We look forward to the conversations and growth that our lineup of wonderful speakers will inspire. Learn more below about who will be sharing their work and wisdom with us.
Taylor is the founder of Sacred Seed, who’s mission is to increase education and awareness around indigenous environmentalism. He is currently the professor of Business Administration in Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Creighton University. He holds a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College as well as a Master's of Business Administration and Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University, where he served as a Fellow in the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.
Terri is the Director for Education & Workforce Development for the NC Plant Sciences Initiative. She is a NC native with a passion for plants, holds a Ph.D. in molecular genetics from the University of Georgia, and has made it her mission to inspire others to harness the power of plants by creating programs that elevate student experiences and expand understanding of plant science.
Irving Rivera's entrepreneurial journey began in 2015 when he co-founded a pioneering biofertilizer company, leveraging cutting-edge agricultural residue fermentation techniques. Fueled by a deep understanding of the agricultural sector and a keen awareness of food production challenges, in 2017, he shifted his focus to a paramount issue: the health of agricultural soils.
Irving has since served as a bridge, uniting the various stakeholders along the food production chain, harnessing the power of soil and its microbiome as a unifying force. His remarkable contributions have earned recognition from esteemed sources, including Forbes Mexico's "30 Under 30" and MIT Technology Review's "Innovator Under 35." Irving's insights into soil conservation have led to collaborations with tech giants like Apple, Google, and SAP.
Solena Ag's revolutionary products and technologies have cemented strong partnerships with leaders in the food production industry, including major food companies and input suppliers.
Today, Solena Ag stands as a pivotal force, leading the charge in utilizing the soil microbiome to drive efficient and sustainable food production across the Americas.
Maggie is the Founder and Executive Director of A Place at the Table, Raleigh’s first pay-what-you-can nonprofit cafe. She graduated from NC State University in 2013 and began working for a nonprofit with people experiencing homelessness. By befriending many people living on the margins, she saw the challenges of food insecurity as well as providing dignity to those in need. In February 2015, A Place at the Table was born and Maggie never looked back. Opening in January of 2018, Table has served thousands of people in Raleigh with a dignified and an affordable meal, together. Maggie has a heart to serve, a desire to always be inclusive, and a passion for loving people.
Matthew is the founder and CEO of Transcend. Their mission is to help people cultivate a healthier relationship with their own mortality by reconnecting them to the Earth. Transcend is reforesting the world by planting people and pets as trees when they die. Every Tree Burial creates a healthier foundation for all life on Earth.
Michelle is an Alumni Distinguished Undergrad. Professor of Agroecology at NC State. Since 2004, she has established the Agroecology program She developed new agroecology courses, an undergraduate Agroecology Minor program, and the Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems B.S. major. She is now the Director at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) at NC State, where she leads the renowned Sustainable Agriculture Internship program.
Charlie has overseen more than $2.1 billion in farmland acquisitions, midstream assets and ag-tech investments across a multitude of geographies and crop types. He grew up working for his family’s farming businesses, including L. Harvey Farm and Harvey’s Falling Creek Produce Company, which were founded in 1871 and where he focused on both row and permanent crops. Charlie began his career as an analyst in Morgan Stanley’s New York City real estate division where he focused on principal investments, mergers and acquisitions, and REIT advisory work.
Charlie was a Morehead Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he played on two Final Four basketball teams for Hall of Fame coach Dean Smith. Charlie serves on the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Board of Visitors and previously served on the Board of Directors of the UNC General Alumni Association. Charlie received his MBA from Harvard University.
More to come.
Joyce is the Co-CEO of J & J Martin Produce along with her sister Jeannette Martin Horn. J & J Martin Produce is a division of Martin Farms, a North Carolina Department of Agriculture designated Century Family Farm. Our mission is to provide home grown, farm fresh produce to our community. In addition, our goal is to keep the farm alive by building a love of agriculture in the next generation of our own family, as well as share that same love of farming with our community.
