BOARD OF DIRECTORS

CeCe DODD | PRESIDENT

CeCe Dodd began managing the Broadway Farmers Market in the Fall of 2014 after being a vendor for six years. She is the Executive director for the Broadway Hometown Partnership, helping coordinate community events and festivals. During the week Cece works in Public Safety Administration and spends her weekends pursuing food and community passions. CeCe joined VAFMA in 2014 and became regional lead for the Shenandoah Valley Markets in 2015.

CeCe serves on the Conference, Communication, and Programs Committees.

TRACY HERNER FREY | VICE PRESIDENT

Tracy Herner Frey is in her fourth season as market manager and executive director of the Williamsburg Farmers Market.  She was instrumental in launching the token program at the market, and is an advocate for increasing access to farmers markets throughout the Commonwealth.  The Williamsburg Farmers Market was one of nine markets to participate in Market Metrics Research, and Tracy is looking forward to using her experiences with data collection to improve capacity at markets across the Tidewater Region.

Tracy serves on the Conference, Membership, Communication, Budget, Governance and Programs Committees.

Lisa Dearden farmers markets Richmond

LISA DEARDEN | TREASURER

Lisa Dearden had over 20+ yrs experience in sales, marketing, finance and training when a health challenge triggered her to switch gears and pursued a degree in Horticulture with a focus on sustainable agriculture. She now lives on a homestead farm in Goochland County, Virginia where she grows fruits and berries and raises chickens, goats, rabbits and alpacas. Her company, Chiknegg Productions, operates an incubator kitchen, which is available for rent by-the-hour, and she offers food safety training and consulting services to food entrepreneurs and organizations looking for help navigating their entry into the local food system. She founded and serves as Executive Director of a non-profit called RVAg that operates multiple farmers markets and pop-up events and provides low-cost/no-cost ag and food-centric educational programs. Lisa currently serves as Chair of the Goochland County Economic Development Authority and as the Treasurer of the Virginia Farmers Market Association.

MEREDITH LEDLIE JOHNSON | SECRETARY

Meredith Ledlie Johnson manages the Food Access and Availability Initiative for Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family Nutrition Program. This program is designed to ensure that all Virginians have access to enough healthy, culturally appropriate food in their communities through increasing access to farmers markets, gardening, and healthy retail outlets. Meredith holds a Masters degree in Social Work with a concentration in community organizing from Hunter College, CUNY. Before living in Virginia, Meredith worked as a farmers market manager for Greenmarket in New York City and as an urban park advocate with New Yorkers for Parks. Meredith is excited by the possibilities offered by the local food movement to strengthen the resiliency of Virginia’s families and communities.

Meredith serves on the Programs & Conference committees.

DIRECTORS AT LARGE

M. OMAR FAISON | BOARD DIRECTOR AT LARGE

M. Omar Faison is the Assistant Vice President for Research at Virginia State University (VSU). In that role, he works to expand the research enterprise at VSU and facilitate internal and external partnerships for VSU faculty. In parallel with his service as AVP, Dr. Faison also served as Interim Dean for the College of Graduate Studies (2017-18) and Interim Executive Director for VSU’s Center for Agricultural Research, Engagement, and Outreach (2018-19). Prior to becoming AVP, he served VSU as Chair of the Biology Department (2009-13) and Director of the Office of Sponsored Research (2012-15).

Dr. Faison earned his undergraduate degree in Biology from Hampton University (1994) and PhD in Neurosciences from the University of Virginia (2002). He received his post-doctoral training at Virginia Commonwealth University before joining the faculty of VSU’s Biology Department in 2004. Dr. Faison has published and presented in the fields of developmental neuroscience, cognition, and student academic performance and has received grant funding from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. Coming from an agricultural family, Dr. Faison is passionate about local foods and local food systems and the concept of farmers as entrepreneurs. Dr. Faison is married to Dr. Jennifer Wolstenholme and they have 3 children, Kyra, Omar, Jr., and Haley.

LINDSEY KEEN | DIRECTOR AT LARGE

Lindsey currently serves as Market Development Manager at Appalachian Sustainable Development. She has been part of the ASD team since 2016. Lindsey has a deep desire to continue to diversify southwest VA and promote the majestic region all while holding on to the Appalachian heritage. In addition to her work with ASD, Lindsey is also the owner of Barkery & Company and enjoys providing homemade and healthy dog treats to canines near and far.

CALIB MILLER | DIRECTOR AT LARGE

Calib was born and raised in Blanchester, Ohio. A veteran marine, he holds over a decade of project management experience, nonprofit management experience, and sustainable food systems management. Graduating Summa Cum Laude from Green Mountain College, he earned his Master of Science Degree in Sustainable Food Systems. A lifelong learner, he is currently pursuing a PhD in Leadership and Change. Calib looks forward to helping rebuild our local food systems and being an advocate for fellow veterans.

