Cultivate! Ohio Valley


Cultivating the Ohio Valley, one farmer at a time.

About Us

Cultivate! Ohio Valley is a Cincinnati-based 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization whose mission is to inspire, educate, and support Ohio valley farmers and expand local food access to consumers in the Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana tristate region.

Cultivate! Ohio Valley works to cultivate a community of shared support amongst local growers to fortify individual enterprises, connect different generations of farmers, and build strength through combined purchasing power. Specifically, we:

  • Organize group supply ordering and connect individual farmers with local resources.

  • Raise plant starts for local farmers lacking greenhouse space through the Cincy Sprouts! Program.

  • Offer land-matching services for farmers moving into and out of the business (future).

  • Host purposeful social gatherings for regional farmers.

We strive to create a more vibrant and equitable food system by providing educational opportunities specific to the needs of current and future farmers in the Ohio Valley. Specifically, we:

  • Provide classroom and in-the-field experiences to help current farmers grow their businesses.

  • Host an apprenticeship program to provide future farmers with the foundational knowledge to build or manage a farming enterprise.

  • Work with commodity crop growers to help them transition to specialty crop production and increase the volume of locally grown produce in our food system.

In additional to these areas of focus, Cultivate! Ohio Valley collaborates with and supports other organizations in the local food system to address broad needs in the areas of health and wellness, consumer education, food waste, and environmental sustainability.

Through these actions and others, we hope to help achieve our vision for the region defined by southwest and central Ohio, northern and central Kentucky, and southern and eastern Indiana to produce at least 20 percent of its food locally. This food will be raised by farmers who make a living wage and will be accessible to populations of all socio-economic levels.


Heather Augustine

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Heather has been a full-time professor and advisor within the Landscape Horticulture program at Cincinnati State Technical & Community College since 2007 and received tenure in 2014. Previously she worked as a horticulturist with the Cincinnati Park Board at The Krohn Conservatory. She has also worked as a naturalist with Hamilton County Parks and worked as an account manager, technician and designer with Ambius Plantcare. She earned her BA from Indiana University in 1998, her AAB in Landscape Horticulture from Cincinnati State in 2002 and her M.S. in Crop Sciences from the University of Illinois in 2009. In February 2012, she earned her LEED Green Associate credential. She is the program chair for the Sustainable Agriculture Management certificate at Cincinnati State, and has been acting Co-Chair of Cultivate! Ohio Valley since February 2015.

Kristin Gangwer

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Kristin is a local food systems consultant based in Cincinnati, OH. Until recently, she served as the Chief Executive Officer at Our Harvest Cooperative, where she oversaw the Co-op’s production, sales, distribution, and food access efforts. Kristin also leads the Distribution & Procurement Work Group for the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council, is the Board Co-Chair for Cultivate! Ohio Valley, and is on the Steering Committee of the Cincinnati Chapter of Slow Money. She is the author of the 2013 study, “The State of Local Food in Central Ohio River Valley,” commissioned by the Green Umbrella Local Food Action Team. Before moving to Cincinnati, Kristin worked on local food and agriculture issues in New Mexico and Colorado. She earned her BA in Anthropological Sciences from Stanford University and her MA in Geography from the University of Colorado.

Lourdes Perrino

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Lourdes is an attorney with the firm of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP where she is a member of its Tax Group. As part of her tax practice, Lourdes advises nonprofit corporations in a number of areas including formation, obtaining 501(c)(3) status, federal tax filing requirements, and state and local tax issues.  Lourdes earned a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Cincinnati, a J.D. from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Law, and a LL.M. in Taxation from the New York University School of Law.  Lourdes joined the Board of Cultivate! Ohio Valley in October 2016 and enjoys having the opportunity to combine her background in environmental science and sustainability with her skills and experience as a tax practitioner in order to further the mission and work of the Organization.   

Megan Gambrill

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Megan has been farming specialty crops in the Cincinnati area for ten years. She began growing at Turner Farm in 2009, where she helped develop the farmer apprenticeship program and was Crop Production Manager for six years, overseeing approximately 8 acres of vegetables. In 2017 she transitioned to Carriage House Farm where she works a bio-intensive plot of less than 1/2 acre. Outside of the field, Megan has served on the board of the Madeira Farmers Market and Slow Food Cincinnati, and now works with Granny's Garden School in Loveland. She has a BA in Biology from Washington and Lee University and is currently pursuing an Executive MBA at Xavier University, with expected graduation date of December 2018.

