Learn about the individuals, organizations, farms, and gardens who will be presenting at PA-WAgN's Annual Symposium!


Julia Aguilar - Tooth of the Lion Farm & Apothecary, Truelove SeedsJulia is a Philly native working as a satellite community herbalist, seed saving student, professional gardener and visual artist/photographer.

Baker-Hotep-LaVerne-WellWoman-Media.jpg LaVerne Baker Hotep - Women for a Healthy Environment, Numerology for Enlightened LivingLaVerne Baker Hotep is a human potential expert, inspirational speaker, cycle analyst, and founder of Numerology for Enlightened Living, a consultancy specializing in assisting individuals worldwide to align with their personal and universal soul purpose and reclaim their natural gifts through the art and science of Numerology. With over 30 years of research and practice in this ancient science, LaVerne teaches a popular Numerology class at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Lifelong Learning, and brings a depth of wisdom, knowledge and humor to her readings, lectures and workshops. An “old fashioned” social worker for Allegheny County’s East Liberty Family Support Center, LaVerne works to bolster young families and specializes in social and historical trauma trainings conducted in the U.S and Africa. Representing Women for a Healthy Environment, she is a member of the PA-WAgN’s steering committee and will soon host Weekend Edition on 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR news station.

Banks-Jade.jpg Jade Banks - Jade!: Jade D. Banks (Jade!) is
a writer, book publisher, teaching artist, arts administrator, producer, community folklorist, photographer and author of ON BEING FAT, BLACK AND FEMALE. Founder of IMAN BOOKS, she made Harlem history by publishing SIGNIFYIN’ HARLEM literary journal, the first literary journal of Harlem artists since the revered Fire!! (1926) – published by Wallace Thurman, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Jade served as publisher / executive editor of eleven (11) youth anthologies in the NYC School System and publishing advisor for ON FIRE!! literary journal of Rider University. NYC Research Coordinator, Curriculum Developer and Trainer for THE WILL TO ADORN project of the Smithsonian Institution, she is additionally Director of the Community Folk Culture Program at Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center, the premier, year-round, folk arts program globally for youth. Her literary and photographic works are archived in permanent collections at the Smithsonian Institution and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Labeled “indefatigable” by a best friend / colleague, Jade has lived for decades with the autoimmune disorder rheumatoid arthritis and was more recently diagnosed with cutaneous lupus. Jade credits the disorders for her acceptance of being an artist and living life as such.

queeba.jpg Raqueeb Bey - The Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-op: Raqueeb Bey is an urban agriculturist, community activist and mother of six phenomenal children. She is the Garden Resource Coordinator for Grow Pittsburgh Garden Resource Center, a tool lending library in Pittsburgh's East End. In 2011, Raqueeb founded Mama Africa's Green Scouts, a youth program that teaches community gardening, green sustainability, African-centered culture and community leadership skills. She also founded the Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-Op (BUGS FPC) in June of 2015, where she is the Executive Director.
Raqueeb also volunteers for Landslide Community Farms. She is a steering committee member for the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, A steering committee member for PaWagn and a steering committee member for the Homewood Collaborative and chairs the Homewood Sustainability Action Team.Raqueeb is on the subcommittee for the eco innovation district and The Real Estate Task Force Committee for the Uptown Partners. Raqueeb attended Alleghany County Community College for Business Management and enjoys working with diverse organizations and people to create sustainable food sovereignty solutions for our communities. 

Brown-Asata-Art-in-the-Garden-Boreland-Community-Garden.jpg Asata Brown - Art in the GardenAsata Brown is a 7th grade student at Winchester Thurston School in Pittsburgh, PA. She enjoys drawing, reading-(graphic novels are her favorite), and a good outdoor walk every once in awhile. She also likes educating herself on the uses of plants, how nature affects our current society, and how we help each other. Asata volunteers at her local library branch and often rides her bike there, which is another activity she enjoys doing, usually with her Dad. She has four siblings, two older brothers and 2 younger sisters and enjoys spending time with her family.

