For the latest foodsystems information, read our newsletter May 2024: HERE
Extension Team

Robin Young

Specialty: Natural Resources and Agriculture Agent
Geography: Archuleta County

Spotlight: Robin Young has served CSUE for 12 years as a county director and natural resources/ag agent. Robin provides learning opportunities to ranchers with programs such as the San Juan Basin Beef Symposium and Ranching for Women. When the pandemic hit, Young responded along with the Archuleta County Food Coalition to assure residents had access to fresh food. She also provided programming on safe food practices. Currently, she is working with local residents to help them expand their knowledge in growing food in the mountains and co-teaches cottage food courses. Robin offers the Colorado Master Gardener program and also helps facilitate the Colorado Building Farmers Program. She has been a passionate mountain gardener for over 25 years. “Every year teaches us something new,” says Young about the challenges that the high country environment offers.

Abby Weber

Title: Extension Specialist
Specialty: Family Consumer Science
Geography: Southeast Area

Spotlight: My name is Abby Weber, and I am the Southeast Area Family and Consumer Science Specialist for 7 counties in the Southeast Region.  Agriculture is the major commodity in our small rural communities here on the plains, and with that comes the need for local community sustainability in our food systems.  Programs like Cottage Foods Certification, Master Food Safety Advisor, Food preservation workshops, and cooking with commodities are just a few of the things we do to help make this possible.  Participants of all ages learn about impact from the time they are producing their commodity to the time it is being consumed through these programming efforts.  

Martha Sullins

Title: Agriculture, Business Management and Food Systems Specialist
Geography: Statewide, lives in Larimer County

Spotlight: Martha is an Extension Specialist and affiliate in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University. Her work focuses on developing tools and information to help livestock producers and fruit and vegetable growers throughout the state identify and reduce business risks. She develops and teaches business management classes, evaluates classroom and field-based educational programs targeted at beginning farmers and ranchers, and works with ag and food producers navigating food safety and business regulations, as well as those starting value-added agricultural enterprises and building new markets for their products. From policy to practices, her goal is to ensure that Colorado food and farm businesses have the ingredients to be successful!

Mary Snow

Title: County Extension Specialist
Specialty: Family & Consumer Sciences
Geography: Jefferson County

Spotlight: Mary Snow is the Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Specialist in Jefferson County. She is co-leader for the Cottage Food Safety Certification program, training producers in food safety in the home kitchen, training extension specialists to teach the course as well as partnering with Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) to maintain the content and update materials. She provides programming in food preservation, and in family resource management.

Harper Sage Pettit

Title: County Extension Director and FCS Specialist
Specialty: Interpersonal Relationships, Finance, Program Evaluation
Geography: Lake County 

Spotlight: Harper is the County Extension Director and Family and Consumer Science Specialist for Lake County.

Darrin Parmenter

Title: County Director
Specialty: Horticulture
Geography: La Plata

Spotlight: Darrin Parmenter is the County Extension Director and Horticulture Agent with CSU Extension in La Plata County. He is a Durango native and moved back in 2007 to work with CSU, with previous Extension experience at the University of Florida and Cornell University. His interests and outreach lie in gardening, food production, farming, and local food awareness and food insecurity issues. On any given day, you could probably find him at a school garden, walking a farm, or working with community members and organizations. One of his goals is to find pathways of success for beginning farmers in southwest Colorado.

Hania Oleszak

Title: County Extension Specialist
Specialty: Horticulture, Plant Pathology, and Food Systems
Geography: Jefferson County

Spotlight: Hania is our CSU Extension Agent in Horticulture, Plant Pathology, and Food Systems. She has her BS in Biology from Boston College and her MS in Soil Science from CSU. Before this position, she spent time in a range of roles in horticulture and soil science, including a stint volunteering at a vineyard in Argentina, working at one of Cornell’s horticultural research and extension centers, and working for the USDA in soil science research. In the extension agent role, Hania is most excited to fill in the gaps of her knowledge and work one-on-one with gardeners, landowners, and producers to address their horticultural challenges. In her free time, you can find her skiing, rock-climbing, or reading about sustainable agriculture/food systems.”

Eric McPhail

Title: Regional Director
Geography: Western 

Spotlight: Eric McPhail has served as the County Director and the 4-H Youth and Agricultural Agent in Gunnison County, Colorado for the past 16 years. Bed bugs to cattle marketing, his position takes many forms of educational outreach. His principal responsibilities include program management focused on community development, agriculture, livestock, 4-H youth, Master Gardener, and family and consumer science education. Eric prides himself on building his small county office’s 52 formal organizational and committee partnerships. He believes the balance of knowledge transfer and diverse service is where Extension can make the most impact in a community. Also, surrounding oneself with great teammates is a plus too. He loves the job, the people, and the mission of providing a helping resource, or hand, to anyone.

Michaela Mattes

Title: Area Extension Agent
Specialty: Agronomy/Cropping System
Geography: Prowers County, Southern Region

Spotlight: I am the agronomy Extension agent for the Southeast Area of Colorado and my office is in Lamar, CO.  I have a masters in Soil Science from New Mexico State University and a masters inn Extension Education. The majority of my work includes wheat variety trials, sunflowers, corn sorghum, but also some vegetables grown in a greenhouse. I am also part of a research project looking into cowpeas grown for forage and hay. 