Joyce is a retired African American female who runs a farm that her family has owned for over 140 years. Through the years we have hosted agricultural community events, educational field trips, farm tours, and workshops to grade schools, as well as collegiate groups. We currently are engaged in growing and selling seasonal fruit and vegetables from our roadside farm stand and to several local farmer's markets. J& J Martin Produce is currently mentoring two Veteran Apprentices, Shameka and Darius McCoy through the Veteran Apprentice Program.
Joyce earned her Bachelor's Degree from LaSalle University and her Master's Degree in Education from University of Phoenix.
Jeannette is the co-founder of J & J Martin Produce along with her sister Joyce M. Bowden. Jeannette obtained a Business Administration Degree from Wayne Community College, received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminology from the University of Mount Olive. Jeannette is married, has two step-daughters and has continued to live in her hometown of Mount Olive, throughout her life. She maintained professional employment for more than 30 yrs before retirement, and continued an active role with the family farm throughout the years.
This is the fifth season of our produce business. We are part of a family owned farm, located in Mount Olive, North Carolina. The land that we farm has been owned and operated, continuously by the Martin Family for four generations. The land was purchased in 1883 by Harry Martin just a few years after the end of the Civil War. We have a long history of working cooperatively with extended family members to the success of the farm.
Amy is the Assistant Director of the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service at NC State. Her research program is focused on the study of microorganisms called extremophiles. The lab research she conducts on extremophiles aims to learn how they survive tough environments and in turn use this knowledge for biotechnology.
Nicholas is a Registered Professional Engineer with a broad agricultural background highlighted by on-site crop production and agronomy; water resource, energy, and environmental design; project management, and on-farm research. Specific professional expertise includes center pivot and subsurface drip irrigation systems and irrigation strategies, comprehensive field and produce crop production systems, and on-farm energy management. He is a competent communicator with proven capabilities in bridging educational and production gaps between complex or developing technologies and in-field applications. Nicholas is motivated by the challenges offered in multi-faceted project development, problem solving, resource optimization, and maximization of return on investments to clients and employers.
Qiana Mickie is the first Executive Director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture. The office leads the city’s efforts to increase access to and production of locally grown fresh food, minimize our contributions to climate change, and spur economic activity through agriculture. Under Qiana’s leadership, the office aims to advance urban agriculture and equity to actively address climate, health, and food disparities in the city’s natural and built environment. For over 12 years, Qiana’s work has thrived at the intersection of equity, food systems, environmental justice, and agriculture. Qiana is the former Executive Director of Just Food and often speaks on issues of racial equity, food/farm policy, and the solidarity economy, locally and internationally.
Gabriele Onorato, an agronomics specialist, managed the largest contiguous farming operation east of the Mississippi and has had direct farming experience for agricultural lands on multiple continents. He managed farm operations in Argentina, Paraguay and Russia. Gabriele has extensive experience maximizing farm returns and minimizing risk through combining direct farming with various rent structures on a single property. He is also highly skilled in farm management and is a Certified Professional Agronomist, Certified Crop Advisor, Agricultural Engineer, and a licensed Crop Consultant. He is a member of various state and national agricultural societies and associations and was on the Integrated Pest Management Committee at North Carolina State University. A frequent lecturer at agricultural and farm management seminars, he has published multiple articles in trade publications pertaining to advanced farm management techniques. Gabriele has also consulted on large agricultural projects in the U.S., Russia, Argentina, and Italy. He is fluent in English, Spanish, and Italian.
Bryce G. McAteer is a seasoned California water resources expert with 8+ years of professional experience spanning work in the local government, consulting, non-profit, and private agricultural sectors. Bryce’s areas of expertise include water supply planning, farmland due diligence, permanent crops, western US water policy, resource economics, and water right transactions. During his career, Bryce has advised 40+ public agencies on water policy development.
Bryce currently serves as a Director of Investments with International Farming, a diversified farmland and food company investment manager operating across multiple countries, 80+ crops, and 480,000+ historically transacted acres. Previously, Bryce served as the Executive Director for Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency, an 8-member Joint Powers Authority formed to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act within its ~160,000-acre jurisdiction. He has also held positions with the Duke University Nicholas Institute, Environmental Defense Fund, and WestWater Research. Bryce received his A.B. in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Duke University where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude.