Carlson-Emily-Art-in-the-Garden.PNG Emily Carlson - Art in the GardenEmily Carlson is a mother, teacher, healer, and poet. For over two decades, Emily has taught writing to students from elementary school to college. Emily is the director of OMA Center for Mind, Body and Spirit’s program, Art in the Garden, an arts and ecology based program that invests in the resiliency and social and emotional development of youth. Art in the Garden engages a variety of modules that support youth in holding themselves and others in compassion and supports youth knowing—in deep and lasting ways—the interconnectedness of all living beings, that we are all whole and all belong. Emily has also been a leader for The Experiment in International Living’s program in Ghana and cared for horses in Pontassieve, Italy and in Brooklyn, NY. She lives with her partner, Sten, and their three children in a cohousing community in Pittsburgh. https://omaartinthegarden.org


Shadyra Chambers - The Food TrustFor the last 5 years Shadyra has helped The Food Trust gain more from it's digital interactions. She has a demonstrated history of success in creating communications messaging and outreach strategies, leading staff, and handling administrative functions. She stays updated on industry standards and networking comes naturally, so she is no stranger to developing and maintaining professional relationships. Skilled in Sales, Event Management, Marketing, and Social Media. (Photo and bio from linkedin.com)

lan.jpg Lan Dinh - VietLead, Resilient Roots Community Farm, Furness High School Garden, Soil GenerationLan Dinh comes from a family of Vietnamese refugees, farmers, and fisherfolk and learned how to grow from her mother in a cramped back porch of West Philly. She is the Farm and Food Sovereignty Director at VietLead where she manages the Resilient Roots Community Farm which builds intergenerational and muti-racial solidarity with high school youth and elders in Camden NJ. She also guides the Furness Community High School garden which was built from a collaboration between South and Southeast Asian refugee communities in South Philadelphia. VietLead is currently fighting a campaign to Save Hoa Binh Plaza, a cultural food center from gentrification. Lan also is apart of Soil Generation, a Black and Brown-led coalition of growers in Philadelphia fighting for increased land rights for communities amidst growing displacement. 

Gardner-Karen-National-Young-Farmers-Coalition.jpg Karen Gardner - National Young Farmers CoalitionKaren Gardner, Pennsylvania Policy Associate for the National Young Farmers Coalition, advocates for young farmers across Pennsylvania, building coalitions with partners and policymakers to advance young farmer priorities. Raised in Pittsburgh, Karen has been involved with farming, food systems research, and policy for close to a decade.

5CA5AA72_4F3B_4B54_89CF_F4DE1214B841.jpeg Dr. Dana Harris-Yates known, “Aboriginally as La’Qua Medicine Woman Mini Moon and Shaman Flute” - Black Urban Gardner’s & Farmers Coop, IFAA Alliance, Urban Agricultural Working Group, TRALI: Dr. Dana Harris-Yates, Bush/Roots Dr. , Natural Therapist, Counselor, Reiki Master, Shaman, Medicine Woman, & Body Energy Healer. The 11 year Owner of Cultural Oasis LLC, Pittsburgh’s first Herbalist’s Apothecary Healing Emporium. The Creator of Pittsburgh's only Indigenous Aborigine Healing Emporium, “Indigenous Natural Medicinal Programs, Nature Based Psycological Therapeutic Modalities, Therapeutic Gardening and Care Farming Programs,” Program Director/Developer for The Black Urban Gardeners & Farmers Coop, Board Member of Landslide Community Farms. Founder of IFAA Alliance “Indigenous Farming of Aucthothonous Aborigines Alliance”. Co-Chair of The Urban Ag Working Group, VP of Mama Africa's Green scouts, Steering Committee Member of The Three Rivers Allegheny Land Initiative; designed to protect Urban Land used for farming and gardening from future commercial development. An honoree of the Indigenous Copper Colored American Aborigines Peoples, Tribes and Confederacy, and CEA The African Diaspora Community of Pittsburgh, and the State of Pennsylvania.

headshot.jpg Michaela Hoffelmeyer - Penn State UniversityMichaela is a Ph.D. student in Rural Sociology at Penn State University. Her research focuses on gender, sexuality, and sustainable agriculture.

Muhammad-Nefertari-Sasha-Supreme-Compost.jpg Sasha Hubert - Supreme Compost: Sasha Mylana Hubert is 17 years old and the youngest of 5 siblings.  She has one brother and three sisters, is
home-schooled in eleventh grade attending Commonwealth Connection Academy. Sasha has worked at the Sankofa Community Farm in Philadelphia at Bartram’s garden for the past two years. She really enjoys working at the farm, meeting people, reading and traveling.  Sasha’s passion is learning and she has visions of being a photographer or lawyer.  She also enjoys working and learning from her mother Nefertari Muhammad about business.

Irvine-Folami-ABC-Herbal-Coloring-Book.jpg Folami Irvine - Precious Jewels Prevention Program, LLC: Folami Irvine is the founder of Precious Jewels Prevention Program LLC. She teaches multiple of life long tools including herbs, Iridology and many other Holistic techniques. Folami is also the author of the ABC Herbal Coloring Book.

