The official name of A Greater Applegate is Greater Applegate Community Development Corporation (GACDC). We became known as AGA in 2019 in order to mark the transition from our role as operators of Cantrall Buckley County Park to broader community efforts.. We now build on the community engagement work initiated by the Applegate Economic Vitality Roadmap in collaboration with Rural Development Initiatives. As a result of input provided by the 200+ participants of the Applegate Roadmap process, AGA reorganized into a backbone organization for the community. To better fulfill our mission, AGA built capacity by bringing on staff and new board members. Learn more about who we are and get to know our team by reading our bios below!
Paul Tipton, Chair
Paul Tipton has lived in the Applegate Valley over 45 years and has worked locally doing forestry work, farming, vineyard management, construction, and custom woodworking. Since retiring he has volunteered with the SMART reading program for 10 years, helped distribute food for ACCESS, judged senior projects at South Medford High School for 20 years, was president of the Applegate Community Grange for four years, and is a long-time board member and current president of the McKee Bridge Historical Society. He has many years of past involvement in environmental activism with positive results, and has grant writing and nonprofit organization knowledge and experience thanks to the nonprofit leadership conferences sponsored by the Oregon Community Foundation and The Ford Family Foundation. His ongoing desire through life is to help benefit the community and, as a poet and veteran, to seek peace and equality for all.
Eric Adams, Treasurer
Arriving in the Applegate Valley in 2020, Eric is a management consultant specializing in coaching professional services company executives and corporate mergers and acquisitions. After 25 years in Seattle, the opportunity to return to rural life presented itself, and he and his wife Heather jumped at the chance. He grew up in the mountains of Maine, has lived in eight states, and has traveled to all 50. He and Heather are in the process of building a glamping guest ranch in the east end of the Applegate with their three dogs. The welcome to the Applegate that they received from neighbors reaffirmed their decision to move from the big city. He enjoys participating in community development organizations, fine food and wine, travel, skiing, hiking, whitewater rafting, and working on their property. Eric holds a degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Don Tipping, Secretary
Don Tipping has been farming and offering hands-on, practical workshops at Seven Seeds Farm since 1997. Seven Seeds is a small, certified organic family farm in the Siskiyou Mountains of SW Oregon that produces fruits, vegetables, seeds, flowers and herbs, while raising sheep, poultry and people. The farm has been designed to function as a self-contained, life regenerating organism with waste products being recycled and feeding other elements of the system. Lauded as one of the best examples of a small productive Biodynamic and Permaculture farms in the Northwest by many, Seven Seeds helps to mentor new farmers through internships and workshops. In 2009 we began Siskiyou Seeds, a bioregional organic seed company that grows and stewards a collection of over 700 open pollinated flower, vegetable and herb seeds and is constantly breeding new varieties that we distribute nationally. Siskiyou Seeds produces about 50% of the seed at our home farm and then sources the remainder from a network of organic seed growers throughout the PNW.
Don is active in the Seed Stewardship movement and educates regionally on seed saving through the Seed Academy, the Student Organic Seed Symposium, Seed Schools and numerous conferences. He currently sits on the board of a new non-profit called Seeds of Light that is developing educational programs from Gap year students and workshops aimed at growing humans through their head, heart and hands.
Other collaborations include: Top Leaf Farm (Berkeley, CA), Ecological Farming Association (Watsonville, CA), founder of Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative (Applegate, OR), the Family Farmers Seed Cooperative, contributor/educator Our Family Farms Coalition(Ashland, OR), Organic Seed Alliance (Port Townsend, WA), OSU Extension Small Farms Program (Medford, OR), the National Heirloom Expo(Santa Rosa, CA), the Ecology Center (San Juan Capistrano, CA), the Organicology Conference (Portland, OR), the Organic Seed Growers Conference (Corvallis, OR), and numerous other small organic farm conferences and organizations.
