Northeast SARE State Coordinators and Staff

The Northeast SARE region supports sustainable agriculture education initiatives and state coordinators at each of the sixteen land grant universities in the Northeast.

Connecticut

Rachel Bespuda

Rachel Bespuda

CT-MA-RI Tri-state Project Coordinator
University of Connecticut
(203) 407-3172
Bio
Rachel coordinates the tri-state SARE program for CT-MA-RI, focusing on providing educational training to both agricultural service providers and farmers in the area of sustainable livestock production practices. Before joining the tri-state team in 2017, Rachel worked in the animal nutrition field at a Connecticut feed mill as well as a local feed retailer. Rachel grew up on a small family farm in Northeast Connecticut, raising beef cattle. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science and, in 2011, earned a Master of Science degree in Animal Science with a focus in animal nutrition. Rachel and her husband currently raise beef cattle, poultry and swine for local meat sales on his family’s farm in southern Connecticut.
Joe Bonelli

Joe Bonelli

State SARE Coordinator
University of Connecticut
(860) 875-3331
Bio
Joe is an Associate Extension Educator at the University of Connecticut with both teaching and extension responsibilities. He teaches about the fundamentals of agribusiness management. His Extension outreach program has focused on financial and farm business succession planning for agricultural businesses in Connecticut. A portion of his outreach program includes developing and conducting workshops for agricultural producers on risk management topics and working with agricultural producers on a one-on-one basis dealing with financial planning. Before coming to the University, he spent more than twenty years working as a farm business consultant with First Pioneer Farm Credit.

Delaware

Jason Challandes

Jason Challandes

Regional SARE Educator
Delaware State University
(302) 388-2241
Bio
Jason is based at Delaware State University but partners with the University of Delaware and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. His SARE activities focus on promoting sustainable agriculture techniques in the region by educating agriculture service providers so that they, in turn, will share this knowledge with farmers. Jason also assists farmers directly, promotes the Northeast SARE grant programs, and maintains research and demonstration plots. He has a B.S. degree in environmental science.
John Clendaniel

John Clendaniel

State SARE Coordinator
Delaware State University
(302) 857-6425
Bio
John is a Farm Management Specialist and the Agriculture and Natural Resources program leader at Delaware State University Cooperative Extension. He has served on the steering/advisory committee for the Delaware/Maryland Agrability Program, and is a member of the NRCS state technical committee. John has a BS in Agribusiness from Delaware State University.
Dan Severson

Dan Severson

State SARE Coordinator
University of Delaware
(302) 831-8860
Bio
Dan is an Extension Agent at the University of Delaware, providing information and farmer support on livestock and agriculture issues. He grew up on a dairy farm outside of Dover, Delaware, and is currently raising meat goat, pigs and chickens on a small farm where products are direct marketed. Dan graduated from the University of Delaware with a BS in Animal Science and a M.Ed. with a concentration in Science Education.

Maine

Ellen Mallory

Ellen Mallory

State SARE Coordinator
University of Maine
(207) 581-2942
Bio
Ellen is a professor of Sustainable Agriculture and Extension Specialist at the University of Maine where her research and outreach programs focus on grain, pulse, and oilseed production, both organic and conventional, for local food and feed markets, and on the use of organic amendments like manure, compost, and green manures for crop fertility. She received her B.S. from Swarthmore College, M.S. from the University of Wisconsin, and Ph.D. from the University of Maine.
Tom Molloy

Tom Molloy

State SARE Outreach Coordinator
University of Maine
(207) 581-3213
Bio
Tom works as a Research Technician at the University of Maine where he conducts research in sustainable agriculture on farms and at the experiment station. His research interests include investigating alternative management strategies for weed control and small-grain production. As a state SARE outreach coordinator, Tom provides sustainable agriculture information and referrals to farmers and others in Maine.

