OEFFA Award Winners

The following award winners have all played a vital role in advancing sustainable agriculture in Ohio.

Nominate your favorite sustainable agriculture leader for an OEFFA Stewardship, Beginning Farmer, or Service Award! Nominations are due January 1, 2025.

2024 Stewardship Award

Crossing three generations and more than 50 years, the Brandt Family Farm has led the way in diverse grain production and soil conservation. David Brandt operated the farm for many of those years, serving as a conservation mentor and global leader in no-till, cover crops, soil health, and regenerative farming. David served as an example of the viability of sustainable agriculture, speaking at a number of events and hosting farm tours before his passing in May 2023.

David’s son and daughter-in-law, Jay and Ann, and their children, Christopher, Isaac, and Therese, help on the farm and to run the cover crop seed business, Walnut Creek Seeds, and contribute to the maintenance and growth of the diversified family business, serving as an integral part of continuing to promote land and soil stewardship.

2024 Service Award

In 2004, Tom Redfern joined Rural Action, a community development organization promoting sustainable development and revitalization in Appalachian Ohio. Now, as their senior director of sustainable agriculture and forestry, he has helped grow and build the Rural Action sustainable agriculture program.

With his Rural Action team, Tom identified farmer-informed educational and infrastructure needs that led to the purchase of the Chesterhill Produce Auction, a place for growers to sell wholesale to businesses in the region. Tom was also instrumental in the creation of Country Fresh Stops, a branding and distribution program for food apartheid remediation, and farm to school programming. And he has led the development of several toolkits with producer knowledge and needs, intended to increase the production and sales of local foods.

2024 Beginning Farmer Award

Kim Bayer started Slow Farm in her hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2016. The land was originally in conventional corn and soybeans before Kim restored wetlands and more than 100 acres of native prairie in her first year of ownership.

Using Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and u-pick marketing strategies, Slow Farm encourages people to experience how food grows, with hands-on agroecology and nutrition education. Kim prioritizes paying a living wage to staff, and maximizing the accessibility of their food through a self-serve farmstand and offering SNAP/EBT benefits to community members. Kim has also shown leadership in the organic community, visiting Washington D.C. to speak with elected representatives and providing oral comments to the National Organic Standards Board.

2023 Stewardship Award

Almost 30 years ago, Jeff Dean transitioned his family’s 900-acre conventional farm in Bellevue, Ohio, to organic, a novel method at the time. To learn the logistics of being organic, Jeff talked to fellow farmers and attended farm tours, including those coordinated by OEFFA. He joined OEFFA in 1991 and became certified organic in 1993.

Now, Timberlane Farms grows mostly corn, soybeans, wheat, and clover. They host farm tours and are active members of OEFFA’s Grain Growers Chapter, a group of which Jeff is a charter member. Jeff has also been an active advocate representing Ohio and all grain farmers at the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), urging strong organic standards and robust enforcement.

2023 Service Award

When Stratford Ecological Center in Delaware, Ohio, was founded in 1990, their first hire was Jeff Dickinson. He was studying for his Ph.D. at The Ohio State University then, and started to work part time at the nonprofit educational farm and nature preserve. When he completed his degree, he was hired as Stratford’s director and has been on staff ever since.

More than 30 years later, Stratford is a popular destination for thousands of school children and adults alike to learn about the natural world. Through Dickinson’s direction, the educational programs have continuously grown in quality, and now a professional team of staff, interns, and volunteers make the nonprofit run year round.

2023 Policy Leader of the Year

A third-generation farmer, Scott Myers operates Woodlyn Acres Farm, a 2,000-acre farm in Dalton, Ohio. He started farming full time with his father, Fred, in 2001, and has since grown Woodlyn Acres into a diverse farm with organic hay, oats, cereal rye, canola, corn, sunflowers, and more.

Myers is active in the Ohio Soil Health Initiative, as well as many foundational OEFFA programs, such as the Grain Growers Chapter, the 2023 Farm Bill climate working group, and the crop insurance working group. He has informed OEFFA’s comments to the NOSB, and educated NOSB members informally from a farmer’s perspective. In 2023, Myers was elected to the policy committee on the Organic Farmers Association. He has visited Washington D.C., voicing farm bill priorities in meetings with legislators.