Peter Salant, Board Member
Board Member Peter Salant has lived in the Little Applegate Valley since 2000, having bought a small beef cattle ranch there in 1994.
Peter was born in New York City, and grew up in California since he was a four-year old. Raised in both rural and urban environments, he took to raising cattle as a teenager and pursued Animal Husbandry, attending Cal-Poly Pomona in 1975.
Peter has worked in drug rehabilitation and juvenile re-education, has been in the wholesale food business, the international import-export business, and the raising of beef cattle during a lifetime of adventure. He and his wife moved to Southern Oregon to raise their daughter here in the Ruch area, with a strong belief in public school education. She has now fulfilled her dream and become a Marine Biologist.
Raising home-grown, quality beef for the public is Peter’s retirement passion, and he works at it daily. He’s been on the Board of the Medford Schools Foundation, as well as that of the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market. He is excited to be part of this bread-basket of locally grown, high quality food produced here in Southern Oregon. He is honored to be newly nominated to the Board of A Greater Applegate, and continue participating in the positive momentum we’ve achieved here in the Greater Applegate Valley.
Alison Hensley Sexauer, Secretary
Born and raised in the high country of the Angeles National Forest, to a family that owned and operated 8 campgrounds and a small ski resort, Kratka Ridge. In 2000, she moved to Santa Barbara to attend UCSB where she graduated with a BA in Global Studies and Spanish Literature. From there Alison found herself in the midst of global travels and Farmers Markets, where she spent the next decade-plus of her life managing markets for Peacock Family Farms and Roots Organic Farms. In 2010 she Co-founded the Santa Barbara SOL Food Festival, with a mission to inspire, empower and promote local food and farming transformation. In 2012 she co-founded Lucidity Festival as the Food and Sustainability Director of the LLC.
All in all, she has spent the last 15 years developing a passion for creating sustainable food culture through education, inspirational events and talks, and empowering herself and others to live into the change they see is possible. She believes that food is the universal common denominator and a powerful agent of change. She is committed to creating, supporting, and growing businesses and community endeavors whose mission is towards creating a more sensible, regenerative, and just human and non-human presence on the planet.
Alison and her husband Tim moved to the Applegate Valley at the end of 2016 and she has thoroughly enjoyed working with and meeting a new region of food-lovin’ folk and tasting the bounty that Rogue Valley has to offer.
Janis Mohr-Tipton, Board Member and Park Enhancement Program Chair
Janis grew up in rural northern Oregon as a fourth generation member of her farming family near Helvetia. After she graduated from Oregon State in both forestry and nutrition/dietetics in 1975, she moved to southern Oregon and entered into US Forest Service work at Star Ranger Station. There she met her future husband and, after a few years in forest work, they began raising their family (three children). She also began volunteering in the local community and hasn’t stopped. In 1979, she first volunteered with, and then worked for, the Jackson County Libraries, and still does early literacy storytimes for 0 – 3 year olds at Ruch and Central Point Libraries. Janis has volunteered with Friends of the Ruch Library for many years; is a SMART coordinator and reader at Ruch School; annually serves as a community judge for senior high school projects; joined the Applegate Valley Garden Club, and started the Senior Shoebox Project with the members of our local seniors. In 2016 she proposed a Monarch Butterfly Garden at Cantrall Buckley Park and then joined the Park Committee to help with several projects and coordinate volunteer work with SOLVE. This newest volunteer work brings her full circle to what she trained for in forestry: natural resource management with an emphasis on education for all age groups and outdoor learning centers. When she wants a quiet moment and reflection time, she gardens, does beadwork, or drumming. “Serving in my community is my passion, and it makes my heart sing. I have so many interests in the world around me, and I get to share, listen, mentor, and learn.”