Eric builds farm valuation and risk management tools for Intl Farming, and assists the investment team on alternative uses for IF farms, including solar, minerals, and commercial real estate. Eric was most recently a Partner at Modern Energy, where he supported the asset management, valuation, and trading teams for transformational portfolio companies in energy efficiency, community solar, and energy risk management. He was previously Head of Technology for Tenor Capital, where he built valuation and screening tools for an RIA that managed funds investing in equity derivatives, international commercial arbitration, and tax equity. He is an outside investor and advisor to businesses in oil and gas exploration, electric truck financing, and real estate development. Eric graduated as a Robertson Scholar jointly from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University.
Logan is an investment professional, social entrepreneur, author, and angel investor. She’s incredibly passionate about building businesses and guiding capital in ways that help systems thrive. Prior to her role as the Director of Sustainability at International Farming, Logan co-founded a sell side advisory firm called Provenance Capital Group which specializes in food and agriculture, and worked as an independent consultant with a variety of clients, primarily focused on working lands investments. Logan has also held positions with the World Resources Institute, Morgan Stanley, the Yale Investments Office, and CREO Syndicate. Logan holds an MBA in Asset Management and Master of Forestry from Yale University and a B.A. with Distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Her work in financial services has involved connecting high net worth individuals and other investors to impact investment opportunities. She has also developed new financial models and tools, particularly focused on land conservation and restoration, and has written extensively about how to invest for people, planet, and profit. Logan also advises a variety of impact-oriented startups and has been a mentor for a variety of incubators and accelerators, including FS6 and Village Capital.
N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler was raised in the Guilford County community of Browns Summit and has spent his entire career in agriculture as founder, owner and operator of Troxler Farms. Over the years, the family-owned farm has produced tobacco, wheat, vegetables and soybeans. Since taking office in 2005, Troxler has focused on developing new markets for N.C. farm products, preserving working farms and protecting the state’s food supply. Troxler is a past president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. He also is a former chairman of NASDA’s Food Regulation and Nutrition Committee and was honored with a 2015 NASDA award for his commitment to food safety. He served as president of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture in 2010-2011. He also serves on the boards of the N.C. Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation, the Rural Economic Development Center and the N.C. Biotechnology Center. He is a member of numerous organizations, including the N.C. Tobacco Research Commission and the Southern United States Trade Association.
Chris began farming oysters full-time in 2013 when he started Chadwick Creek Oysters and Seed Nursery in Pamlico County, N.C. In 2019, he founded Siren’s Cove Shellfish, a second oyster farm and shellfish dealership in Carteret County. Chadwick Creek’s seed nursery has supported the growth of North Carolina’s booming shellfish industry from about eight growers in 2013 to more than 70 today. Chris has advised many new growers as they set up their farms.
In 2018, he took the reins of the North Carolina Shellfish Growers Association and has reorganized it as a trade association with regional board representation and a tiered membership structure. Soon after that reorganization, Hurricane Florence devastated the state’s shellfish industry, and Chris led the effort to get meaningful hurricane relief for North Carolina’s oyster growers from the state Department of Agriculture.
He was also the industry voice for North Carolina’s Shellfish Aquaculture Bill, which passed unanimously in 2019 in the state’s House and Senate. In March 2020 Chris was appointed to the state's Shellfish Cultivation Lease Review Committee, which hears appeals of the Marine Fisheries Commission's decisions regarding shellfish leases.
Before oyster farming, Chris worked in the hedge-fund and technology industries. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in International Relations, and is also a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy. Chris grew up on a small farm in the Hudson Valley, located in upstate New York, where the farm-to-table movement has been robust since the 1960s. From an early age, Chris loved shellfish and spending time on the water.
Eli Cheatham is a writer, creative and entrepreneur. A passionate champion of land stewardship, food security, mental health and equality, Eli has the privilege of overseeing International Farming’s culture, mission and messaging.
In addition to her work with I.F., Eli is the founder and director of Matrons & Mistresses, a digital publication which shines light on the incredible women who shape the arts. Prior to turning her attention to business and the arts, Eli worked as a graduate gemologist in sales and client development for Harry Winston.
