Simon grew up on a small farm in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania before pursuing a degree in Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State University. Soon after college, Simon helped a long-time western Colorado fruit farmer expand his operation to include vegetable production and a CSA program. The project grew to serve five area farmers markets and a 130-member CSA.
During his tenure at the farm, Simon took advantage of his education in information technology to develop a highly interactive website for the CSA. In retrospect, this website was a prototype for what Small Farm Central would eventually become. After leaving the farm in the Fall of 2006, Simon started Small Farm Central with a core group of 10 farmers from across the country. In four years, Small Farm Central has grown to serve more than 1000 farmers (as of October 2015) across the U.S. and Canada.
Outside of Small Farm Central, Simon is kept active by his two sons, Eliot (age 5) and Theo (age 2). He enjoys food experimentation projects like beer making, fermenting various vegetables, and whatever other challenges come up. The 70 acre family farm is still in the family, so there is a chance of returning to growing food some day!
Staff recipe: Simon's Refried Beans
Mike has been with Small Farm Central since 2011 and, as a long-time CSA member, is happy to be part of the local agriculture movement. Originally from Long Island, he came to Pittsburgh for college and decided to set roots. He is primarily responsible for developments to Member Assembler and consults with farmers to address and manage their unique needs from the software. Prior to SFC, he has been building websites since the late ‘90s. When not working, he spends most of his time with his wife and toddler son Ralph while occasionally finding time to play music or perform puppet shows.
Staff Recipe: Mike's Desperation Carrot Sauce
Mike Q Roth was born and raised in Quakertown, PA, but has lived in Pittsburgh since 1996. He spent a great deal of time as kid working on his grandparents' farm picking tomatoes, pulling weeds and other chores. These days he makes the most out of his small plot in the Bloomfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh, growing strawberries, raspberries, asparagus and a rotating cast of other veggies. His most recent work experience has been with the Mattress Factory and Red Star Ironworks, where he handled a variety of administrative, financial and project management tasks. When not at work, you can usually find him biking, checking out live music, and cooking.
Staff Recipe: Q's Vegan Mac and Cheese
Ollie grew up in a rural town in Northern California and spent more time goofing around than paying attention in agriculture class -- but has since come around to the idea of local and sustainable farming. At 19 he moved to San Diego. The big city didn’t lend itself to gardening well; he killed every herb in every apartment window-sill he ever had. At 37 he moved to Pittsburgh with his wife so she could attend nursing school -- a lifelong dream of hers. Having just bought his first house, he’s eager to perfect his own backyard garden. (His vegetable yields so far have been skinny and embarrassing, but there’s always hope in the next spring.) When he’s not developing software at Small Farm Central, he’s working on his 80-year-old house, building fancy custom furniture, gardening badly, or simply enjoying time with his wonderful wife, goofy dog, and turtle named Puddin’.
Staff Recipe: Roasted Autumn Vegetable Soup
Daniel grew up in Virginia and Maryland before travelling north to Pennsylvania for school. He studied International Relations and English at Dickinson College and while there, began farming. He first worked with campers at an educational farm in Massachusetts and then began growing vegetables and working with livestock on a production scale. In 2013, he worked at Northland Sheep Dairy in central NY. There he learned to drive draft horses and started a small CSA on his mentors’ land. Alongside farming, he is also an active member of the Farm Hack community where he has been documenting tools and organizing events since 2011. He is involved in the Draft Animal Power Network and has served on the board since 2014. Daniel believes in the power of local knowledge, direct relationship, and regionally-appropriate tools and methods to create a just food system.
After working seasonally throughout the Northeast for the past seven seasons, he is excited to be settling in Pittsburgh and joining the team at Small Farm Central. Daniel loves to cook, build things, go see music and theater, and ride his bike.
Staff Recipe: Pork Chops Piquant