Who We Are

Oregon Small Farms Program Faculty

For general inquiries & questions, please email Small Farms Program.

Garry Stephenson, Director

Garry Stephenson

Small Farms Program Coordinator
Extension Small Farms Specialist
Areas of interest: 
Alternative farming and marketing, with a focus on farmers' markets.

  Garry is a Professor and Extension Small Farms Specialist and Coordinator of the Extension Small Farms Program. Garry’s interests include alternative farming and marketing, with a special focus on farmers’ markets. For more than 15 years, he’s been involved in research, extension, organizational support, and shopping at farmers’ markets.  His academic training includes graduate degrees in animal science and agricultural anthropology.
Lauren Gwin, Associate Director

Lauren Gwin

Extension Food Systems Specialist
Areas of interest: 
Policy and regulations, small-scale processing, and distribution and marketing within local and regional food systems.

  Lauren is Assistant Professor and Extension Food Systems Specialist at OSU. Her extension and research focus on policy and regulations, small-scale processing, and distribution and marketing within local and regional food systems. She also directs the national Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network. Her Ph.D. is in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, from the University of California, Berkeley.

Nick Andrews, Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington counties

Nick Andrews

Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties
Areas of interest: Horticulture, vegetable production, and organic methods.

 

Nick serves as the Metro Area Small Farms Extension Agent for Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas Counties, specializing in Horticulture with a focus on vegetable production and organic methods.

Nick and Dan Sullivan (OSU Soil Scientist) have studied nitrogen mineralization from organic fertilizers and cover crops. This work has resulted in development of the Organic Fertilizer and Cover Crop Calculator. This free online tool helps growers estimate nitrogen release from cover crops and organic fertilizers, and develop cost-effective and balanced organic nutrient management plans.

Nick and several OSU colleagues (i.e. Len Coop, Heidi Noordijk, Aaron Heinrich, Jim Myers, Ed Peachey, Heather Stoven and Dan Sullivan) are developing degree-day models for vegetable varieties and weeds. These models are more accurate than calendar days when scheduling planting dates and forecasting harvest dates. Fourteen new models are online at the Croptime website, with more than fifty expected by spring 2017. Croptime is a free online vegetable scheduling and management tool.

Nick regularly teaches organic nutrient management, pest management and horticulture. His MSc is in entomology from the University of Reading, England.

 

Victoria Binning

Marion County

Areas of Interest: small-scale vegetable production, beginning farmer education, local food systems

 

Victoria Binning is the Agriculture Program Coordinator for Marion County Extension Service. She joined OSU Extension Small Farms in 2016 and enjoys working with small vegetable farmers, gardeners, and agritourism operators. Before returning to Salem to work with OSU Extension, Victoria worked on Oregon’s South Coast to develop local food systems around the fishing industry, produced wine in Sonoma County, California, taught children’s garden education, and worked on a variety of small-scale farms in the Mid-Willamette Valley. She received a B.A. in Environmental Science from Willamette University.

 

Erica Chernoh

Marion and Polk Counties

Areas of Interest: organic vegetable production, sustainable agriculture, educational programing for Spanish-speaking small farmers

 

Erica Chernoh is a sustainable agriculture specialist. She holds a joint position between Chemeketa Community College, where she is a Horticulture Instructor, and OSU where she works with Extension in Marion and Polk counties and serves as an OSU Open Campus Coordinator. Erica specializes in organic agriculture, vegetable crop production, strawberries, and sustainable soil management, as well as organic certification and food safety. Prior to joining OSU Extension in 2016, Erica worked internationally as an integrated crop management advisor, in California as an organic farm inspector and with UC Cooperative Extension as a Crop & Food Safety Adviser. She received her M.Sc. from University of California, Davis.

 

Javier Fernandez-Salvador

Marion and Polk Counties

Areas of Interest: Organic and conventional berry, small fruit, and fruit tree production, organic soil fertility and nutrient management for annual and perennial crops, organic and food safety certification and regulatory issues, educational programing for Spanish-speaking small farmers.

 

Javier Fernandez-Salvador is an Assistant Professor of Practice at Oregon State University who joined the OSU Small Farms Program in May 2016 with his main focus being on organic and conventional production systems of pastures, specialty grains, berries and other agronomic and horticultural crops as well as farm food safety and organic regulatory compliance. Javier is currently pursuing his PhD in Horticulture at Oregon State University. He is also working with the growing Oregon olive industry on cold hardiness cultivar selection and best agronomic production practices for the crop, and conducting needs assessments to develop educational programming and research for the Small Farms Program in the Mid-Willamette valley region and also with Latino farmers across the state.

Melissa Fery, Benton, Lane, Linn counties

Melissa Fery

Benton, Lane, and Linn counties
Areas of interest: 
Small-scale livestock and pasture production, nutrient management and soil quality.

  Melissa serves as a part-time small farms extension agent for the southern Willamette Valley, including Benton, Lane and Linn counties.  Her special interests include small-scale livestock and pasture production, and soil quality.  Melissa attended Oregon State University where she earned a B.S. in Crop Science M.S. in Soil Science.  Since 1998 she has been working with Oregon’s agriculture industry, including writing nutrient management plans with the Oregon Dairy Farmer’s Association and with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, before beginning her career with OSU Extension Service in 2005. Melissa's excitement for local agriculture began at an early age growing up in rural Lane County. She now lives on a small farm near Creswell, with her husband and children.

 

Amy Garrett

Benton, Linn, and Polk counties
Areas of interest: 
Organic crop production, rotation strategies, composting, cover cropping, season extension and permaculture design.