2022 Stewardship Award

Since 1985, Dean McIlvaine has operated Twin Parks Organic Farm, a 1,200-acre farm in West Salem, Ohio. When he took over the conventionally farmed land from his father, he began transitioning it to organic, a newly emerging trend at the time. Twin Parks was certified organic by OEFFA in 1988. McIlvaine first grew food-grade soybeans for tofu by Eden Foods, then spelt for Purity Foods, now cultivating a rotation of corn, rye, soybeans, and hay, as well as livestock. He markets his organic products widely, including with Western Reserve Distillers, a certified organic distillery outside Cleveland.

A longtime advocate for sustainable agriculture, McIlvaine has frequently championed farm policy with OEFFA. He has served on the Organic Farming Research Foundation and OEFFA boards, and is a member of OEFFA’s Grain Growers Chapter and the Ohio Farmers Union.  

2022 Service Award

Louise Warner of Pickaway County is a retired physician and anesthesiologist, as well as a farmer and educator. Inspired by an educational farm her late daughter Gale had worked on, she and her late husband, Jack Warner, started Stratford Ecological Center in Delaware County in 1990. The nonprofit hosts almost 16,000 visitors each year through camps, a farm school, community events, and adult programming. A pin oak tree that OEFFA planted at Stratford in 1993 in memory of Gale is a focal point and gathering place for many of the groups who visit. 

Warner is also a founding board member of the Ohio Forage and Grassland Council, Innovative Farmers of Ohio, and the Appalachia Ohio Alliance. She and Jack established the Warner Endowment Fund at Ohio State University to support many on-farm research projects in sustainable agriculture. 

2021 Stewardship Award

Jan Dawson and Andy Reinhart of Jandy’s Farm in Bellefontaine, Ohio have been farming together on a small portion of their 40-acre wooded property since 1988. They are founding vendors of the Logan County Farmers Market, which they’ve attended since 1997. They grow a wide-range of flowers and produce, including lettuce and onions, and are known for their annual on-farm garlic festival featuring 12 varieties of garlic, music, and other vendors. Dawson and Reinhart are long-time OEFFA members and during an OEFFA farm tour, met the late writer Gene Logsdon and his wife, Carol, who became mentors and friends. Dawson and Reinhart have hosted farm tours and led workshops at OEFFA’s annual conference.

2021 Service Award

Steve Edwards of Lebanon, Ohio is a long-time OEFFA leader and member, president of OEFFA’s Board of Trustees, and president of OEFFA’s Southwest Chapter. He represented the chapter for 16 years on OEFFA’s board, and has formerly served as treasurer and secretary. He helped to form OEFFA’s regional and issue-based chapters. He started working on a grain and hog farm when he was 12 and has been involved in crop and livestock production ever since. He has worked for many southwest Ohio educational and organic farms, including Turner Farm, Gorman Heritage Farm, Grailville Earthshares CSA, Greenacres Farm, Locust Run Farm, and Peach Mountain Organics. Today, he is a farm mentor at Our Harvest, a Cincinnati-based sustainable farming cooperative. Edwards remains active in OEFFA, helping to shape and strengthen the organization.

2020 Stewardship Award

A life-long Logan County resident, David Bell started a farming business with his brother Kevin in 1968, and has owned and operated Paul Bell & Sons, a 450 acre organic farm near Bellefontaine, Ohio with his brother since 1972. He raises organic corn, beans, wheat, hay, oats, spelt, and beef. He started using organic practices in 1978 and has been certified organic since 1988, making him one of Ohio’s earliest organic farmers. He is Vice President of OEFFA’s Board of Trustees, an OEFFA member involved since the organization’s earliest days, a regular OEFFA conference workshop presenter, and active in OEFFA’s Grain Growers Chapter. Prior to the creation of the National Organic Program and OEFFA certification staff positions, Bell served on OEFFA’s certification committee, reviewing applications and providing critical leadership. He also previously served as president of the Ohio chapter of the Organic Crop Improvement Association, prior to the creation of OEFFA’s Grain Growers Chapter.

Watch the video of David Bell’s award presentation and acceptance.

