Megan Fehrman – Education Director
Megan grew up in the heartland and earned her undergraduate degree in Agricultural Economics at the University of Wisconsin before heading West. After exploring several aspects of community organizing, sustainability, and education, Megan earned a Masters Degree at Portland State University, focusing on Community Food Systems and Agroecology.
The last several years, Megan has lived in the Little Applegate Valley on an organic vegetable and seed farm, working as a statewide advocate and educator for socially responsible agriculture. Over time, the training, educating and assisting of the next generation of farmers has became a major focus, and working with Rogue Farm Corps is a perfect fit. She is now living and working on an 86-acre ranch with her brothers as they establish their farm business and creamery.
Megan is currently serving on the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association Steering Council and was a 2013 Toyota Together Green Fellow. When not at work, Megan likes to dig in the dirt, walk in the woods, visit the city, take in some music, and spend time with family and friends.
Stuart O’Neill – Executive Director
Stuart hails from the suburban jungle surrounding Washington DC. Following a strong desire the escape the rat race, Stuart moved to Southern Oregon in 1995 to complete a BS in Geology at Southern Oregon University.
Stuart’s passion for environmental and social justice led him to work as a community organizer on numerous campaigns for over a decade. His introduction to agriculture came in 2004 when he took an opportunity to work at Boone’s Farm/Siskiyou Crest Goat Dairy. There he learned first hand the opportunities and challenges of running a small scale, socially responsible agricultural operation.
In his free time, Stuart is most likely tinkering in the garden, jogging in the hills surrounding Ashland, cooking up something in the kitchen, cruising the valley on his bicycle, or exploring the depths of love with his daughter Sadie Luna and partner Kat.
Katy Giombolini – South Willamette Chapter Coordinator
A transplant from sunny New Mexico, Katy Giombolini has spent the last 7 years in Oregon. She came to Oregon to attend Willamette University where she began researching local food in the Willamette Valley and helped start the student run farm.
Since then, she has followed her passion for food and strived to experience different aspects of our food system by apprenticing on a farm in Maine, working with farmers’ markets to increase access for low income consumers to local food, and most recently working at the Berggren Demonstration Farm near Springfield, Oregon.
In her spare time, Katy can be found making messes in the kitchen, racing bikes, and learning new things.
Matt Gordon – Portland Chapter Coordinator
Originally from Eugene, Oregon, Matt grew up helping his parents in the vegetable garden and has always had an affinity for soil. After a four-year stint at Oberlin College in Ohio for an Environmental Studies degree, Matt returned to the familiar Willamette Valley but this time at its north end in Portland. He worked as a garden and environmental educator for many local organizations including Growing Gardens and Tryon Life Community Farm. In 2008 Matt shifted focus and devoted his time to organic annual vegetable production, working with Meriwether’s Restaurant on their Skyline Farm and then on his own farm business: the urban CSA Cully Neighborhood Farm. Matt loves discovering delicious and vigorous vegetable varieties and sharing them with excited eaters. He is a member of the Portland Area CSA Coalition and the budding urban farm community in the Cully neighborhood of NE Portland.
Matt is excited to join his love of farming with his love of hands-on education to help Rogue Farm Corps expand in the Portland area. Matt lives in Portland with his wife, daughter, and small chicken flock. He enjoys playing African music on guitar, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and getting out of the city.
Jessi Suleiman – Central Oregon Chapter Coordinator
Jessi was born in Asheville, NC, and raised on collard greens and black-eyed peas from her mother and neighbors’ enviable gardens. At twelve years old she moved to Colorado with her family. There she discovered a passion for the mountains, snow, rocks, dirt and anything related to being outside covered in earth.
Jessi graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in International Affairs and Spanish. Her love for discovery and foreign cultures has led her all over the world to experience life in many different countries. Since then, her pride in her own homeland has grown tremendously, and with it her desire to weave herself tightly into her own community.
Jessi has worked on a wide variety of farms, from lavender to lettuce, and with each one her love of growing and eating good food has developed into a passion. Often she is found volunteering for Central Oregon Locavore, working on one of the many local farms, or wrist deep in the soil of her own quickly growing backyard garden.
Jessi and her partner, James, have chosen Oregon for its wide ranging natural beauty and scrumptious, inspired food to begin their family. Their two-year old, Cerridwen, already knows when it’s time to plant seeds in their backyard garden.
Duane Martinez – Graphics and Outreach Assistant
Duane is from the high-mountain desert of the San Luis Valley in rural, southern Colorado. He moved to the West Coast in 2006 after years of developing intentional communities in the Denver/Boulder area. He holds a degree in Urban Planning from the University of Colorado-Boulder.
Duane is an activist, artist, and lover of life. He currently lives San Francisco, though maintains strong ties to his community in the Rogue Valley. He lived in Ashland until 2011, volunteering on working farms in the valley and for organizations working on regional land-use and environmental conservation campaigns.
