Partnership Board of Directors


Peter Allison

Farm to Institution New England

Peter Allison is the Executive Director of Farm to Institution New England (FINE), a cross-sector six-state organization that mobilizes the power of institutions to transform our food system. FINE serves the growing and dynamic network of farm to institution stakeholders in New England through research, communications, relationship building and incubating innovative projects. He brings over 35 years of environmental and social program leadership in an array of non-profit, government and business settings. Peter lives at the Cobb Hill co-housing and farm community in Hartland, VT. He has a BA in Philosophy from Drew University and an MA in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University.


Abbie and Leon Corse

Vermont Organic Dairy Farmers

The Corse Farm Dairy is a 6th-generation organic dairy operation located in the hills of southern VT. It is currently run by Leon, Linda, and Abbie Corse and is a majority-female owned dairy. The farm has been a grazing dairy since its inception in 1868 and began rotationally grazing in the 1960s. Leon was the first certified Mentor Grazier for the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship in Vermont. The farm is conserved through the Vermont Land Trust, fully solar powered, and consistently produces high quality milk which they ship to CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley, where Leon serves on the Dairy Executive and Pasture Committees. The three partners serve in a number of capacities both locally, regionally, and nationally: on the boards of DGA, NOFA-VT, VACD, the Vermont Climate Council, and a number of various advisory boards and committees.


Claire Hawkins (she/hers)

Director, Natural Resource Markets & Economic Development. Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry

Claire (Eaton) Hawkins joined the Commissioner’s Office of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry (DACF) in August of 2020 as Director of Natural Resource Markets & Economic Development. In this role, she works closely with the Commissioner and Bureaus to provide strategic advisory related to business and program development, policy, fund administration, research and data coordination, and collaboration across economic development and industry organizations. Claire regularly engages in committee and working group efforts related to agriculture, food & beverage, outdoor recreation, forest products, bioeconomy, technology, and innovation. While working in the Commissioner’s Office, she has directed the design and execution of multiple state-wide research projects, including an economic impact assessment for discrete agricultural infrastructure investment scenarios. She has also been deeply involved with State administration of federal funding opportunities, including those made available through the Coronavirus Relief Fund and the American Rescue Plan Act.

Claire has broad expertise in market research and strategy. She spent ten years in the private sector working with clients representing a diverse range of industries on projects related to market access and capture, competitive advantage, product development, and consumer engagement. Prior to joining DACF, Claire was Director of Investment Operations at the Maine Technology Institute, where she worked to refine investment programming for Maine start-ups and administer large state funding opportunities, including the Maine Technology Asset Fund (MTAF). Claire is particularly interested in the intersection of sustainability, innovation, and investment strategy in New England. Claire has a B.A. from the University of Vermont and an M.S. from the University of New Hampshire. She resides in Cape Elizabeth and Deer Isle, Maine.


Gary Hirshberg

Founder and Chair of the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership; Co-Founder and Chief Organic Optimist at Stonyfield Farm

Gary Hirshberg, Founder and Chair of the Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership, is CEO of the Hirshberg Entrepreneurship Institutes and Co-Founder and former CEO of Stonyfield Farm. The author of Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World (Hyperion, 2008), Gary is an active investor in organic and sustainable solution companies including AtLast (plant-based meats), Beyond Broth (organic broths), Orgain (organic nutrition), Organic Voices (organic messaging and education) Tacombi (organic Mexican food) and Wildgood (plant-based ice cream). He has received 12 honorary doctorates and numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership including a 2015 Champion for Children Award from Mount Sinai Hospital’s Children’s Environmental Health Center and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the US EPA. He is an Edmund Hillary Fellow in NZ where he is establishing an Organic Entrepreneurship Centre on a farm that he and his wife own in Motueka.


Britt Lundgren

Director of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture at Stonyfield Organic, NH

Britt Lundgren is the Director of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture at Stonyfield, an organic yogurt company based in New Hampshire. She has over fifteen years of experience working to advance agricultural sustainability through policy and supply chain initiatives in both the non-profit and business sectors. She holds a Master of Science in Agriculture, Food, and Environment from Tufts University. Britt serves on the boards of the Organic Trade Association and the Sustainable Food Lab. She has worked on several organic farms, and is an avid fiddle player.