2020 Service Award

Alan Sundermeier is a Wood County Extension Educator and Program Leader in The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, based in Bowling Green, Ohio. He specializes in sustainable agriculture, including cover crops, soil quality, organic grain production, and tillage. He has provided strong support for organic agriculture within OSU and has worked closely with organic farmers throughout his career. He regularly attends and presents at OEFFA’s annual conference, offers trainings for organic farmers, and is active with OEFFA’s Grain Growers Chapter. He has conducted extensive research on the certified organic land at the John Hirzel Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems Research Agriculture Incubator Foundation in northwest Ohio. He is a certified crop advisor with the American Society of Agronomy, a former co-coordinator for Ohio’s SARE program, and a contributor to the Sentinel-Tribune, Farms.com, Ohio’s Country Journal, Ohio Ag Net, Corn and Soybean Digest, Ag Fax, and No-Till Farmer.

Watch the video of Alan Sundermeier’s award presentation and acceptance.

2019 Stewardship Award

Guy and Sandy Ashmore are co-farmers and owners of That Guy’s Family Farm, a certified organic 48-acre farm in southwest Ohio. They started farming in 1978 using conventional practices and raising confinement hogs. In 1988 they joined OEFFA, describing it as a “turning point in our farming practices and ultimately our lives.” Their first acres were certified organic in 1998. By 2005, their entire farm was certified organic. The Ashmores have inspired a love of farming in their children Maggie, Nellie, and Conard. Nellie manages her own business on the farm, That Girl’s Flowers, and Conard is a partner in the produce operation. Their oldest daughter, Maggie, and her husband farm in eastern Kentucky at Old Homeplace Farm. The Ashmores have also helped to train the next generation of farmers. They’ve hired apprentices since 2011 and recently started hosting apprentices through OEFFA’s Begin Farming program. They have held OEFFA farm tours, led OEFFA conference workshops, and are active members in their OEFFA chapter. They received the Snail of Approval from Slow Food Cincinnati in 2018, were elected to Dorothy Lane Market’s Vendor Honor Roll, and have been featured in Edible Ohio Valley, Ohio Farmer, and Rural Life Today.

2019 Service Award

Mike Hogan is a Franklin County Extension Educator and Associate Professor in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State University, specializing in urban agriculture, local foods, sustainable agriculture, small farm management, marketing, and food safety. He has spent his 32-year career working with sustainable, alternative, organic, and small-scale farmers. For the past several years, he has focused on increasing urban food production and food access in Columbus. As Co-Coordinator for the Ohio U.S. Department of Agriculture Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program for the past 21 years, he has helped train agricultural professionals in sustainable practices, disseminated SARE research and project results, and promoted the availability of SARE resources. For more than a decade, Hogan has partnered with OEFFA on the Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series, and has offered regular workshops as part of the organization’s annual conference.

2018 Stewardship Award

Larry and Cynthia Ringer founded Ohio Earth Food in 1972 with Cynthia’s family, in the midst of the chemical agriculture boom. At the time, they were working on the vegetable farm of Cynthia’s dad and early organic farmer, Glenn Graber. After observing the benefits of kelp and concerned about the effects of conventional farming on the environment and human health, they realized there could be an emergent market for organic fertilizers, and started selling kelp products and rock phosphate. Larry and Cynthia started the company on the Graber farm in Hartville, where they’ve lived for more than 70 years. Today, Ohio Earth Food has expanded to sell custom fertilizer blends, feed supplements, natural pesticides, potting soils, and other products to customers throughout the U.S. They retired in 2010, but remain involved in the business as consultants. They have been active in OEFFA since its beginning. Larry served seven years on the OEFFA certification committee and has taught conference workshops, and Ohio Earth Food has been a fixture at every OEFFA conference trade show for nearly 40 years.

2018 Service Award

Sean McGovern has been the National Outreach Manager at the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program since 2004. There, he helps to educate farmers and agricultural professionals about the results of SARE-funded farmer-led research projects; develop educational partnerships between organizations, educators, and producers; evaluate the impact of programs, and develop and improve SARE communications and database tools. Sean has worked at OEFFA since 1994, continuing as an OEFFA employee in his capacity with SARE. He was first hired by OEFFA as a part-time secretary, about a year after graduating from Ohio State University. As OEFFA grew, Sean’s title shifted to Executive Administrator and eventually to Executive Director. He worked to develop productive partnerships with Ohio State University Extension and advocated for the creation of a new Organic Food and Farming Education and Research (OFFER) program, leading to the first organic production research at OSU. He focused on providing affordable educational programs that OEFFA’s members wanted, growing the membership base, and putting administrative systems in place that facilitated future growth.