Kirk-Michelle-PA-Farm-Link.jpg Michelle Kirk - PA Farm LinkMichelle has worked with PA Farm Link since February of 2017 assisting farmers with succession planning as well as participating in Farm Link's Beginning Farmer and Farm Succession Workshops along with providing information about their online farmland database. She also works part-time as an Administrative Assistant for the Center for Beef Excellence and for the USDA/Farm Service Agency as a Field Assistant. Previously, Michelle was a full-time farmer for over 20 years, raising beef cattle first in Chester County, then in Adams County, PA. She is active in her community and holds a seat on the Adams County Conservation District Board of Directors.

Lawrence-Irina-Flying-Fibers-Farm.png Irina Lawrence - Flying Fibers: Irina Lawrence is a Shepherdess and Fiber Artist who raises rare breed British Longwool Sheep and Shetland Sheep in York County. She is a member and advocate of the Leicester Longwool Sheep Breeders Association. In addition, she sample-knits, test-knits, and designs knitwear using her flock's wool. When not working passionately to practice preservation of rare breed sheep through education, you will find her working as the manager and knitting expert of Flying Fibers which she co-owns with her mother.

Lindemann-Justine-PSU.jpg Justine Lindemann - Penn State UniversityDr. Justine Lindemann is an Assistant Professor of Community Development and Resilience in the department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education at Penn State University. Prior to coming to Penn State, she spent four years in Cleveland, OH working with black growers on the east side of the city. Her research focused on black epistemologies - the Black Agrarian Imaginary - and examined the social, spatial, and political processes associated with urban agriculture and vacant land in the city. Justine has also done research on urban agriculture and food justice in Syracuse, NY.

Melvin-Katelyn-Tooth-of-the-Lion.jpg Katelyn Melvin - Tooth of the Lion Farm & ApothecaryKatelyn is a farmer and herbalist based in Orwigsburg PA who has a passion for growing abundant and potent herbal medicine that oozes pleasure and cultivates connection. After getting a start in organic vegetable farming, Katelyn created Tooth of the Lion Farm to grow herbs on a scale that is sustainable and regenerative for both the land and the farmers, while improving the quality of life and well-being of our communities.

Miller-Sandra Kay-Painted Hand Farm.jpg Sandra Kay Miller - Painted Hand Farm: My journey has taken me from Pennsylvania to California and back to Pennsylvania, farming, cooking, marketing and writing about it the whole time. Over the years, I have learned that food is much more than a nourishing substance used to fuel our bodies. Food is a political hot potato, a weapon, medicine, a commodity, a passion, an art. Food evokes visceral responses about how it is produced, sold, cooked and eaten. Food is deeply personal yet can represent an entire culture. Most importantly, food represents constant change. That is why in 2015, Painted Hand Farm transitioned from being a specific geographical location to a brand representing a philosophy. Civilization can barrel full steam ahead leaving a swath of destruction, but no matter the circumstances, this one farmer will continue to produce food using methods that respect the land, honor the livestock and provide sustenance in ways that is of benefit to her community and the environment.

Mitchell-Amirah-True Love Seeds.jpg Amirah Mitchell - Truelove Seeds:
Amirah has been involved with the food movement for more than a dozen years, initially as a teen youth intern, team leader and board member at The Food Project in Boston, MA. She has worked on urban farms in Massachusetts, Georgia and Pennsylvania, including Mill Creek Farm in Philadelphia.
Amirah has delivered workshops to community, college and high school audiences on various agroecology topics, including agroforestry, soil ecology, urban gardening, seed-keeping and more.  Currently Amirah is studying Horticulture at Temple University and works at Truelove Seeds, a Philadelphia-based seed company.

Muhammad-Nefertari-Sasha-Supreme-Compost.jpg Nefertari Muhammad- GMO & Compost Education Specialist - Supreme Compost, Sisters Original Supreme Pies:Mrs. Muhammad is an Entrepreneur, GMO and Compost Education Specialist, Founder and CEO of Supreme Compost,Creator of ‘Entrepreneurship Through Agribusiness – Creating Entrepreneurs’ Youth Program.
Founder and Owner Sister’s Original Pies, five time winner according to Entrepreneur Works annual contest “Taste Of Success.”

Mrs. Muhammad is also a gardener, farmer, land manager, she is the Cobbs Creek Advisory Committee Program Director and Board member, Temple University PASCEP Teacher, Community liaison and Herbalist.  She is dedicated to GMO and compost education, and through her work is providing critical community education around the detriments of GMOs, the benefits of using SupremeCompostto produce nutritious fruits and vegetables, and she is saving lives.

