CT NOFA > About CT NOFA > Staff & Board

Staff & Board

Staff Members

Jeremy Pelletier

Jeremy is originally from the Big Island of Hawai’i and moved to Connecticut in 2012 to pursue a graduate degree in Global Sustainability from Central Connecticut State University. He is a graduate of the University of Hawaii’s Geography and Environment Department and Central Connecticut State University’s Geography Department where his graduate research was in human mobility and climate change. He has worked in the non-profit sector in both paid and volunteer capacities for over 12 years at environmental and educational organizations in Connecticut and Hawai’i. He became interested in the food and farming world while working in the food-service industry for nearly 10 years.

Monique Bosch

Monique has built over 30 edible school and community gardens and farms around the northeast, including a 2-acre urban farm in Bridgeport, CT. These days she works as a Soil Health Program Manager for CT NOFA and runs a worm composting business with her son, Justin. She also teaches Soil Management for Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

This past year Monique worked with staff and students at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in the Berkshires to launch a Food and Resilience center. She studied ‘The Soil Food Web’ under Dr. Elaine Ingham, and teaches microscopy, soil health, and composting to farmers and organizations. Through microscopy and test trials, Monique explores the relationship between living soil and healthy, nutritious food.

Laura Davis

Laura Davis operates Long Life Farm in Hopkinton, MA, a certified organic diversified vegetable CSA farm of 2 1/2 acres. Since Long Life Farm was certified organic in 2013, Laura has helped farmers navigate the organic certification process through NOFA. Trained by Baystate Organic Certifiers to educate farmers, Laura has attended additional training through IOIA – The International Organic Inspectors Association and became an Organic Inspector in 2015. Processing training enabled Laura to inspect handlers as well as crops in 2017. Laura has been a NOFA/Mass Board Member since November of 2011 and now holds the roles of Board President, Organic Certification Assistance Coordinator and Soil Technical Advisor. Laura and her husband Donald Sutherland have two high school age daughters that have enjoyed many NOFA Summer Conferences.

Sherlene Khan Rodriguez

Sherlene Rodriguez is a farmer, farm to school advocate, and aspiring homesteader. She brings 15+ years of program and project management experience in and for the non-profit sector. Sherlene wears a few hats in the world of Farm to School — Northeast Farm to School coach, Farm to School Specialist at UConn Extension, Put Local on Your Plate, and a steering committee member for the Connecticut Farm to School Collaborative. Her passions include growing food with children, advocating for food justice, and photography. Sherlene holds a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership from Roberts Wesleyan Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Jennifer Shaffer

Jennifer has worked on issues of food access, environmental and economic justice, and parks equity for more than 20 years. Most recently, Jennifer has led the horticulture program of a public, urban green space in Manhattan toward an ecological redesign that will benefit local communities. Jennifer brings her work strong program management skills, an unshakeable commitment to the stewardship of ecologically healthy landscapes, and a lively interest in how people live in and interact with the land.

Having recently relocated to Connecticut from New York City with her family, Jennifer is enjoying reconnecting with her home state and exploring its wonderful natural places.

Jennifer studied cultural anthropology as a graduate student, earned a Certificate in Landscape Design from the New York Botanical Garden, and is an Accredited Land Care Professional through CT NOFA. She is a member of MetroHort and the Ecological Landscape Association.

Dr. Kimberly Stoner

Dr. Stoner recently retired as an Agricultural Scientist from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, after 34 years as a vegetable entomologist and researcher on bees, including the effect of their exposure to pesticides. She is also a longstanding associate of CT NOFA, having served on the board for 20 years and chaired the Organic Land Care Committee during the development of the Organic Land Care Standards that would be used to inform the program’s courses.

In her new role for CT NOFA, Dr. Stoner will be advocating for organic agriculture, organic land care, resources to assist new farmers, environmental regulation, and food equity. She is also the co-author of the CT Environmental Rights Amendment, a Green Amendment for the Connecticut state constitution, which will be introduced to the Connecticut General Assembly.

Board Members

Diane Litwin

Diane Litwin is the farm manager at The New Haven Ecology Project, an urban farm nestled in West Rock park at a high school in the city of New Haven.

She grew up in New Haven county and has enjoyed spending her adult life back on the land that raised her. After several years living in the bucolic Hudson Valley while gaining a degree in elementary education, she spent the past decade working at the intersection of agriculture and education with her work at Land’s Sake Farm, The Jewish Farm School, Massaro Community Farm, and the New Haven Ecology Project. She has a deep love of learning which led her to complete a certification program in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of Vermont.

Patrick Horan

Patrick has been at Waldingfield Farm full time since 2006. Prior to that (he was part-time at Waldingfield from 1996-2006) he worked in finance at R.G. Niederhoffer Capital Management, a New York City hedge fund, while also pursuing acting. He is a graduate of Union College (B.A. English) and The Stella Adler Conservatory (MFA program). Patrick is responsible for marketing, sales, farmers markets, and operations, as well as day to day farming duties. He and his wife and son, Suzie and Griffin, divide their time between Brooklyn, NY, and the farm in Washington, CT.

Howard Shafer

Howard retired after a career as CFO/COO for large law firms to start a small USDA processing business focused on purchasing whole animals from local farmers to create delicious charcuterie and contribute to the creation of a more sustainable food system.  In June of 2021, Howard joined forces with Sub Edge Farm where he now works as a butcher. Howard has a BS in Statistics from the University of Michigan; an MBA with a concentration in Non-Profit Management from Boston University; a Grand Diplôme from the French Culinary Institute.

