Steve Sprinkel, President
Farmer/Owner, The Farmer and The Cook
Steve has been a commercial organic farmer since the 1970s. He has farmed in California, his home state, and in Hawaii and Texas. His service in the organic movement began in 1984 in the CCOF South Coast Chapter and later on the Statewide Certification Committee. Later he served on the organic advisory board for the Texas Department of Agriculture, and for eight years was an associate editor at ACRES, USA, originator of the monthly column TRANSITIONS. He served previously as board member and later as president of the Cornucopia Institute until 2014. For fourteen years he and his wife, Oliva Chase, have operated The Farmer and The Cook, a 46-employee grocery, bakery and restaurant in Ojai, California, where their 12 acre certified organic farm is located.
Dru Rivers, Vice President
Partner/Farmer, Full Belly Farm
Dru has been a farmer for the past thirty years at Full Belly Farm where she grows over one hundred different crops with her husband, two farm partners, and a crew of over 60 amazing workers. Dru's passions at the farm are the flowers and the animals, both of which are in high demand by customers from throughout Northern California. Dru is the mother of four incredible children all of whom currently work at the farm. She could not be happier with her life work and enjoys every minute of each day.
Sue Kern, Corporate Secretary
Farmer/Owner, Kern Family Farm
Sue Kern helps operate the Kern Family Farm in North Fork, CA along with her husband, Hansel and adult children, Rebecca and Aaron. She helps daughter Rebecca run the family’s natural food market, the Gnarly Carrot. She’s also the Family Law Information Center Attorney at Fresno Superior Court’s Self-Help Center. Before moving to North Fork, she spent thirteen years organizing farm workers and home care workers in New York and California, and is on the board of directors of Centro La Familia Advocacy in Fresno, Madera Coalition for Community Justice in Madera, and KFCF radio in Central California.
Anna Nakamura Knight
Farmer/Partner, Old Grove Orange
Anna Knight is a 5th generation farmer who grew up picking, packing, and selling oranges on her family's farm in SoCal. After 10 years off-farm in New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, she returned to Old Grove Orange to manage the farmer-led food hub's Farm to School and AgEd operations. Together with 10+ other farmers in the Inland Empire, Old Grove grows the most delicious, most nutritious produce for its community's most important eaters: kids. Anna serves on the board of the Community Alliance with Family Farms and is a fellow of the California Agricultural Leadership Program Class 52. Her dream? That small farmers in her region can keep farming forever!
California State University East Bay
Antonio Roman-Alcalá is an educator, researcher, writer, and organizer based in Berkeley, California who has worked on issues of sustainable food systems for nearly 20 years. Antonio is currently an Assistant Professor at California State University East Bay, teaching Geography and Environmental Studies. Previously, he co-founded San Francisco’s Alemany Farm, the San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance, and the California Food Policy Council, and his 2010 documentary film, In Search of Good Food, can be viewed free online. He holds a BA in urban sustainability from UC Berkeley, and received his PhD from the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague in 2021. In addition to his role at CSUEB, Antonio conducts education, research, and consulting with the Urban Permaculture Institute and co-facilitates the scholar formation Agroecology Research-Action Collective (ARC). He also advises various national efforts on food justice, land access for young farmers, and developing community-based research in agroecology.
Food & Farming Program Director, Ecology Center
Carle leads the Ecology Center’s Farmers’ Market and Farm Fresh Choice produce stand operations, statewide Farmers’ Market Access and Equity programming, and food related education, policy, and coalition building efforts. For five years, Carle managed the Market Match program, California’s healthy food incentive program, which matches customers’ federal nutrition assistance benefits, like CalFresh and WIC, at hundreds of farmers’ markets across the state. Previously, Carle spent five years with the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (PCFMA) as a Regional Manager—overseeing sixteen Certified Farmers’ Markets in Alameda and San Joaquin counties. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the California Small Farm Conference. Carle earned a B.F.A. in Art and a B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Oregon. She received a Permaculture Design Certificate, and attended two five-month leadership development trainings, the Ecology of Leadership, through the Regenerative Design Institute. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her bees.
