Meet our Sustainable Agriculture Symposium speakers.

Dr. Sudhir Umaji Meshram

Keynote Speaker
Bio-Tech: Advancing Toward Another Green Revolution

Dr. Sudhir Umaji Meshram has a M.S. in Pathology and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. He also obtained Postdoctoral qualification in Microbiology from the International Agricultural Centre, Holland. He served as Professor and Head of the Post Graduate Department of Microbiology, Rashtra Sant Tukdoji Maharaj Nagpur University, and as the Director of Rajiv Gandhi Bio-technological Centre, Nagpur for the last 16 years. He currently serves as the Vice Chancellor of the North Maharashtra University, Jalgaon.


Dr. Jyotsna Meshram

Plenary Speaker
Green Chemistry

Dr. Jyotsna Meshram has a M.S. and Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry form Nagpur University. She is a Professor of Chemistry at Nagpur University in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India.


Dr. Paul Salon

Dr. Paul Salon has a B.S. in Horticulture and PhD. in Plant Breeding from Cornell University. He has worked with the USDA-NRCS for 30 years. Paul has been working at the USDA-NRCS Big Flats Plant Materials Center since 1987 as a Research Agronomist and is now the Plant Materials Specialist covering the NE states for the agency.


Dr. William Vitek

Dr. William Vitek is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Clarkson University where he has taught for twenty-four years. His current research focus is on the substantial cultural and social changes that will be necessary in our lifetimes to live without easy access to cheap, carbon-based energy in the form of soils, forests, oil, natural gas and coal. His publications include co-editor with Wes Jackson of Rooted in the Land: Essays on Community and Place. He co-founded and directed Clarkson University’s Environmental Science & Policy Program, and served as Associate Director of Clarkson’s Center for the Environment. He also directed Clarkson’ Campus Sustainability Initiative in 2001-2002.


Dr. David Eckhard

Dr. David Eckhardt has a B.S. in Geological Sciences from Lehigh University, a M.S. in Forest Hydrology from West Virginia University and a PhD. in Environmental Soil Science from Cornell University. He is a Research Hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Ithaca, NY. In his 38-year tenure with the USGS, he has conducted regional hydrogeologic and water-quality appraisals in regions including upstate New York. His current research involves the chemical quality of surface water and groundwater in New York State and regional hydrogeologic appraisals of groundwater flow systems in support of USEPA Superfund site assessments.


Trevor Boston

Trevor Boston has a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and a Masters in Hydrology and Water Resources. He is an Associate with Greenland International Consulting Ltd. based in Collingwood, Ontario where he is involved with the development and implementation of watershed simulation software for decision support.


Rachna Vas

Rachna Vas has a B.S. in Botany and an M.S. in Forestry from the University of Washington. She has been conducting research on season extension techniques and growing specialty ethnic produce in Central New York for several years. She grows varieties of crops year-round for various schools and food pantries to address hunger relief locally, and is also partnering with an organization in Mumbai, India, to expand her initiatives overseas.


Sabrina Hesford

Sabrina Hesford, M.A., R.D., works with the Cayuga County Health Department and is the Grant Coordinator for the Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work & Play Grant that funds and manages several community gardens in Cayuga County.


Jean Siracusa

Jean Siracusa is an adjunct instructor of Biology at Cayuga Community College. She has a B.S. in Biology from Wells College, as well as graduate work in Ecology and Conservation Biology at SUNY ESF. She has worked with NY State DEC and US Fish and Wildlife Service on numerous habitat and wetland projects. She has served on the Cayuga County Environmental Management Council, and acted as Chair for the Owasco Flats Nature Reserve for 12 years. In cooperation with the Mayor and City of Fulton and Green Team members, Jean started a Community Garden in Fulton.


Martin Butts

Martin Butts is the owner of Small Potatoes, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in working with small scale food producers. He previously served as the Director of Syracuse University’s Community Test Kitchen and has worked at NOFA-NY. He was chosen as one of CNY’s 2010 40 Under Forty.


Geoff Booth

Geoff Booth is an assistant principal at Westminster Kingsway College in London, England, and the CEO of PACE (Professional Association of Catering Education), a Network of over 250 Hospitality Colleges in UK. He is a fellow of the Institute of Hospitality and a member of the Academy of Culinary Arts.