Nelson-Adrienne-National-Young-Farmers-Coalition.jpg Adrienne Nelson - National Young Farmers CoalitionAdrienne Nelson is a vegetable farmer based in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. After several seasons managing a production vegetable and grain farm on Long Island she now works with the National Young Farmers Coalition as the Western Pennsylvania Organizer. Through this work, she supports farmers' engagement in the political process, advocating for their needs as young and beginning farmers at the local, state and federal level.

IMG_20180929_090252537.jpg Claire O'Brien - Sunnyside FarmGrowing up in the suburbs, Claire never expected to be farming. Her Geographic Information Systems degree from the University of Maryland, wound up keeping her inside too much. After a few years of office jobs, she joined her mother raising & growing good food and beautiful flowers.

Monica Pape  (10 of 21)-(ZF-7496-58915-1-004).jpg Monica Pape - The Accidental AgronomistMonica Pape is the lead adviser for The Accidental Agronomist. She currently works with farmers across the country giving them a better understanding of their soil tests to help them implement sensible fertilization and management plans that produce higher yielding crops while saving money and being environmentally sustainable. Taking a simple approach and achieving successful results, has positioned The Accidental Agronomist as a trusted resource for farmers.

Pasekoff-Dorene-Hill-Creek-Farm.jpg Doreen Pasekoff - Hill Creek FarmDoreen Pasekoff has been growing since she could walk -- to follow her PA Dutch grandfather around his garden. He felt she was ready for her first garden at age 5 and she has been growing heirlooms and saving seed ever since. Dorene ran a 1-acre community garden for 20 years in Phoenixville PA and now is an owner/operator of Hill Creek Farm outside Pottstown, PA. She has grown out garlic for USDA and seed-saved for Seed Savers Exchange, the Roughwood Collection, and TrueLove Seeds.

Peters-Dru-Sunnyside-Farm.jpg Dru Peters - Sunnyside FarmWhen the quality of food was lacking, Dru began researching farming methods, and settled onto a pasture based mob and move method for livestock. Currently managing egg layers, beef, pork, chicken and Thanksgiving turkeys. We are a chemical free supporting song birds with many native plantings of trees, shrubs and plants.

Robinson-Lawrence-Jeri-Flying-Fibers-Farm.png Jeri Robinson-Lawrence - Flying FibersJeri Robinson-Lawrence is a Shepherdess and Fiber Artist who raises rare breed British Longwool Sheep and Shetland Sheep in York County, Pennsylvania. She is currently the Vice President for the North American Wensleydale Sheep Association and is a member of the Leicester Longwool Sheep Breeders Association and the North American Shetland Sheep Breeders Association. Jeri is also co-owner, alongside her daughter, Irina Lawrence, of Flying Fibers, a full-service fiber arts store in Landisville, Pennsylvania. When not working passionately to practice preservation of rare breed sheep through education, you will find her working as a Professor of Art & Design at Millersville University.

IMG_0114.jpg D. Rooney - Rock Steady Farm & Flowers
D. is of mixed Latinx and European descent, a gender non-binary vegetable farmer and co-worker/owner of Rock Steady Farm and Flowers in Millerton/Hudson Valley, NY. D. was inspired to farm after recognizing food disparity at a local, regional and national level. D. learned how to grow food during their time as a certificate student at FarmSchool NYC. D. has experience in social, environmental, and food justice movements in the NYC and Hudson Valley NY communities. D. is currently a Seeding Power Fellow with Community Food Funders, directed by the Northstar Foundation. The Seeding Power Fellowship is an innovative 18 month cohort-based food justice fellowship program for experienced leaders working across sectors to build equitable food systems across NYC, Long Island and Hudson Valley.

Sachs-Carolyn.jpg Carolyn Sachs - Penn State UniversityCarolyn's research examines issues of gender and agriculture and gender and environmental issues. Her first project involves exploring the new women agricultural entrepreneurs and their opportunities and barriers to success. She is also engaged in a comparative international project on gender and climate change in India in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization. Her third project focuses on gender and the food system exploring gendered work in the food system from farm to table. (Photo and Bio from psu.edu)

Shanahan-Linda-Barefoot-Botanicals.jpg Linda Shanahan, MSN, RN - Barefoot BotanicalsLinda is an herbalist with a foundation of knowledge that sprouted in the forests of Oregon 20 years ago, learning about forest ecology and the medicine that it can offer. In 2008, after moving east, studying nursing, working in critical care, feeling lost and in need of community, Linda and her husband Eric started farming organically in Doylestown, PA, focused on certified organic medicinal herbs. Linda believes to achieve health, we need to find ways to re-establish our broken connections with our wild and beautiful planet, starting with what grows beneath our feet. 