KIM USRY | DIRECTOR AT LARGE

Kim Usry is a Richmond Virginia native who grew up spending her weekends on her grandfather’s black Angus farm. After college in Florida studying Mass Communications, and a stint in California obtaining a certificate in Advertising Arts and Design, she returned to Virginia to manage that same farm for 15 years while working in public relations & advertising. She successfully pursued IT Project Management which led to IT Recruitment. Kim is an entrepreneur at heart and now managers two Richmond farmers markets and owns and operates a rainwater harvesting company. She loves her dogs, gardening, beekeeping, cooking and relaxing. Kim also participates with the Capital Area Farmers Market Association.

REGIONAL DIRECTORS

RICKY KOWALEWSKI | BLUE RIDGE REGION

Ricky Kowalewski has always been a fan of farmers markets. When he was younger, he sold eggs during the summer at the
farmers market his grandparents attended in Southern Arizona. While studying Business Administration at Seton Hill University, he secured an internship with the Bloomfield Development Corporation as their Saturday Market Intern and was hired as Program Coordinator at the end of the internship. Running the Bloomfield Saturday Market and creating the first Bloomfield Winter Market opened Ricky’s eyes to how large of an impact farmers markets can have on a community. In June 2018 he was hired as Assistant Market Manager at the Lynchburg Community Market and was promoted to Market Manager in May 2019.

JOHN & CAPPY MONTGOMERY | CAPITAL REGION

In 2017, Cappie & John Montgomery approached Henrico County with a request that the County consider establishing a
farmers market to serve the eastern part of the county. That initial conversation led to the partnership that has recently
completed its second successful season as the Dorey Park Farmers Market.

When Cappie and John are not working to host and expand DPFM, they operate Fleur-de-lis Farms in Varina where they raise a herd of Nigerian Dwarf Goats. In the spring of 2020, they will be expanding that operation to production of a variety of cheeses and possibly other goat dairy products. The Montgomerys also have a large flock of laying hens that help to keep a steady supply
of free-range eggs available at DPFM.

Outside of farming, Cappie and John both work in the legal profession, and John has served on the Henrico County Public School Board since 2008. Together they have four children: Joey, Jack, Travis and Sophie.

ELIZABETH MELSON | CENTRAL REGION

Elizabeth has a background in culinary arts and sales & marketing in the fitness industry. After learning more about the health and environmental benefits of ethically-sourced, local foods, she ventured into farmers’ markets and in 2012 traded in her office job to get her hands dirty on local farms. The farmers and coworkers were a wealth of knowledge and she gained experience working first with pastured poultry, goats, dairy cows, hogs and bison. Then, spent a season with Willowsford Farm in Ashburn to learn about organic vegetable farming on a larger scale.

She first entered farmers’ markets as a shopper, then as a vendor selling bison meat for Cibola Farms in Falls Church and Arlington Courthouse markets, and finally starting her own business, Farm-to-Table Solutions; offering farmers market management assistance, edible landscaping, local food-centric special events, and advocacy. She is involved in the management of Archwood Green Barns Farmers’ Market in The Plains, Warrenton Farmers’ Market, Exit 40 Farmers’ Market in Prince William County, and is a Garden Manager for a restaurant (coming soon) in Sperryville, Virginia. In 2018, she has worked with the PATH Foundation, Fauquier FISH and many other community collaborators, to launch the Farmers’ Market Coalition’s Power of Produce Program in Fauquier County markets to increase market vitality and address food insecurity.

She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology and Concentration in Business Management from Northern Kentucky University, a certificate in Culinary Arts from New River Community and Technical College and a graduate-level certificate in Business Administration Essentials from Shenandoah University.

AMY JORDAN | COASTAL REGION

Amy Jordan, Co-Founder and Market Manager at We Dig Tidewater LLC, which operates both Hampton Blvd Farmers Market and Harvest Market @ O’Connor Brewing Co. in Norfolk, VA.

