Board of DirecTors
Board Member, Secretary
From an early age Bryce Baumann aspired to be a farmer. That dream became a reality after attending Berry College, when he returned to Kentucky to operate his family farm, Lazy Eight Stock Farm. The farm is now 100% certified organic and sells a variety of products to local and regional markets, as well as a large Community Supported Agriculture program serving central Kentucky. Bryce brings a particular interest in building a strong organic farmer network in Kentucky, allowing more farmers to find successes and support in our changing farm landscape.
Maggie owns and operates Salad Days Farm, a certified organic diversified vegetable farm in Woodford County. The first seeds were planted in 2015 and since then the operation has grown from half an acre to 4 acres using intensive sustainable market gardening practices. With year-round sales through farmers markets, restaurants, an on farm store, CSA, and wholesale, it has been Maggie’s goal to exemplify the sustainability of local organic food from small farms. As a first generation farmer Maggie found a passion for farming through her education in nutrition and a stubborn desire to do and make everything herself. Through seven years of farming she’s experienced rewards and struggles, and what keeps her going is the community around farming, the lifestyle, and the humble desire to prove that one of the most important jobs in the world can be achieved using varying scales and farming practices.
Sarah Fritschner is a principal of Grow Kentucky, working with farmers and consumers to increase Kentucky farmers’ percentage of Louisville’s $3 billion food market. Sarah was an OAK board member from 2010 to 2015 and has been an OAK advisor since 2016, work that included conference program planning from 2013 to 2019, raising funds to hire an executive director, starting the OAK consumer newsletter, setting up two OAK fundraisers featuring organic farmers in Louisville and organizing field days. Sarah is happy to once again devote time and energy to an organization that improves the education, expertise and market possibilities for farmers in Kentucky who are improving our state’s natural resources while they provide delicious and nutritious food to its citizens.
Board Member, Treasurer
Carolyn Gahn is the Director of Farm-to-Institution for Aramark, the leading global foodservice provider. This role is part of the Global Supply Chain & Procurement team and in this function Carolyn works to build scalable solutions for increasing institutional food purchasing from small farms and businesses. Carolyn started with Aramark as the Sustainability Director for the University of Kentucky Dining services and in that role elevated the dining program to be one of the most robust farm-to-table dining programs on a college campus. Carolyn has spoken publicly at several conferences, including the Culinary Institute of America's Menus of Change Conference. She is also the co-founder of Sweetgrass Natural Foods which manufactures regional CPG specialty food products. She started her career as a community organizer with Community Farm Alliance and has worked on several diversified farms, including her own. She lives near Lexington, Kentucky with her family and farm animals.
Kyle raised corn and beans conventionally for the last 10 years in Paducah, KY. His farming career started on an organic vegetable farm in Georgetown, KY 12 years ago. That experience had significant influence and he decided 2 years ago to take the plunge into transitioning 100 acres. For the last two years Kyle has been practicing raising organic corn and soybeans on 12 acres of certified organic cropland. He is excited about organic farming in Kentucky and sees it as a better alternative for himself, his family, and the community. Kyle says that OAK has been an important resource for him on this journey. From annual conferences to the Transition Trainer Program, he knows that OAK is here to help the farmer and eaters build healthier food and farming networks across the state.
Board Member, Chair
Steve was born in Germany and lived in several locations growing up as part of a miliarty family. His interest in agriculture began in college (TX A&M) when he became concerned about the issues of hunger in the world. He has worked in agriculture ever since, both through the non-profit world and his own small farms. Steve managed the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s 4150 acre ranch and served as one of two program directors. He also managed Heifer International’s Learning and Livestock Center (the Ranch) and went on to become their Appalachia Representative and then the USA Country Program Director. Most recently he served as the Executive Director of Southern SAWG (Sustainable Agriculture Working Group) from 2014-2019. It was Steve's Heifer International work in the Appalachia region that landed him in Kentucky back in 1993. He and his wife bought a small farm in Kentucky and have since learned that this is where their roots belong. They raise sheep and pastured poultry on their farm and also an organic garden. While working for Heifer he became very connected with the sustainable agriculture community in the state and region.
Andrew Oles is a 3rd generation farmer with an ancestral connection to Garrard County, KY on the banks of the Kentucky River. After receiving a degree in Agriculture and Natural Resources at Berea College he spent time farming in different states; in Western North Carolina as a market farmer raising veggies, pasture poultry and pastured pork. In Western New York on small dairy operations and at Oles Family Farm, where the 250 member CSA sold vegetables, fruits, pastured pork, pastured poultry, grass-fed beef and eggs year-round and serviced two dozen restaurants. Andrew has served in various roles at Berea College Farm, where he currently serves as Farm Director, to the oldest, continuously operated student farm in the nation. This educational farm produces organic fruits, vegetables, grains, AWA certified pork and beef, and pastured poultry marketed to institutional clients, restaurants, and a local grocery as a field-to-fork food paradigm. Berea College Farm offers students the opportunity to engage with local, organic agriculture and develop the skills and knowledge to become practitioners, educators and advocates beyond graduation.
Julia grew up in Memphis, TN and through numerous volunteer experiences with the MIMWCBCC (Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest), she started to ask herself important questions such as: WHERE does this pork come from, and HOW was it raised? At that time, she did not realize that she was hanging out with serious “foodies”. Her search for answers to these experiences set the tone for the important next chapters in her life.
During the mid-1990’s, Julia began to realize that the plight for the well-being of seeds, soil, food, and farming was imminent and serious. Since that time, Julia worked with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (ATTRA) where she worked with a highly specialized and knowledgeable staff of organic and sustainable ag specialists. And Julia worked with the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) on everything from conference planning and network building to database management and donor relations.
Board Member, Vice Chair
Amber's roots are buried in a small rural community where she spent most of her time on her grandparents’ ranch. She knows what a real tomato and home-raised eggs tasted like. She raised sheep and rabbits for 4-H and her family grew almonds commercially and conventionally. It took moving as far from that farm as possible (she literally moved to the end of the earth, New Zealand, and spent 5 years studying the evolution of carnivorous plants for her PhD) to learn the value of knowing where and how her food was grown. Amber spent the next 7 years as a Postdoc and Research Associate at the University of California Berkeley trying to figure out how to make organic farming more feasible, profitable, and environmentally sustainable. She continues to work towards strengthening the integrity of the organic label and increasing organic acreage as the Associate Director of Science Programs at The Organic Center. Amber works closely with academic researchers, farmers, industry members, and policy makers, (largely through TOC’s partnership with The Organic Trade Association) to facilitate all kinds of research related to organic farming of food and fiber. Relatively speaking, she's a “youngster” in the fight for organic, but with 9 years of experience in the industry, her hope for the future is that we can broaden access to organic products to all, and allow farmers of all backgrounds in all locations to farm organically and successfully. As a community member and consumer in Kentucky, her dream is to see organic products in supermarkets, restaurants and farmer’s markets as the norm instead of the niche. Amber hopes to help achieve that by bringing national and international experience with the organic movement to our local community and lifting the voices and needs of local farmers to the national audience.
BECOME AN OAK BOARD MEMBER
Interested to serve as a Board Member for the Organic Association of Kentucky? OAK is currently looking for future board members and is requesting your nominations. As a part of our community, you or someone you know may be the right person to bring their time and talent to serve in this important role. Learn more and apply here.
The Board of Directors actively supports OAK and promotes its mission, vision, programs and fundraising efforts. We are looking for individuals who are interested in helping OAK grow the sustainable and organic farming movement in Kentucky. We especially need Board Members who have experience in the areas of fundraising, finance and organic farming.