2021 Speakers

Seth Bahler is the CEO of Oakridge Dairy, LLC and founder of The Modern Milkman in Ellington, CT. He is a fifth generation dairy farmer managing 3,000 acres of crops to feed their 2,700 milking cows. In 2019, he started The Modern Milkman, a weekly subscription-based box service, with a vision of building a better future for families by delivering safe and healthy food. Today, they serve 3,000 customers in 15 towns and have expanded their offerings by partnering with more than one dozen local vendors to connect farmers with their communities and communities with fresh, local products.

Stacy Brenner, Stacy got her start in her mother’s garden in New Jersey but after earning a BS in Agriculture from the University of Arizona, she realized that it was a special kind of farming she was interested in. Stacy operates Broadturn Farm in Scarborough, Maine specializing in farm-grown and gathered wedding floral design. Broadturn also offers a wedding venue, organic seed garlic, a seasonal flower CSAs, and sells cut flowers wholesale and retail. Stacy serves as board president of MOFGA and is on the board of Maine Farmland Trust as part of her commitment to small scale local agriculture. She is also a nurse midwife and is passionate about women’s health and reproductive rights. Stacy is in her first term as a Maine State Senator and is the Senate Chairwoman of the Joint Standing Committee for Environment and Natural Resources. as well as a committee member on the Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee. 

Aaron Buckley of Buckley Farms, is a fourth generation farmer in Leeds, Maine. A former conventional dairy farm, they have transitioned to become a 100% grass-fed beef farm implementing regenerative agricultural techniques. They strive for quality beef products through building a healthy ecosystem that feeds their cattle and nourishes customers.


Andre Cantelmo is the co-owner of Heron Pond Farm, So. Hampton, NH.  He is a graduate of Rutgers University (BS Natural Resource Management and Applied Ecology).  In 1998 he established Heron Pond Farm which has more than 60 acres of mixed vegetable production and sells through a CSA and farmers’ markets. In 2014, Andre founded the Three River Farmers Alliance, a local distribution network that now represents over 70 producers. Wholesale markets were lost due to COVID-19, restaurant closures and restrictions, but the Alliance made a timely shift to an online ordering and home delivery model that has more than compensated for the wholesale losses.

Allie Catlin is co-owner of Smith’s Country Cheese and Catlin Farmstead in Winchendon, MA.  Allie and her family purchased this working dairy farm and creamery from the Smith Family in 2016 with no prior dairy or cheesemaking experience, and they haven’t looked back since. Every day brings a new learning experience and appreciation for the family agricultural industry. Smith’s Country Cheese handcrafts Gouda, Cheddar, and Havarti cheeses using the raw milk from its family dairy farm at the same location. Catlin Farmstead is a 200-head dairy farm also known for its Otter River Black Gold Compost.

Amanda Kinchla, Associate Professor, UMASS Extension, Amherst, MA, supports development research from concept to commercialization to address technical challenges and deliver against product/business needs from farm to fork.  She is part of a team that identifies and provides educational outreach opportunities and creates educational programs that address Food Science needs through short courses, on-line training, and other outreach venues. ​




Matt Kushi, a first generation farmer, is the owner of Kushi Farm/North Hadley Chili Pepper Company.  Located in North Hadley, MA, these are complementary businesses that serve to operate as small, multi-functional agricultural operations focused on providing both agricultural goods and agricultural services to the consumer. Formed in 2011, formalized in 2014 and created in honor of the original Kushi Farm that operated from 1907-1961, the goods and services offered include vegetable and resource crops with a specialty in hot peppers/hot pepper products (including Hot Pepper Jelly), private research for innovative growing systems and development for interactive agricultural education exhibits.  Matt also works at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts as an Academic Matters Coordinator. Matt earned his B.S. in Sport Management and History from UMass-Amherst in 2010 along with a Masters of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) degree in 2013. He is currently enrolled in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at UMass. Matt has presented at local educational workshops and as a panelist discussing hot pepper production and value-added product development at the New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference in 2019. Matt is also a Farm Bureau member and delegate as well as the Chair of the Hadley Agricultural Commission.