Maryland

Jason Challandes

Jason Challandes

Regional SARE Educator
Delaware State University
(302) 388-2241
Bio
Jason is based at Delaware State University but partners with the University of Delaware and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. His SARE activities focus on promoting sustainable agriculture techniques in the region by educating agriculture service providers so that they, in turn, will share this knowledge with farmers. Jason also assists farmers directly, promotes the Northeast SARE grant programs, and maintains research and demonstration plots. He has a B.S. degree in environmental science.
Naveen Kumar Dixit

Naveen Kumar Dixit

SARE State Coordinator
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
(410) 621-3650
Bio
Naveen Kumar Dixit is an Assistant Professor of Horticulture and Extension Specialist at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). He has worked on multiple aspects of plant growth and development including stress physiology, postharvest physiology, plant-pathogen interaction, nutrient management, phosphorus phytoremediation, community horticulture, global climate change, nanotechnology, and fruit production and orchard management. Naveen earned his Ph.D. in plant physiology from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi, India. He served as a post doctorate research associate in the University of Florida at South West Florida Research and Education Center and later at UF’s Citrus Research and Education Center. Naveen established a multi-fruit orchard at UMES for teaching, research, and extension purposes.

Massachusetts

Rachel Bespuda

Rachel Bespuda

CT-MA-RI Tri-state Project Coordinator
University of Connecticut
(203) 407-3172
Bio
Rachel coordinates the tri-state SARE program for CT-MA-RI, focusing on providing educational training to both agricultural service providers and farmers in the area of sustainable livestock production practices. Before joining the tri-state team in 2017, Rachel worked in the animal nutrition field at a Connecticut feed mill as well as a local feed retailer. Rachel grew up on a small family farm in Northeast Connecticut, raising beef cattle. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science and, in 2011, earned a Master of Science degree in Animal Science with a focus in animal nutrition. Rachel and her husband currently raise beef cattle, poultry and swine for local meat sales on his family’s farm in southern Connecticut.
Clem Clay

Clem Clay

State SARE Coordinator
University of Massachusetts
(413) 545-5021
Bio
Clem is the director of the University of Massachusetts Extension Agriculture Program. Previously, he was the executive director of Grow Food Northampton, a non-profit that promotes food security by advancing sustainable agriculture in Massachusetts, and also spent 10 years as program director for the Trust for Public Land where he managed the Connecticut River and Community Agriculture programs. Clem has a Master’s degree in public policy and administration from the University of Massachusetts and a Bachelor of Science degree in the Soil Environment from UC Berkeley. He grew up on a Vermont maple farm, and spent time in his early career as a small-scale vegetable farmer in Vermont and farmers’ market manager in California.

New Hampshire

Olivia Saunders

Olivia Saunders

State SARE Coordinator
University of New Hampshire
(603) 447-5192
Bio
Olivia is a Field Specialist in fruit and vegetable production in the Food and Agriculture Program at the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. In addition to working with small fruit and vegetable farmers on issues like pest and soil fertility management, cover cropping, organic production, and challenges associated with new and beginning farming, Olivia also promotes sustainable beekeeping practices to New Hampshire’s beekeeping community. She received her B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of New Hampshire and her M.S. in Soil Science from Washington State University.

New Jersey

Michelle Infante-Casella

Michelle Infante-Casella

State SARE Coordinator
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Gloucester County
(856) 224-8040
Bio
Michelle is an Agricultural Agent and Professor with Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Her primary responsibilities are in the areas of vegetable production, agricultural marketing, field crops production, sustainable agriculture, and Right-to-Farm issues. Michelle earned a M.S. from Virginia Tech in Plant Science and Sustainable Agriculture and a B.S. from Delaware Valley College in Horticulture.

New York

Violet Stone

Violet Stone

State SARE Coordinator
Cornell University
(607) 255-9227
Bio
Violet is a project coordinator at Cornell University’s Small Farms Program. She grew up on a 600-acre wildlife preserve in Northeast Pennsylvania. Her passion for agriculture is inspired by her belief that farmers can create thriving ecosystems that produce healthy and abundant food. When an ecosystem thrives, so do farmers, communities and rural economies. Violet has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College and a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the UC Santa Cruz Farm and Garden Program. Prior to joining Cornell’s Small Farms Program, she facilitated farm-to-chef sales for a 30-acre organic vegetable farm in the San Francisco Bay area and worked as a farmers’ market manager, local foods educator and farm direct-marketing consultant in the Hudson Valley, NY.

