The Instigators

Brandon Jaeger

Brandon came to Appalachia on an early stop of his post college cross country bike trip, afterwhich, he found himself drawn to come back to Athens County to work and live. His existential anxiety about making sure grain and bean crops were part of the burgeoning local food movement led him to grow test plots of high nutrition staple seed crops in 2008 (funded by a $5800 NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant). He crunches numbers, manages operations, and solves problems as they arise. He's into a lot of other things— Organic farmsteading, backpacking, Soto Zen, T'ai Chi, Yoga, racquetball, volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee and most recently, Pickle Ball.

Michelle Ajamian

Michelle moved to Amesville, Ohio, to teach at a small parent-run school. She soon was involved in the formation of two intentional communities, working as a paralegal in poverty law, growing veggies for local stores, then developing the communications and marketing work at Rural Action.
At Shagbark, Michelle connects us with new buyers in our region as well as other mills across the country. In 2019, she rejoined Rural Action to manage the Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative, the informal network she founded in 2009 that led to launching Shagbark. She's received several awards for connecting local food to justice, the environment, and innovation.

Photo Credit: Luis Salazar/Crops in Color

The Facility Team

Joe Beres- Production Manager

Joe runs the production floor, alternating between seed cleaning and milling, and making sure crop receiving, bagging, and loading products for distributor and local deliveries are well coordinated. He’s been working in organic farming and food production for more than 20 years and has grown vegetables for the market at his family farm in Meigs County, where he lives with his partner, Cat and their two children, Amani and Ben, along with their donkey and goat, Pedro and Damu. He’s also worked as the Assistant Manager for the Athens Farmers Market, and as a member of the production team at Snowville Creamery. His humor is uplifting and irreverent, so there’s considerably more laughter at work since he joined the team. He’s a long time friend of Michelle and Brandon.

Photo Credit: Luis Salazar/Crops in Color

Dillon Green- Ordering, Accounts Receivable, Logistics

A man of many hats around the mill, Dillon keeps the books up to date, answers inquiries, coordinates Shagbark distribution around the region, and more! He's even apt to show up at our booth at the Paw Paw Festival or enjoying the main stage at the Nelsonville Music Festival. An OU alum who spent several years in Tennessee, he and his wife were elated to return to their roots in Athens in 2018. Dillon enjoys playing music, collecting classic video-games, and spoiling his 3 cats: Rory, Émile, and Tomato Sauce.

Marty Zinn- HR, Payroll & Accounts Payable

Marty is a founding member of the cooperative intentional community where she has lived for over 30 years outside Amesville, Ohio, in Athens County. She has spent much of her life participating in nonviolent direct action for social and economic justice, consulting in cooperative communications in the US and Europe. She is now "retired" from a career of community organizing, having worked with many of the local Athens advocacy, environmental, and community development nonprofit organizations. Marty helps with hiring, seeing that everyone gets paid on time, and accounts payable. She asks the best questions at our monthly staff meetings about profits, balance sheets, and all things financial. She likes taking walks, canoeing, knitting, and doing jigsaw puzzles.

Nick Kroncke- Website Maintenance

Nick has been "in" the Shagbark world since 2015. After trying the chips and meeting the team at the Farmers Market, he was instantly drawn in. From being a #1 fan and consumer of all things chips, tortillas and beans - he also assisted at the farmers market booth and other Shagbark events. Since then, Nick has helped to develop and maintain the "Find Our Products" locator map available on the Shagbark site. While he is currently a nomad in his van out exploring the world, Shagbark (and the Athens community) will always be a special place he loves to return to!

Rachel Allegra- Production Assistant

Rachel assisted Joe, our Production Manager, in 2023. She moved to Athens in 2015 to attend OU to earn her degree in video production. After four years at Casa Nueva, where our organic black beans, pinto beans and tortilla chips have been served since 2012, Rachel came to Shagbark with a well developed interest in local food.
In her free time, Rachel enjoys riding the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, playing guitar, and getting into more DIY projects than she thinks she should. On the weekends you can always catch her enjoying the live local music scene in uptown Athens.

Eleanor Reagan- Production Assistant

Eleanor Reagan has been working part-time at Shagbark since 2021, assisting with bagging and general mill operations. Alongside her work at the mill, Eleanor serves as the Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative Americorps VISTA at Rural Action, where she promotes sustainable agriculture and rural development.

Eleanor also teaches woodshop at the local Community Makerspace. In her free time, she enjoys pursuing her creative interests, including knitting and quilting. She's also an avid dirt bike rider and loves exploring the beautiful natural landscapes of our region.

Oakley Bee, all things Shagbark!

In a way, Oakley (aka Janice) grew up with Shagbark. Brandon met her at the farmers' market in 2013 when Shagbark was still in its infancy. She tasted our chips and immediately started calling shoppers over to our booth to try them. He hired her on the spot! First, she was an intern, then a part-timer who ran our farmers market booth and helped with bagging while studying Foodways and Nutrition at Ohio University. After graduation, we hired her to do everything from milling to market, from event planning to finding good demoers around the state. She's traveled the country and moved to Asheville, NC, where she manages the farmers market.

Jaymee Weaver, Traveler and Shagbark Enthusiast!

When Jaymee comes home from Ecuador to visit her family in New Marshfield a few times a year, she brings her contagious joy and energy to our Athens Farmers Market booth on Saturday mornings. She received a Fulbright Scholarship to work with indigenous communities in Ecuador, where she created and performed plays with indigenous women about their experiences with oil and gas extraction. She has strong ties to her family and community here and has taught us about the historical and economic connections she sees between Appalachia and the indigenous people of Ecuador. Now living in the Western US, she works with midwives in her community.

Deliveries & Stocking

Tiffany D., Athens Deliveries & Kroger Stocking

Tiffany is a client of Echoing Connections who became a Shagbark employee to deliver our products to our Athens grocery, restaurant, and school customers. You might see her at the Athens Kroger on Mondays and Thursdays when she’s stocking our shelves as part of that delivery. She is also in charge of weekly clean up at the Mill. She loves horseback riding and is on the swim team at the Special Olympics.