Derek Lowstuter

Title: Rural Regional Specialist
Specialty: Food/Agriculture
Geography: Mountain Region

Spotlight: Derek is one of the newly hired specialists for the CSU Extension “Expanding Rural Engagement” (ERE) initiative focusing on how to foster thriving communities and support food and agriculture production in Colorado’s mountain region, which includes 13 counties stretching from Jackson County in the north to Custer County in the south. Derek is excited to be back in Colorado where his interests in food, natural resource management, and human well-being first developed. He looks forward to helping agricultural producers (and consumers!) in the mountain region access the information they need to be most successful.
Lowstuter earned his M.S. in Forest Sciences from Colorado State University.

Stephen Lauer

Title: Rural Regional Specialist 
Specialty: Food and Agriculture
Geography: Southern Region

Spotlight: Stephen Lauer is a regional specialist for the CSU Extension Rural Initiative supporting thriving communities and food and agriculture in Colorado’s southern region. Stephen works with community members and county, area, and regional extension specialists on community engagement, relationship building, and expanded programming in southern Colorado.
Stephen’s professional experience includes helping communities in Kansas and Iowa manage groundwater, alleviate food insecurity, and expand and sustain civic engagement. He has a PhD in sociology from Kansas State University, and masters degrees in sustainable agriculture and community and regional planning from Iowa State University.

Becca Jablonski

Title: Co-Director, Food Systems Institute | Associate Professor, Dept of Ag and Resource Econ
Specialty: food policy, beginning farmers and ranchers, local and regional food systems
Geography: statewide, national, international 

Spotlight: Becca Jablonski is the co-Director of the Food Systems Institute at Colorado State University, an Associate Professor and Food Systems Extension Economist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and a 2022-2023 US-UK Fulbright fellow. Her research investigates the roles of cities in leveraging food policies to achieve progress towards sustainable development (e.g., food and nutrition security, farm and ranch viability, regional economic development, and environmental sustainability), highlighting tradeoffs of different policy approaches and interventions. She pays particular attention to the geographic dimensions of impacts. To do this, she undertakes disciplinary research, large scale quantitative modeling projects, and leads engaged community processes. She also works at local, regional, national, and international scales. As part of her position she co-leads CSU’s Food Systems Extension team. Dr. Jablonski holds a MS from the University of London and a PhD from Cornell University.

Rebecca Hill

Title: Extension Professor
Specialty: Agricultural Economist
Geography: Statewide

Spotlight: Rebecca received her Ph.D in Agricultural Economics in 2012.  Rebecca is the Co-Director of the Colorado AgrAbility Project and works with the Colorado State University Regional Economic Development Institute.  As part of her work she co-leads the Extension Community Development PRU.

Frank Garry

Title: Extension Specialist, Professor
Specialty: Department of Clinical Sciences Coordinator, Integrated Livestock Management
Geography: Campus

Spotlight: Dr. Franklyn Garry grew up on a dairy farm in upstate New York. He received his B.S. and DVM from Cornell University and MS from The Ohio State University. He worked in a dairy practice in upstate New York, and then did advanced clinical training at the Maximillian University in Munich, Germany and at The Ohio State University. He is currently a Professor at Colorado State University, where he has been in the Department of Clinical Sciences since 1987. Since 1996 he has been the coordinator of the Integrated Livestock Management program at CSU. This is a multidisciplinary graduate studies program that focuses research and training efforts at problems in cow/calf, feedlot, and dairy agriculture.

Sheila Gains

Title: County Extension Specialist, Master Instructor
Specialty: Cottage Food Safety Training
Geography:  Statewide Cottage Food Safety Training  program leadership: Arapahoe County F&CS program delivery

Spotlight:  Sheila is a third generation Colorado native. She has a B.S. in Consumer Sciences from Colorado State University and an M.S. in Adult Education from Kansas State University.  She has provided statewide leadership to the CSU Cottage Food Safety training program since 2016. She produces and edits a statewide blog, newsletter and numerous curriculums for CSU Extension.  She enjoys creating and delivering workshops and presentations on nutrition, meal planning, food safety, food preservation and family resource management. She is currently researching how participant  stress and anxiety can be reduced by attending select CSU Extension programing.

Ann Duncan

Title: Extension Agent
Specialty: Family and Consumer Sciences
Geography:  Tri-River Area

Spotlight: Ann Duncan is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Family and Consumer Science Agent in Western Colorado. Ann grew up on the Western Slope and is passionate about teaching people where their food comes from and how to use it to live a healthy life. Her community outreach efforts include food safety, Cottage Foods, nutrition, food preservation and food systems. Ann is passionate about teaching cooking, nutrition skills and exposing community members, particularly youth, to new tastes and experiences.