2018 Food and Farm Champion Award

Senator Sherrod Brown has been committed to sustainable agriculture and a leader in making positive investments in local food systems, community economic development, and public health. Senator Brown has consistently supported investments in local and regional food systems that contribute to farmer viability, create jobs, and improve public health. Through his introduction of the Local Food and Regional Market Supply (FARMS) Act (S. 1947), we can fully develop the policies and programs that spur economic development in communities in Ohio and throughout the nation. Senator Brown’s farm bill advocacy efforts have supported more than 90 food system projects and resulted in more than $7 million dollars in investments in Ohio’s communities. He serves on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, where he has been instrumental in strengthening the farm safety net and addressing childhood hunger.

2017 Stewardship Award

For 25 years, Mike Anderson of Delaware County has given his time and energy to Ohio’s organic farming community. He began his farming career at the Ohio State University demonstration farm, then housed at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, before managing vegetable production and field research for five years at the Stratford Ecological Center in Delaware. In 2001, he started Sundog Specialty Crops in Sunbury, a certified organic farm specializing in produce and cut flowers. Today, Anderson co-manages Whitebarn Organics, a certified organic farm in New Albany. Throughout his entire career, Anderson has generously shared his time and expertise with other growers and with OEFFA. He served on OEFFA’s Board of Trustees in the 1990s, coordinating procurement of local food for the annual conference and planning farmer training workshops. Later, he served on the board of directors for the Pearl Alley Growers Association, on the administrative council of the NCR-SARE program, and on OEFFA’s staff as a Sustainable Agriculture Educator, helping organic and transitional farmers with their certification, production, and marketing questions. Anderson has hosted numerous farm tours and has led many workshops at the OEFFA conference and other events to share what he knows with other farmers and grow Ohio’s sustainable agriculture community.

2017 Service Award

Holly Harman Fackler, a Fairfield County native who lived for 30 years in Richland County, was an important influence and leader in the early days of OEFFA, acting as the organization’s first paid newsletter editor and employee. During the late 1980s and 1990s, she stepped up to do some of the heavy lifting required to build the then-fledgling organization into the state-wide, 4,325 member educational network it is today. For several years, Harman Fackler’s home in Plymouth, Ohio, was OEFFA’s office and her phone was OEFFA’s phone. She wrote, edited, designed, and distributed OEFFA’s newsletter, labeling and bundling newsletters at the dining room table, often with a young one on her knee.  In addition to her work on the newsletter, she built OEFFA’s first electronic membership database from paper files kept on index cards, responded to phone and mail inquiries, and networked with other OEFFA leaders. She served several terms on OEFFA’s Board of Trustees, helped organize OEFFA’s educational events, and took an active role in planning and preparing conference meals that reflected the values of the organization. Harman Fackler worked as a reporter, blogger, editor and online editor, retiring in 2015 from Media Network of Central Ohio. Now she works, gardens, and volunteers in her hometown of Baltimore, Ohio.

2017 Food and Farm Champion Award

Alex Dragovich of Mud Run Farm in Stark County has been a strong and guiding presence in OEFFA’s policy work since the program was formed in 2011, serving actively on OEFFA’s grassroots policy work groups and often speaking with the media and decision-makers about the impacts of fracking, climate change, food safety regulations, and genetic engineering on farmers. As a member of the fracking work group, which is focused on protecting farmers and our food system from the negative impacts of the oil and gas industry, Dragovich was literally the face of the issue when he agreed to work with a partner organization in representing farmers on a fracking billboard in southeast Ohio. He has experienced the issue first-hand; he has been approached by several companies with fracking lease offers, but has refused to sign a lease. As a member of OEFFA’s genetic engineering (GE) work group, which works to secure clear and transparent labeling for GE foods and protect farmers from GE contamination, he organized and hosted a showing and discussion of the documentary, GMO OMG, and made calls to Senate candidates about their stance on GE labeling. Since 1980, he has owned and operated Mud Run Farm, where he raises free-range chickens and eggs and  grows vegetables, fruit, and small grains for local markets. His farm is powered mostly by horses, in part because he is concerned about climate change and wants to reduce his carbon emissions.

