Hugo is a results-oriented leader with twelve years of management experience in multicultural settings. He is the Executive Director of FRESHFARM, a nonprofit working to improve food access in the DC Metro Area while creating opportunities for farmers in the mid-Atlantic region.

Under Mr. Mogollon’s leadership, FRESHFARM has become the third-largest network of farmers Markets organization in the country. He has also conceptualized and developed a unique and innovative low-infrastructure food distribution model that connects historically underserved communities to sustainable, locally grown farm food, creating hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for family farms.

Mr. Mogollon has a Masters in Natural Resources and Leadership from the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability from Virginia Tech, where he concentrated on Collective Impact. He is proud to serve as a member of the Food and Agriculture Regional Member ad-hoc Committee (FARM) at the Metropolitan Council of Governments, and as the Vicechair of the Farmers Market’s Coalition.


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.


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.


Meredith Ledlie Johnson manages Policy, Systems and Environmental Change Programming for Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family Nutrition Program. These programs are 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.



Lindsey Felty 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.



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.


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.


Natalie Ortiz is the Manager of the Warrenton Farmers Market and the Farm to School Chef for the FRESH (Fauquier Reaches for Excellence in School Health) Program in the Fauquier County Public School System. A classically trained chef, Natalie spreads her enthusiasm for local food when instructing recreational cooking classes connecting participants to area farmers and ranchers. Her love for collaboration shows in her work to forward both the local food system and the local economy and has resulted in partnerships between local farmers and food makers with a local food hub and area retailers. Natalie’s seat on the Board of Directors for the Fauquier Education Farm allows for acute awareness of upcoming educational opportunities and the ability to suggest needed educational opportunities for farmers as well as knowledge of up and coming area growers.

Although only recently taking the Management role at the Warrenton Farmers Market, Natalie has been a community partner via FRESH for nutrition and culinary education as well as an active Market Board Member for the past four years. Her goal is to make the market a fun, engaging community gathering place that provides opportunities for increased food literacy with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion for vendors, patrons, and collaborative partnerships.


Amy Jordan, Co-Founder and Market Manager at We Dig Tidewater LLC, which operates Hampton Blvd Farmers Market, Harvest Market @ O’Connor Brewing Co. and East Beach Farmers Market–all 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 an 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. In 2018 she and her sister Michele started Hampton Blvd Farmers Market, a privately run, for-profit market, from scratch. Amy and Michele also completed the 2018 VAFMA Market Manager Certification together. When a second market, Harvest Market at O’Connor Brewing Co. began in 2019, Amy gave up her pet treat business to focus solely on growing the markets of We Dig Tidewater LLC with her sister Michele. They added a third, East Beach Farmers Market in 2020. 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.


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.


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.