Pennsylvania

Kristy Borrelli

Kristy Borrelli

State SARE Coordinator
Pennsylvania State University
(814) 863-9845
Bio
Kristy Borrelli is a Sustainable Agriculture Extension Educator with the Field and Forage Crops Extension team at the Pennsylvania State University Extension. Her research and outreach work focuses on diversifying cropping systems to manage soil fertility and plant nutrients to maintain soil and water quality. Kristy grew up on a small family beef and poultry farm in Upstate New York. She received her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology from SUNY ESF, and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Soil Fertility from Washington State University. Prior to starting at PennState, Kristy worked as an Extension Specialist in the Pacific Northwest, assisting Idaho, Washington, and Oregon agricultural stakeholders to identify and promote sustainable management of wheat systems in the context of climate change.

Rhode Island

Rachel Bespuda

Rachel Bespuda

CT-MA-RI Tri-state Project Coordinator
University of Connecticut
(203) 407-3172
Bio
Rachel coordinates the tri-state SARE program for CT-MA-RI, focusing on providing educational training to both agricultural service providers and farmers in the area of sustainable livestock production practices. Before joining the tri-state team in 2017, Rachel worked in the animal nutrition field at a Connecticut feed mill as well as a local feed retailer. Rachel grew up on a small family farm in Northeast Connecticut, raising beef cattle. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science and, in 2011, earned a Master of Science degree in Animal Science with a focus in animal nutrition. Rachel and her husband currently raise beef cattle, poultry and swine for local meat sales on his family’s farm in southern Connecticut.
Heather Faubert

Heather Faubert

State SARE Coordinator
University of Rhode Island
(401) 874-2967
Bio
Heather Faubert is a research associate with the University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension where she has been working with farmers, particularly fruit growers, on pest management since 1981. Heather also runs the University of Rhode Island’s Plant Protection Clinic where she diagnoses plant diseases, pests and other problems that southern New England growers battle each year.

Vermont

Beth Holtzman

Beth Holtzman

State SARE Coordinator
University of Vermont
(802) 476-2006
Bio
Beth is the coordinator of the New Farmer Project and Women’s Agricultural Network at the University of Vermont Extension. She has worked on several SARE projects in the past, including two professional development projects that helped Extension educators and other agricultural service providers help beginning farmers launch and build sustainable farm businesses. Beth has been conducting sustainable agriculture outreach and education since 1992 for a variety of nonprofit organizations. She has a M.S. degree in Public Administration from the University of Vermont.

Washington, D.C.

Mamatha Hanumappa

Mamatha Hanumappa

State SARE Coordinator
University of the District of Columbia
(202) 274-5499
Bio
Mamatha is the project specialist for ethnic and specialty crops at the Center for Urban Agriculture and Gardening Education in the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) at University of the District of Columbia. She comes to the position following a consultancy with the World Bank and brings a wealth of experience in the field of plant biology. Mamatha’s current work is exploring how to increase specialty crop production, productivity and income, to the DC area with the overall goal of improving food security in a changing climate.

West Virginia

Barbara Liedl

Barbara Liedl

State SARE Coordinator
West Virgina State University
(304) 204-4037
Bio
Barbara is an Associate Research Professor at West Virginia State University (WVSU) where she and her team work on breeding greenhouse tomatoes, developing markers for ornamental breeding, hydroponic and cut flower production, and organic/sustainable farming. In addition, Barbara works with the WVSU Extension Service to deliver workshops on cut flowers, small fruit and vegetable production and hydroponics. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from Purdue University, and her M.S. in Plant Breeding and Ph.D. in Horticulture from the University of Minnesota.
Doolarie Singh-Knights

Doolarie Singh-Knights

State SARE Coordinator
West Virginia University
(304) 293-7606
Bio
Doolarie is an Associate Professor of Resource Economics and Management and an Extension Specialist in Agriculture and Natural Resources at the West Virginia University. Her work centers around sustainable agriculture, agribusiness and extension education. Doolarie earned her B.S. from the University of the West Indies in management studies. She holds an M.S. in production economics and a Ph.D. in natural resource economics from West Virginia University.