2016 Stewardship Award

A pioneer in the organic movement, Jim Croghan was one of Ohio’s first certified organic farmers. At Croghan’s Organic Farm, Jim and his wife Joyce produced organic corn, beans, spelt, hay, and other grains for domestic and international markets. He retired in 2009 after more than three decades of farming, but continues to garden and maintain an orchard. His quiet, behind-the-scenes leadership within OEFFA led to the creation of what is today the organization’s Grain Growers Chapter, which remains very active. Before the National Organic Program was established—which set federal standards for organic certification—Jim also served on OEFFA’s board and certification committee, including a term as chairman, helping to shape OEFFA’s organic standards. A steward of both the organization and his land, Jim has kept his farm in continuous organic production since the late 1980s. In 2010, organic farmer and OEFFA Little Miami Chapter president Jeff Harris began farming the land, growing organic alfalfa, yellow corn, soybeans, wheat, red clover, triticale, and rye.

2016 Service Award

Sylvia Upp operated the OEFFA Certification program from 1991 until 2007, joined by her husband Steve Sears in 2003. Together, they managed the complex and challenging transition from the standards and processes developed by OEFFA’s grassroots certification program to federal oversight once the National Organic Program became effective in 2002. Their home and farm in West Salem, Ohio served as the headquarters for OEFFA’s Certification program, until it moved to a Columbus office in 2007. Prior to his certification role, Steve served on OEFFA’s board for many years, during a time when the organization was largely volunteer-run. During this time, Steve also operated a business called Ohio Farm Direct, one of the state’s first wholesale distribution services that delivered products from farms to consumers.

2015 Stewardship Award

In 1992, Bill Dix and Stacy Hall started Big Rumen Farm, a 300-acre pasture-based dairy farm in Athens County with a small herd of Jersey heifers and a milking parlor. Bill and Stacy also purchased a second farm outside of Albany, called The Brick Dairy Farm, named for its red, clay soil which had been degraded after years of conventional production. By focusing on grazing rather than confinement, the couple has been able to build top soil and make the land productive. Smart business people committed to creating change in their local community and in the dairy industry, they worked with Warren and Victoria Taylor to create Snowville Creamery in 2007, a small-scale dairy processing plant located on The Brick Dairy Farm. Fresh, grass-fed milk from Bill and Stacy’s 250 cross-bred dairy cows is minimally processed and packaged on-site. Today, Snowville’s milk, yogurt, and other products are available in more than 125 retail locations.

2015 Service Award

Long-time OEFFA member John Sowder of Columbus served on OEFFA’s Board of Trustees from 1992 to 2015, including many terms as Treasurer. John helped to grow OEFFA, develop new administrative systems, and provided dependability and financial guidance during lean years in the organization’s history. He regularly lends his catering and event management skills to OEFFA, helping to organize farm-to-table events and OEFFA’s conference meals, which are locally sourced and made from scratch. He can be found each year in the kitchen at the OEFFA conference, where he helps to serve more than 2,000 meals to attendees. He has also helped encourage his peers within Ohio’s catering and food industry to serve more local food from Ohio producers.

2014 Stewardship Award

Kip and Becky Rondy own and operate Green Edge Organic Gardens, a 120-acre certified organic farm in Amesville, Ohio. Migrogreens, salad mix, mushrooms, greens, and other produce are grown year-round using 10 high tunnels and sold at the Athens Farmers Market, two summer and winter community supported agriculture programs which serve more than 400 families, and at stores and restaurants in Athens and Columbus. The farm, primarily tended by hand, employs 13 people, in addition to interns. One of Ohio’s most successful year-round farms, Green Edge Organic Gardens has partnered with Rural Action to provide workshops on high tunnel operation and with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Ohio University to develop designs for internal covering and venting systems in high tunnels.

2014 Service Award

Ed Perkins owns and operates Sassafras Farm in New Marshfield with his wife, Amy Abercrombie. They grow chemical-free vegetables, herbs, and berries on two acres, which are sold year-round at the Athens Farmers Market. A graduate of Ohio University with a master’s in botany, Perkins purchased his farm more than 40 years ago and has been an integral part of the Athens local foods community ever since. His regular Our Home column in The Athens Messenger has helped educate thousands about environmental issues. As one of OEFFA’s most long-standing and active chapter presidents, Perkins hosted and organized local farm tours, potluck meals, and other chapter activities, helping to establish a strong link between OEFFA and the vibrant Athens local food movement.