Christopher Laughton is the Director of Knowledge Exchange at Farm Credit East.  In his role there he is responsible for research and analysis of Northeast agriculture. He writes frequently about the junction between agricultural production, economics, and policy. He conducts outreach to the diverse agricultural communities of the region, and oversees Farm Credit East’s customer education programs, including benchmarking, webinars, and live events. He holds a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Cornell University, an MBA from the University of Massachusetts, and a master of science in applied and resource economics from the University of Connecticut. Chris grew up in Eastern Massachusetts, where he worked in his family’s greenhouse/nursery business before joining Farm Credit East. He also participates in the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer program which provides technical assistance and training to farmers in developing countries.

Maria Miranda, Maria Miranda, principal of the brand management firm, Miranda Creative, currently guiding Connecticut Grown through a rebranding process, has more than 30 years of experience in helping enterprises make the most of marketing regardless of external marketing influences.  part of the team behind Connecticut’s successful Wine Trail, Art Trail and passionate advocates for many regional farms, join Maria for a fast-paced presentation about finding effective outreach options when marketing feels, well… out of reach.


Bonita Oehlke, Market Development and Food Systems Planning, is a member of the Markets staff at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.  She coordinates value-added support for growers and food entrepreneurs looking to expand their regional, national and export markets. She also coordinates the Massachusetts Food Policy Council. Bonita has a BS from the University of Wisconsin in Food Science and Dietetics, an RD from the University of Virginia Medical Center, and an MS from Boston University.



Wendy Pieh, a recovering state politician, is the backbone of Springtide Farm, Bremen, Maine.  She runs the livestock operation, daily caring for the herd of North American Cashmere goats, Great Pyrenees dogs, two horses, Katahdin sheep, and barn cats.  While she gets lots of support during kidding and combing season, she insists on personally attending every birth. With help from her daughter, Springtide began selling fiber at fairs, designing patterns, and expanding the business. They have also found other growers of outstanding fiber to increase their inventory, and you can now buy the fiber online.


Forrest Pritchard is a seventh-generation farmer and a New York Times bestselling author, holding degrees in English and Geology from William & Mary. Upon returning from college in the mid 90s, he took over his family’s farm—primarily growing GMO corn and soybeans—hoping to make the land profitable for the first time in decades. Following another year on the edge of bankruptcy, he pivoted into direct-marketed grass-fed meat and eggs and opened a commercial kitchen. Today, Smith Meadows is one of the oldest “grass finished” operations in the country and sells at leading farmers’ markets in the Washington DC area. Pritchard’s books have been starred by NPR, The Washington Post, and Publishers’ Weekly.

Abby Sadauckas, is a farmer and agricultural service provider. She and her fiancé, Jake Galle met at Vermont College of the Fine Arts where Abby earned an MFA. Abby and Jake run Apple Creek Farm in Bowdoinham, Maine. The farm produces certified organic, grass-fed beef, goat and lamb, as well as certified organic eggs and poultry (broilers, geese and turkeys). They market their products year-round in nearby Brunswick at farmers’ markets. Abby is also a field agent for Land For Good.


Diane Souther and her husband, Chuck, established Apple Hill Farm in 1978. Initially, they planted a 30-acre apple orchard for wholesale markets, but quickly diversified both their product selection and marketing channels. They added Pick-Your-Own berries, a retail stand, and vegetable production. A commercial kitchen was added to the retail building to make jams and jellies, followed by a bakery to make fruit pies, and more. The farm stand and Pick-Your-Own are the main sales avenues, but they also sell at area farmers markets, as well as some wholesale.  Currently the farm produces 30 acres of apples, 10 acres of small fruit, and 20 acres of vegetables. The farm stand features their own products and the products of other local farms.


Chris White is a maple syrup producer with more than 32,000 taps in Underhill, VT, and the founder of Mount Mansfield Maple Products.  Mansfield Maple, based in Winooski, VT, is where the syrup is bottled and value-added maple products such as maple candy, cream, barrel-aged syrup, infused syrup, and maple-chocolate confections are produced, marketed, and distributed.  Mansfield Maple has products in over 500 retail stores across the USA, and products are also sold direct to consumers through an eCommerce site, as well as a variety of online marketplaces.  Chris splits his time between the sugarbush and processing facility and oversees sixteen employees between the two locations.