Vicki Lowell

Communications Manager

Vicki joined OFRF in October 2015 after five years working with Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County. At the food bank, she was responsible for sharing stories of people in need and the individuals, schools, businesses and non-profits that work to ensure everyone has access to healthy food and resources to help them get back on their feet.

As Communications Manager, she is responsible for disseminating relevant content across all channels and helping farmers access tools and resources that support their success. She is responsible for design and production of research reports, webinars, and educational materials, and works to increase outreach and nurture collaborative relationships with organic stakeholders.

Vicki began her career as a member of the Macintosh introduction team at Apple Computer in 1984 and spent a number of years working as an independent marketing writer. She is passionate about music and food and also works as a deejay at KPIG, a free-form Americana station broadcast from Freedom, California and streamed worldwide.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:21+00:00October 8th, 2019|Staff|

Sheila Golden

Program and Grants Manager

Sheila Golden brings over ten years of program development and management experience from sustainable agriculture non-profits and UC Cooperative Extension. She leads OFRF’s grant-writing process and supports staff with program planning and implementation. She has a MS from UC Davis in Community and Regional Development.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:21+00:00October 8th, 2019|Staff|

Michael Stein

Policy Advisor

Michael Stein is an attorney and scientist who is passionate about organic and sustainable agriculture. He has focused his career on implementing legal and policy tools to address the environmental, health, and economic impacts of our food system.

Michael has worked extensively on food law and policy issues. He first started working to protect the health and wealth of our natural resources with Midwest Environmental Advocates, assisting family farmers in protecting their homes and communities from the negative environmental impacts of large-scale industrial agriculture. While at Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic, he focused on the environmental and public health impacts of food waste, and also worked to address food sovereignty issues faced by Native American communities. His policy experience includes working with the Navajo Nation’s Washington, D.C. office, and managing the food campaigns at Green America.

Michael holds a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he focused on environmental law. He also earned an M.S. in environment and resources from the University of Wisconsin’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, with a focus on sustainable agriculture. Michael is currently based in Washington, D.C. where he advocates on behalf of organic farmers and organic agriculture to members of Congress and the federal government.

When not in D.C., Michael can be found hiking the hills of Virginia and procuring delicious products from local organic farms.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:21+00:00October 8th, 2019|Staff|

Mark Schonbeck

Research Program Associate

Mark Schonbeck has worked for 31 years as a researcher, consultant, and educator in sustainable and organic agriculture. He has participated in on-farm research into mulching, cover crops, minimum tillage, and nutrient management for organic vegetables. For many years, he has written for the Virginia Association for Biological Farming newsletter and served as their policy liaison to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. He has also participated in different research projects to analyze, evaluate and improve federally funded organic and sustainable agriculture programs. In addition, Mark offers individual consulting in soil test interpretation, soil quality and nutrient management, crop rotation, cover cropping, and weed management.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:21+00:00October 8th, 2019|Staff|

Lola Dannehl-Schickman

Development and Partnerships Manager

Lola grew up in a family where politics and activism were a part of daily life. She believes we must come together as a nation to support our organic farmers, protect our environment and ensure healthy, organic food is accessible to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Lola graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2012 with BA in American Studies. She worked in fundraising and communication for a non-profit school in Oakland for four years before attending graduate school at Cambridge University where she received her MPhil in American literature. Lola is excited to be joining the stellar team at OFRF where she will have the opportunity to fuse her passion for political activism and sustainable, organic agriculture.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:22+00:00October 8th, 2019|Staff|

Lauren Snyder

Education and Research Program Manager

Lauren is a scientist dedicated to promoting organic agriculture and developing sustainable food systems. She discovered her passion for agroecology as an undergraduate at Boston University where she collaborated on a research project evaluating the ecosystem services provided by bats in organic pecan orchards. It was here that she became curious about where our food comes from and how agricultural production practices affect the environment and human health.

Since then, she has conducted research around the globe, working with small-holder farmers in Sri Lanka, Kenya, and the U.S. Throughout her PhD., she worked closely with local organic farmers in NY State to design applied research evaluating the environmental, nutritional, and economic outcomes of diversified agricultural practices. A primary objective was to evaluate the potential for crop varietal mixtures to mitigate the need for pesticides by increasing natural pest control services and maximize growers’ profits by reducing production costs associated with mixed species plantings.