2013 Stewardship Award

Mardy Townsend raises grass-fed beef cattle at Marshy Meadows Farm in Ashtabula County, near Windsor, Ohio. Marshy Meadow Farm’s land has been certified organic through OEFFA since 1996 and the beef herd is in transition to organic. Townsend graduated from Wilmington College in 1978 with a degree in animal science and biology and received a master’s degree in agronomy from Ohio State University in 1997. She was a horticulture agent at the OSU Extension Geauga County office from 1994 to 1996. Townsend has served on the OEFFA Board, along with two stints on the North Central-Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program Technical Review Committee. She is a founding member of OEFFA’s Lake Effect Chapter and has hosted several OEFFA farm tours.

2013 Service Award

Rev. Charles Frye served on the OEFFA board for more than 30 years and has held both the president and vice president offices. Frye is a retired United Methodist Church pastor who served local churches for 37 years. Frye began his involvement with OEFFA after spending seven years of his ministry life involved with the Rural-Urban Gardening Project, creating community gardens by encouraging collaborations between diverse communities. He and his wife, Rev. Nancy Hull live on 40 acres in Ashland County, which includes a garden and 40 heirloom fruit trees, blueberries, and asparagus plants. Frye and his wife are the parents of a blended family with nine living children and fourteen grandchildren. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Kent State University in 1955 and  a master’s in theological studies from Perkins School of Theology in 1958.

2012 Stewardship Award

Cropped Seibert_Garcia_OEFFA_2012_Credit_George_Remmington

Doug Seibert and Leslie Garcia of Greene County have farmed organically at Peach Mountain Organics since 1992, growing certified organic mixed vegetables, microgreens, fresh-cut flowers, mushrooms, hay, and greenhouse plants. They sell their products at the Yellow Springs Farmers’ Market, local restaurants, and grocery and health food stores. Peach Mountain Organics has two farm sites and one half acre greenhouse location in Spring Valley, Ohio. Altogether, the operation is 43 acres, more than 25 of which are certified organic. Doug and Leslie have helped organize group seed and potato orders for other farmers and grown organic bedding plants for other growers, hosted farm tours, presented OEFFA conference workshops, and were involved in the creation of both OEFFA and the Federation of Ohio River Cooperatives.

2011 Stewardship Award

Deb Stinner cropped

Dr. Deborah Stinner is a retired research scientist and administrative coordinator for the Organic Food and Farming Education and Research (OFFER) program at The Ohio State University’s Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster, Ohio.  Stinner’s research specialty is organic farming systems, with a focus on specialty small grains for artisan bread and pasta products. She helped found the OFFER program in 1998 to provide science-based information to Ohio’s organic farmers. Today, OFFER is internationally recognized as a leader in organic farming research and maintains 50 acres of certified research land and 20 organic field experiments.

ed snavely cropped

Ed Snavely owns and operates Curly Tail Organic Farm, a 114 acre farm in Fredericktown, Ohio. One of Ohio’s longest continuously certified farms, Snavely has been certified organic since 1989 and raises pastured pork and feed for livestock. Snavely has been a member of OEFFA since 1989 and currently serves on the Board of Directors as the Grain Growers Chapter Representative. He has served as President of the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) Ohio Chapter, and also as a former board member of OCIA. Snavely has hosted numerous farm tours; spoken as a featured presenter at OEFFA, OCIA, and American Livestock  Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) meetings; and has been an honored delegate at the first and second Slow Food Terra Madre conferences in Italy.

2010 Stewardship Award

Mike Laughlin cropped low res

Mike Laughlin and his family operate Northridge Organic Farm, a 20-acre certified organic farm, producing a variety of seasonal produce, specializing in heirloom tomatoes and Tunis sheep. Laughlin has been a part of OEFFA since the 1980s. He served as the certification committee chair for three years and helped write OEFFA’s first standards for organic certification. Laughlin founded OEFFA’s Heart of Ohio Chapter, and served as the chapter’s president twice. From 2005 to 2009, Laughlin served as President of OEFFA’s Board of Directors. Today, he serves on OEFFA’s Board as an At-Large Representative.

