Abby Sadauckas - Educational Programs Director

Abby is a farmer, artist and meat enthusiast who grew up in rural Pennsylvania. She obtained a BFA at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia before moving to Maine, and holds an MFA in sculpture from VT College of the Fine Arts. Abby coordinates MOFGA's new farmer training including the apprenticeship and journeyperson programs and works with other service providers in the state to increase services for Maine's new crop of farmers. Abby is a co-chair of the Beginning Farmer Resource Network of Maine and vice-president of the Cashmere Goat Association. Abby raises MOFGA Certified Organic livestock at Apple Creek Farm in Bowdoinham with her partner Jake Galle. Their grass-fed and organic livestock products are marketed in Brunswick year-round.

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Diane Schivera - Organic Livestock Specialist

Diane graduated from Cornell University in 1981 with an MAT in Agricultural Education and in 1977 with a BS in Animal Science. She also received an AAS in Veterinary Technology from SUNY, Delhi and was an Assistant Professor for that program in the early 80’s. Diane became MOFGA’s Livestock Specialist in 1998. Since that time, she has written livestock related articles for The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener, the American Livestock Breed Conservancy’s newsletter, and Hoard’s Dairyman. Diane feels sustainablity is the crucial issue when making choices in life. She and her husband Gary grow and preserve the majority of their vegetables and fruit. They also keep a flock of assorted poultry for eggs and meat. The birds are protected by Frank and Lydia the dogs. They live in a house that is less than 1,000 square feet and heat, cook and make hot water on their wood-stove all winter with about 1.5 cords of wood. Look for Diane Morris Dancing at the Common Ground Country Fair.

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Jacomijn Schravesande-Gardei - Associate Director of Crops/MOFGA Certification Services, LLC

Jacomijn, or for short Jaco, grew up in the Netherlands. After obtaining her bachelors and masters in Forestry at Wageningen University, she moved to Belfast, Maine, to be with her husband, cat, rabbits, goats, and chickens. At MOFGA she works with certified crop farmers to assure compliance with the organic rule. In addition to her work at MOFGA she works at the Chase farm in Freedom, serves on the MOFGA El Salvador Committee and the Sheepscot Wellspring Land Alliance Board. Jaco and her husband, Chris, have one child, Jasper.

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Eric Sideman - Organic Crop Specialist

Eric Sideman grew up just a stones throw outside of New York City where he could see the Empire State Building way off in the distance from his bedroom window. Slowly he edged north and to the country while he tested different colleges. During those years he earned a BS in agriculture from Cornell University, an MS in biology from Northeastern University and a PhD in Botany from the University of New Hampshire. Eric moved to Maine in 1982 to teach biology and ecology at Bates College. In 1986 he moved on to MOFGA to become what some call "the nation's first Organic Extension Agent." He provides technical support for farmers and gardeners, serves as staff scientist for MOFGA, plans and produces educational events for MOFGA and Cooperative Extension, and serves on various agricultural committees for the Maine Department of Agriculture and the University of Maine. From 1997 to 2002 Eric served a term on the National Organic Standards Board, an advisory board to the USDA National Organic Program. On the side Eric runs a PYO strawberry farm.

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Heather Spalding - Deputy Director

Heather has worked as an environmental activist since graduating from college in the mid-80s. She spent 10 years in Washington, DC, working for the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, and Greenpeace International where she served as Publications Coordinator for the International Toxics Campaign. Heather's introduction to MOFGA came during a summer 1996 sabbatical from Greenpeace, when she volunteered as an apprentice on New Leaf Farm in Durham. Wanting to settle in her home state of Maine, Heather then accepted a job offer to coordinate the Common Ground Country Fair. After several years focusing on the Fair, Heather became MOFGA Operations Director, coordinating a three-year organizational development program. As Associate Director, Heather now focuses primarily on Public Policy, MOFGA's participation in the Alliance for a Clean & Healthy Maine, Outreach, and Staff Management. Heather grew up in Waterville, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1986, with a degree in Geography and Environmental Sciences. Heather and her husband, Will Sugg, have two children.

