The KCAA has a total of 11 board seats. Elections take place every year in early Spring. For more information on how to become a board member please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
President – Bob Geballe
When I moved out of my parents’ house, in 1968 at the age of 18, getting my hands dirty was about the last of my thoughts. But the following spring, as the air warmed and the crocuses popped, I looked out onto the expanse of lawn in front of the house I was renting with four other hippie friends, and said, “I’m gonna plant a garden.” In the forty-six year since, that impulse has continued to inform my life, from a tiny plot in Washington DC to a colonial acre outside of Boston to the old farmhouse I own now, between Silverdale and Poulsbo.
The land is a constant in my life. I think this first became clear to me when I read “A Sand County Almanac” in high school. Later excursions into Wendell Berry works, as well as a lifetime of hiking and fishing and gardening have taught me reverence for nature, and appreciation for those of us who base their livelihoods on it. It underlies my involvement with the food industry (I worked as a professional chef for many years, as well as a journalist writing about food). It has also formed the foundation of much of my work as an educator, both teaching at the alternative high school in Kingston, and now, as the Environmental Science teacher at Kingston High School.
I see my role on the board of KCAA as an opportunity first to learn, and then to explore. It is a chance for me to develop ideas about farm preservation, about integrating agriculture into the lives of young people, about diversifying the economic base of the county. And finally, it is an opportunity for me to work with a group of folks who are passionate and knowledgeable.
Vice President / Treasurer – Michelle Schmittler
As current resident of Bremerton, Michelle has been quite involved with participating, volunteering and building the agricultural community around her. In addition to volunteering as a member of the Kitsap Community & Agricultural Alliance, Michelle has also volunteered and been a member of the Kitsap Food Co-Op and the Bremerton Farmer’s Market.
When asked why Michelle was interested in the Kitsap Community and Agricultural Alliance, she stated, “I very much support local farms & local food as well as sharing that information. Education and support to new farmers and the general public for how and where they can access these things, on up to how to grow it themselves. I like how KCAA brings learning and network opportunities to the public as well as other organizations. I also would like to gain more education in order to provide the same thing and believe that involvement with KCAA, its members, and its goals will help with that in large part.”
Michelle says she can provide her computer and customer service skills, knowledge of Microsoft Office programs, QuickBooks, social media, fundraising, research, networking and graphic design as contribution of her expertise to the KCAA. In addition to all this, Michelle has had experience serving as an officer in two separate non-profit organizations.
Treasurer – Peggy Hall
I am a retired Army Reserve Master Sergeant (E-8). In 2015, I earned a BS in Accounting and
have recently started my Accounting/Consulting/Training business, Legacy Accounting and Software Training. I hope to teach and support local farms as they employ sound accounting and recordkeeping for their businesses. I currently work at the Naval Hospital Bremerton in theBudget Office as a Management Analyst and Internal Auditor.
As for my farming background, I manage a small family farm at our Olalla home. We grow and
market our fresh local produce as Legacy Farm.
I served as the Administrator for the precursor to this organization, the Kitsap Food and Farm
Alliance, from 1999-2001 and rejoined the KCAA board in 2011. I currently serve as board
Secretary, but have also served as Treasurer.
Secretary – Jess Sappington
Jess has been involved in local food and agriculture in Kitsap since moving to the area in 2011. She has worked with a range of organizations including KCAA, Kitsap Community Food Co-op, Kitsap Fresh, WSU, KPHD, and the Bremerton Farmers Market.
She is a graduate of The University Of Montana’s Environmental Studies Program and has worked on organic farms on and off since college. After college she traveled overseas as a Peace Corps Volunteer working with Ni-Vanuatu Farmers on the island of Tanna before settling back into life in the Pacific Northwest. She believes strongly in the importance of connecting the consumer with those that grow their food. During her free time you can find her gardening and spending time with her family at their home in Bremerton.
Director – Scott Hall
I grew up on a small farm in South Kitsap, and while in high school worked summers on a very
large diversified farm near the tri-cities in eastern Washington. Following high school, I was in
the U.S. Army for 7 years. My past employment has included Nuclear Weapons Specialist,
Physical Science Technician, Employee Development Specialist, and Drug Program
Coordinator. Most recently (from 2009-2015), I managed the Petersen Farm Estate in Silverdale.
After losing our struggle to acquire the farm, I and my wife Peggy began to establish Legacy
Farm at our Olalla home.
I serve on the Policy Committee for the KCAA and frequently attend county land use and
agriculture code meetings. I would like to see KCAA take an active role in providing advice to
county planners as those planners to identify what “rural” means in Kitsap County. For all their
good intentions, planners are all too often disconnected from on-the- ground experience in “rural” issues. I would also like KCAA to continue to host events that draw the wider community into discussions of issues of importance to KCAA members.
Director – Roni Smith
My husband (Erin) and I started farming 3 years ago. We were quickly welcomed into this amazing Kitsap farming family and have become apart of something really wonderful. This area used to be all farms, you could get almost anything you needed, without going too far. Times have changed and sadly, much of our community has forgotten the days of supporting one another.
The KCAA understands this and has been instrumental in promoting, connecting and educating our community on just how integral farms are to our area. This is why I became involved. Local food, protecting precious farm land and supporting those who want to farm it is so very important.
Roni is a farmer at The Smithshyre in Pouslbo, as well as, a local food advocate and founding member of Kitsap Fresh (a local online Farmers Market).
Director – Maynard (JJ) Meland CEC, CCA
J.J. Meland is a graduate and former class alumni president of Western Culinary Institute. Recently, he has been honored with a National ACF Presidential Award, and has completed his Certified Executive Chef Certification. J.J. serves on the board of the Washington State Chef’s Association as secretary and is an active member in the community, working with the Boys and Girls Clubs, Pro Start, Skills U.S.A. local high schools, and the Goodwill. Recently, he received the Washington State Presidential Award for his dedication. J.J. has been a chef for many well-known hotels and restaurants, such as the Marriott, Coast Hotels & Resorts, Silver City Restaurant and El Gaucho. He is a certified Culinary Administrator, and has won the Washington State Professional Chef Award. Currently, he is a tenured Culinary Arts instructor at Bates Technical College in Tacoma, Washington, teaching two culinary programs. Since J.J’s tenure at the school, he has been an integral part of the school being accredited by the ACF, as well as developing one of the country’s first mobile concessions programs.
Director – Laura Ryser
Laura has worked with farms, food businesses, community groups and non-profits for years and is excited to be supporting Kitsap agriculture through the KCAA. While living in Vermont, she worked on a rural 5 acre farm in the summer while getting her BA in Anthropology from the University of Vermont. While living in Lake Tahoe, she worked for a family business making fresh pasta and bread and then was a vendor at the farmers’ market. While living in Seattle, Laura helped to start Antioch University’s student farm in Woodinville. She has served on the Boards of Sustainable West Seattle and Pacific Bamboo Resources and currently is on the Board of the Center for World Indigenous Studies. Laura has an MA from Antioch University Seattle and works for WSU Extension in Bremerton.