Board of Directors

Our working all-volunteer Board is comprised of a diversity of growers, chefs, and business people who are dedicated to building and maintaining a vibrant sustainable local food and agriculture system in the Rondout Valley and beyond.

Nicholas Cipollone
President

Bio Pic

Nick is the owner and operator of Barthel's Farm and Farm Stand in Ellenville. After graduating from Ellenville High School in 1996, he decided to explore life elsewhere and spent the next decade immersed into college and then into the world of banking and finance. In 2008, Nick returned to the Hudson Valley to begin his career as a fourth-generation farmer at his family's farm. Because the farm is only part of the overall operation at Barthel’s, Nick also oversees sourcing crops from other farms or planning with his parents for their farm market in Connecticut. Nick has served as the president of RVGA's board since 2013.

Maria Reidelbach
Vice-President

Bio Pic

Maria Reidelbach is an author, artist, and local food activist working with local farmers for the past 15 years. Innovative projects she has created include the Stick to Local Farms Adventure Map, an annual interactive artwork-contest, and Homegrown Mini-Golf, with links landscaped entirely in edible plants and featuring a Guinness World Record-setting garden gnome. Books she has written include the Stick to Local Farms Cookbook; Miniature Golf, a Social History; and the best-seller, Completely MAD: A History of the Comic Book and Magazine. She is currently at work on Turning the Tables: Cooking to Thrive in the 21st Century, a climate change cookbook, in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County.

Oleh Maczaj
Treasurer

Bio Pic

In 1996 Oleh and his wife, Nadia, founded Rusty Plough Farm in Ellenville on property they purchased in 1986. In April 2003 they completed their career changes - Oleh from computer software, and Nadia from archaeology - and moved their household from Suffern to Ellenville to cultivate three acres of certified organic vegetables and keep a flock of laying hens. In 2006 Rusty Plough Farm, and Farm and Granary (run by Michael Siegel and Barbara Caldwell), founded Rondout Valley Organics (RVO), a collaborative on-line-based marketplace for produce, goat dairy products, meats, and value-added items produced in the Rondout Valley area. In addition to serving as an RVGA Board member, he is a Trustee for Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Kerhonkson.

Tanya Jurcic
Secretary

Bio Pic

Tanya has a Masters in Biology and is a finance coordinator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County. She worked for more than ten years at Windfall Farms in Montgomery, NY, both in the field and in the office. It was during her time there that she learned about some of the challenges faced by small farms and how important it is to support local agriculture. She's lived in the Rondout Valley for almost twenty years, loves to grow food and flowers, and became a member of the RVGA Board of Directors in the spring of 2019.

Brian Farmer
Director

Bio Pic

Brian is co-owner of the Rail Trail Cafe and Farmer's Table Farm. The cafe is next to the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and offers seasonal foods from their farm, outdoor dining, music, and events. The farm produces a diverse variety of greens, with micro-greens being its specialty. Brian is from a family that loved to cook eclectic and satisfying meals “rooted more in folk culture than a high food culture.” Born in Mississippi and raised in East Tennessee, Farmer is also a musician and visual artist and does agricultural consulting and farm certification.

Kahlil Lozoraitis
Director

Bio Pic

Kahlil brings a long history of passion for quality food, farmland access, and sustainable development, starting from childhood where he helped run his family’s farmers market stand. He is seasoned marketing and development executive, with an MBA/MA and 15+ years of building brands with purpose, and has successfully led projects for Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and start-ups. Kahlil is a founding member of CityState Creative, a boutique marketing and design agency. His consulting work with Northeast Farm Access helped ensure that hundreds of acres of farmland in the Rondout Valley will forever remain working farmland. An avid outdoorsman Kahlil and his family share time between High Falls and Brooklyn.

John Novi
Director

Bio Pic

John is a chef/owner/restauranteur who is internationally celebrated as one of the founders of New American cuisine. Locally, the High Falls native is also known as a tireless advocate for the preservation of family farms and Hudson Valley history. His generous donations of catering services to agricultural, arts, educational, environmental, and historic group fundraisers has made him a hero to many local non-profits.

While many people know of John Novi’s meteoric path to culinary stardom, many don’t know that as early as 1966, he was on a mission to protect the D&H Canal and formed its first Board of Directors. Retired as DePuy Canal House chef, Novi was instrumental in securing a grant that helped transfer this historic building to the D&H Canal Society.

Samuel Ullman
Director

Bio Pic

Sam Ullman is an Ulster County native and alum of Rondout Valley High School. After several years working in restaurants throughout the East Coast, Sam returned to Ulster County in 2006 and opened the Bywater Bistro in Rosendale. After developing a program of working with local farms and producers in the area, Sam saw a need for a hub to purchase and distribute these products. In 2011 Sam became a co-founder of Hudson Valley Harvest, the first business of its kind in the Hudson Valley, bringing together local farms and producers in one place. Sam retired from HVH in 2019. Serving on the board of Rondout Valley Growers Association since 2014, Sam still enjoys supporting the local food and farm scene and remains dedicated to our community’s agricultural heritage.

Bruce Davenport
Emeritus Director

Bio Pic

Bruce is the co-owner and operator of Davenport Farms in Stone Ridge. They grow many of the same crops his grandfather and great grandfather grew, and sell to the 21st century version of the same markets they sold to. Bruce and his brother, like many other farmers in the Rondout Valley, are continuing a long-standing tradition of raising crops in the same soil our forefathers farmed. And when he finds an arrowhead in the field, he's reminded that the soils have been the cornerstone of cultures for millennia.