Annie Watson

Maine Organic Milk Company and Dairy Farmer

Annie Watson is an organic dairy farmer, and a founding member and CEO of the Maine Organic Milk Company, LLC. After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree from Brown University in 2005, Annie moved to Maine for the summer. It was here that she met her husband, Michael Moody, and knew after spending their first date chopping corn, that she wasn’t ever leaving. She and Michael began dairy farming together in 2013, when they bought their farm in Whitefield, and their farm, family, and dedication to the organic dairy industry has only grown since. Annie currently serves on the Board of Directors of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardners Association (MOFGA) and is also as a director of the Maine Dairy Industry Association. She is an strong advocate for organic and local food systems and their interdependence with our rural communities. Annie and Mike live on their farm in Whitefield with their three young sons, Oliver, Henry and Guthrie, their herd of organic dairy cows, and very small farm-dog: Otis. When she is not busy corralling small children and cows, or working to support the organic dairy industry in the Northeast, Annie enjoys cooking, reading and exploring the outdoors: where she attempts to express her love for her family and the land through photographic expression. Her favorite part of the day is singing her children to sleep every evening.


Eric Ziehm

New York Organic Dairy Farmer

Eric Ziehm along with his wife Jamie and sons Cole and Case live in Hoosick Falls NY which is located in northern Rensselaer County next to the Vermont border. Eric was raised with a passion for dairy on his family's small dairy farm. After graduation from Cornell University in 1999 with a degree in animal science and ag business he returned home to his faimily's operation and farmed there for 18 years. In 2017 when the opportunity arose to purchase a nearby farm and market organic milk to Stonyfield he jumped on it! Eric is currently the owner operator of a 260 cow organic dairy operation High Meadows of Hoosick LLC. The farm sits on 300 acres and rents an additional 550 acres for crop production. When not at the dairy he enjoys coaching youth sports and other family activities.

Board of Advisors


Michael Brown

Regional Pool Manager for CROPP Cooperative, ME

Michael Brown is a Regional Pool Manager for CROPP Cooperative based in China, Maine. Brown works with organic dairy producers in the states of Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York. In addition to working for CROPP Cooperative, Brown owns and operates a 500+ acre organic farm in central Maine. The farm maintains a herd of organic grass-fed beef and grows organic hay and organic vegetable seed for commercial catalogue sales. Prior to work with CROPP Cooperative, Brown worked for Johnny’s Selected Seed for 12 years as a seed production manager responsible for finding seed growers across the world to produce organic and conventional seed for commercial growers and home gardeners. Brown holds a B.S. Animal and Veterinary Sciences from the University of Maine, Orono.


Erbin Crowell

Executive Director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA)

Erbin Crowell serves as Executive Director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA), a federation of more than 45 food co-ops and start-up initiatives with a combined membership of over 164,000 people across New England and New York State ( Erbin brings more than 25 years of experience in Fair Trade, sustainable food systems, and co-operative economics, including work with Equal Exchange, the Cooperative Fund of New England, the Cooperative Development Institute, and the Valley Alliance of Worker Co-ops, and as a consultant with organizations such as the Federation of Southern Cooperatives / Land Assistance Fund. He currently serves on the boards of directors of the New England Farmers Union and the National Cooperative Business Association, CLUSA International. Erbin received his B.A. in Anthropology from Brown University and his Master of Management: Co-operatives & Credit Unions from Saint Mary’s University in Nova Scotia, and is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he has taught courses on the co-operative movement. A garlic enthusiast, Erbin grows and markets more than 15 heirloom varieties with much help from his family.


Rose Forrest

Sustainability Coordinator, Massachusetts & Rhode Island Universities, Sodexo, Inc. , RI

Rose Forrest brings a combined total of 26 years’ experience in culinary and sustainability. She has worked for restaurants in NYC as well as Ivy League Universities. She joined Sodexo in December of 2009 as a Chef and is currently The Sustainability Director for Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Rose has a passion for sustainability and teaching culinarians how to prepare plant-based foods. Her dedication comes across while working with and guiding the culinary teams in her region. Her hobbies include foraging wild plants and mushrooms.

