John-Mark Hack – President
John-Mark Hack is the President of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, a national non-profit organization that advocates for the freedom of all people to produce and consume the food of their choosing. John-Mark currently serves the Commonwealth of Kentucky as Commissioner of the Department of Vehicle Regulation in the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. John-Mark is also a co-founder of Marksbury Farm Market ®, a grass-based meat business that slaughters, processes, markets and distributes grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured pork and poultry for the grocery and food service markets. Marksbury also operates two restaurants called Pasture by Marksbury Farm, and provides private livestock processing services to local farmers.
In 1998, John-Mark founded the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy, established by the Kentucky Governor Paul Patton. He was elected the first President of the Kentucky Tobacco Settlement Trust Corporation in 1999, and in 2000 the first CEO of the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, the Commonwealth’s historic investment of its national tobacco settlement revenue in its rural and agricultural communities. In the 16-year life of this program, the Fund has directly invested more than $650 million in agricultural business projects of diverse production scales, leveraging more than $1.3 billion of public and private investment that has transformed Kentucky’s economic landscape away from tobacco-dependency. The program has been the subject of a case study by the Harvard Business School, named one of the nation’s 50 most innovative state government programs by the Kennedy School, and hailed as a “national model for rural development” by the National Governors Association.
John-Mark was a County Extension Agent (1994-1997) and a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica from 1992-1994. He lives with his wife of 27 years, Carol Devine, and their three children in Woodford County, Kentucky.
Joe Ramagli – Vice President
Joe Ramagli and his family run Just Earth Farm, a small-scale raw dairy committed to organic and local feeds, holistic animal husbandry, rotational grazing, and regenerative farm practices. Designed and managed according to the highest sanitation standards in raw milk production, they are listed by the Raw Milk Institute.
Joe is a lifelong public interest advocate and activist who has dedicated most of his professional life to social and environmental justice. While living in Fort Collins, Colorado, Joe worked as an adjunct professor of World Philosophy at CSU, a DOD of the Center for Justice Peace and Environment, and campaign manager of a successful campaign for Colorado House of Representatives District 52. During that time, he also engaged in international development and conservation work in both Nepal and Thailand. In the interest of becoming a more effective public advocate, Joe attended the only fully public-interest law school in the country, CUNY School of Law in Queens, New York. While there, Joe did outreach and pro-bono legal work for the Immigration and Refugee Rights Clinic where he represented individual clients and did Know-Your-Rights trainings within the NYC Muslim community. Having lived in many parts of the country in urban, suburban, and rural communities, Joe has an appreciation for people from all walks of life.
Joe lives with his wife and their two children on their farm outside of Eugene, Oregon. They live a blessed life eating local organic food, learning to farm smarter, and enjoying delicious milk from happy cows.
Marti Secondine – Interim Treasurer
Marti Secondine is from Wichita, Kansas and is serving on the Board as Interim Treasurer. Marti earned an undergraduate degree in accounting and a graduate degree from Wichita State University. Her professional experience has focused on budgeting, reporting, forecasts, operations and capital analysis, and new program development in both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.
Marti is the mother of three children and has three grandchildren. Her hobbies include knitting and sewing, gardening, and dreaming up and doing projects with the grandkids.
Charlotte Smith – Secretary
Charlotte Smith is the owner of Champoeg Creamery and Charlotte Smith Pastured Meats, a small, diversified farm in Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley. Consisting of 75 integrated and rotated acres, Charlotte produces raw milk, grass fed beef, pastured pork, pastured poultry and eggs and sells all products out of her Farm Store on the farm. In September of 2012 her dairy, Champoeg Creamery, was chosen to be the first dairy “Listed” by the Raw Milk Institute, an organization that has developed national common standards for safe raw milk production. This “Listing” showcases the excellent standards the dairy must achieve and maintain at all times for raw milk to be safe and healthy.
After seeing and hearing from so many small farmers going out of business, Charlotte also began 3CowMarketing.com, an online marketing training company which is helping save small farms across the U.S.! Charlotte was featured in Food Forward TV’s episode on raw milk. Food Forward is a PBS documentary which aired Fall 2014 on PBS across the U.S. Charlotte is a presenter on stage at the Mother Earth News Fairs and is often a speaker at Wise Traditions conferences. She lives in St. Paul, Oregon, is the proud mother of a United States Marine and works on the farm with her husband, Marc, (a teacher) and her two daughters.
Karin Bergener is an attorney practicing in Ohio, where she has a small farm raising Clun Forest sheep. Karin’s farm has included at one time or another chickens, ducks, geese, dairy goats, and horses. Her legal practice has been equally varied, including two law firms and five corporations, but always focused on business transactions and helping people create new opportunities. Karin became involved in food freedom as a founding member of the Liberty Ark Coalition, which fought the National Animal Identification System. She remains passionate about people’s rights to raise and eat whatever food they choose. Karin is moving from her legal career into a natural health practice, and as part of her client counseling, educates people about the food system.
Baylen J. Linnekin is a food lawyer, author, columnist, expert, consultant, adjunct professor of law, and scholar. He is the author of Biting the Hands That Feed Us: How Fewer, Smarter Laws Would Make Our Food System More Sustainable (Island Press, 2016), which reveals how regulations often proscribe sustainable food practices.
Baylen has served as an expert in an ongoing federal skim-milk labeling case, has lectured to visiting Chinese food-safety regulators, and has taught the Food Law & Policy Seminar at George Mason University Law School for several years. He has spoken at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, and dozens of other top law schools, and at think tanks such as the Urban Institute and Heritage Foundation. He is a founding board member of the Academy of Food Law & Policy.
Baylen’s writing has been published by the Boston Globe, N.Y. Post, Des Moines Register, Reason, Huffington Post, Wisconsin Law Review, Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, and elsewhere. He has appeared on NPR, MSNBC, Fox Business, BBC Radio, and dozens of other radio and TV programs. He earned an LL.M. in agricultural and food law from the University of Arkansas Law School and a J.D. from Washington College of Law. He is a new resident of Seattle.
Judith McGeary, Esq.
Judith McGeary is an attorney, activist, and sustainable farmer. After earning her Bachelors of Science from Stanford University and her law degree with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin, she clerked for a Federal Appeals Court and went on to private law practice. During that time, she became a passionate advocate of sustainable agriculture, and she and her husband established their own livestock farm. After seeing how government regulations benefit industrial agriculture at the expense of family farms, she founded the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance to promote common-sense policies for local, diversified agricultural systems. Judith has been profiled in the Texas Observer, Edible Austin and Edible Houston, appears in the documentary Farmageddon, and has been interviewed on numerous radio shows across the country. Judith is on the Board of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, has served for several years as the Vice Chair of the USDA Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health, and is also active with Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and the Weston A. Price Foundation.