Principal Investigators 

Kokoasse Kpomblekou (PD): Dr. Joe Kokoasse Kpomblekou-A holds a Ph.D. from Iowa State University in Soil Science and is Professor, Director of Organic Agriculture and Biogas Production Programs at Tuskegee University. He conducts research in organic agriculture and anaerobic digestion using animal waste and energy crops. He holds a patent for his work on Recovery of Phosphorous from Poultry Litter that helps farmers manage animal waste in compliance with new USDA rules. His present research emphasis is on fate and kinetics of nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus in the ecosystem, chemistry and biochemistry of nitrogen and sulfur in animal waste-amended soils. The ultimate goal of his research is to gain fundamental knowledge that aids in development of management practices that prevent accumulation of contaminants in the ecosystem. Together with scientists throughout the southeast, he is focusing on developing a vibrant organic production market in the Southeast.  

T. Casey Barickman: Dr. Barickman is an Assistant Research and Extension Professor at Mississippi State University’s North Mississippi Research and Extension Center (75% research, 25% extension) specializing in sustainable and organic vegetable production systems. Dr. Barickman has over 12 years of experience in horticulture research studying plant physiology. His research focuses on environmental stress and genetic interactions that affect plant growth and development, plant hormone interaction, and vegetable nutritional quality. For this project, Dr. Barickman will provide organic growers in Mississippi site specific recommendation on vegetable crops and help to build a database for organic information for the benefit of organic farmers.


 Adelia C. Bovell-Benjamin: Dr. Adelia C. Bovell-Benjamin is a Professor in the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences at Tuskegee University. Her research focuses on product development (emphasis on sweetpotato), sensory science; and diet and nutrition issues, the food environment and cancer prevention in African Americans. She has worked extensively with the sweetpotato in terms of postharvest technology, cultural aspects, sensory and nutritional aspects.She has also written extensively on the sweetpotato.  


Anitha Chitturi: Dr. Anitha Chitturi is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Science at Tuskegee University. She received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University (India), an M.S and Ph.D in Entomology from the University of Georgia. Her professional experience includes working with, Non-profit organizations. Green Industry, ICRISAT (Asia Headquarters) and Universities (transgenic and non-transgenic crops), vegetables, cereals, legumes and field crops. Recently she worked on finding viable solutions to the southeastern growers for neonicotinoid resistance management, epidemiology and virus vector interactions in Alabama crops. She published several peer-reviewed articles, extension bulletins, extension posters and book chapters that cover IPM, IRM, insect biology, behavior, population dynamics and virus-vector interactions.


Jeanine Davis:  Dr. Jeanine Davis is an associate professor and extension specialist in the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University. She is located at a center in western NC near Asheville. For over 25 years, she has researched and taught farmers about new crops, vegetables, and organic agriculture. Current efforts are on woodland botanicals, hops, truffles, broccoli, organic tomatoes, industrial hemp, and biodynamics. She is the lead author of the book “Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals”. Jeanine and her family operate Our Tiny Farm where they raise garlic, honey, pastured beef, horses, and mini-donkeys.

Alice Evans: Alice Evans is the Executive Director of the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network, a grassroots nonprofit network of sustainable farmers and others who want to build a thriving local food system in Alabama. Alice was born and raised in Huntsville, AL, and began working part-time for ASAN after graduating from Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA). During that time she also worked on several farms, both in eastern North Carolina and then back home in North Alabama. She currently lives in Birmingham, where in her free time she is involved in several activist groups, and tends a perpetually expanding backyard garden.


  Alice Formiga is an Asistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University and the Director of eOrganic. She partners with many organic farming research projects to make their findings available to the public through articles and webinars at For this project, she will coordinate the review and publication of publicly available articles and webinars about organic farming in the southeast.



Dr. Brittney Goodrich is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Agricultural Risk Management and Economics at Auburn University. She grew up in a rural farming community in Iowa where uncertainty in agricultural production and marketing influenced family and friends on a daily basis, consequently leading to her current research interests. She received her undergraduate education at Iowa State University and her Master’s and Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis. Her dissertation focused on the use of contracts between almond growers and beekeepers to address issues of uncertainty in the almond pollination market.


Wendell McElhenney: Dr. Wendell McElhenney is an Assistant Research Professor at Tuskegee University. He has over thirty years of experience in statistically analyzing agricultural experiments. He currently teaches Biostatistics I and II and Advanced Quantitative Genetics and Animal Breeding. He earned B.S. and M.S. at Mississippi State University and Ph.D. at Texas A & M. with postgraduate training at Cornell University. Memberships include the American Society of Animal Scientists and the International Biometric Society. His publications range over a wide area of topics. He lives on a farm near Notasulga, AL where he and his wife maintain Angus cattle and Dutch Warmblood horses.


Dr. Desmond Mortley is a Research Professor of Horticulture and Coordinator, Environmental, Natural Resource & Plant Sciences Program, Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He works with other coordinators within the department to enhance teaching, research, recruitment and overall quality of instruction to improve student learning. He is a member of the Graduate Faculty and teaches vegetable crop production, physiology of plant growth and development, plant propagation and plant botany. He researches organic and conventional production of vegetables, small fruits; specialty crops popular among Asian immigrants as potential crops for limited resource farmers in the Alabama Black Belt, and renewable energy from biomass. 



Franklin Quarcoo: Dr. Franklin Quarcoo is a Research Assistant Professor of Entomology in the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Tuskegee University. He is also the Extension Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Specialist for the Tuskegee University Cooperative Extension (TUCE). He received a B.S. in Agricultural Science from the University of Science and Technology (Ghana) in 2000, an M.S. in Plant and Soil Sciences from Tuskegee University in 2006, and a Ph.D in Entomology from Auburn University in 2009. His peer-reviewed publications, book, and book chapter cover behavior-based control of insect pests, non-chemical pest management methods, and the environmental impact of pesticides.


Leslie Grill Leslie Grill, Project Coordinator: Leslie Grill is the Project Coordinator/Marketing Specialist for the OREI grant. She comes from a background in Natural Resources and Nature Tourism. Leslie holds a B.S. degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, a M.S. degree in Forestry (Human Dimensions in Natural Resources/Outdoor and Nature Recreation and Tourism from Auburn University and is a Doctoral candidate in Adult Education also at Auburn University. She is passionate about the intersection of humanity and nature and therefore, organic agriculture and outreach allow her to indulge her interests. She has served as Project Manager in a variety of organizations and projects and is interested in putting faces to the farmers through video interviews. She can be reached at


Advisory Board Members

Hank Delvin, Delvin Farms

Caleb Englert, Englert Farms

Sagdrina Jalal

Sagdrina Jalal, Georgia Farmers Markets

Marty Mesh, Florida Organic Growers

Karen Wynne

Karen Wynne, Crotonina