Laura Ginsburg

Laura Ginsburg

Dairy Development and Innovation Lead - Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets

Laura works across the Agency of Agriculture in support of dairy sector development, including leadership of the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC). The NE-DBIC is an 11-state, regionally collaborative approach to increasing dairy resiliency and opportunity funded through the USDA. Her work encompasses marketing, market development, and business assistance for the dairy community. Laura has a master's degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana with a focus on agriculture policy and Montana's dairy supply management policy and was a Fulbright Scholar to New Zealand to study how their free-market system impacts dairy farmers decision making.


Jesse Laflamme

Former CEO and Owner of Pete and Gerry’s Organics, LLC

In the late ’90s, Jesse Laflamme returned home from Bates College to his third-generation family farm that was on the verge of bankruptcy, pushed to the brink by industrial-scale egg producers who cornered the market and forced most small egg farms out of business. Rather than go down without a fight, Jesse, together with his family, led the farm down a different path – one that led away from the factory-style farming that had nearly put them out of business. Instead of "going industrial," Pete and Gerry’s pivoted to free-range, organic egg production, eventually becoming the first Certified Humane egg farm in the country and later, the first farm business in the U.S. to be certified as a B Corp. Sold at major retailers nationwide, Pete and Gerry’s now partners with a network of over 125 small family farmers to produce its eggs and has grown to the country’s #2 egg brand with revenue of $200MM. Jesse has held positions on the board of the Organic Trade Association and the American Egg Board. In 2019, EY named Jesse the Entrepreneur Of The Year in the New England region.


Peter Miller

Organic Dairy Farmer and Processor, Miller Family Farm, VT

Peter Miller is an organic dairy farmer in Vernon, VT. The Miller Farm is truly a partnership of his brother, Arthur, friend, Keith Franklin, and daughter Abigail and son in law Brandon Bucossi. Miller Farm has about 190 registered Holsteins in their milking herd. The majority of their milk is sold to Stonyfield as part of their direct supply. Miller Farm also bottles fluid milk under their name, and is sold in the region with direct sales and through several distributors. Their creamline milk sales currently includes plain, maple, chocolate, coffee milk and eggnog.


Samantha Sackin

Vice President of Marketing, Integrated Communications at Organic Valley

Samantha Sackin is the Vice President of Marketing, Integrated Communications at Organic Valley. She is passionate about representing the 1600 member-owners of Organic Valley by authentically and transparently sharing the cooperative’s mission and purpose in engaging, memorable ways with consumers. In her two years with Organic Valley, Samantha helped define and shape the cooperative’s messaging, increasing its share of voice by managing a talented communications team across paid, earned, shared, and owned media. She helped manage the launch of the cooperative’s new national campaign, "Protecting Where your Food Comes From," helping educate consumers about organic dairy’s important role in helping to mitigate the climate crisis and create a better future for people, animals, and the earth. Prior to Organic Valley, Samantha served in leadership roles for Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG) agencies Golin, Canvas Blue, and DeVries Global. Outside of Organic Valley, Samantha enjoys baking, quilting, and spending time as a steward of her own land in rural Wisconsin with her husband and kids.


Albert Straus

Founder and CEO, Straus Family Creamery, CA

Albert Straus, CEO of Straus Family Creamery, has been a leader in sustainable organic farming practices for many decades. With the aim of creating a replicative, viable model that reflects the true costs of production and promotes responsible land stewardship and practices, he offers small-scale family farms in Northern California more stable prices and predictability in a changing organic milk market. Albert is a strong advocate for organic, non-GMO dairy production, environmental stewardship, and family farms. At the Straus Dairy Farm – the first certified organic dairy west of the Mississippi River - Albert has invested in climate-positive dairy practices. When these practices are implemented together: carbon farming, biodigesters, renewable energy, on-farm composting, electric farm vehicles, and red seaweed (Asparagopsis Taxiformis ), they can potentially create a pathway to a carbon-neutral dairy system. Albert has a goal of having a net carbon-neutral dairy farm by 2023, and he is extending this carbon-neutral farming model to Straus Family Creamery’s supplier farms and beyond by the end of the decade.



The Northeast Organic Family Farm Partnership is an educational project affiliated with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, a 501(c)3 Charitable Non-Profit Organization. Our efforts to educate and build a region-wide commitment to helping to keep the northeast’s organic family farmers financially supported and viable depends completely on the generosity of our donors. All donations are tax deductible. Please donate whatever you can by clicking the button below.