Starr-Carie-Cherokee-Valley-Bison-Ranch3.jpg Carie Starr - Cherokee Valley Bison Ranch, Women Grow OhioCarie was born to hippie gardeners who raised her on her Cherokee grandmother’s farm where, along with a strong sense of her native heritage, seeds of love for the earth and environment were planted. After earning a degree in Environmental Science from Zane State College she spent several years in the corporate world. Although successful in those jobs, the seeds of desire to connect to the earth were growing and blooming.

In 2008 Carie, along with her husband Jarrod, took a huge leap into farming with the native symbol of power, blessings and abundance, the American Bison. Carie is now the full-time farmer of Cherokee Valley Bison Ranch, home to not only bison but heritage breed pigs, chickens and turkeys. In 2015 Carie co-founded Women Grow Ohio. In partnership with Women Grow Ohio and Rural Action, she created and hosted a workshop to educate aspiring farmers on the care and keeping of bison. (Photo from facebook.com)

Thompson-Desiree-Nana-Catherines-Apothecary.jpg Desiree Catherine Thompson - Nana Catherine's ApothecaryDesiree Catherine Thompson is a Philly-bred, Black American, queer energy worker, artist and folk herbalist. Her practice, Nana Catherine’s Apothecary (NCA), is an exploration in self-discovery, honoring the Earth and other-than human elements, and valuing the gifts of communal connection as resource. She currently offers sliding scale Reiki, ancestral energy work and herbal education to her community, through her studio in North Philadelphia (Allegheny West neighborhood). Using a synthesis of energy work, intuitive channeling and plant medicine, Desiree works to close the gaps in wellness access for queer and trans people of color. She uses plants medicinally and spiritually, creating formulations for remedy AND ritual. Since opening in October of 2018, Desiree has also offered free healing and herbal support to community care events at North Philly Peace Park (Self-Care Saturdays), ArtWell (Community Wellness Festival), and Sabbath Solidarity (Radical Rest for Organizers and Creatives of Color).

van-Nelson-Marlene-Trellis-Legal-LLC.jpeg Marlene van Nelson - Trellis Legal, LLCMarlene is the founder and principal attorney at Trellis Legal, LLC located in Pittsburgh. Her transactional law practice serves small businesses and nonprofits, and specializes in food business and rural and urban agriculture legal needs. Marlene is also a board member of the Pennsylvania Farmers Union and Lawrenceville United, and is a member of the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council.

Annie-Warmke-Blue-Rock-Station.jpg Annie Warmke - Blue Rock Station, Women Grow OhioAnnie Warmke was born a city girl in Columbus, Ohio but started her farming life with a Nubian goat on a small hobby farm in Baltimore Ohio during her high school years. Her career experiences include founding and running battered women's projects, women's funds, and organizing a variety of projects to provide leadership skills for women-owned businesses and non-profits. Annie has a degree in counseling from Ohio University, and has been a full-time goat herder for the past 13 years. She built Ohio's first Earthship, founded Blue Rock Station with her husband Jay Warmke, serves as a consultant to various groups, is vice-president of the USDA Farm Service Agency County Committee, and runs a goat college near Philo Ohio. Over the years she has won a variety of awards for her work, and in 2015 she co-founded Women Grow Ohio. Living at Blue Rock Station is her life-long dream, and being a grandmother has been her most important vocation. (Photo from facebook.com)

20191019_234256.jpg Hannah Whitley - Penn State University: Hannah Whitley is a PhD student in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education at Penn State. Her graduate work explores how socially constructed identities complicate barriers and opportunities for growers and connect to broader institutional inequities that perpetuate these problems. To learn more about Hannah’s thesis, visit www.thefemalefarmerphotovoiceproject.org

Whitmer-Megan-Just-Harvest.jpg Megan Whitmer - Just HarvestMegan Whitmer specializes in strategic writing, media, and events management for non-profit and community enterprises. Megan is currently producing the 2019 documentary feature “Blood Memory" and serves as a key community liaison for the Fresh Access farmers market program at Just Harvest. She has supported or helped to develop community-building initiatives for multiple nonprofits, farms, and museums. Megan actively consults on and produces conferences and special events, as well as outreach, fundraising, and social media campaigns. Megan holds a Master of Arts in communication and rhetorical studies from Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit and a Bachelor of Arts in corporate communication from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Women's Agricultural Network


302 Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802