Not one to stay put for too long, Eli splits her time between Seattle, Raleigh and Santa Fe.
James Mathews was raised on a small family farm in Southern Nevada where he learned to embrace hard work and develop a love for production agriculture. After graduating with honors from Utah State University, he has built his expertise as an agronomist with multiple crops across many locations. In his current role as Senior Agronomist for CSS Farms, Mathews drives innovation for the Washington farms including implementing hundreds of potato research plots each year. He leverages decades of production experience and continues to improve soil health, potato yields, quality, and crop production efficiency. His efforts are a key part of a team that manages over 5,000 acres of potatoes and has achieved world record chip-stock potato yields over 1,000 cwt/ac.
Ryan Reisbick is the CEO of Firman Pollen Company, Inc. in Yakima, Washington. Ryan has a business degree from Central Washington University and over 25 years of experience solving pollination issues for growers in Washington, California and internationally. Ryan’s professional interests include advancing supplemental pollen application and production. Ryan has great pride in the fact that Firman Pollen is completing its 90th year of operation and serving clients globally.
Kira Bennett Sappington assumed the role of director of sales for Vestaron’s commercial team, overseeing key grower and dealer accounts while also managing the western sales team. Joining Vestaron in July 2019 as the company's inaugural territory manager, she has played a pivotal role in introducing Vestaron to the PNW markets and leading various organizational initiatives, including the rollout of a new ERP.
Sappington highlights the positive impact of Vestaron's peptide-based products on integrated pest management programs. She continues to emphasize the satisfaction of introducing innovative solutions to growers and addressing the need for efficacy and safety in pest control.
In 2000, Steve Brazeel founded SunTerra Produce, which has evolved into a leading full-service platform managing various aspects of specialty crop production on over 5,000 acres across the US and Mexico. In 2020, he established Elevated Foods to boost farmers' profits through technology adoption and support. The company secured $32M in USDA funding. Project FoodBox, an initiative stemming from SunTerra's involvement in the USDA's Farmers to Families Food Box program, was launched in 2020. It provides fresh produce to food banks, delivering over 100,000,000 lbs to communities nationwide. Mr. Brazeel also leads Prime Cooling and SunTerra Distribution. He served on the board of the California Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement and is an active member of YPO. After studying at Cal Poly-Pomona, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from the University of Arizona in 1992. Steve and Casey Brazeel, residents of Balboa Island, CA, have four grown children: Cassidy, Claire, Connor, and Charlie.
Dawn Riley has over 20 years of experience working in the government and public service arena at the local, state and federal levels specifically focused on agriculture. She regularly collaborates on projects related to emerging trends in agricultural policy, agricultural development strategies and best practices in farming and agribusiness. In 2005 Ms. Riley founded her own government relations firm, Dawn Riley Consulting.
Since returning to Kentucky in 2005, Dawn has been very involved in providing leadership to the local food arena, and was a founding member of Louisville’s Food Policy Committee. Ms. Riley continues to maintain her networks across the country and internationally, as an invited participant in many national agricultural policy forums such as the US Water Alliance, AGREE and the Farm Foundation to name a few. Ms. Riley grew up on a farm in central Kentucky, where she is still active in managing a family-owned farm supply business.
Peter Nelson is Co-Founder of International Farming, a privately owned institutional investment manager at the center of the world’s food ecosystem that takes a holistic approach to agriculture by investing in farmers and technology to help the planet thrive and grow a stronger, more transparent food economy.
Mr. Nelson has over 40 years of marketing and sales experience with the largest direct marketing company in the U.S. He serves as a sales strategist for start-up businesses including RevHub OC focused on creating a thriving social enterprise start-up ecosystem in Southern California and Project FoodBox focused on building a more equitable U.S. food system.
Mr. Nelson co-founded Gamble Nelson, a high end Napa Valley wine that was distributed throughout the U.S. He also serves on the boards of several organizations and is passionate about mentoring young individuals as they change the trajectory of their lives. Peter graduated from San Diego State University with a B.S. in Marketing. He currently resides in Newport Beach, California.
