New Technology and Innovation

New Technology and Innovation Panel:

Venise Cunningham

Title: Owner/Operator
Organization: The Simple Goodness Farm
Venise Cunningham started her farming journey four years ago when she bought The Simple Goodness Farm in Pierce County. Over the last four years she has been learning how to grow market garlic, raise livestock for meat and build an online brand for her farm. Passionate about helping other farmers build their online presence, she has spent the last year building the farm directory website, Econivore, that helps farmers and ranchers selling meat shares connect with new customers. Venise will share how she is using social media to build her brand and give some simple tips on how you can grow your farm's online presence to reach new customers.

Ben Degoede 

Title: Owner/Operator
Organization: Windmill Gardens
Ben Degoede is a second generation greenhouse and nurseryman in Sumner and oversees Windmill Gardens, the retail division of his family’s business. He has always been the creative mind in his family and has had many ideas and ventures over the years. The latest of which is growing lettuce greens in greenhouses that were previously underutilized in the winter. Come learn from Ben how this latest venture is going.

Andrew Constant

Title: Owner/Operator
Organization: Clarks Creek Farm
Andrew Constant, a transplant from Michigan who moved out to WA after college to start a farming operation on his grandparents farm in Graham, operates Clarks Creek Farm in Puyallup. The farm is a joint venture between Andrew and Ben Herreld, chef and owner of Arista restaurant in Puyallup. Produce grown on the farm supplies the restaurant. Their relationship was born out of a friendship developed while selling out of adjacent booths at the Puyallup Farmers Market. The Journey continues to evolve, all the while providing more and more food for the local community.

Ben Herreld

Title: Chef/Restaurateur
Organization: Arista  

Ben Herreld started as a dishwasher in a restaurant, then chief pasta maker and chef at a local Italian restaurant. From there, he sold his own handmade pasta at the Puyallup Farmers Market, and then two years ago opened Arista, his own restaurant in Puyallup featuring his handmade pasta, now made with produce supplied from his Clarks Creek Farm venture. Come learn from Ben and his farm partner Andrew about their ‘farm to plate’ business venture.

Facilitators: Chrissy Cooley, Climate Resiliency Program Manager, Pierce Conservation                        District
                   Rene Skaggs, Farm Planning and Agricultural Assistance Program Director,                           Pierce Conservation District