Staff & Board
Interim Executive Director
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.
Organic Land Care Coordinator and Soil Health Technician
Monique has designed and built over 40 edible school and community gardens and farms throughout New England, including a 2-acre urban farm in Bridgeport CT.
She has founded and run for and non-profit entities, including Green Village Initiative (GVI) and Wiggle Room LLC. Monique teaches ‘How to Grow Your Own Food’ classes and speaks on healthy soil and community gardening, sharing her knowledge of regenerative agriculture practices, microscopy, and community building. She also writes feature articles on regenerative farming.
Throughout her career, Monique has utilized her skills in videography, photography and video editing to teach and inspire. Earlier in her career, Monique worked as a video editor for several large studios, including CBC Canada, Centro Digital Pictures in Hong Kong, and Gastown Productions in Vancouver.
EcoType Project Coordinator
Sefra Alexandra, the Seed Huntress, is an endurance race ethnobotanist on a hunt to preserve the biodiversity of our wild and cultivated lands through seed conservation. She is a Genebank Impacts Fellow for the Crop Trust which oversees our global seed banking network, has fortified community seed banks on island nations after national disasters , and championed the revival of the almost lost Southport Globe Onion heirloom in her Connecticut hometown.
Sefra holds her M.A.T. in agroecological education from Cornell University, is a certified wilderness skill & permacultural design instructor as well as a WINGS WorldQuest expedition flag carrier & member of the Explorers Club. She believes seed sovereignty is one of our greatest tools of regenerative resilience – save seeds | seeds save.
Farmer Circles Coordinator
Robert Chang is a farmer and landowner of color in Woodstock CT, originally from Jamaica. Robert has been growing for market for 8 years and purchased 14 acres at Echo Farm in 2015. Echo Farm produces certified organic vegetables and cut flowers for a farm stand, restaurants, and local farmers markets. Robert is a founding member of the Steering Committee of New Connecticut Farmer Alliance, the CT chapter of the National Young Farmers’ Coalition, and also a founding member of the Southern New England Farmers of Color Collaborative. He has been a member of the CT Northeast Organic Farming Association since 2007. Robert also has a full-time job off-farm in IT and has worked in higher education for most of the last 26 years.
Organic Certification Assistance Coordinator
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
Farm Share Program and Events Coordinator
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.
Joined Board in 2012
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.
Joined Board in November 2018
Rachel Gilroy’s range of work includes construction management, sustainable and urban design, land planning, park and recreation planning, art and design, landscape architecture and teaching positions from Pre-K through University level. The complexity of the work environment that she has experienced strengthens her capacity to work within a team as well as cross-team. The common theme throughout her experiences has been engaging systemic transformation through the approach of creating opportunities to engage individuals/communities through creative and vibrant sustainable community development, site design, and programming. As a lifelong learner, Gilroy’s passion lies in exploring through experiential learning, research, and design the concept of sustainability through a social lens, using mixed-methods and transdisciplinarity research models. She values supporting all people in their own learning and skill development in sustainable practices just as she values bio-diversity, she recognizes and respect the diverse backgrounds, interests, aesthetic tastes, and situations that people represent, and will work diligently to shape services to their needs, rather than adopting a “one size fits all” approach.
John Pittari, Jr.
John Pittari, Jr. founder and owner of New Morning Store, got bit by the natural foods bug when he was in college. Today, many years later, John is still crazy about natural foods. Only now, he shares his passion with about sixty other people, working together from his store in Woodbury, Connecticut. New Morning Store is home to the largest organic produce selection in the area with an extensive supplement and homeopathic department that people travel to from miles around. New Morning’s unique fresh prepared foods counter, the Provender, is a gourmet source for ready-to-eat natural and organic foods.
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.
Joined Board in 2013
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.
Joined Board in January 2017
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.
Homesteader, farmer, and food forager
Farah is a homesteader, farmer, and food forager in Wilton, CT. Originally from India, she moved to Texas and earned degrees in economics, social work, and therapy, and integrated the concept of “farming therapy” into her jobs at schools in Vermont and New Hampshire, rolling out farm-based curriculums and small workable gardens. Eventually, Farah moved to Connecticut with the goal of becoming a full-time farmer. She runs Farah’s Farm, a three-acre homestead in Wilton, teeming with heirloom ducks, chickens, and bees, and also oversees a few local satellite farms. For her day job, Farah holds down an enviable post as the chief food purchaser for Barteca (owner of Bar Taco and Barcelona restaurants).
Advocate and Strategist
Joined Board in January 2017
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.
Joined Board in November 2018
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.
Joined Board in November 2018
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.
Food Equity Advocate
Joined Board in August 2022
Cortney is the Executive Director of CitySeed, a dynamic, community-based nonprofit organization based in New Haven, Connecticut, whose mission is to engage the community in growing an equitable, local food system that promotes economic development, community development, and sustainable agriculture.
Cortney brings a decade of multidisciplinary leadership within nonprofits, think tanks, and startups to this role. She led national programs and built strategic relationships with donors at Feeding America, the second-largest nonprofit in the United States. As President of Slow Food Chicago, she led the organization’s strategy to promote good, clean, fair food for all. Cortney has also held research, fundraising, and sustainability roles with The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, The Greater Chicago Food Depository, and Sir Kensington’s. Earlier, she apprenticed on a family farm and trained in organic farming practices from seed to harvest.
Cortney received her B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies from Colgate University, focused on international social justice. She earned her Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where she co-founded the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative and was involved in entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives.
Héctor “Freedom” Gerardo
Food Justice Advocate
Joined Board in August 2022
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.