Pam Simmons

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Pam has been an owner/operator of a business all of her professional life. She is well versed in the day-to-day operations of a company and the accounting for a company and has over 20 years of QuickBooks experience. She is very knowledgeable in all types of plant material having been a grower for 23 years and a landscaper for 31 years. She is a LEED AP specializing in BC&D, and an adjunct professor at Cincinnati State College teaching sustainable landscaping and storm water management. She is currently chair of the Sustainable Sites Committee for the USGBC Cincinnati Chapter and has acted as a supervisor for the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District. She is a proud graduate of Purdue University where she earned a double major in horticulture and turfgrass science.

Stephen Dienger

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Stephen is the Farm Manager at Our Harvest Cooperative, and has been farming with the coop since its onset in 2012. Stephen ran his own garden business prior to the coop, and formerly worked at a dairy farm near Cincinnati, and as a garden intern at Turner Farm, an educational farm near Cincinnati. Stephen got his BS in Social Work from Saint Louis University in 2008. Stephen has been on the board of Cultivate! since its onset in 2015, and oversees the apprentices at the Our Harvest Farm. Stephen started his apprenticeship in 2012 during the pilot year of the program and is in progress to formally finish his apprenticeship in 2017.

Annie Woods

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Annie is the owner and manager of Dark Wood Farm, a one-acre market garden she founded in Northern Kentucky in 2014.  Dark Wood Farm provides sustainably-grown produce to 45 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members and dozens of restaurants in the Greater Cincinnati area.  Annie earned her BS in Biology from the University of Kentucky and her MS in Ecology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).  She worked as an educator and research assistant for SUNY ESF and volunteer coordinator and student intern manager for a citizen science program at the University of Washington.  She started her farming career in 2012 as an apprentice at Local Roots Farm in Seattle, WA and later worked at Green String Farm in Petaluma, CA before she returned to her hometown in Boone County, KY to start her own farm.  Annie joined the Cultivate! Ohio Valley Board in 2017 and also serves on the advisory board for the Northside Farmers Market.   

Alice Chalmers

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Alice is the owner and manager of Local Food Connection LLC, a local food hub serving the Cincinnati, Dayton, Lexington and Louisville areas. Alice founded Local Food Connection in 2015 because she wants to conveniently connect local food producers and buyers.  Alice spends most of her time meeting with chefs and farmers to find out what would best help them in their day to day tasks. In 2005, after a career in Finance and Strategic Planning, Alice starting to look into the economics of rural communities, land use planning and the future of agriculture near metropolitan areas. She co-founded North County Preservation to help federate issue analysis and recommendations on those topics. She then spent three + years as Executive Director of Future Harvest CASA (Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture), promoting local sustainable farming, and creating connections between consumers, businesses and local farmers in the Chesapeake Bay area. She also served on the Board of the Maryland Agricultural Resource Council.   

Domonique Peebles

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Domonique is a local entrepreneur and business owner with a passion for community driven projects that aim to attack specific civic issues.  In May of 2016 Domonique was awarded a project grant through People's Liberty to convert blighted buildings into indoor vertical farms located specifically in food desert areas of Cincinnati.  By 2017 Brick Gardens has operated in four neighborhoods and has become a vital resource center for Urban Agriculture in the Roselawn/Bond Hill community   

Rachel DesRochers

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Rachel is the founder of Grateful Grahams, an artisanal graham cracker company; the Incubator Kitchen Collective, a non-profit providing kitchen space, business support, and mentorship to food entrepreneurs; founder of The Good People Festival, an annual free music festival; and Kitchen Convos, a podcast showcasing the personal stories of the regional food community. Rachel has received numerous local awards and was a semi-finalist for Martha Stewarts American Made Award and a finalist in Artworks Big Pitch. Rachel is a passionate believer in the power of gratitude and the role of food in creating of community. Her mission goes beyond making a great cookie: she also wants to impact her community with positivity and action.