Kim Zwemer-Margulis, Board Member
Kim grew up in the suburbs of the East Bay Area while always dreaming of and scheming to get to more rural and wild places. In 2002, Kim and her family bought their home on Sterling Creek, two weeks before the Squire Fire broke out. They were evacuated for four long days to town with friends and caring for their 6-month old baby. In 2008 Shadowchaser of the Siskiyous, a wildfire ecology and local nature children’s book was released and so began her journey of educating others about our beautiful area and the dangers and benefits of wildfire. Currently, Kim continues to have a part-time private practice in Mental Health Counseling and enjoys gardening on her land on Sterling Creek. She is passionate about bringing the community together to enjoy our shared agricultural, cultural and social gifts and opportunities.
Jim Reiland, Board Member
Jim moved west after earning a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He worked for twenty-five years in the contract furniture industry, holding positions in management, marketing, and training. After moving to the Applegate he began a second career in construction, specializing in energy-efficient, carbon storing buildings and rainwater catchment systems. Now retired, he continues to consult and teach. A board member of the California Straw Building Association since 2006, he developed a workshop program, managed a book writing effort, and now produces training videos. Jim has been the volunteer maintenance coordinator with the Siskiyou Upland Trails Association since 2009, helping to keep both the Jack-Ash and Sterling Mine Ditch Trails open. He has been involved with AGA’s Nonprofit and Business Working Groups, and is a steering committee member of the Rogue Valley Prescribed Burn Association. Jim and his wife enjoy hiking, gardening, and expansive views from their hillside home.
Angelique Stewart, Co-Director
Angelique moved to Applegate Valley almost 10 years ago after making many trips to explore the area and its beautiful lakes, rivers, and trails. Prior to moving here, she was a writer, copyeditor, and project manager in a Silicon Valley marketing agency. Her clients included HP, Google, and Apple (and yes, it was as crazy busy and hectic as you think). That intense experience taught her the importance of organization and tight budgeting, how to coordinate teams and work with very different people who have a wide range of philosophies and skillsets, and how to approach every person and project with kindness, openness, understanding, and diplomacy—all skills required in an effective community organization. She is excited to work within Applegate Valley on issues the community has identified as important to them and to address the needs of rural Southern Oregon. In her spare time she is a textile artist and reads, hikes, gardens, and plays with her two dogs.
Ashley Bradfield, Network Manager
Ashley grew up in the Washington, DC area and has been involved in non-profit work since her teenage years. She has lived in seven states and loves to travel both domestically and internationally. She settled in Southern Oregon seven years ago and has been a resident of the Applegate for four years. Ashley does a wide variety of work locally. She works in vineyard management, as an event producer, is the Operations Manager for Women in Wine Oregon and started her own non-profit , Grateful Givings, which focuses on filling community needs, fundraising and volunteer recruitment in Southern Oregon.
Ashley graduated with honors from New York University with a B.A. in Arts in Education for Healing and Social Change, where she focused largely on criminal justice reform, creative arts healing and youth development. She continued her post-graduate work in various East Coast cities through Temple University’s Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, the Mural Arts Program and For Love of Children, amongst other organizations. She is excited to bring her experiences in urban areas to her home in the Applegate.
In her (rare!) free time, she loves to hike, play fetch with her Toy Aussies, Pearly and Jasper, visit local wineries and breweries and see live music. She loves networking with local businesses and meeting new people.
Laurel Briggs, Business Marketing Manager
Although a native southern Oregonian, Laurel Briggs began her career in Salem, Oregon working for a local magazine and obtaining a BA in English from Willamette University. After an internship at Domus Advertising in downtown Philadelphia, Laurel attended graduate school for Communications and Marketing at Cal State Fullerton.
After marketing commercial tile and teaching journalism, Laurel returned to southern Oregon and became a webmaster, graphic designer and writer for Asante Health System’s communication and marketing department.
An opportunity arose to market a local real estate project called the Bella Vita in downtown Medford and Laurel left her corporate job and earned her real estate broker’s license. For several years Laurel marketed development projects.