After earning a degree in business at James Madison University, Amy has spent most of her adult life following entrepreneurial pursuits in hospitality, food and marketing. For thirteen years she co-owned and operated a luxury inn in Vermont, which she and her business partner had purpose-built, and where she was also the resident baker and served as marketing committee chairperson for the chamber of commerce. After a move back to Virginia, she spent eight years as the Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Events for TASTE, a family-owned regional chain of restaurants/gourmet food stores. In early 2016, she started BowWowMeow Baking Co., making all natural pet treats, sold both wholesale and at farmers’ markets. After a couple of seasons as a vendor at multiple markets, in 2018 she and her sister Michele started Hampton Blvd Farmers Market, a privately run, for-profit market, from scratch. For the last two years, Amy has worn the hats of both vendor and market manager. Amy and Michele also completed the 2018 VAFMA Market Manager Certification together. This past year, they were approached by O’Connor Brewing Co. in Norfolk to start up a second market at their brewery. Amy really enjoys the marketing and social media aspects of the business and loves helping new farmers and producers bring their product to market successfully. She enjoys dining out, trivia and game nights with friends, cooking, volunteering for an animal rescue and being able to work from home, where she is surrounded by her furry, four-legged family.

HUGO MOGOLLON | NORTHERN VIRGINIA REGION

Hugo Mogollon is the Executive Director of Community Foodworks. In that role, he manages a dynamic team that works to create innovative solutions to include individuals and institutions historically disenfranchised from the local food system, while boosting small family farms revenues.

Hugo brings 20 years of experience working for nonprofit organizations covering a range of issues from food systems to sustainability to biodiversity conservation. Hugo has deep experience in NGO management, planning, development, outreach, and stakeholder engagement, particularly in multicultural settings. A native of Ecuador, Hugo is fluent in both English and Spanish. He has a Bachelor of Science in biology from the Catholic University of Quito, Ecuador and an Executive Master’s degree in Natural Resources and Leadership for Sustainability from Virginia Tech.

MICHAEL REILLY | SHENANDOAH REGION

Michael Reilly is co-founder and executive director of Virginia Foodshed Capital, a non-profit whose mission is to provide financial
stewardship for small-to-mid-scale organic farms and food entrepreneurs in the local foodshed, including both urban and rural
areas. It does so through a 0% loans program and financial education.
The organization began in 2018 as a Slow Money program in the Richmond/Charlottesville area but expanded statewide in 2019.
Michael started his career in banking and then worked for 15 years as an executive in the broadcast TV business before turning his attention to entrepreneurship and local food advocacy.Michael serves on the board of the Virginia Association for Biological Farming, a statewide network of organic and sustainable farmers and gardeners. Michael is also on the board of Grow Ahead, a nonprofit that teams up with farmer organizations throughout the world to support climate resiliency initiatives through crowdfunding. Michael also serves on the
board of Market Central, which helps run the Charlottesville farmers markets. He is on the planning team for the Charlottesville Food
Justice Network, and he serves on the steering committee for Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, a collaborative of faith communities
dedicated to advancing climate justice throughout the state. Michael earned an undergraduate degree from Yale University and a master’s
degree from Columbia University. He lives in Charlottesville with his wife and four children.

CAROLYN COOPER WRIGHT | SOUTHSIDE REGION

Carolyn Cooper Wright is a resident of Sussex County and has been since birth. She attended the University of Phoenix to
complete a B.S. in Business Management. Carolyn currently works as a Paraprofessional at Sussex Central Elementary School (SCES). She joined Sussex County Extension VCE- (Virginia Cooperate Extension) to work on a grant-funded model, PROSPER as a Prevention Coordinator. Volunteers with Sussex 4-H often, especially during camps. Carolyn and her sisters own their family farm, Cooper Family Farms, that is
located in Littleton, in the Courthouse District of Sussex County. Carolyn established a 501 (C)3 nonprofit organization, Save-ASeed
(SAS) which plans programs, events and outings to address the lack of youth outreach and youth enrichment throughout the county and beyond. SAS also manages the beautification project in the SCES Courtyard. She also serves as administrative Support for the South Centre Corridors’ RC&D Council where she assists with the updates and publication of the Buy Fresh Buy Local Guide.

LESLIE VANOVER | SOUTHWEST REGION

 

Southwest Virginia is home. Leslie Vanover attended her first farmers market in 2013 as a vendor selling eggs. That first day
grew into a love for farmers markets and a growing business. With farming (of sorts) a constant in Vanover’s life, her egg
business took off and she quickly expanded to include canned goods and hand-crafted artisan items. Now attending two markets a week, Leslie loves to meet new people from all over. In 2016, Vanover accepted the manager position at The Marion, VA
Farmers Market. In 2017, she completed a 16 week course through Virginia Farmers Market Association to become the first
Certified Market Manager in Southwest Virginia. She also completed trainings in two Food Safety Best Practices for
Farmers Market Growers offered by Virginia Cooperative Extension. Since then, Leslie has continued to support the Rural Retreat Farmers Market as a vendor, as well as, manage the Marion Farmers Market, growing that community of vendors and market-goers.