2009 Stewardship Award

rich tomsu cropped

Rich Tomsu, with wife Ann Fugate, own and operate Rich Gardens Organic Farm. Certified organic since 1989, Tomsu raises a variety of vegetables, including garlic, using biointensive farming practices. He has been a vendor at the Athens Farmers Market since the 1980s and has been instrumental to its growth. In 2002, Tomsu received the Ohio Small Farmer Award from the Athens Soil and Water Conservation District for the conservation practices on his farm.

2008 Stewardship Award

gregg cropped

Stan Gregg’s agricultural heritage stems from deep roots in Knox County where he and his wife Wilma are the sixth consecutive generation to steward the family plot.  With the exception of three years during service in WWII as a Air Corps pilot, he spent his entire life on Gregg Road tending to diversified crop and livestock operations. Building and incorporating organic matter into the soil, and implementing corn, hay, soybean and small grain rotations with grazing lots for livestock, Gregg became certified organic in 1985. Gregg passed the farm to his son, Randy and wife Nancy, who maintain organic certification on one of Ohio’s first certified organic farms.

2007 Stewardship Award

Molly Bartlett cropped

Molly Bartlett, and husband Ted, owned Silver Creek Farm, which was first certified organic in 1989. On this 75-acre farm, the Bartletts raised vegetables, blueberries, mushrooms, sheep, and poultry. Farm products were sold to restaurants and grocers, at farmers markets, and through a CSA Bartlett started in 1991. In 2007, the Bartletts retired to Florida and sold their farm to the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, ensuring the land will continue to be farmed sustainably. Bartlett has served as OEFFA’s board president, helped create the OSU Sustainable Agriculture Team, and served on the advisory committee of USDA SARE’s Sustainable Agriculture Network.

Mick Luber cropped

Mick Luber of Bluebird Farm raises certified organic vegetables and flowers, specializing in lettuces and garlic. A long-time member of OEFFA, Luber served on OEFFA’s first Board of Directors and as President for two years. He purchased OEFFA’s first computer and published the organization’s first newsletter. He also helped write OEFFA’s first set of organic standards, years before state or federal standards were established. Luber continues to serve as an organic farm inspector.

2006 Stewardship Award

new harv roehling cropped

Harv and Pat Roehling have raised certified organic vegetables on Locust Run Farm since 1987. The Roehlings have been actively involved in OEFFA for more than 20 years. During that time, Harv has served on OEFFA’s Board of Directors as Treasurer, President, and Vice President and Pat served as Secretary. The Roehlings were instrumental in forming OEFFA’s Miami/Oxford Organic Network (MOON) Chapter and Harv continues to serve as the chapter’s president. The Roehlings have led workshops at OEFFA’s conference and hosted farm tours. Additionally, the Roehlings were instrumental in forming the OSU Sustainable Agriculture Team, developing the Center for Small Farms at the Farm Science Review, and served as part of the farmer advisory group for the OFFER program at OSU.  Pat Roehling passed away in 2008.

2005 Stewardship Award

rex spray cropped

Rex Spray was Ohio’s first certified organic farmer, and an early pioneer for sustainable agriculture, inspiring a whole movement of organic farmers in Ohio. Spray grew certified organic soybeans, corn, wheat, hay, and beef cattle on 680 acres. He also built a bean cleaner and grain cleaner, to prepare and bag beans for tofu, adding to the farm’s profitability. A tireless innovator and one of Ohio’s greatest examples of profitable, sustainable farmers, Rex Spray received the NCR-SARE 2006 Patrick Madden Award. He passed away in December 2011.

2001 Stewardship Award

Organic and Non-GMO cleaning Facility at 20790 Bradner Rd.

John Hirzel was a firm believer in organic and sustainable cropping systems. He was president of Hirzel Farms, part of Hirzel Canning Company and Farms, from 1963 until his death in 2000. Hirzel began doing organic trials in 1978 and in 1982 he certified 450 acres of the farm. His organic farming grew to 820 acres in 1996, pioneering large-scale organic vegetable production in the state. He was one of the founding farmer advisors of OFFER and an important early supporter of the Agroecosystems Management Program (AMP)

Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
41 Croswell Rd.
Columbus OH 43214


OEFFA:(614) 421-2022 (614) 421-2022
OEFFA Certification:(614) 262-2022 (614) 262-2022