In the beginning of 2009 Laurel founded Creative Marketing & Design and opened an office in downtown Medford. With offices now in Jacksonville, CM&D provides web development & design, marketing planning, and design services to businesses, individuals, government entities and non-profit organizations.
Laurel’s mix of local market understanding, education and big-city experience provide her clients with a unique marketing edge.
jb Palasini, Working Groups Coordinator
jb grew up on a cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta, later moving to Southern Mississippi along the Gulf Coast. She received her BFA from the University of Mississippi with a focus in Fine Art and Painting. There she formed an art collective that held exhibitions all over the Southeast. She spent the next few years in Atlanta, painting murals and traveling around the country behind the scenes with a popular home decorating television show. She briefly moved back to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where Hurricane Katrina swept her out to Southern Oregon. jb fell in love with the rivers, valleys, and mountains and settled in Southern Oregon 18 years ago. She has lived in the Applegate Valley for the past 10 years.
A creative problem-solver that seeks out challenges, jb has led her life open to opportunities that present themselves. She has managed and consulted art galleries and restaurants, painted portraits and murals, and served as an event coordinator. She has also worked in the wine and brewing industry, with vegetable and animal farms in the valley, and was the market manager and organizer for the Applegate Evening Market in 2022. Most recently, jb coordinated the pop-up gallery at the Jacksaphine Count(r)y Fair for AGA. She has attended many of the AGA working group meetings and events over the years and is thrilled to be a part of facilitating the Applegate Valley Vision and applying her skills to rural community-building efforts.
In her spare time, jb is establishing a new painting studio for her fine art and commissions. She enjoys paddleboarding, rafting, climbing trees, hiking—and pretty much any other outdoor adventure opportunity available. jb is passionate about bringing people together through networking and creating social connections in the community. She is dedicated to serving the community and honored to be a part of A Greater Applegate.
Megan Fehrman, Co-Director
Megan grew up in the heartland and earned her undergraduate degrees in Agricultural Economics and International Relations at the University of Wisconsin before heading West. After exploring several aspects of community organizing, sustainability, and education, Megan earned a master’s degree at Portland State University, focusing on Community Food Systems and Agroecology. Most recently, she has earned a graduate certificate at Oregon State University in Rural Public Policy. Throughout her professional career, Megan has woven together community organizing, food and agriculture, asset-based community mapping, and now rural community building. Megan has worked as a statewide advocate and educator for socially responsible agriculture and as the Education Program Director for a non-profit that aimed to train and assist the next generation of farmers and ranchers. She is currently the Director of Vision Strategy for A Greater Applegate and is facilitating the Applegate Valley Vision process, step by step. Megan has lived in the Little Applegate Valley for 14 years. She also serves as an advisor to the Rogue Valley Food System Network, and is developing skills to consult with other rural communities focusing on community building, resiliency, and relocalization. When not at work, Megan likes to dig in the dirt, walk in the woods, travel, take in some music, be on the water, and spend time with family and friends.
Leigha Perry, Office Manager
Leigha Perry is a Southern Oregon native with eight generations having lived in and around the Applegate Valley dating back to the mid-1800’s. Her love and appreciation for this area is truly beyond description. As a mother of two amazing children, Leigha has thoughtfully balanced family life with career and personal wellness. This approach has healthfully lead her into award winning programs and certifications of adult and youth yoga as well as teaching children meditation. With these skills, Leigha has enjoyed facilitating many youth camps and activities to soothe and uplift the wonderful children in her community. In addition, her experience in management and administration within various office settings has created a perfect match in joining the A Greater Applegate team. Leigha is currently continuing her education through Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University with a focus on mental health, family counseling and community mediation. She is absolutely thrilled to weave all of her passions and skills together to create a positive impact within the Applegate Valley and beyond!