Duane puts his creative mind to work for RFC devloping graphics and outreach materials as well as offering general editorial support for the organization.
Sarah Vaile – Board Chair
A born and bred Midwesterner, Sarah moved to the Rogue Valley in 2008 and vows never to leave. She received her BA from Indiana University in Art History and English and her JD and an Environmental Law Certificate from Pace University School of Law.
Sarah is an associate attorney with the law firm of Robert W Good in Ashland. She is Board Chair of Rogue Farm Corps and is also on the board of Friends of Family Farmers. Sarah enjoys long-distance running, cooking and spending time with her two favorite men – husband, Joseph and son, Jack.
Erika Giesen – Secretary
Erika was born and raised in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, in and around Eugene. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Gender Studies from Lewis and Clark College, then she fled the clouds and rain of Portland for Tucson to earn a Master’s degree in Women’s Studies from the University of Arizona. Since Arizona turned out to be too dry, she returned to Oregon in 2001, but this time to the weather-perfect Rogue Valley.
Erika taught Sociology at Southern Oregon University and Rogue Community College until 2010 when she was hired full-time at RCC to teach Social Science. While her passion has been teaching about inequality and justice, in the past several years this interest has shifted to more directly be focused on environmental justice and sustainability. Her current favorite class to teach is Environment & Society. She learned how to garden from a student at SOU’s community garden and now tries her best to grow food in the Talent home she shares with her partner Danielle.
Jessica Klinke – Treasurer
Jessica grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and earned a degree in American Studies from UC Santa Cruz. Entering the non-profit sector directly out of college, Jessica joined the development department of Peninsula Open Space Trust, helping to create a $200 million capital campaign protecting coastal agricultural lands and open space. Needing a change of scenery, Jessica moved to North Carolina where she completed graduate work in Folklore at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
In 2008, she joined her partner Tucker in Portland, Oregon where they worked together on a myriad of cultural pursuits, including founding the cultural arts non-profit, PDX Bridge Festival. Weary from making the world a more beautiful place, they “retired” to Tucker’s family ranch in the Rogue Valley, where they work toward making the world a more delicious place by way of small goat dairy and apiary. Jessica works professionally as a bookkeeper, with a nod to her graduate degree by specializing in business services for creative and unconventional entrepreneurs. She joined RFC as Treasurer in 2012.
Jonathon Steiger – Member
Jonathan Steiger was born on a large, commercial dairy farm in Southern Wisconsin. After swearing off milking cows, he pursued careers in technical theater and dining room management, which gave him an appreciation of good food.
Jonathan ended up in Southern Oregon with his partner where they re-discovered farming. He interned through the Rogue Farm Corps at the Siskiyou Crest Goat Dairy, which put him back in the milking parlor and developed his cheese-making skills. Three years later, he is co-owner of By George Farm in the Little Applegate, producing eggs, specialty vegetables, and artisan dairy products. By next season, he will be taking on the role of farm mentor and hosting his first student intern.
Elizabeth Tobey – Member
Elizabeth grew up on a small farm outside of Portland, Oregon, where she was unschooled and spent her days learning and growing along with her family’s goats, chickens, ducks, vegetable gardens, and fruit trees. That child-led, curiosity-driven approach to education has continued to guide her. As she grew up and left home she followed her love of the land, food, people, and the ways in which they connect. She spent several years traveling to various parts of the world, volunteering through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, studying permaculture, farming, natural building, intentional community development, sustainable design, language and culture, writing, yoga, and dance.
During a visit to Ashland in 2011 she fell in love with the land and the community. She now works for Rogue Valley Farm to School as a Nutrition Educator, where she is grateful for the opportunity to connect children to the land and their food in a real, direct way.
Elizabeth participated in RFC in 2013, joining the cohort for the farm tours and classroom series. She lives in community on her own small farm, Squawking Hawk Acres, which she is busy developing as a permaculture and homesteading demonstration site, community gathering space, and venue for creative and educational events.
South Willamette Valley Steering Committee Members
Dave Johnson — NEDCO (Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation
Jared Pruch — Cascade Pacific RC&D
John Karlik — Good Food Easy Farm
Kris Woolhouse — Ruby and Amber’s Organic Oasis
Maggie Matoba — Healing Harvest and Lane Community College Small Business Development Center
Marjory Hamann — Elkton Community Education Center
Melissa Fery — OSU Extension
Portland Metro Area Steering Committee Members
Nellie McAdams – Friends of Family Farmers
Sara Cogan – Zenger Farm
Anne Berblinger – Gales Meadow Farm
Laura Masterson – 47th Avenue Farm
Rowan Steele – Headwaters Incubator Farm
Mike Guebert – Terra Farma
Central Oregon Area Steering Committee Members
Sarahlee Lawrence – Rainshadow Organics
Jim Fields – Fields Farm
Katrina Van Dis – Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council
Elizabeth Weigand – Agricultural Connections
Tamara Geiger – Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council