Lauren holds a B.A. in Ecology & Conservation Biology from Boston University and is completing her PhD. in agroecology and sustainable food systems from Cornell University. She is excited to join an incredible team committed to improving our nation’s food system, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to advance organic practices through research and education.

In her free time, Lauren loves enjoying the outdoors with her partner and their dog, cooking delicious food for friends and family, and dancing salsa.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:22+00:00October 8th, 2019|Staff|

Haley Baron

Education and Research Program Associate

Haley has worked across the food system for over a decade, first developing her love and passion for food and social justice while growing up in San Francisco. She has worked on a variety of anti-hunger and food access programs, farmed certified organic land, sold and bought local produce, and managed large-scale program evaluations. She has spent the last seven years working on and learning about the complexities of the food system so that she can help build a more just and sustainable world.

Along with her work for OFRF, she also oversees operations and city staff for pineapple collaborative, a community for women who love food. She has a Master’s in Food Studies from New York University, where she focused on sustainable food systems and the organic supply chain, a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish from Wesleyan University, and a graduate certificate in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems from Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition. In her free time, Haley is usually traipsing around local farms, exploring new hikes, eating dumplings, and cooking with lots of vegetables.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:22+00:00October 8th, 2019|Staff|

Diana Jerkins

Senior Science Advisor

Dr. Jerkins brings to OFRF decades of experience in agricultural research, federal program management, university administration and hands-on farming. She was a National Program Leader with the US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) between 2002 and 2014, and also helped implement the agency’s first sustainable and organic agriculture programs. Prior to joining NIFA, Dr. Jerkins directed the Center for Regenerative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona.

Dr. Jerkins earned her graduate degrees from the University of Georgia, including an MA in Agronomy, and a PhD in Entomology.

Dr. Jerkins will work remotely while continuing management of her historic, 240-acre organic farm in Gordonsville, VA.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:48+00:00October 8th, 2019|Staff|

Brise Tencer

Executive Director

Brise Tencer brings 20 years of leadership experience working on organic food policy, farming, and research issues to OFRF.  Ms. Tencer most previously served as Director of Policy and Programs for California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), where she managed the government affairs and grower education program, coordinated their regional chapters of members, and ran a grant-making program. Prior to that, she served as lead lobbyist on food and agriculture issues for the Union of Concerned Scientists. There she developed legislative campaigns on a range of agriculture issues, including organic (focusing on the connection between organic practices and climate change), USDA research priorities, and food safety. She also worked on a successful campaign to end overuse of antibiotics in livestock production.

Brise worked as Acting Policy Program Director and later as Legislative Coordinator for The Organic Farming Research Foundation from 2000 to 2006. During this time she helped initiate the Organic Agricultural Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Organic Farmers Action Network (OFAN), a grassroots political action network to support organic-friendly policies. She helped secure language in the Agriculture Risk Management Act of 2000, which said that organic farming was considered a “good farming practice”, that enabled organic producers to be eligible to participate in federal crop insurance programs for the first time.

Ms. Tencer has served on the boards of the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, the California Climate and Agricultural Network, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

Ms. Tencer holds a B.A. in Community Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz and received both a Certificate in Conflict Resolution and a M.A. in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:48+00:00October 8th, 2019|Staff|

Kelsey Grimsley

Office Manager/Executive Assistant

Kelsey Grimsley graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Politics. Right out of college Kelsey gained valuable experience working with diverse populations through jobs in grassroots organizing, community engagement projects, and congressional offices. She lived at a Buddhist retreat center, off-the-grid in Santa Cruz County, where she explored how to live a sustainable lifestyle first-hand, while working for the center as Community Relations Coordinator.

Kelsey has always been passionate about environmental stewardship and social justice, which has informed her career path and led her to working here at OFRF. She is excited and proud to be a part of an organization that has a meaningful mission that aligns with her passions.

By |2020-01-30T19:32:47+00:00August 12th, 2019|Staff|