Speaker Biographies


Ben Hartman

Ben Hartman grew up on a corn and soybean farm in Indiana and graduated from college with degrees in English and philosophy. Ben and his wife, Rachel Hershberger, own and operate Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana, where they make their living growing and selling specialty crops on less than one acre.

In his book, The Lean Farm, Hartman makes the case that small-scale farming can be an attractive career option for young people who are interested in growing food for their community. The lean system identifies and eliminates waste and introduces efficiency in every aspect of the farm operation. Working smarter, not harder, also prevents the kind of burnout that start-up farmers often encounter in the face of long, hard, backbreaking labor.

The Lean Farm - Hartman, Ben

Stacy Carkonen, Executive Director, Tacoma Farmers Market

Stacy joined the staff of the Tacoma Farmers Market in March 2014. She is passionate about strengthening local farms, educating the community about preserving our agricultural lands, and ensuring that locally grown food is available to all of our community members regardless of income. Stacy has more than 15 years of fundraising and organizing experience and is passionate about helping small organizations thrive!

Stacy Carkonen

Robin B Crowder, Marketing and Development Director, 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living


Crowder's expertise lies in sustainable marketing initiatives, building supply and demand for local foods, and developing new programs with a conscious attention to environmental issues and climate action. Crowder has an extensive background leading entrepreneurial ventures with place-based traditional and social marketing strategies that also take into account the dynamics of behavioral economics.  Her work has included: fundraising campaigns; branding initiatives; creating direct farm-to-consumer buying opportunities; food hub development; directing public relations; orchestrating major special events; and conducting educational programming. Crowder led local food systems work for the University of North Carolina and prior to that served as operations manager for the Bellingham Farmers Market.


Allison Harris, Nutrition Program Coordinator, OSU Extension Coos Co.

Allison Harris is the Nutrition Program Coordinator through the Oregon State University Extension Service in Coos and Curry counties. She works to deliver nutrition education and obesity prevention programs to low income families by partnering with local schools, food pantries, DHS offices, farmers’ markets and other local organizations. She also works with SNAP-Outreach, through which she delivers education about the SNAP program, assists with SNAP applications and is a resource to families who are struggling with food insecurity.

Robin Crowder

Sonia Reagan & Becky White, Community Outreach Specialists, Clatskanie Farmers Market  

Sonia Reagan and Becky White helped to found the Clatskanie Farmers Market in 2014 and were part of a three person team who wrote and were awarded a $90K USDA FMPP Grant in 2015. During the Market's first three seasons, they have been vendors, members of the Board of Directors, volunteers and Outreach Workers for the grant. They are mothers, farmers, educators, and passionate advocates for good nutrition and self-sufficiency in their rural community.

Sonia Reagan & Becky White


Check back soon to learn more about our 2017 speakers!