Kalona SuperNatural, Newville, PA
Joe was raised in south-central PA. He began working for local farmers and selling produce when he was 14 years old. Since that time, much of his career has centered around food production and processing. In 2009 Joe joined a small creamery in Pennsylvania to market and sell their organic milk and other dairy products throughout eastern US. By 2019 they grew from a brand presence in approximately 150 stores to their products being sold in over 1,700 locations. Today, Joe is working with several food brands to develop their marketing and grow sales opportunities in an ever-changing retail environment.
Joe Dickson has spent over 20 years working to develop and deploy strong standards that build consumer trust in brands and products. He is the Co-Founder and Head of Standards at Merryfield, a rewards and loyalty app for natural and organic brands that meet high standards. Prior to starting Merryfield, he spent 20 years at Whole Foods Market, ultimately as Global Director of Quality Standards, leading the company’s work on product standards and agricultural policy. Joe has served as a board member of The Non-GMO Project, the USDA National Organic Standards Board, the Texas Department of Agriculture Organic Industry Advisory Board and The Organic Center. A graduate of Vassar College, Joe spent many years raising goats and chickens on a small organic ranch in Texas before recently relocating to the Green Mountains of Southern Vermont.
Bill Kitsch is Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Revenue Officer at Ephrata National Bank.
Bill is the senior leader responsible to promote the bank’s organic growth and meet its strategic goals and initiatives. Bill has been lending to farmers and agricultural businesses for 20 years. Bill is passionate about delivering value to his clients through the consistency of advice, integrity, and empathy. Bill works to find the new economic model which will increase the sustainability of Pennsylvania farmers. Challenges facing our farmers require critical-thinking skills, vision casting, and the conviction to challenge the current business model. He believes the viability of our community depends on the success of agriculture.
In addition, Bill serves on the board of Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, an agricultural non-profit. PASA works to build a more economically-just, environmentally-regenerative, and community-focused food system through education and research that directly supports farmers.
As a project executive with Temple’s Fox MC, Bill coaches MBA students through practical research and strategic development projects. These projects have been completed on behalf of non-profits, CDFIs, economic development corporations, urban farms, and notably the PA Department of Agriculture. The report “A Look at the Economic Impact and Future Trends” was released at the 2018 PA Farm Show and helped shape the strategic vision for agriculture set by Governor Wolf.
Bill holds a B.S. in Agricultural Business from Delaware Valley University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Millersville University.
Bill Lives in Mohnton, PA with his wife and three children.
Independent Consultant, Leyden, MA
Katherine DiMatteo is an independent consultant, previously managing partner at Wolf, DiMatteo + Associates. Formerly the Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association from 1990 to 2006, she was instrumental in shaping the outcome of the U.S. National Organic Program standards and the U.N. Codex Guidelines for organically produced foods. She currently serves on the Fairtrade America Board of Directors. Katherine was a founding member of the Climate Collaborative and now serves on its management board. Previously she served as the president of IFOAM-Organics International Board of Directors and was a founding member of The Organic Center’s Board of Directors.
Penn State University, University Park, PA
Betty Harper is an assistant vice provost for assessment in the Office of Planning, Assessment, and Institutional Research at Penn State University. She supports faculty, program coordinators, and administrators across Penn State to develop and execute plans to assess student learning. Immediately prior to accepting this position December 2018, Betty served as PCO’s executive assistant, where she gained an understanding of PCO’s mission, organizational structure, and strategic goals, as well as working directly in support of its Board of Directors. Although Betty recently accepted an invitation to return to Penn State, where she previously worked for 19 years, her commitment to PCO, its staff and members, and its vision remains and she would very much like to continue to contribute to the pursuit of that vision.
MOMs Organic Market, Gaithersburg, MD
Lisa has worked at MOM’s for the past 20 years and has been a driving force behind the growth of this independent chain of organic grocery stores. Her expertise includes organizational strategy, major initiative implementation and change management, employee engagement & development, category management, and merchandising & pricing strategies. Lisa has also had the unique opportunity to spearhead and implement various environmental initiatives, helping MOM’s drive its mission. Lisa earned her BS from the University of Vermont in Environmental Studies & Political Science, and her MBA from Johns Hopkins University. Outside of work Lisa enjoys teaching Tai Chi and traveling.
Grow Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Denele is the Executive Director at Grow Pittsburgh. Grow Pittsburgh is an urban agriculture non-profit committed to teaching people how to grow food and to promote the benefits that gardens bring to our neighborhoods. Prior to her position as the Executive Director, Denele was the Director of Production and Farm Education and was integral to expanding food access initiatives across Allegheny County. She has a Master of Science degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from the University of Pittsburgh.
Gwendolyn Wyard has been actively working in the organic industry for over 28 years. She is a Founding Partner and Manager of Strengthening Organic Systems (SOS), an advisory firm dedicated to organic supply chain integrity and fraud prevention. Prior to SOS, Wyard served for more than a dozen years as the Vice President of Regulatory and Technical Affairs for the Organic Trade Association (OTA) where she worked on the development of policy strategy through regulatory engagement in the interest of OTA's mission and its members. In her early career, Wyard was an organic inspector for farming and handling operations across the United States and served as Oregon Tilth’s Technical Specialist in organic policy and technical review of materials for use in organic products. Wyard holds an advanced degree in Fermentation Science with a minor in Chemistry. She served on the OMRI Board of Directors for 12 years and was the North American representative on the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) Advisory Board.