OMRI Board of Directors
The OMRI Board of Directors broadly represents the constituencies of the organic industry with members selected from the community of certifiers, inspectors, farmers, suppliers, processors and handlers, and organizations serving consumer and environmental interests. The board is the highest governing body at OMRI. It determines OMRI policy and standards and plays an active part in guiding OMRI in its public service role and in carrying out its mission.
Chair, Matt Landi, Awe Sum Organics, Felton, California.
Matt grew up in New England, where he attended the University of Vermont, earning a degree in Political Science with a minor in Environmental Studies. It was there, in the late 1990s, where he also discovered what would become his livelihood of working in the organic food and agricultural trade. Since that time, Matt has served the organic trade through a diverse array of activities on both the east and west coast of the United States. His stops have included retail work at City Market/Onion River Cooperative (Burlington, VT) and New Leaf Community Markets (Santa Cruz, CA), as well as distribution at Organically Grown Company (Eugene, OR). At one point, he also authored a monthly column on food and agriculture for the Santa Cruz Sentinel called “County Bounty.” Nowadays, he resides in the redwoods, just outside of Santa Cruz, where he’s the General Manager for Awe Sum Organics. Throughout his career, Matt has worked to support business practices that encourage a positive outcome for every link in the supply chain, working with organic growers of many scales and focus areas from tree fruit to row crops.
Vice Chair, Deirdre Birmingham, Ph.D., The Cider Farm, Mineral Point, Wisconsin.
Deirdre Birminghan is a certified organic grower in Wisconsin, specializing in English and French cider apples used to produce a line of apple brandy and hard ciders. She has been involved in the organic movement for 20 years, having been the first executive director of Georgia Organics; a co-founder and manager of the Midwest Organic Tree Fruit Growers Network; a Board member and Chair of the Organic Farming Research Foundation; and a Council member and Chair of the Citizen Advisory Council for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems. Deirdre holds a B.S. in Agricultural Sciences and a Master’s degree in Soil Fertility from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as a joint Ph.D. in Natural Resources Management and Adult Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Treasurer, Darren MacFarlane, Bridgewell Agribusiness, Oregon City, Oregon.
Darren has spent over thirty years formulating, marketing and distributing fertilizers and mineral products for use in certified organic growing and sustainable agriculture. As an early adopter of listing branded products with OMRI, he has worked in several management roles and is currently sales manager of the agriculture business unit of Bridgewell Resources. Darren holds a B.S. in Agriculture and Resource Economics from Oregon State University.
Secretary, Roxanne Beavers, Quality Assurance International (QAI), Ontario, Canada.
Roxanne Beavers is a Senior Reviewer and Inspector at Quality Assurance International (QAI), where she learns more every day while working with organic food producers in Canada, the U.S. and around the world. She holds a Master of Science (Agriculture) from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, gained from working on research with the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada. She is an IOIA-trained organic inspector for farms and handlers in Canada, and worked for several certifiers prior to joining QAI in 2014. Roxanne has been a member of the Canadian Organic Standards Technical Committee, with a current focus on Processing and Handling Materials. Her passion for helping growers source allowable inputs grew during her work with the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network, supporting farmers transitioning to organic.
Becky Gretebeck, good culture, Cashton, Wisconsin.
Chris Grigsby, MOFGA Certification Services, Appleton, Maine.
Chris Grigsby is currently the Certification Director for MOFGA Certification Services (MCS), holding the position since 2016. Born and raised in Maine, Chris settled back in his home state after college and began managing food production and distribution businesses. For seven years he was the General Manager at the Belfast Co-op, Maine's oldest and largest retail cooperative. Chris is a strong advocate for local and regional food systems, as well as the integrity of the USDA organic standards. He has represented MOFGA, MCS and Main organic producers at National Organic Standards Board meetings, recently presenting to the board as part of a technical panel on marine materials. Chris and his wife operate a small certified organic blueberry operation, Appleton Fruit and Flower.
Emily Newman, Rodale Institute, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Emily Newman is an Organic Crop Consultant at Rodale Institute, a leader in regenerative organic agriculture research and education. Every day, Emily has the opportunity to assist farmers through the technical and regulatory barriers of organic production by providing one-on-one consultations and site visits in Pennsylvania and beyond. A graduate of Penn State University, her degree was in Environmental Resource Management, and she is also currently pursuing an MBA in Food and Agribusiness from Delaware Valley University. Prior to joining the team at Rodale Institute, she worked in the regulatory compliance of organic producers and inputs through review work and inspections. Emily is ecstatic to be supporting the work of the OMRI staff and board again after working for OMRI briefly in 2019.
Gwendolyn Wyard, Organic Trade Association (OTA), Corvallis, Oregon.
Gwendolyn is the Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Affairs for the Organic Trade Association where she works on the development of policy strategy through regulatory engagement in the interest of OTA’s mission and its members. Gwendolyn holds a degree in Food Science with a Fermentation Science Option and a minor in Chemistry. She received her certificate as an independent farm and processing inspector through the International Organic Inspector's Association (IOIA) in 1997 and worked for multiple certifiers thereafter inspecting organic farms and processing facilities. Gwendolyn worked for many years as the Processing Program Technical Specialist for Oregon Tilth specializing in policy analysis and technical review of materials for use in organic products. She is also an Advisory Council member for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Hannah Smith-Brubaker, Village Acres Farm, Miffintown, Pennsylvaina.
Hannah Smith-Brubaker, with her partner Debra Brubaker and family, operates Village Acres Farm & Foodshed, an organic produce and pastured-livestock farm in the Juniata Valley of Pennsylvania. Village Acres has been certified organic for nearly 30 years, and the farm’s mission is to connect people to their food, the earth, and each other. Hannah also serves as the executive director of Pasa Sustainable Agriculture, where she forwards a vision for a world where agriculture nourishes, heals and empowers. Prior to leading Pasa, Hannah served as Pennsylvania Agriculture Deputy Secretary. She has also served the Organic Farmers Association as a farmer representative, is the chair of the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program’s Administrative Council, is an Environmental Leadership Program senior fellow, and writes a monthly column for Lancaster Farming newspaper. Hannah has testified before the U.S. Congress on organic and sustainable agriculture, with prior speaking engagements at the Wall Street Journal’s Global Food Forum, the White House Council on Rural Affairs hearings, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Food Summit on behalf of National Geographic.
Nicole Dehne, Vermont Organic Farmers, Burlington, Vermont.
Nicole is the Certification Administrator of Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF). She began working for VOF in 2003, the year after the National Organic Program regulations went into effect. Since that time, Nicole has worked to represent the views of Vermont organic producers at the National Organic Standards Board meetings and as a member of the Accredited Certifiers Association. Nicole has a BA from the University of Montana and a Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Education from the University of Vermont. In her spare time, Nicole hones her chicken wrangling skills while operating her small, certified organic poultry operation in the Intervale region of Burlington, VT.
Rick Geise, Darling Ingredients, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio.
For over 20 years, Rick has managed Nature Safe Natural & Organic Fertilizer for Darling Ingredients, Inc. (formerly Griffin Industries), based in the Greater Cincinnati area. His responsibilities include product and market development, customer service and marketing in the support of organic agriculture, golf course and sports turf maintenance, lawn care, nursery/greenhouse needs, and both domestic and international merchandising. He has worked with OMRI since the 1990s, listing many different organic fertilizer products. Rick believes that the role OMRI plays in ensuring product integrity is critical to building the consumer confidence necessary for the continued growth of organic agriculture.