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Jason Tessier - Buildings & Grounds Director

Jason had previously worked for the Sheridan Corporation since 2001, supervising construction projects, managing employees and contractors, securing goods and services, scheduling, overseeing safety, quality control and design details, and reporting daily to a project management team. He and his family raise crops and livestock and produce maple syrup at Tessiers Farm (www.tessiersfarm.com), which also houses a licensed poultry and rabbit processing facility. The Tessiers sell at the Skowhegan Farmers’ Market. Jason also is a member of Transition Skowhegan, focusing on becoming locally dependent in the Skowhegan community.

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C.J. Walke - Development Associate, Librarian, Organic Orchardist

C.J. began working for MOFGA in 2006 as the Landscape Coordinator for MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center. He had previously worked on a few different mid-coast farms, was an assistant librarian at Mount View High School in Thorndike, and worked trail crew jobs in Maine, New Hampshire and Alaska. C.J. received a B.A. in Park Management from Unity College in 1997 and a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina in 2008. In 2011, C.J. shed his landscape duties at MOFGA and moved into his current position of Development Associate, focusing on grants and fundraising projects. He is also MOFGA’s Librarian, Computer-Fix-It-Guy and Organic Orchardist. C.J. lives with his wife and two daughters in sunny Swanville, where he enjoys gardening, growing fruit trees and roaming the woods of Waldo County.

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Katie Webb - Dairy Certification Specialist - MOFGA Certification Services, LLC

Katie grew up on her family's farm in Pittston, where she now finds herself digging into the family farm: growing, raising, and wildcrafting as much of her food as possible. In her free time, you might find Katie milking Jersey cows, tracking wild animals, digging up the lawn to plant something, or making something good to eat. Basically it boils down to two passions – real food and the Earth. Katie has a bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies and Conservation Biology from Middlebury College.

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Courtney Williams - Fair Coordinator

Courtney Williams comes to us from Portland, Maine. She has many great experiences including working with AmeriCorps coordinating garden and service learning events. She is a graduate of Simmons College. Courtney provides support and works with Fair Director April Boucher.

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Cheryl Wixson - Organic Marketing Consultant *

Cheryl Wixson grew up on a dairy farm in Winslow, Maine. She is a third generation graduate of the University of Maine, and is the University's first woman agricultural engineer. After 10 years in the pulp and paper and telecommunications industry, Wixson founded a catering company and small restaurant that served international cuisine featuring organic Maine products. The last meal served at her restaurant was a nine-course meal featuring Petunia, Wixson's pig, that achieved international notoriety when code enforcement determined it was residing illegally in the same neighborhood as novelist Stephen King. Cheryl then retired from the restaurant business to bake cookies and raise crops, rabbits and three daughters on her organic, urban farm in Bangor. In 1999, Wixson built a state-of-the art kitchen and educational facility dedicated to teaching people the joys and benefits of healthy eating and cooking utilizing Maine products while supporting a sustainable environment. Cheryl is a food columnist for the Bangor Daily News, consults with restaurants from Maine to California, develops recipes for food manufacturers and hosted two Maine Public Television series, the latest being "What's for Suppah?" She has studied food science and human nutrition at the University of Maine, is a master composter, and teaches kindergarten children that food comes from farms.

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Mary Yurlina - Director, MOFGA Certification Services, LLC

Fond of insects, plants and nature in general from an early age, Mary went to school, a lot of school, to study them. When she was not studying she had an assortment of interesting jobs. She raised roaches for the Department of Entomology at Rutgers. It's true. She also made caterpillars walk on treadmills. Mary worked with the Akwesasne Mohawks in upstate New York (and Canada!) on environmental issues. She inventoried and mapped natural areas for the New York City Parks Department. Once in graduate school, she spent most of her time working on large scale ecological restoration projects in New York and New Jersey where her particular focus was native bee pollinators. Before moving to Maine, she spent a few years at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis where she coordinated conservation programs for the Center for Plant Conservation. Mary likes to garden, watch pollinators, and collect mushrooms. She is a member of the Maine Mycological Association.

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* Independent Contractor


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