Nicole Didero

Title: Rural Regional Specialist 
Specialty: Agriculture and Food
Geography: Western Region

Spotlight: Nicole is one of the newly hired specialists for the CSU Extension “Expanding Rural Engagement” (ERE) initiative, focusing on rural economic well-being with an emphasis on agriculture and food. She works in the Western Region and lives in Delta County. Nicole’s background is in small-scale agricultural production, natural resource conservation and management, and local/regional food systems development. She earned her M.S. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from CSU in 2019 and has a B.S. in Natural Resources Recreation & Tourism and a B.A. in Spanish from CSU as well. Having grown up in rural communities throughout the US West, Nicole is especially excited to dive in and help support rural voices in Colorado.

Emma Dhimitri

Title: County Extension Specialist
Specialty: Community Health, Wellness, Nutrition & Outdoor Education 
Geography: Boulder County 

Spotlight: Emma is our CSU Extension Community Health Specialist in Boulder County.  She has a BS in Nutritional Science and Public Policy from Cornell University.  Prior to joining CSU Extension, Emma worked as a nutrition education program coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extension in New York City and a Nutrition Education Research Assistant at Cornell University.  Additionally, Emma worked as a Health Care Policy Research Specialist at RTI International.  Emma is passionate about creating collaborative community relationships and promoting culturally competent programming in Colorado to address the health and wellness needs for underserved Coloradans of all ages. In her free time, Emma spends time outdoors rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking and exploring all that Colorado has to offer.

Beth De Lair 

Title: Extension Coordinator 
Specialty: Agriculture & Natural Resources 
Geography: Pueblo County

Spotlight: My name is Beth De Lair, and I am the Pueblo County Agriculture & Natural Resource Coordinator. Pueblo is a unique mix of traditional and urban agriculture that spans from portions of the mountains, to desert areas and then onto the plains as our county moves east. I specialize in putting on programs that focus on agriculture on a local scale, assisting in plant identification, range management, community animal response team (C.A.R.T) education and hands-on small acreage livestock classes. I work closely with the Pueblo County Beekeepers Association and the Pueblo County Stockmen’s Association. I strive to reach people in all ages and stages of their lives to help them understand the benefits of keeping agriculture alive in my community. 

Libby Christensen

Title: Food and Agriculture Specialist
Specialty: Meat Supply Chains, Consumer Packaged Goods, Farm to School
Geography: Statewide, lives in Steamboat Springs

Spotlight: Libby has over 15 years of experience working in food systems with a focus on the interconnectivity of rural and urban places through food and agriculture. She is passionate about identifying, expanding, and leveraging demand for agricultural and food products to improve the social, environmental, and economic wellbeing of farmers and ranchers. Her experiences include establishing a local food label with Sacramento County Farm Bureau, working on a small-scale pig farm in North Carolina, running a produce distribution company in the Salinas Valley, and teaching nutrition courses at Colorado State University. Current projects include advancing market opportunities for regional meat supply chains in Colorado, evaluating the statewide farm to school initiatives, and networking entrepreneurial food and agricultural manufacturers. Libby is a Joint Associate Professor with the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and an Extension Affiliate with the Food System Institute and Research Associate with the Regional Economic Development Institute. She and her husband own and operate Routt Distillery in Steamboat Springs. 

Adrian Card

Title: Extension State Specialist, Specialty Crops
Geography: Statewide, lives in Longmont

Spotlight:  He has worked in local foods in Colorado for the past 30 years as a vegetable farmer in Larimer County and as a student, instructor, and researcher at CSU. He continues that work in his current position directly with farmers, NGOs, ag value chain businesses, researchers, and public sector agencies. His Extension work focuses on produce farm labor, production and market development, public ag education, beginning farmer development, ag community development, and organizational support for the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. He builds bridges to facilitate the health of farms, businesses, people, and the planet.  Adrian Card served as the CSU Extension Agent for Agriculture in Boulder County 2004 – 2022.  

Marisa Bunning

Title: Professor and Food Safety Specialist
Geography: Campus

Spotlight: Marisa Bunning is a Professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, a Food Safety Specialist with CSU Extension, and an Adjunct Professor with the Colorado School of Public Health. Her efforts, in the classroom and through outreach, are focused on a systems approach to food safety advocacy. Current areas of research include consumer food handling practices, high elevation impacts on food preparation, produce safety, and reduction of consumer food waste. Marisa finds working in the area of food safety and health very rewarding because everyone benefits when our food chain is protected.

Todd Ballard

Title: Area Extension Specialist
Specialty: Agronomy
Geography: Tri-River Area

Spotlight: Todd has worked for CSU Extension for three years. He has experience in crop production at many scales from hobby farm to multinational corporate food production. 

Ragan Adams

Title: Veterinary Extension Specialist 
Geography: Statewide, lives in Larimer County

Spotlight: Ragan Adams, MA, DVM, is a CSU Extension Specialist in the Department of Clinical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She often remarks ”livestock’s not lettuce” as a reminder that animal production comes with different challenges than plant-based production. A veterinarian for many years, her passion is helping to improve the health and welfare of both animals and their caretakers to strengthen the quality and resilience of our food system.