Appointed as the inaugural President and CEO of Leading Harvest, Kenny leads the program and its team to improve sustainability outcomes and create transparency in agriculture globally. Under Kenny’s leadership, Leading Harvest has expanded its footprint to millions of acres of farmland across multiple countries to build a truly global response to market demands for sustainability assurance. Kenny is also responsible for engagements with the broad stakeholder community to seek alignment with public and private sustainability strategies and initiatives. Prior to joining Leading Harvest, Kenny served as Working Lands Principal at The Conservation Fund where he launched new initiatives and raised capital for investments in working lands conservation, both forestry and farmland. Kenny holds a B.A. from Bowdoin College and an MBA and MS from University of Michigan. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
Dr. Kris Nichols is a leader in the movement to regenerate soils for healthy food, people and a planet. She is currently the founder and principle scientist of KRIS (Knowledge for Regeneration and Innovation in Soils) Systems Education & Consultation and a sub-contractor with Soil Health Consulting, Inc. Her current focus is to address current and future agricultural needs by exploring the similarities between the soil and gut microbomes by looking at the carbon key. Kris builds upon a soil health foundation to identify biological methods for agricultural production and tools and practices to reduce pest issues, soil erosion, fossil fuel use, and greenhouse gas emissions. Throughout her career, Kris has given over 250 invited presentations to a wide variety of audiences, authored or co-authored more than 25 peer-reviewed publications, been cited or interviewed for more than 50 magazine or newspaper articles, highlighted in five books, and has numerous videos on-line. In recognition of her work, Dr. Nichols has received several awards including the 2012 Conservation Research Award from the International Soil and Water Conservation Society.
Tony Michaels is a nationally recognized leader in sustainability and innovation across multiple businesssectors and academic fields. He is the co-founder and CEO of EVEA Farm Management which createsvertically integrated supply chains for large food companies, primarily with organic row crops. EVEA is currently transitioning 12,300 acres to organic crops in NW Nebraska. He is also managing director of Proteus Environmental Technologies, a leader in the transition of technology innovations to scale. Previously he was CEO of Midwestern BioAg, a leader in soil health and sustainable agriculture for nearly 40 years. Other leadership roles include Chief Scientist at the private equity firm Pegasus Capital Advisors, president of ReCommunity Energy, and CEO of PhycoSystems. Academic roles include being the Founding Director of the USC Wrigley Institute, Professor of Biology at the University of Southern California and board roles at the National Council for Science and the Environment, Global Institute on Sustainability at Arizona State University and Catalina Island Conservancy. He has published over 100 scholarly papers.
Maggie Monast works with farmers, financial institutions, food companies, agricultural organizations and others to create an agricultural system that drives climate stability, clean water and food security. Monast works to quantify the farm financial impacts of conservation practice adoption, collaborates with major corporations to develop sustainability initiatives and develops innovative financial incentives to advance sustainable agriculture.
David H. Holben, PhD, RDN, LD, FAND, completed his doctoral studies at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, in Human Nutrition and Nutritional Biochemistry. He is Professor and Director of the Office of Food and Nutrition Security at The University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, a registered dietitian nutritionist with a Level 4 Certificate in School Nutrition from the School Nutrition Association, and former commissioned officer in the United States Army Medical Specialist Corps (Reserve Component, 65C IMA, MAJ). Building upon a clinical nutrition and basic science background, his research primarily focuses on food-based STEM education and the relation of food insecurity to health outcomes.
Mike brings 18 years of energy transition experience to exploit the green hydrogen market after leadership roles in wind, solar, and battery storage. Prior to Strata, Mike founded Crossover Energy Partners as a development partner to Capital Dynamics’ Clean Energy Infrastructure Fund and then KKR’s infrastructure fund where his team originated projects which deployed over $1B of asset equity. Crossover was sold to Strata Clean Energy in 2022. In recent years, Mike has overseen all aspects of the energy storage portions of 7 projects totaling 2.8 GWhs (~$1B) of contracted projects while leading the development efforts surrounding an 8 GWh ($2B) storage project pipeline. Prior to co-founding Crossover, he held global leadership roles for a leading energy storage technology manufacturer. Earlier in his career, held executive roles for the then world’s largest manufacturers of solar panels (Trina Solar) and wind turbines (General Electric). Grunow graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and received his MBA in Finance from Columbia University. He is married with three sons ages 11, 13 and 15.
