MEET THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
LAURA BIASILLO, CO-PRESIDENT
LAURA BIASILLO is an Agricultural Economic Development Speciailst with CCE-Broome County, in Binghamton NY. Laura has been in this position for 5 years, and in this position she focuses on increasing marketing channels for producers, creating education programs focuses on new skills and technologies and facilitation farmland protection and development initiatives with the county. She and her husband own ~5 acres, have a 9 month old son and raise chickens and a garden (when the chickens don't treat it like their personal buffet).
STEVE FEENEY, TREASURER
STEPHEN J. FEENEY is a professional planner with over 25 years of experience providing technical assistance to many communities on a variety of zoning and planning matters, environmental impact review, economic development, land preservation and development issues. A member of the American Institute of Certified Planners since 1993, Steve currently works for the Schenectady County Department of Economic Development and Planning and serves as the Town of Guilderland Planning Board Chairman. He received a Bachelor of Science degree (forest biology) from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, N.Y. and a Master of Public Administration (public finance) from the University at Albany, State University of New York, Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. He has been involved with farmers markets in Schenectady County for the past 10 years, helping to establish and expand the Schenectady Farmers Market in downtown Schenectady.
DEBBIE FORESTER is one of the founding members of the Schenectady Greenmarket and the chair of the Community Access Committee. She helped develop, and now manages, Roots and Wisdom, a youth agriculture and community service program of Cornell Cooperative Extension, Schenectady County. Debbie has a BS in forestry from SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry and a MS in forestry with a concentraion in social ecology from the University of Idaho. She has worked in community conservation and development in Guatemala, Tansania, Comores, and Oman as well as in the US. She and her husband raise vegetables, worms, bees, two dogs, one cat, and their two sons.
JOHN AMEROSO has been working in the fields of horticulture and agricultural production since 1964. He received a degree in Agronomy from the University of Georgia in 1968. From there he volunteered with International Voluntary Services and went on to study tropical agriculture at the University of Philippines. He then spent 4 years in South Vietnam working with agricultural projects involved in small scale vegetable and animal production, and established farmer’s buying cooperatives. In 1976 he piloted the Urban Gardening Program with Cornell University Cooperative Extension, and through his efforts successfully set the ground for Extension education in urban horticulture and food production for New York City.
JANELLE NICOL is the Market & Outreach Coordinator for East New York Farmers Market in Brooklyn, since 2010. In addition she currently teaches cooking classes for two youth programs in NYC, produces a cooking show online called "Cooking with Jin" and has a passion and life's purpose to educate communities throughout Brooklyn about healthy eating. She partners with organizations in low income areas of Brooklyn, also known as "food deserts" and educates the community on the benefits of healthy cooking. She touches on how to shop for food, urban agriculture and shares healthy recipes that are affordable, quick and easy.To learn more go to www.jinsjourney.com.
SUZANNE CARREKER-VOIGT has been the Market Coordinator of the Saratoga Farmer’ Market for the past seven years. She also serves as Secretary of the Regional Farm and Food Project and is a board member of Saratoga Downtown Business Association. She graduated with a degree in Animal Pathology from the University of Connecticut in 1978, completed the Upper Hudson Agricultural Leadership Forum in 2009 and has been a Master Gardener volunteer for 14 years. Suzanne has a life-long commitment towards making farming a viable occupation and to the preservation of farmland. She has become passionate about farmers’ markets and the role they play in both these interests. She loves bringing the community to the markets and to the farm, bridging the gap between consumer and farmer. Suzanne is the proud owner of her family’s ancestral Vermont farm that was placed in “Forever Agriculture” easement over 30 years ago and has been actively farmed for over 230 years. Suzanne is married, has two grown children and lives on a small horse and vegetable farm in Charlton, NY.
JO ELLEN SAUMIER
JO ELLEN SAUMIER is happy to represent the very top of the state on the Federation Board of Directors. She lives with her husband, Kirby Selkirk, on a sheep farm in Chateaugay, New York. They started their farm as a vegetble farm on part of Kirby's former dairy farm. Two years after starting the farm, they had the opportunity to add a flock of sheep. Kirby, a reformed dairy farmer, who missed working with animals jumped into the lamb business. The sheep are raised for meat. After fighting for several years to keep the sheep out of the vegetables, Jo Ellen gave in and switched her efforts into finding uses for the wool. she now needle felts the wool into holiday ornaments and decorations. She also knits hats, scarves, mittens, and purses which are sold at farmers' markets along with cuts of USDA inspected grass-fed lamb.
Jo Ellen is one of the founding members of the Chateaugay Lakes (two lakes) Farmers Market which is sponsored by the Adirondack Farmers Market Cooperative, Inc. (AFMC). She is entering her 12th year of serving on the Board of Directors of AFMC where she is the treasurer. She is retired from Cornell Cooperative Extension and has a BS in Home Economics Education from SUNY Plattsburg and an MBA from Pace University.
