MIFarmLink Partners

Advisory Committee

Hannah Weber | Farmer & CoFounder

Hannah Weber | Green Things Farm Collective

Hannah grew up in Northwest Michigan, surrounded by the farms and restaurants of Leelanau County. Her passion for food and creative physical work drew her to farming after college. She honed her skills through intensive training in organic farm management at Michigan State's Student Organic Farm and moved to Ann Arbor in 2013 to manage Sunseed Farm. After running her own small operation called The Land Loom for five years, she helped found Green Things Farm Collective in 2020 and has continued as a managing owner, focused on produce sales and team development. She has served on Washtenaw County Agricultural Lands Preservation Advisory Committee since 2019 and the board of directors for the Washtenaw County Conservation District since 2022. Her interest in supporting the MIFarmLink program is tied to her personal experience seeking farmland as a first-generation farmer and her understanding of the need for equitable facilitation between generations and cultures in order to ensure that farmland is conserved and accessible for generations to come. 

Julius Buzzard

Julius Buzzard | Growing Hope Urban Farm

Julius Buzzard (he/him) is the Executive Director at Growing Hope. Julius also serves on the Washtenaw County Black Farmers Fund, Greenbelt Advisory Commission, Washtenaw County Food Policy Council, and several other food and land access-oriented movements across Southeast Michigan. Julius serves on MIFarmLink because he believes that land access for local, small and historically disadvantaged farmers a crucial and tangible step towards rematriation. 

A native Michigander, Julius found his home in Ypsilanti in 2013 and never looked back. He spent the formative years of his career within the local nonprofit and education sectors. He always created ways to tie his passion for growing and environmental justice into each context. Developing meaningful and intentional relationships with the community is at the core of everything Julius does—knowing that together, we can foster a safe, caring, and just food system and community as a whole. Whether it was gardening with his grandparents, participating in community gardens, teaching students how to grow and harvest, or tending his own garden, Julius has lived a life with his hands in the dirt. These experiences have formed three basic principles: relationships matter, food is for everyone, and the land will be our liberator.

Kathy Sample  |   Co-Owner

Kathy Sample | Argus Farm Stop

Kathy co-founded Argus Farm Stop in Ann Arbor, MI with her husband Bill in 2014, with the goal of growing the focus on and size of local food economy here in Michigan.  Argus is designed to grow local food availability to consumers, by offering a year-round, every-day venue for farmers to sell their locally grown products.  
In her role at Argus, she interacts with many farms, potential farmers, and people interested in farming.  She and her husband have conserved a farm in Dexter; they lease that farm to a young farmer, and farming is part of her everyday conversation.  In talking to farmers, the number one issue for new and young farms is access to land.
Kathy worked over the 25 years in the chemical, medical gases and automotive industries, in marketing, strategy and business planning capacities on international projects.   Deciding to pursue an entrepreneurial venture in local food systems addressed something she has been interested in all long.  Kathy has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Michigan State University.  

Lauren Marquardt  |  Co-Executive Director

Lauren Marquardt | MIFFS

Lauren Marquardt is the Co-Executive Director at Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS), where she has supported the statewide nonprofit since 2017 overseeing operations, finances, fund development, Board engagement, and the annual Michigan Family Farms Conference. She also sits on the Washtenaw County Food Policy Council and serves on the Organizational Council for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Previously, she worked for American Farmland Trust in Seattle leading community outreach and advocating for public policy that supports farmers and protects farmland, and as a case manager for a nonprofit international adoption agency. Lauren has a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance with a focus in food and agriculture policy and a Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Social Science and Mandarin from Michigan State University.  

Trilby MacDonald

Trilby MacDonald | Agricultural Lands Preservation Advisory Committee

Trilby MacDonald is a nonprofit fundraiser, content writer, and journalist with the Ann Arbor Observer. She launched the Observer’s weekly news publication a2view, and has published and edited a diverse range of articles in a dozen print and digital publications. Trilby has raised millions of dollars through grants, annual appeals, and major gifts for the arts, and environmental, agricultural, and social services organizations.

Raised in New York City by a psychotherapist and a documentary filmmaker, Trilby was exposed to a progressive world view, traveled widely, and produced and directed documentaries before moving to Brazil to pursue social science research and sustainable development initiatives with international nonprofits. She has a Bachelor's in Anthropology from Bard College and a Master's in Geography from Michigan State University, and following the completion of her graduate work in 2009, settled in Ann Arbor to raise a family on a four-season CSA farm she owned and operated with her husband until 2018. Trilby co-founded the Michigan Flower Growers’ Cooperative, a wholesale flower market in Ypsilanti, to support the sale of locally grown flowers. 

Frustrated by the difficulties she and others in the farming community have had buying land, she became the catalyst and primary fundraiser behind the MIFarmLink project in Washtenaw County. Trilby Chairs the Agricultural Lands Preservation Advisory Committee (ALPAC) where she has served since 2016.

Past Advisory Committee Members

Barry Lonik Founder/President

Barry Lonik | Legacy Land Conservancy / Treemore Ecology & Land Services Inc

Barry Lonik has led the effort to establish the model farmland and natural area protection programs in Washtenaw County—some of the most successful in Michigan—for 32 years.  Barry started Legacy Land Conservancy and served as its first executive director for six and a half years, developing it into an effective, durable nonprofit organization.  He was the catalyst for public funding of land preservation in Washtenaw and has been involved with 14 ballot campaigns—thirteen of which won—that will raise over $200 million for the acquisition of land and conservation easements.  He is currently President of Treemore Ecology and Land Services, Inc., consulting with nonprofits, local governments, private landowners and conservation buyers toward the protection of natural and agricultural lands.  Through Barry’s direct involvement, over 8,450 acres of land have been permanently protected in and around Washtenaw County, and he has attracted over $23 million of State and federal matching grants for farmland protection.
Barry completed a Master's degree in resource policy from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources, following up on a Bachelor’s degree from Albion College in a self-designed environmental studies curriculum.

Shiloh Maples  |  Program Manager

Shiloh Maples | Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance

Shiloh Maples is an Anishinaabe community organizer, seed keeper, and storyteller. 

Shiloh has a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Michigan, where she specialized in community organizing. She has completed certificate programs in organic farming and permaculture design. During her time as a student, Shiloh recognized the powerful potential of food systems to heal and transform communities. Since then, Shiloh has been committed to serving the Indigenous food sovereignty movement and revitalizing her own ancestral foodways. For nearly a decade, Shiloh worked within Detroit's Indigenous community to create a food sovereignty initiative that increased access to ancestral foods, offered culturally-based nutrition education through community cooking classes, and created opportunities for the community to practice their cultural foodways in the urban landscape.

In 2021, Shiloh was a writer-in-residence at Denniston Hill in upstate New York. In 2022, Shiloh partnered with Whetstone Media to launch her podcast, Spirit Plate--which discusses the social, political, and historical reasons the Indigenous food sovereignty movement is necessary and uplifts the voices of seed keepers, chefs, historians, and community members from across the movement.

Shiloh is currently the Program Manager for Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance.

Partner Organizations

Collaboration with these partner organizations has been key to the successful development of MIFarmLink, and will continue to be a priority as we work together to increase the adoption of MIFarmLink to help protect Michigan agriculture as a way of life, industry and land stewardship practice.