In his current leadership role as the Director of Strategic Accounts, Michael spearheads business development strategies for Nutrien, focusing primarily on three customer-verticals: Asset Management, Seed Production Entities, and Top Producers. Michael assumed this position in 2017 after overseeing Nutrien Ag Solutions' proprietary products business, Loveland Products Inc., across 22 states in the US.
A passionate champion of agriculture, Michael serves as a board advisor for Indiana's inaugural Smithsonian museum, Conner Prairie. In this capacity, he contributes to their mission of educating the public on Food, Farming, and Energy. Michael's extensive experience spans the agriculture value chain, including manufacturing with Dow AgroSciences (Corteva) and distribution with Rosen's Inc. (Tenkoz).
Michael earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Purdue University while also playing Division 1 football. He also holds a Master of Agricultural Economics from Purdue University and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University. He resides in Westfield, IN, with my wife Jill and our three children: Clare (5), Drew (3), and Tom (1).
Todd Spivey grew up here in eastern North Carolina. He attended North Carolina State University where he earned his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. in Crop Science, focusing on maximizing cotton production through environmental stewardship and fertility and water management. Upon leaving NC State in 2017 he joined the LSU AgCenter as the Louisiana State Soybean Specialist for several years where he led his program to focus on managing for high yielding soybeans with minimal inputs and fertility efficiency. He then returned to eastern North Carolina to assist Mid-Atlantic cotton producers in the industry for several years before joining Corteva Agriscience in 2021 as a Market Development Specialist in the Southeast.
I am a growth-oriented strategy and investment partner investing in high-quality farmland assets, vertically integrated operating companies and food supply chain technology companies. I have a passion for enabling a healthier and more sustainable food system, leveraging my expertise in data sciences, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives, and digital transformation. I also serve as a board director and investor at innovative and impactful companies in the food and agriculture sector, such as CropTrak, a SaaS company that enhances the integrity of the food supply chains of large multinational clients. I have a proven track record of driving strong financial results and strategic long-term growth both as a CEO and board member, recognized by awards such as the Inc. 500, Deloitte Tech Fast 500, and Software 500. As a credentialed Board Leadership Fellow at the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), I have deep experience with multi-generational family-owned companies and boards, and I am committed to advancing best practices in corporate governance and board leadership.
Before founding Oakhurst Energy, Jay’s entire career was in the electric utility industry. Working with utilities and end-users to structure unique renewable energy products is the culmination of more than twenty years of varied utility experiences. Jay was over long-term resource planning and then portfolio management for the North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation, where he also ran GreenCo Solutions and managed Renewable Portfolio Standard obligations on behalf of twenty-two electric cooperatives. Jay has worked as a natural gas and emissions trader for a large investor owned utility, with additional roles in wholesale power market forecasting, enterprise risk management, and supply chain strategy. His training as an engineer has served him well as he seeks optimal solutions where risks are assessed and needs are met in the most effective and least cost manner. Jay graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Electrical Engineering.
Latham is a developer & attorney with almost a decade in utility-scale solar development and over twenty years of legal and real estate experience. From 2015 to 2019, Latham originated and developed utility-scale solar projects as a partner in Cooperative Solar. From 2012 to 2015, as the General Counsel of Strata Solar, he was responsible for the financial closings of over 500 MW of solar projects totaling almost $1 billion. Latham is also a hands-on minority investor in solar companies with other areas of focus, including operations & maintenance, sheep grazing, aerial drones, and utility-scale development in MA/NY/IL. A Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also attended the law school, Latham is a North Carolina native with deep roots in the state.
Joy serves as a GIS Associate for International Farming from their office in Raleigh. She supports multiple departments through geospatial data collection and management, map creation and report generation. Joy is a FAA Certified Drone Pilot and a member of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS). She studied at Appalachian State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Geography (GIS concentration).