 

Amy currently works part-time with OSU Extension Small Farms Program, serving Benton, Linn and Polk counties. As a Small Farms Instructor, she is devoted to learning and teaching others about ways to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of our food production systems. Amy has over 15 years of experience in the horticulture industry ranging from landscape design, installation and maintenance to organic farming. She got her B.S. in horticulture from Purdue University in and moved to Oregon in January 2007 to begin working towards her M.S in horticulture, studying ‘nitrogen management with cover crops in organic broccoli production systems’.  Upon completion, she moved to Lummi Island, Washington to manage a diverse three-acre farm providing farm fresh produce, meat and eggs for the chef at the Willows Inn and the Lummi Island Farmer’s Market.  Her special interests are in organic crop production, season extension, permaculture design, and dry farming. Drought mitigation tools and strategies for growing with little or no irrigation  have become a focus in her work over the past several years. 

The Dry Farming Project she is leading will be expanding  over the next couple of years to include several Dry Farming Demonstration sites in Oregon, a Growing Resilience: Water Management Workshop Series, and Participatory Dry Farming Research with interested growers throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Maud Powell, Jackson county

Maud Powell

Jackson county
Areas of interest: 
Reinvigorating rural communities by strengthening local economies and increasing food and fiber production.

  Maud has an M.A. from Antioch University Seattle in Environment and Community Studies, and received her B.A. from Swarthmore College in Comparative Religion. She and her husband have owned and operated Wolf Gulch Farm, a small diversified vegetable and seed farm, in the Little Applegate Valley, for ten years. Maud worked for four years as the Project Manager for the Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative, and currently coordinates their Community Supported Agriculture Program. Maud is passionate about reinvigorating rural communities by strengthening local economies and increasing food and fiber production.
Sara Runkel, Douglas County

Sara Runkel

Douglas county

Areas of interest: Organic small fruit, vegetable, and niche crop production, farm food safety, value-added production, beginning farmer training, and local food systems.

 

Sara joined the OSU Extension Small Farms Program as the Small Farms and Food Systems Coordinator for Douglas County in 2015. She has a M.S. in Sustainable Systems from Slippery Rock University and over 15 years of farming experience. Prior to starting this position, Sara owned and operated a diversified farm in Pennsylvania where she grew vegetables for a winter CSA, specialty cut flowers, and pastured poultry. She also worked part-time for Penn State Extension assisting the Sustainable Agriculture Educator and providing farm food safety training to fruit and vegetable growers.

Sara is excited to be working with small acreage land owners and commercial small farms in Douglas County. Her position is based in Roseburg where she provides technical assistance and educational opportunities for growers. Sara also coordinates the Douglas County Master Food Preserver Program.

Heather Stoven, Yamhill County

Heather Stoven

Yamhill county

Areas of Interest: Season extension and greenhouse growing, plant problem diagnosis, and integrated pest management

  Heather works in Yamhill County serving small farmers as well as community horticulture.    Prior to coming to the Yamhill County Extension Office in 2014, she worked at OSU’s North Willamette Research and Extension center as a Research Assistant and was involved with pest management, nutrient management and irrigation projects for the nursery crops and Christmas tree programs.  She has a M.S. in Integrated Pest Management from UC Davis and enjoys helping small farmers with their pest management issues.
 

Toni Stephan

Deschutes county
Areas of interest: Horticulture, small farms.

   
Chrissy Lucas, Benton, Lane, Linn counties

Chrissy Lucas

Benton, Lane, and Linn counties
Areas of interest:
 Poultry, groundwater, and livestock.

  Chrissy works part time for the Small Farms program in the Southern Willamette Valley and is the well water education coordinator for the Southern Willamette Valley Groundwater Management Area.  As the first point of contact for many rural landowners she specializes in information for chickens, groundwater and livestock . Chrissy also supports the statewide Small Farms Program; managing the statewide website, assisting with the Oregon Small Farms Conference, and design/layout for the quarterly Oregon Small Farm News electronic newsletter.  Prior to coming to the Benton County Extension office in the Fall of 2005, she worked on the OSU campus since 2003.  Chrissy’s educational background is in Animal Science, Chemistry, and Agriculture Education.

Heidi Noordijk, Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington counties

Heidi Noordijk

Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties
Areas of interest:  Small-scale fruit and vegetable production, integrated pest management, beginning farmer education.

  As part of the statewide OSU Small Farms Program Heidi helps coordinate educational events for beginning and small-scale farmers in the North Willamette Valley as well as participating in on farm research projects.

Educational programming includes the Growing Farms SeriesSmall Farm School, the Small Farms Conference and ACRES (Agricultural Composting Resources & Education Series).

Rachel Suits, Hood River County

Rachel Suits

Hood River and Wasco Counties
Areas of Interest: entomology, integrated pest management, and local food systems.

 

In the Central Gorge region, Rachel works in Extension and with local non-profits to strengthen the local food system. She has her M.A. in Education from Antioch University in Seattle where she was a high school science teacher before obtaining her M.S. in Entomology from North Carolina State University. Her studies emphasized Integrated Pest Management, and she had the opportunity to work with both large conventional growers as well as smaller organic growers doing research and consulting.

One of her favorite parts of her agriculture work is communicating with a diversity of growers and hearing their experiences. As an educator, she has extensive experience interacting with many different people towards a common learning goal. She is enthusiastic and genuinely interested in the passions of others, especially when they share their excitement for growing plants and eating nutritious foods.