Phoebe Schreiner joined CADE as Executive Director in 2018. Building on the organization’s legacy as a key player in NY’s agricultural sector, Schreiner is leading the organization into its next phase of growth and impact by supporting agricultural development across NYS, strengthening farm and food businesses, and maturing the food supply chain.
Schreiner brings to CADE 20 years of global-to-local experience leading social and economic development programs around the world--from the former Soviet Union, to the Middle East, to South Asia, and to New York--including with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations, the Open Society Foundations, among others.
Schreiner is a currently a member of Congressman Delgado’s Agricultural Advisory Committee for the 19th Congressional District, the Otsego County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Committee, the Farm-to-School Task Force of Delaware County, the Otsego County Energy Task Force Sub-Committee on Economic Development, Technical Committee of the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, the Schoharie County Land Trust, and Gilboa Historical Society.
She is 8th generation on her family’s homestead in Cornell Hollow, settled in 1795 by her 5x great grandfather, William Cornell, in Gilboa (Schoharie County), NY. A local history buff, antique aficionado, and family ancestry enthusiast, she takes great delight in (slowly but surely) renovating her family’s Greek Revival farmhouse built by her 3x great grandfather, Simon Cornell in 1853. She is a beekeeping hobbyist and mother of a young son.
Schreiner earned her M.A. from Columbia University and B.A. from Smith College.
Wendy is the Director of Finance and Administration at CADE. She oversees all grant compliance and human resources. With thirty plus years of accounting experience Wendy brings a great deal of expertise to the organization. Her background includes budget management, forecasting, financial statements, taxes, IFRS and non-profit accounting and audit experience. Wendy previously managed a $160+million annual budget for a large non-profit. She has also worked with international for profit companies.
Kaitlyn Sirna is a Senior Program Manager at CADE, since 2019, and is working in the areas of Supply and Value Chain Development and Marketing. Kaitlyn's knowledge and passion for farming comes from her parents who are first generation farmers and self-proclaimed land conservationists. The Sirna Family purchased and saved their now family-farm from development over twenty years ago in Northeast Ohio.
Since moving to New York Kaitlyn has worked at Cornell Cooperative Extension, where she helped farm and food businesses with product development and the implementation of New York Agriculture and Market's TASTE NY program in Broome County. Most recently before CADE, Kaitlyn worked for Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments (VINES), a non-profit urban farm in Binghamton, where she ran and rapidly expanded two of their oldest program areas, Youth Programming and Community Gardens. Kaitlyn has a Masters in Science from Binghamton University in Sustainable Communities and her thesis analyzes the relationship between food security, food access, and culture.
Kaitlyn is Chair of the Downtown Binghamton Courtyard Market and a board member of NOFA-NY. Kaitlyn works closely with small businesses in New York and Ohio to support their needs to grow (figuratively and literally!). She passionately advocates for small businesses and local farms and has first hand experience working in these fields across the Midwest and Eastern US.
James Cagle is a Senior Program Manager at CADE and is working in the areas of logistical and technological solutions for new and existing farm and food entrepreneurs. Passion for local food and small businesses fueled James' journey to becoming a first-generation organic farmer.
Prior to CADE, James had ten years of experience in organic and sustainable agriculture, including research at Cornell University, managing a startup CEA farm, and operating his own market farm. James earned a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University in Integrative Plant Sciences.
James specializes in vegetable and poultry production, greenhouse production, business development, and data management. He is thrilled to work with New York entrepreneurs and partners to facilitate the agricultural economy of tomorrow.
Rhiannon Wright is a Program Coordinator at CADE, with a special focus on land access and business development. Rhiannon owns and operates a small scale nursery called The Forest Exchangewith her partner in Jefferson, NY. The nursery specializes in food producing and medicinal trees and perennials.
Prior to working with CADE, Rhiannon worked with the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance to manage the Doylestown Farmers Market. She has a B.S. in Community Development from Temple University with a focus in Sustainable Food Systems Planning.
She is a firm believer that cooperative business design and agroforestry will play key roles in a robust agricultural future for the northeast. She is proud to be a queer farmer, and is an avid sewer and learning herbalist.
Karen Fairbairn is the Communications Manager at CADE working behind the scenes to expand the reaches of CADE's mission to support NYS local agriculture. Karen's love for farming and small product production began over 15 years ago when she became a dairy farmer in the Catskills. Co-owner of the former Lazy Crazy Acres grazing dairy farm and "cow to cone" gelato businesses, Karen has a deep appreciation and vast knowledge of diversified farming and small scale dairy production. Lazy Crazy Acres is also home to Tree Juice Maples Syrup, a 10,000 tap maple production outfit.