Director of Operations and Farming Education, Pie Ranch
Leonard works with Pie Ranch as the Director of Operations with oversight of Emerging Farmers and the Cascade Farm Regenerator Program. He was the farm manager of Shone Farm at Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC), co-owner with his wife of BioFarm - a certified organic vegetable farm in Lake County, and owner/operator of Diggs Organic Farms in Santa Rosa, CA. Leonard was also the farm manager of The Farm, a certified organic vegetable and demonstration farm for the California State Fair. He has served on numerous boards and committees and instructed agricultural classes for SRJC. Leonard received a fellowship from the California Agricultural Leadership Program; the Pedro ILIC Agriculture Award for Outstanding Farmer, the Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year Award from the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Legacy Farmer of the Year from CAFF/The Farmers Guild, and is a current member of the Castanea Fellowship.
Farmer/Owner, Kern Family Farm
Hansel Kern operates the Kern Family Farm in North Fork, CA in the Sierra Foothills. The farm provides produce to families in the area through the Kern Family’s local market, the Gnarly Carrot. The farm also supplies produce to several local restaurants and participates in a small local farmer’s market during the summer. In 1999, Hansel started a school garden at the local elementary school where he shares his enthusiasm for growing food with the children. He provides healthy fruits and vegetables for the kids to eat while they work in the garden, and the school cafeteria includes produce from the garden in the school lunches. Hansel represents EcoFarm at several local Central Valley farm festivals, including the Organic Stone Fruit Jubilee Festival in Clovis, CA.
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Michael Ackley-Grady is a first-generation farmer and owns and operates AG Livestock, located in
Sacramento, CA. He, alongside his wife, raise livestock including goats, sheep, pigs, and chickens. They
primarily sell their livestock to 4H and FFA youth and assist them with their project animals to maximize
their full potential. In addition to farming, Michael works for the California Department of Food and
Agriculture and is a Producer Specialist for the Farm to School Program. Michael has a passion for
agriculture and is excited to work with California farmers, ranchers, producers, and processors to help
connect them to the school food system and provide California’s youth with some of the best locally
sourced and produced food.
The Fruit Guys
Rebecca North has spent much of her adult life working in support of fresh local food and the people who grow, process and distribute it. Over two decades, she has worked at places as diverse as Nature’s Corner Natural Market, Veritable Vegetable and Planet Organics before landing, 14 years ago, at The Fruit Guys, where she acts as Fruit Detective where she gets to support farmers and food. Rebecca joined the EcoFarm Planning Committee and the Diversity Advisory Group in 2016. She has been especially involved in making sure that EcoFarm is a diverse and equitable place in every way, having focused many of her efforts to make sure that women and LGBT people are well included. She shares a love of nature with her wife Maura and her son Jack, who is likely to be a future EcoFarmer, having had this instilled in his DNA.
Cal State University Monterey Bay / Robina's Organics
Dr. Robina Bhatti was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. She is an academic,
activist, and an organic farmer. She is a Professor of Global Studies at California
State University, Monterey Bay and has been in this position for the past 28 years.
Her expertise is in the areas of global political economy, global politics, and
ecology. One of her classes on global ecology focuses on agriculture and led to
organic farming. As a farmer, she engages in agroecological practices, draws on
her Punjabi farming heritage, and helps weave together academics, activism, and
love of land. Robina’s Organics (http://www.robinasorganics.org) has specialized
in Asian vegetables.
Tuttle Law Group
Therese’s legal practice focuses on cooperatives. She began her career over 25 years ago, lobbying in Washington DC for agricultural cooperatives. She also served as Director of Cooperative Development for National Farmers Union, assisting small farmers to organize cooperatives.
Today she is the managing partner of Tuttle Law Group, serving a broad range of cooperatives and their members. Examples of her client work include representing the members of California's largest canning cooperative in the co-op’s bankruptcy proceedings, and incorporating Pachamama Coffee Cooperative, a farmer-owned “cooperative of cooperatives” with over 5,000 small farm producer-members in 5 different countries. She has also been involved in writing and revising California’s cooperative law.
Therese is interested in the intersection between systems of food and energy production. Her family has ranch land in North Fork, California and she is working on a permaculture forest garden in her backyard in San Francisco, where she lives with her husband and two teenage sons.