Christina Ammon, Copywriter and Destinations Consultant
Christina Ammon has considered the Rogue Valley her homebase for thirty years, but has left several times: Once to get her Masters degree in Literary Nonfiction from the University of Oregon. Then, after grad school, she spent many years mostly on-the-road as a freelance travel writer, penning stories for the BBC, San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian, Conde Nast, Orion Magazine and many other publications. Her personal travel stories have been widely anthologized in books such as The Best Travel Writing, Volume 11 (Travelers Tales Publishing) and Leave the Lipstick, Take the Iguana: Funny Travel Stories and Strange Packing Tips (Travelers’ Tales). She received several writing awards along the way, including an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship to write about Oregon wine.
In 2014, she started Deep Travel Workshops, and began organizing writing workshops in Morocco, Nepal, Mexico and Spain. She learns much from her guest instructors, which include Tim Cahill, author and founder of Outside Magazine, NPR-storyteller Doug Cordell and many other great writers. Her “hand-stitched” travel itineraries emphasize cultural sensitivity, working with small, local businesses and creating “off the off-the-beaten-track” experiences.
She moved to the Applegate Valley to paraglide in 2012, and to write for the National Paragliding Magazine. After surviving a flying accident at Woodrat, she now opts for pursuits that don’t require a reserve parachute, like writing for Applegate Wine Trails and Applegate Valley Connect. She is finding that writing for a small, local audience is the most satisfying writing of her career so far.
Grace Hochhalter, Internet Access Project Manager
Grace hails originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, and grew up just north of Austin, Texas. She completed her undergraduate degree at St. Edward’s University earning a BA in Psychology with a focus in Behavioral Neuroscience. She was employed by the St Ed’s health and counseling center as a peer health educator, waitressed, and worked in sales operations for a calendar company while finishing her degree in Austin.
After graduating, she felt the call to move west and took a job as a beer sales representative with Anheuser Busch in Roseburg, Oregon, in October of 2017. While slinging beer, she discovered the magic of Oregon wine and enrolled in the SOWI Viticulture and Enology program through UCC. She worked with many wineries in the Umpqua Valley while studying and ultimately landed at Freed Estate Family Winery. A combination of pandemic reality, craving more sunshine, and following “the wine dream” led her to the Applegate Valley in 2020. Grace started working at LongSword Vineyard as Director of Vines & Wines in 2021 and fell in love with the Applegate community while pouring sparkling chardonnay.
After spending her first two years in our community on Little Applegate Road living off-grid with no cell service or internet, Grace is incredibly excited to take on the role as Internet Access Project Manager for AGA. She loves hiking with her Pyrenees Mix, Siskiyou, spending time at the lake, traveling, dancing to live music, and wine tasting around Southern Oregon.
Operation and management of Cantrall Buckley Park (1998 to February 2018):
With community-led improvements such as Greater Applegate Solar Project, Monarch Waystation, Revitalized Playground Project, New Playground Restroom, Native Landscaping and Community Mural Project, New Campground Showers/Restroom, State-of-the-art Vegetative Wastewater Treatment System, Summer Film Series, Master Plan and Design Grants.
Applegate Valley Economic Vitality Projects:
GOLD’N Applegate Discovery Tour Route, Southern Oregon University Tourism Study, Applegate Lake Campground Proposal, Regional Investment Fund Grant, Applegate Business Consortium, EAS (Toll Free) Calling Area, Applegate Directory, Small Diameter Conference, Buy Local Campaign, Business Technology Survey.
Environmental Sustainability and Community Livability Projects:
Applegate Valley Green and Solar Tour 2008 and 2009, Applegate Wayside Park, Application for Low Power FM Station, Applegate School Historical CD, Fire Plan Survey, Team Bravo – Community Beautification, Support Keeping Ruch School Open, Support Friends of Forest Creek.
Community Partner and Organizational Support:
Pacifica – A Garden in the Siskiyous – Start Up, Fiscal Agent – NW Seasonal Workers, Siskiyou Sustainable Co-Op – Start Up, Applegate School Foundation