Meet our amazing board and staff.
We are a group of farmers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and educators in the Pacific Northwest who are deeply motivated to find solutions to growing food in a hotter, drier climate. We have multiple decades of experience in sustainable agriculture research and small-scale farming. We believe farmers are the ultimate knowledge-keepers and innovators that keep our food system strong and resilient.
DFI Co-Director, Director of Operations
Amy has more than 25 years of experience in the horticulture industry ranging from landscape design, installation and maintenance to organic farming, research, and education. Drought mitigation tools and strategies for growing with little or no irrigation have become a focus in her work in recent years. She worked with OSU Extension Small Farms Program in the Southern Willamette Valley 2011-2022, where she initiated the OSU Dry Farming Project in 2014, the Dry Farming Collaborative in 2016, and founded the Dry Farming Institute in 2019. As Director of Operations, she is excited to help build capacity for DFI as we transition from a working board and maintain a work culture that emphasizes transparency, communication, innovation, and collaboration.
DFI Co-Director, Director of Development
Ashley Rood has worked at the intersection of food, farming, and conservation issues across the west for almost two decades. Her work in the nonprofit sector has focused on creating cross -sector collaborations that center the needs of producers to build a more climate resilient agricultural system. Her work in Oregon included a focus on farmland preservation through succession planning and land access at Rogue Farm Corps. And most recently, she was Co-Director of Oregon Climate and Agriculture Network, working to advance climate resilience on farms in Oregon through collaboration, education, and policy advocacy. As Co-Director of The Dry Farming institute she’s excited to focus on advancing water resilience on farms and thoughtful growth of the organization as we transition from a working board. I look forward to building a culture that emphasizes transparency, communication, innovation, and collaboration.
DFI Board of Directors
Lucas Nebert, PhD, is a sustainable agriculture researcher who specializes in soil health (M.S. Wageningen University, Netherlands) and plant and soil microbial ecology (Ph.D. University of Oregon Environmental Studies), and most recently dry farming. He has worked with the Dry Farming Collaborative since 2017, as a hobby farmer, field technician, data analyst and the DFI Resilient Seed Stewardship Program coordinator. He is passionate about dry farming with staple crops, such as corn, beans and squash, and his latest work focuses on breeding culinary field corn varieties to thrive in the Pacific Northwest under dry farmed conditions.
Eliza farms in Monroe, Oregon at Lilliputopia, which she founded in 2017 and is named after the little people in Gulliver’s Travels. Lilliputopia was created to serve as a model for sustainability and community, and specializes in dry-farmed fruits and vegetables. Eliza holds a BS in molecular biology, a doctorate in microbiology and works as a contract editor of scientific manuscripts. She currently serves as a director on the board of the Benton County Soil and Water Conservation District. She hunts for wild mushrooms in her free time.
Matt Delaney is a natural resource specialist and owner of Delaney Forestry Services LLC. He holds a M.S. degree in forestry from the University of Illinois and a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. Over his 20-year career, he has worked on a variety of natural resource projects including in forestry, biochar, agriculture, carbon offsets, and biomass energy.
He works collaboratively with public agencies, private clients, and non-profit organizations to develop innovative solutions to natural resource challenges in the Western U.S., through a diversified approach to environmental restoration. In that capacity, he has helped implement $20 million dollars’ worth of projects in 15 different countries.
Over the last several years, Matt Delaney has provided biochar product & business management services to his clients. In that time frame, Matt has helped secure $1.2 million in grant dollars to cover research & development costs of biochar market development and agricultural research. He has also been involved with two start-ups totaling about $5 million in capital raises.
John Miedema is an internationally recognized leader, researcher, and developer of biochar technology. John is a sought-after speaker at events hosted by national and international government agencies, NGO’s, trade groups and universities. He is founder and CEO at BioLogical Carbon, LLC (BLC) in Philomath Oregon. BLC’s mission is determining pathways for underutilized waste streams to valuable become valued resources. BLC’s primary focus is applied research and production of high-quality biochar products for the remediation of environmental toxins and building soil fertility.
As the Director of Biomass Energy for Thompson Timber and Starker Forests in Philomath Oregon, John built an integrated pyrolysis and gasification facility for biochar research at a log-chipping yard. At this site today, BLC produces biochars from various streams of under-utilized feedstock from the farming, livestock, and timber industries. These “designer” chars are being used in research at a number of universities, government and private industrial and agricultural projects. John is also the founder of the Pacific Northwest Biochar Initiative and has taken a leadership role in biochar advocacy and research since 2007.
In addition to long stints as a fisherman in Alaska and an electrical contractor, John has spent over two decades studying and designing sustainable energy systems integrated with resource management, food production and environmental remediation.
Cathy McQueeney is an Education and Outreach Specialist with the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District in Oregon. She has been involved with organizing Small Farms School, is on the board for Oregon Conservation Education and Assistance Network, and has been on the steering committee for the Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network (OFSSGN). She (has been an educator in academia for 20 years and) has a small farm in Colton, OR. where she has been experimenting with dry farming for four years.
Melissa Parks is an applied anthropologist researching climate adaptation and food systems in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. She completed her PhD at Oregon State University focusing on small farmers’ perceptions of and responses to climate change in Oregon. Since graduating, she has worked for the Alaska Fisheries Science Center where she studied the ways Alaskan fishing communities are being impacted by climate change and management policies. As a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Washington, she is currently researching opportunities for expanding food sovereignty as a climate adaptation strategy in these communities.