Jim Gerritsen, wife Megan, and son Caleb, have run the Wood Prairie Family Farm in northern Maine for over 40 years, MOFGA Certified Organic since 1982. The Gerritsens grow organic early generation Maine Certified Seed Potatoes, seed crops, vegetables and grain. They sell their organic seed crops through a mail order catalog and web-based business to customers in all fifty States as well as wholesale.
In addition to farming, Jim has been active in the organic community for four decades. He helped found OSGATA and has served on its Board of Directors since its inception. Jim has also served as President of Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) in Washington State. Additionally, he served for over twenty years on the Certification Committee of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). Jim further helped MOFGA pass Maine’s second-in-the-nation GMO Labeling law in 2013.
Jim has cooperated in on-farm research trials with scientists from USDA and University of Maine. He was a participant in two Agrarian Elders Gatherings in Big Sur. Jim spoke to the United Nations General Assembly on Mother Earth Day 2014, about the advantages of organic farming. In October 2011, Jim was named one of ‘25 Visionaries Who Are Changing the World’ by Utne Reader magazine.
Martin E. Levin
Martin Levin. Recognized as both a “SuperLawyer” and “Lawyer of the Year” for his work as an environmental lawyer, Martin E. Levin has more than thirty years of government and private practice experience handling environmental and other complex legal matters. Throughout the 1990s, he served as Chief of the Massachusetts Environmental Crimes Strike Force, leading the investigation and successful prosecution of companies for environmental practices that put health and safety at risk. After leaving government service, Martin was a partner in a highly regarded litigation firm in Boston. He prosecuted the first successful environmental class action in Massachusetts, representing approximately one thousand families adversely affected by an offshore oil spill. In 2015, he founded the Law Office of Martin E. Levin, where he continues as an environmental law practitioner, and has an expanding estate planning and probate practice. His commitment to environmental protection led him to become an early consumer of foods farmed and produced using organic methods, and to become active in efforts to better regulate genetic engineering. Such efforts include his work with the Council for Responsible Genetics (Senior Fellow) and Mass. Right to Know GMOs. He is also a longtime member of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, and has contributed to its work over many years as Co-Chair of its Lawyers Committee.
Daniel MacPhee raises certified organic seed crops, perennials and grafted nursery stock with his family at Blackbird Rise in Central Maine. He produces wholesale organic seed for a number of regional distributors, select stock seed and conducts on-farm breeding related to his passion for bioregionally adapted crops, medicinal and perennial herbs, and native plants for pollinator habitat. Off the farm he has worked for many years at the intersection of farming and education throughout New England in a range of settings including urban public schools, city government, public and private colleges, and nonprofit organizations. He is a STEM Education Specialist with the Maine Math and Science Alliance and former Director of Educational Programs for the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA).
Chris Hardy has owned and operated Hardy Seeds since 2015 continuing generations of organic farming in his family. Inspired by his grandfather who used seed he saved on his farm operation, Chris now oversees more than 500 varieties of grains, legumes and vegetable seeds. His extensive travels abroad have kept his passion high for seed diversity, regenerative agriculture and community engagement.
He was the initiator of the historic campaign in Southern Oregon to ban genetically engineered (GMO) crops to protect traditional seeds from the threat of contamination. For more than 20 years he has advocated for local farms, helped organize regional seed swaps and worked with farm to school programs to connect kids to seeds and their food. Chris is a founding board member of the Southern Oregon Seed Growers Association and is actively engaged in building a network of seed growers to strengthen diversity in the food system.
Ashley Harris has studied Environmental Science, urban farm and homestead design and worked to promote small-scale agriculture in her hometown of Denver, Colorado.
Her love of farming has led her to work and intern on more than a half a dozen farms in the Western United States and Australia. She has experience in organic and biodynamic farming, wholistic management, cottage food production, seed selection and viability testing and water self-reliance. Currently, she serves as a research assistant for a local environmental non-profit group in Iowa.