Karen was born and raised in Florida where she also graduated from Florida Southern College with a degree in Communications. Her background includes working year round as a sleep-away camp director for over 10 years, several years as a non-profit arts program director and operating a diversified farm consisting of dairy, beef, pork, eggs and dairy product production. Having spent many years working side by side, and forming deep friendships, with other local farmers Karen is very dedicated to the success of NYS farming.
Talia has deep roots in Western NY; she grew up in Rochester, where all of her grandparents were born and raised, and spent summers in the Finger Lakes. She loves farm animals, fresh herbs, and discovering new foods to experiment with in her kitchen.
Talia studied Neuroscience and Biology at Brandeis University and has bounced around since then - living abroad for several years and spending most of 2022 on a country-wide road trip - before eventually moving back to Rochester. Talia has over 5 years of experience testing software and building quality systems for various start-ups. She is excited to bring her technical expertise to CADE and help build a more equitable and sustainable agricultural economy in NYS.
Erin Summerlee is the Director of the Food and Health Network at the Rural Health Network of South Central NY. Erin works to link food access, health, and sustainable agriculture in support of a thriving regional food system and local communities. Over the past five years she has focused on development of Food as Medicine initiatives, including the first Fruit & Vegetable Prescription Program in the region, and expanding farm to school programs, infrastructure, and policy.
Erin attended Loyola University of Chicago and farmed in Chelsea, MI before returning to NY. Erin is currently a member of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier’s Advocacy Committee, the Farm to Institution NYS Leadership Team, the NY Farm to School Coordinating Committee, and Co-Chair of the Management Committee for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of NY, Certified Organic LLC.
Carlena (Carli) Cochi Ficano, Ph.D., is Professor of Economics and Chair of the Business Administration and Accounting department at Hartwick College where she teaches courses on applied microeconomics and empirical research methods including classes on local food systems taught jointly with faculty from the College's Environment, Society and Sustainability (ESS) and Biology majors both at Hartwick and in Portugal as part of the College's signature January-term program. Her research interest in policy effectiveness across a range of markets includes early work on child care policy and college retention policy. Her current research explores how inequality of land ownership in the US correlates with on and off farm economic outcomes at the county level. Dr. Ficano earned her B.A. in economics and sociology from Lafayette College and received her M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University. Initially serving as a CADE board member from 2001 to 2009, Carli rejoined the Board in 2015, assuming the position of Chair in 2017.
Carlos Lenin Valery, Jr. is a fourth-generation farmer and rancher from Venezuela, who became a first-generation Delaware County, New York farmer in 2016. Committed to sustainable, resilient, holistic and regenerative farming practices, Valery is the Director of Orinoco Cattle Products and Farms, producing grass-fed beef. He also has experience in the mozzarella cheese production business.
Valery holds a degree in Agronomic Engineering from UNELLEZ University, located in Portuguesa, Venezuela, and an M.Sc. in Sustainability from the City College of New York, with additional studies in soil health, vegetable mineral nutrition, crop and pasture management, cattle genetic improvement, economics, and finances. He is co-author of his master’s thesis/capstone project on profitable business models that advance universal healthy food access for low-income communities facing food deserts in New York City. Valery is a longtime member of the National Congress of Fruit and was an extension agent in Venezuela in the early 2000s. His mother language is Spanish and he is fluent in English.
Valery is a proud father, traveling enthusiast and passionate reader. He enjoys cooking traditional Venezuelan dishes and, of course, making a weekend beef BBQ.
Ken Jaffe, MD, has 35 years experience working at the intersection of public health and sustainable agriculture. Jaffe operated a family medical practice for 25 years and attended public health school at Columbia University. He developed a grass fed beef farm in upstate New York, and a company that provides a marketing channel for 23 grass fed producers to wholesale buyers.
Ensuring children have access to healthy local meats, Jaffe created the first program offering NYS raised and processed beef to K-12 schools in 26 school districts from Buffalo to Long Island from 2013-2018. He exited that business in 2018 to focus on policy issues around livestock production and human health. Jaffe sits on the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Farm-to-School Coordinating Committee supporting strategic planning and is a member of the NY Grown Food for NY Kids Coalition organized by the American Farmland Trust. He is a “Clinical Champion” of Health Care With Harm. He has lectured on antibiotics, livestock and human health at Cornell’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Public Health Program, and at the NY Academy of Medicine.
Jaffe is a Board member of the Center of Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship (CADE) since 2010. In his Board capacity, he is leading the way for NYS to reduce on-farm antibiotic use in partnership with farmers and veterinarians. Enhanced antibiotic stewardship will help prevent the emergence of so-called “super bugs”--bacteria that are antibiotic resistant, posing a public health crisis for both humans and animals.
