Creating a massive awakening, together.


Our team members love to share their knowledge on all things organic—whether it’s our first rate scientific research, farming practices, the organic standards, home gardening or how and why it’s vital that we live an authentic, organic life. Host a Rodale Institute speaker at your next event and help create a massive awakening!

For more information contact:
Louise DeVall
610-683-1447

SPEAKER BIOS

Dr. Kristine Nichols, Chief ScientistKrisNichols.headshot

Dr. Kristine Nichols is a world-renowned leader in the study of soil biology, focusing her work on the life in the soil. As Chief Scientist at Rodale Institute, Dr. Nichols oversees approximately twenty research trials on organic agriculture, including the Farming Systems Trial®, the longest-running side-by-side U.S. study comparing conventional chemical agriculture with organic methods.

Dr. Nichols is most well-known for her work with mycorrhizal fungi. The term ‘mycorrhizal’ refers to a symbiotic association between a fungus and the roots of a vascular plant. The presence of mycorrhizal fungi in a plant’s root system is an indication of good soil and plant health.

Her most recent work involves the investigation of glomalin – a substance produced by AM fungi. Glomalin contributes to nutrient cycling by protecting AM hyphae transporting nutrients from the soil to the plant and to soil structure and plant health by helping to form and stabilize soil aggregates. Dr. Nichols has been examining the impacts of management such as crop rotation, tillage practices, organic production, cover crops, and livestock grazing on soil aggregation, water relationships, and glomalin.

Topic specialties:
Organic Agriculture and Soil Health
Mycorrhizal Fungi

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Jeff Moyer, Farm Director

Jeff Moyer is an expert in organic crop production systems including weed management, cover crops, crop rotations, equipment modification and use, and facilities design. He has helped countless farmers make the transition from conventional, chemical-based farming to organic or sustainable methods. Throughout his more than 30 years at the Rodale Institute, Moyer has brought a farmer’s perspective and approach to issues in organic agriculture. He is a past chair of the National Organic Standards Board, which assists the USDA Secretary of Agriculture in developing standards for materials to be used in organic production as well as advising on other aspects of implementing the National Organic Program. He is also a member of the Leonardo Academy’s committee on sustainability, board member of Organic Farming Research Foundation, and a founding board member of Pennsylvania Certified Organic.

Topic specialties:
Organic Solutions to a Broken Food System
Transition from Conventional Ag Production to a Certified Organic Approach
Organic No-till: Blending the best of both worlds
Cover Crops: The promise of tomorrows soils.

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Dr. Gladis Zinati, Associate Research Scientist

Gladis Zinati is an Associate Research Scientist at Rodale Institute, Kutztown, PA. She conducts basic and applied research in compost formulations, carbon sequestration, soil fertility and pest management to improve organic crop production and quality. She has a set of undergraduate degrees in General Agriculture and Agriculture Engineering and MSc. degree in Horticulture from the American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon. Her Ph.D. is in Soil Fertility from Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI. She formerly worked as an Extension Specialist in Nursery Crops for Rutgers University in NJ.

Topic specialties:
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and Organic Agriculture
Organic Agriculture and Soil Health

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Rick Carr, Compost Production Specialist

Rick Carr has been studying the science and utilization of compost, vermicompost and liquid extracts in both the laboratory and field since 2008. Rick earned a Master of Science degree in Plant Pathology from Cornell University in 2012 and, under the advisement of Dr. Eric Nelson, conducted research on understanding the mechanisms associated with vermicompost-mediated disease suppression. His research has contributed to understanding biologically-based disease suppression as well as new information on Pythium aphanidermatum development and pathogenicity. Rick became a Master Composter of Tompkins County, NY in 2008 and spent a year after his graduate studies working and studying on a large certified organic farm in Argentina where he developed a new perspective on how laboratory studies translate to on-farm research and application.

Topic specialties:
Composting
Vermicomposting
Liquid compost extracts
Plant pathology
Soil-borne plant diseases

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Ross Duffield, Farm ManagerIMG_1654

Ross came to the Rodale Institute in 2013 with more than twenty years of farming experience. He grew up on a dairy farm in North East Pennsylvania where, at an early age, he learned the value and importance of animal care and pasture management. After attending Kutztown University and working as a school teacher for several years, Ross realized his true passion lay in organic agriculture. This path led back to farming and, eventually, to the Rodale Institute where he serves as Farm Manager.

At Rodale Institute, Ross is responsible for field maintenance including planting and seeding, maintaining the farm equipment necessary to work the fields, and expanding the livestock operations, particularly the vertical integration of the poultry and hog operations into crop rotations. In this unique position, he utilizes his teaching background and skills in sharing his his farming expertise with aspiring and transitioning farmers.

Topic specialties:
Livestock
Poultry production
Organic Hog production

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Maggie Saska, Plant Production SpecialistIMG_7414

Maggie’s professional background includes over 15 years of experience in commercial production, university research, and education. She came to Rodale Institute after most recently serving as Executive Director of the Community Farm of Simsbury, an Incubator Farmer Program for emerging farmers. Maggie has a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in Plant Science from University of Connecticut. She has published several articles and in 2013 received an award from the USDA/Natural Resource and Conservation Service for “Women Inspiring Conservation in Connecticut.” At Rodale Institute, Maggie oversees all horticulture including greenhouse operations, gardens as well as propagation of plants for wholesale, commercial and research use.

Topic specialties:
Plant Production
Greenhouse operations

Because Rodale Institute is a non-profit, we kindly request coverage of
travel expenses and an honorarium for each speaking engagement.
Please call 610-683-1447 for more details.