Board of Directors

Nominations Open for MISA Board Members!

Current MISA Board Members

MISA’s twelve to fifteen member Board of Directors is made up of sustainable agriculture practitioners, University representatives, and representatives from the sustainable agriculture community (including government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and citizens). The board provides oversight and direction to the MISA staff.

View past board members.


Philip Batalden
Phillip Batalden,
23651 420 Avenue, Lamberton, MN
507-220-4950
bataphil AT rrcnet.org

Phil is a fourth-generation farmer in southwestern Minnesota. For the past 37 years, he has grown corn, soybeans, wheat and other specialty grains. In 1998 he transitioned to organic agriculture. Phil has extensive experience with grains and livestock. His interests are in the areas of sustainable crop systems, small farm income diversification, biodiversity, and local food systems. Phil is a former member of the Southwest Research and Outreach Center advisory committee. He is currently serving on the Highwater Township board of supervisors. Phil manages his family farm with his wife and children.

Atina Diffley
Atina Diffley
Organic Farmworks Consulting,
25498 Highview Ave. Farmington, MN 55024
952-469-1855
atina AT organicfarmingworks.com

Atina Diffley is an experienced organic vegetable farmer, educating consumers, farmers and policy makers about organic farming and related issues. She provides consulting services to organic vegetable farmers though her business, Organic FarmingWorks LLC. She presently serves on the board of Minnesota Institute of Sustainable Agriculture, as Secretary of the Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Services Board, and as Board President for the Organic Field School at Gardens of Eagan.

Marie Flanagan
Marie Flanagan
120 BAE, University of Minnesota, 1390 Eckles Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108
612-626-3113
mart1817 AT umn.edu

Marie Flanagan is the Senior Editor for North Central Region SARE, a sustainable agriculture research and education program funded by the USDA - but she's also known to the Twin Cities food blogging community as Minnesota Monthly's sustainable food correspondent and creator of her You Are Where You Eat blog. Hailing from Wisconsin, she holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh.

Glen Hill
Glen Hill
709 Linden Street West, Stillwater, MN 55082
Cell 612-432-5157
shandgeh AT gmail.com

Glen served as Executive Director of the Minnesota Food Association for 7 years. He is currently consulting with community-based food and farming nonprofit organizations. He serves on the Boards of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, the National Immigrant Farming Initiative and Our Community Food Project.

Loretta Jaus
Loretta Jaus
22891 651 Avenue, Gibbon, MN 55335
507-834-6270
lorettajaus AT hotmail.com

Loretta is an organic dairy farmer from Gibbon, MN. She is also the Central Region Leader for Organic Valley’s Farmers in Marketing Program. She works with the staff in coordinating farmer involvement in the cooperative’s outreach and education efforts and serves as a key Midwest farmer contact.

Jake Overgaard
Jake Overgaard
County Office Building, 202 W 3rd St, Winona, MN 55987
507-457-6440
over0128 AT umn.edu

Jake works as the University of Minnesota Extension Educator for Winona County. He provides resources and training to local farmers, landowners, and residents in general on a wide range of topics including invasive species, season extension, soil conservation, as well as fruit, vegetable, and row crop production. He also helps coordinate the Master Gardener program in the county. He grew up on a small farm in west-central MN, has degrees in political science and horticulture, and worked for 3 years on sustainable agriculture projects as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Julie Ristau
Julie Ristau
4053 Garfield Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55409
612-879-7530
jristau AT earthlink.net

Julie is the Co-director of On the Commons and is Co-chair of Homegrown Minneapolis. She helped launch the Utne Reader magazine and was the executive director of the National League of Rural Voters.

Ramona Robinson-O'Brien
Ramona Robinson-O'Brien
Mineapolis Medical Research Foundation, HCMC
Berman Center for Outcomes & Clinical Research
825 S. 8th St., Suite 440, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Phone: 612-873-6922
RRobinson-o'brien AT bermancenter.org

Ramona currently works in public health research at the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, affiliated with Hennepin County Medical Center. She also works as a program associate assisting with the coordination of Renewing the Countryside’s farm-to-childcare and farm-to-school programming. Previously she was an Assistant Professor at the College of St. Benedict & St. John's University, teaching nutrition science and courses examining connections between the food system, environment, and human health. She has a PhD in Nutrition with a minor in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of Minnesota.

Greg Schweser
Greg Schweser
Associate Director, University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnership
Room 240 Borlaug Hall, 1991 Buford Circle, St Paul, MN 55108
612-625-9706
schwe233 AT umn.edu>

Greg is the associate director for local foods and sustainable agriculture with the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships. He focuses on connecting agricultural and local food innovators in Greater Minnesota with University of Minnesota resources and expertise. His projects help drive community resiliency with focuses on issues like passive solar greenhouses, permaculture design, perennial agriculture and strengthening rural grocery stores.

Lisa Smiley
Lisa Smiley
10500 310th St. Way, Cannon Falls, Minnesota 55009
651-258-4334
smileys AT sleepyeyetel.net

Lisa is is on the staff of the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute at Iowa State University. She served on the Minnesota Grape Growers Association Board of Directors and was the director for their “Cold Climate Grape and Wine Conference”. Lisa also helped re-write the book, “Growing Grapes in Minnesota”. She and her husband own a farm and vineyard in Cannon Falls, MN.

Aimee Talbot
Aimee Talbot
1970 Folwell Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108
218-341-1090
foste306 AT umn.edu

Aimee grew up on a small hobby farm in northern Minnesota, cultivating her fascination with the natural world. She was also strongly drawn to the humanities through the many books that she devoured as a child, and she earned a B.A. in English and a minor in French at the University of Minnesota - Duluth in 2012. Her love of diversity, learning, and the natural world has steered her interdisciplinary education, and now she is a graduate student in Applied Plant Sciences at the University of Minnesota.

Jared Walhowe
Jared Walhowe
8501 54th Ave N, New Hope, MN 55428
763-450-3870
jwalhowe AT thefoodgroupmn.org

Jared is the Produce Specialist with The Food Group food bank in New Hope, MN where he coordinates both the Fruits of the City program and the Garden Gleaning Project. Through his work, Jared coordinates Minnesota apple producers, residential fruit tree owners, gardeners, farmer’s markets, and volunteer gleaners in an effort to support Minnesota food shelves with increased access to fresh, healthy, and local foods. He also partners with communities to establish publicly accessible orchards and gardens and works to provide resources that assist growers and food shelves in improving access to healthy foods. As a member of the MISA Board, he is committed to promoting collaborative efforts at the intersection of rural and urban communities that support local growers while increasing access to local foods for all Minnesotans.

Dale Woodbeck
Dale Woodbeck
26475 Strawberry Ct., Excelsior, MN 55331
952-470-7939
dalewoodbeck AT blackhole.com

Dale is a former business owner and currently serves on the board of the Lakewinds Natural Foods Co-op. He is also an elected member of the Three Rivers Park District Board of Commissioners and is a member of the Sustainable Farming Association.

Vince Xiong
2300 County Rd. 101 N, Plymouth, MN 55447
vincexiong AT ymail.com

Vince Xiong is a beginning farmer who is enrolled in the Minnesota Food Association’s Big River Farms Training Program. As a member of the Hmong American community, he is concerned about the steep rise in diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease as immigrants begin to adopt an American diet. He believes that practicing sustainability calls us to share knowledge and challenge barriers that hold people back from the goals of caring for our food, our physical health, and the health of the community.