Jaffe is also on the Advisory Board of the Northeast Beef Supply Chain Study with Tufts and Cornell and authored Cornell’s “Green Grass, Green Jobs” report on the economic potential of underutilized NY grasslands.
Jaffe earned his medical degree from University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine.
Judy has been the City of Oneonta’s Community Development Director since October, 2016. She is administering a mix of NYS-funded Downtown Revitalization Initiative programs, and housing, economic development, and infrastructure grant programs for the City. Prior to working for the City, she worked with a civil engineering firm as a Sr. Project Manager managing large infrastructure projects, and writing and administering grants and projects for municipalities throughout the region. Judy is the co-owner of Sweet Tree Farm, a large grass fed and grass finished beef farm in Carlisle in Schoharie County. The diversified family farm also produces pastured chicken, pork, and maple syrup. All of the farms’ products are marketed within 3 hours of the farm. She has written a guidance manual to help small, rural communities undertake municipal wastewater projects, and published a book about mobile chicken coops. Judy graduated from SUNY Cobleskill and serves on the board for the Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank and the NYS Urban Forestry Council.
Patricia Dopazo is Director of Planned Giving at Hartwick College. As a charitable gift planning specialist for over 13 years, she has helped donors establish optimal gift arrangements for themselves and Hartwick. In addition to her fundraising activities, Pat enjoys working with faculty and off-campus partners to develop other, non-financial opportunities that enrich Hartwick’s educational programs and student experience.
Her passion is building relationships, which she has done in a variety of professional arenas world-wide spanning over 40 years, as a financial and estate planning advisor at the Trust Division of NBT Bank and at A.G. Edwards & Sons (now Wells Fargo Financial Services), and as a coffee trading professional specializing in Latin America.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Pat speaks Spanish and French. She earned a BA in French from SUNY Stony Brook.
Zaid Kurdieh, managing partner of Norwich Meadows farm has amassed more than 35 years working in the agriculture industry in different capacities. While pursuing an MBA from the University of South Dakota, Zaid simultaneously worked for the USDA (Farmers Home Administration) as an agricultural management specialist. Following that chapter, he did some graduate study work (PhD) in agricultural economics at Kansas State University. In the fall of 1996, Zaid then took a position with Cornell Cooperative Extension as a farm business management specialist where he worked closely with farmers and other agricultural businesses assisting them with planning, analysis and marketing.
In 1998, Zaid and his partners decided to start Norwich Meadows Farm to produce and provide certified organic fruits and vegetables to the market. What started as a two acre farm has grown into a 230+ acre business, with 180 high tunnels and 50+ employees. During peak season, Norwich Meadows Farm is present at eleven farmer's markets each week, has 600+ CSA members and supplies more than 200 high-end restaurants in addition to wholesale customers.
Zaid was also a member of the faculty at SUNY Morrisville, Norwich campus, teaching business statistics for two and a half years. He has also contributed as a speaker at Farm AID and several agricultural conferences and symposiums. He is also a board member of Chef’s for Impact.
Jim Hyland is a Senior Consultant at Kitchen Table Consultants, a firm that uses real world experience to help farms and food artisans build lasting, profitable, locally focused businesses. Jim specializes in food production, supply chain and building management teams. He converted an abandoned IBM cafeteria into The Farm Bridge, a 30,000 sq ft processing kitchen with a staff of 50 and annual sales of 5.5 million, between 2009 and 2021 it served both farms and food entrepreneurs as Hudson Valley’s premier specialty/local food manufacturer.
Jim helped commercialize hundreds of recipes and local food concepts, combining his passion for local food with a drive to execute real change in the local food system. He is recognized as an early pioneer in the expansion of locally grown foods into retail, institutional and home delivery markets. Jim is the recipient of Farm Credit - National 100 Fresh Perspective, the Glynnwood Center’s Harvest Award - Local Food Pioneer and Orange County IDA - Accelerator Award: Contribution to Food Manufacturing.
Madalyn Warren has been fermenting kimchee with her family since her first job peeling garlic as a child. A fundamental part of Korean food, culture and heritage, kimchee has played a vital role in the Warren family as long as she can remember. Since moving to Roxbury to farm in 2003, Madalyn has been making what she refers to as "farmstead kimchee" in large batches, sharing her love of the fermented Korean staple with friends and family. After moving down Route 30 and starting East Branch Farms in 2013, Madalyn and her mother Ji Kim continued to develop their family technique and recipes together.
Always using freshest specialty vegetables which contain the highest amounts of beneficial microbes, perfect for a lacto-fermented product, East Branch Farm uses organic and biodynamic farming practices to grow vegetables, herbs and medicinal plants and promote vibrant ecosystems for the soil, microbes, birds and beneficial insects.
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