Mr. Dickson serves as Vice President at SunTerra Produce Traders, a leading California-based grower, packer, and shipper of fresh fruits and vegetables. In this role, Mr. Dickson focuses on business development and the growth and expansion of the firm’s Project FoodBox and Elevated Foods initiatives, with an emphasis on program expansion to the East Coast. Prior to joining SunTerra, Mr. Dickson spent nearly thirteen years at the North Carolina-based investment manager International Farming, serving in a host of capacities on the Investor Relations and Operations teams and helping grow the firm from its inception to a leading manager in the agriculture investment management space during his tenure. Mr. Dickson is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Kenan Flagler School of Business’ Carolina Business Institute.
John is the Vice President – Agronomy, for International Farming. He earned his doctorate in soil fertility and soil chemistry from the University of Georgia. He spent several years as an Extension professor with the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center as the Cotton and Feedgrains Specialist but spent most of his post-graduate career in private industry coordinating field trial programs testing new technologies for improving nutrient use efficiency and enabling regenerative agriculture. His testing projects have included trialing nitrogen stabilizers (to reduce fertilizer losses to the environment) and an extensive suite of biological products including crop-beneficial microbes and products of natural origin that enhance plant innate immunity. John currently heads up International Farming’s Top Trials program, which is a systematic approach to engaging with our tenant growers to help solve their agronomic challenges or introduce new and helpful technologies and practices. John is also part of the team vetting new property acquisitions and coordinates an extensive soil testing program for the firm. He works from the company headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Cristian Barcan joined Corteva in 2023 as the Head of Global Sustainability Strategy. Cristian brings to Corteva 20+ years of global sustainability strategy and business experience in food production, agriculture, chemical industry, and finance.
Prior to Corteva, Cristian was the Sustainability Officer for Rabo AgriFinance, a subsidiary of Rabobank that provides financial lending to U.S. and Canadian agricultural producers. In his role, Cristian worked with internal resources, contactors, business leadership, and farming/ranching clients to integrate more sustainable practices in improved environmental stewardship, carbon sequestration, soil health and water optimizations, block chain traceability, education, and showcasing.
Previously, Cristian served as a Senior Advisor for Value Chain Feed Efficiency at Syngenta and spent 18 years at BASF as Head of Applied Sustainability for Food and Feed in North America, South America and Asia Pacific. After BASF, Cristian joined the Vinyl Institute trade associationin Washington, D.C., where he managed as Executive Director the Vinyl Sustainability Council and created a branded sustainability program called +Vantage Vinyl for the U.S. vinyl industry.
Cristian has bachelor’s degree studies in Mathematics and Computer Science and has been a board member or committee chairman for various organizations including Sustainable Brands, The Sustainability Consortium, and the Green Building Initiative.
Martin has over 25 years of experience working as a development leader and consultant in the USA, Europe, and Central America. He has provided strategic leadership and direction on innovative and market disruptive initiatives across over a dozen different industry platforms. Over the past several years, his focus has pivoted to sustainability, energy efficiency, and waste reduction. Martin joined Union Grove four years and ago and connects our operation to some of the leading players and solution providers in the regenerative farming movement in the USA. In addition to his work at Union Grove, he serves on the NC Wine and Grape Council and the NC Muscadine Growers Association board.
Trevor studied Biology at Bowdoin College and has thirteen years of aquaponic growing experience. Trevor is responsible for building a dynamic management team, guiding Springworks’ strategic vision, and ensuring proper execution. Drawing on his years of experience optimizing aquaponic systems, Trevor is also at the forefront of in-house research and development. To date, Trevor has raised a total of $27.8 million in equity along with an additional $6 million in debt and grants since 2014. This funding has allowed the farm to expand to become one of the largest organic producers in the Northeast and one of the largest aquaponic farms in the country.
Trevor continues to combine business strategy with facility design. As the design lead for new facilities, Trevor ensures Springworks increases production to meet demand while preserving room for growth. In doing so, Trevor is balancing industry dynamics and technology so that short and long-term goals are reflected in design.