Dana Jackson

Dana Jackson is editor and publisher of Edible Nutmeg, a regional magazine focusing exclusively on western Connecticut’s food community, including farmers, chefs, and locally produced food of all kinds. He is a graduate of UCLA (B.A. English) and San Diego State University (M.A. English). A former Connecticut farmer, himself, Dana believes that community begins at the food level and that local food production is the key to building stronger communities in our state. Although he enthusiastically supports all of our state’s food growers and producers, he admits to having a particular affection for our breweries.

Steve Munno

Steve Munno is the Farm Manager at Massaro Community Farm in Woodbridge, a certified organic, non-profit, which operates a CSA, sell to local markets, offers on-farm educational programs and events, and donates a portion of its harvest to local hunger relief organizations. Prior to coming to Massaro, Steve farmed in both Massachusetts and California.  Steve was a co-founding member of the New CT Farmer Alliance and joined the CT NOFA board in 2012.

Shannon Raider-Ginsburg

Hailing from Los Angeles, her 16 years working in agriculture began on the West Coast bringing her to Connecticut first in 2004. Shannon has extensive experience aligning urban agriculture, food justice, and environmental education. After graduating from San Francisco State University with a degree in Geography and Natural Resource Management, she found her way from working in outdoor education to farming and agricultural education. As a farmer, she has worked all manner of farms from 20-acre certified organic CSA to 450 acre Christmas tree farms, to community gardens and urban agriculture. Shannon has developed farmers markets in Hartford, mobile markets in New Haven and hustled her own farm products everywhere she could. She is a certified Master Composter and a founding member of the New Connecticut Farmers Alliance. In 2011 she left her own farm business, Four Fields Farm, to be the Farm Director at Common Ground High School. She recently left that position after 6 seasons and is exploring a new relationship to agriculture not as a producer, but as an advocate and strategist.

Yasemin Ugurlu

Yasemin has been a fan of real food and agriculture since her childhood in Austria where she grew up across the street from a farm.  She has traveled and lived in many different countries, always paying attention to the eating and growing habits of the various cultures. Since her return to the US in 2012, Yasemin has put her background in hospitality and event planning to good use by creating opportunities to support local small businesses and farmers through farmers markets, collaborations, and fundraisers. Yasemin is always seeking out new opportunities to share her administrative talents and organizational skills to support local, organic farms, which are a crucial part of healthy, natural lifestyles and protecting and preserving the earth.

Héctor “Freedom” Gerardo

Freedom Gerardo is co-founder of SEAmarron Farmstead and E&G Community Builders. He built these two businesses with one thing in mind: building people power in BIPOC communities. Freedom has dedicated his life to organizing youth, teaching them about power, the power they have individually and as a collective – and the power and potential of their communities.

Throughout his career, food insecurity has been the preeminent issue to tackle. Freedom is now building a multi-layered, long-term agenda to end food insecurity by farming and organizing communities to build power and reimagining a new food system centered around justice and equity.

Having worked with nonprofits and unions throughout the country in several different capacities, Freedom has gathered the knowledge necessary to help lead organizations to identify their strength and create lasting change. Freedom created numerous multi-generational coalitions that were used successfully to win campaigns, and continued to use said coalitions to advance other political, legislative, and social objectives. Lastly, Freedom has a proven record of creating and implementing multi-year strategic plans that have supported the vision of organizations while also ensuring that the plan was tangible and transparent for all.

Diego Osses

Diego Osses is the Programs Director at Green Village Initiative. Diego is an accomplished Agricultural Engineer with an MBA and a Master in Finance. He has a wealth of experience in farm management, international business development, and diplomacy, spanning over 25 years and several countries, including Chile, China, and Thailand. He is also an alumnus of the MS in Finance program at the University of Bridgeport School of Business. One of his notable achievements was leading the promotion of socially and environmentally responsible exports during his tenure as Trade Counsellor for South East Asian markets. In Green Village Initiative, Diego leads efforts to promote food justice and food access, urban agriculture, youth leadership, and community engagement.

Vetiveah Harrison

Vetiveah Harrison is a Black American/Creole native from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her parents birthed an entrepreneurship spirit within her that kickstarted a journey of urban farming, herbalism, nutrition, food justice, anti-hunger advocacy, and economic development strategy. She is an expert with 10 years of in-depth food system industry knowledge. She is motivated by the dire need to have a more equitable food system and channels this motivation through leading efforts that inspire, educate, and transform marginalized Black communities and organizations that serve Black communities.

She is currently a Program Manager for CitySeed Food Business Incubator, a nonprofit organization that reduces barriers to food entrepreneurship in New Haven by working to create economic opportunity for all, increasing leadership by people-of-color and immigrant food entrepreneurs, and strengthening our local food system by linking food entrepreneurs to source food from farmers. At CitySeed, Vetiveah, plays a major role in supporting entrepreneurs in launching their food businesses by providing an affordable commercial kitchen, helping with obtaining permits, licenses, insurance, marketing needs, creating basic business plans, and successfully entering the marketplace. Through her commitment to this role, she has helped CitySeed improve their training, support, and resources food entrepreneurs need the most.

Outside her capacity at CitySeed, Vetiveah serves as the Committee Chairwoman for Environmental Justice at the NAACP Bridgeport Chapter. Additionally, she works part-time as an Urban Farmer and Community Nutrition Educator, providing vital support to various nonprofit organizations in Bridgeport, New Haven, and Chicago. Her work involves cultivating food in urban spaces, school gardens, and community gardens. Vetiveah offers straightforward nutrition guidance, aiming to enhance dietary choices, while also addressing food waste issues and ending food apartheid.