PHYLLIS COUTURE, SECTRETARY
PHYLLIS COUTURE is co-owner, with husband Charles (Chuck) of Fox Valley Greenhouse in West Valley, NY. We grow hanging baskets, vegetables, and bedding plants for retail and wholesale. We also grow vegetables for sale at 3 Farmers Markets. I bake breads and small pies, and make jam and jelly for the market sales. I am a retired home economics and horticulture teacher, and also owned and operated a retail florist shop for twenty years. I am active in my church, the Cattaraugus County Farm Bureau, and the WV Chamber of Commerce. I served 6 years on the NY Farm Bureau Board of Directors and currently serve as District 1 Promotion and Education Chairman. We have 3 adult children and 8 grandchildren, all of whom enjoy helping with the greenhouse and markets for short periods of time in the summer. We enjoy growing plants and consider Farmers Markets a good semi-retirement occupation.
ROBERT HADAD is one of five specialists who serve on the Cornell Vegetable Program Team. For a 12-county region in western and central New York, the Team provides vegetable producers, processors and the vegetable industry with high quality educational programs and cutting edge research-based information resulting in the profitable production of safe and healthful vegetables crops. The Team’s efforts help to maintain viable vegetable operations benefiting consumers and enhancing the economy of New York. In addition to fresh market vegetable production, Robert’s areas of expertise include food safety and quality, organic production, and business and marketing.
JIM FARR, CO-PRESIDENT
JIM FARR has worked for the City of Rochester for 35 years, first in the Department of Parks and Recreation and now in the Department of Recreation and Youth Services. He is currently the Assistant Director of Recreation and in this role oversees the operation of 25 year-round and 18 seasonal recreation sites. He also manages the Rochester Public Market for the City.
GAIL GOEBRICHER, VICE PRESIDENT
GAIL GOEBRICHER is a community-involved resident of Oswego, NY. She chairs such events as the Annual Children’s Holiday Tree Lighting, Salvation Army/ABATE Motorcycle Run, past Chair of the Oswego Pumpkin Fest, Linear Park Concerts, Independence Craft Show, Taste of Oswego Craft Show, Oswego Mural Committee, and Zonta International Committee. She is the Vendor Coordinator for the Friends of the Fort Ontario Fests and is involved with YMCA Warmup Oswego, HarborFest, Save the Oswego Lighthouse and the Neighborhood Watch Committee. Prior to retirement for the Greater Oswego/Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Gail was the long-time manager of the Oswego Farmers Market and coordinator for the Fulton Farmers Market.
MARGARET O'NEILL has 40 years of experience in education, youth development and organizational leadership. After several years as a teacher, she became an Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Monroe County, serving in 4-H, Nutrition and leadership roles. She has developed and presented Logic Model and Program Evaluation trainings to many nonprofits and professional organizations throughout New York. Since 2008 Margaret has served as Progam Manager with the Friends of the Rochester Public Market, managed the EBT Token program, educational tours and Healthy Eating programs at the Market. Margaret has a B.S. degree in Home Economics Education from SUNY Plattsburgh, and an MPA from SUNY Brockport.
MONIKA ROTH, BOARD ADVISOR
MONIKA ROTH, Agricultural Extension Educator and Marketing Specialist, Cornell Cooperative Extension South Central NY, based in Tompkins County. Monika has over 30 years experience working with farm direct marketers. She was instrumental in forming the Federation of NY Farmers Markets and has served as an advisor to the organization since its founding. . She has worked closely with the Ithaca Farmers' Market and has advised many other farmers' markets in NY and elsewhere in the country and internationally. She is often a speaker at marketing conferences on many different topics from display and promotion to evaluating market impact.
JONATHAN THOMSON, BOARD ADVISOR
JONATHAN THOMSON has spent the past twenty years managing state and federal nutrition programs at the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Currently, he directs the WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs, the New York State WIC Vegetables and Fruits Check Program, and the New York State Farmers Market Wireless Electronic Benefits Transfer Program. Over 975 farmers participate in these programs at 450 community farmers markets and farm stands across New York State.
LINDSAY OTT WILCOX, BOARD ADVISOR
LINDSAY OTT WILCOX brings over a decade of communications experience to the Farmers Market Federation of New York in her role as Marketing Advisor. Lindsay is currently the Creative Director at Clear Channel Syracuse and the owner of Lindsay Ott Communications. Her first interaction with the Federation was in 2007 when she helped develop and launch the brand for the statewide EBT/Food Stamp token program. Other Federation-related projects include the creation of the website http://www.snaptomarket.com, public relations for initiatives such as winter markets, and consultation on various grant programs including the recent Crisis Communications Guide for Farmers Markets. Lindsay is an award-winning marketer and writer, with recent honors from the New York State Broadcasters Association.