SAGE Consulting Group

The SAGE Consulting Group (SCG) was formed in 2022, as a program of Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE). We are a multidisciplinary and multi-regional collaboration of agriculture and food system professionals committed to advancing an equitable, inclusive, resilient agriculture and food systems, using a holistic systems approach to problem solving. 

Vision.  We work together to build a food and farming system that serves everyone in our communities, provides all people with an equitable opportunity to fully participate and build wealth, contributes to ecological health and is valued as essential to our shared prosperity, community 

Mission. Provide collaborative, multidisciplinary expertise, skills, and wisdom to advance an equitable, inclusive, resilient food system.  

Who we are:  The SCG has expertise in many disciplines, including agronomy, natural sciences, sustainability, economics, accounting, law, nutrition, land use, community development, communications, market research, policy analysis and advocacy. We’ve worked at the federal, state and local levels, bringing perspectives from across the food and farm system. The senior participants have deep wisdom and relationships gained through decades of work in the field; younger members bring fresh perspectives, new skills and passion. The group envisions a mentorial structure that allows the participants to build collective expertise and wisdom about the food and farming system and accelerate the professional growth of younger colleagues.  

What we do: SCG offers a cost-effective approach to projects, with junior professionals mentored closely by colleagues with greater expertise.  The diversity of our expertise and experience, makes the SCG uniquely able to take a holistic systems approach that is independent, objectivity, and solution-oriented. 

Founding Affiliates: Poppy Davis; Sibella Kraus (SAGE President); Kathryn Lyddan; Judith Redmond; Dorothy Suput; and Debra Tropp. (See short bios below.) Others are considering becoming Affiliates. We organize quarterly meetings for people interested in learning more. 

For more information, please contact Sibella Kraus (Sibella@sagecenter.org).

Poppy Davis. Poppy Davis works with organizations around the country to develop and deliver financial and legal business management trainings for farmers, ranchers, and fishers and related enterprises and service providers. She also works with nonprofits, associations, local governments, and regional collaborations in roles including facilitation, strategic planning, board training, ethics training, building managerial capacity, and developing new programs. Poppy also teaches a class in agricultural tax law at the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Poppy began her career as a California Certified Public Accountant and later worked for the United States Department of Agriculture as the National Program Leader for Small Farms and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. While at the USDA she served as a member of the management team for the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, and co-founded the USDA 4 Veterans, Reservists & Military Families, and Women and Working Lands workgroups.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University of California at Davis, a Master’s in Journalism from Georgetown University, and a Juris Doctor with a Certificate in Agricultural Law from Drake University Law School.  Poppy is a past fellow of the California Agricultural Leadership Program (Class 35). Her non-profit experience includes a year as the Executive Director of the Ecological Farming Association, and board service including Oregon Tilth (current) and previously the Farmer-Veteran Coalition, The Carrot Project New England, Red Tomato, The Center for Land Based Learning, and The Community Alliance with Family Farmers.

Kathryn Lyddan. Kathryn works with land trusts, nonprofits, and local governments on a wide variety of land conservation projects, including strategic planning, policy development, program design and real estate acquisition.  Kathryn previously served as the Director of Conservation for the Marin Agricultural Land Trust where she managed MALT’s acquisition, stewardship, and climate programs. 

In her prior position as the Director of the Division of Land Resource Protection at the California Department of Conservation, Kathryn developed and implemented state programs and policies to protect California’s agricultural resources, including the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC), the Farmland Conservancy Program, the Williamson Act and the Farmland Mapping and Monitoring.

From 2003 through 2016, Kathryn served as the Executive Director of the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust, permanently protecting Contra Costa’s prime farmland, and promoting local farming through regional marketing and agricultural enterprise zoning.  Before joining BALT, Kathryn practiced public finance law for ten years, and throughout her career, Kathryn has maintained an active consulting practice, advising nonprofits, local governments and farming enterprises regarding conservation policy and practice. 

Kathryn currently serves on the Board of the Zero Foodprint. She previously served on the City of Lafayette Planning Commission, California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment, Greenbelt Alliance Public Policy Committee, and the Bay Area Open Space Council Advisory Committee. Kathryn was a 2008 Roots of Change Fellow and a rural representative on the San Francisco Urban-Rural Roundtable.

Judith Redmond. Judith Redmond was one of the founding owners of Full Belly Farm and worked there for 32 years as the certified organic farm grew from 150 to 400 acres and annual gross revenues increased from $250,000 to almost $8 million.  During that time, she built a 1200-member Community Supported Agriculture program, managed a weekly Farmers Market presence, and developed in-house financial management and regulatory compliance solutions. She also created the on-line shop and events platforms. The farm offers year-round educational programming including an internship program and year-round classes and tours. Full Belly Farm was a recipient of the prestigious 2014 California Aldo Leopold Conservation Award. 

In addition to Full Belly, Ms. Redmond works for California FarmLink, a Community Development Financial Institution that invests in farmers and ranchers through lending, education, and access to land. Ms. Redmond is a frequent invited speaker at legislative briefings, conferences, panels, and gatherings. She currently serves on the Science Advisory Panel overseeing Climate Smart Ag programs of the California Department of Food and Agriculture as well as the Governing Council of the national Organic Farmers Association. She has worked with numerous non-profit organizations including the Community Alliance with Family Farmers where she was the Executive Director and California Climate Action Network where she is on the Advisory Board. 

Living in an unincorporated rural area subject to severe wildland fire pressure, she became committed to local fire prevention, preparedness, and suppression. Since 2009, she has been Chair of the local Board of Commissioners for the Capay Valley Fire District.  She is also in the leadership of the local community group that provides support to first responders.

Dorothy Suput. Dorothy seeks a world where humans are living within the planet’s limits. She does this by developing regional farm and food systems that serve this purpose. Dorothy is a collaborative leader of innovative organizations and programs, committed to economic and racial justice, and seeks measurable outcomes.

Dorothy has spent her career starting projects that fill specific needs and contribute to system change. She founded The Carrot Project, one of the first US organizations connecting private investors to local sustainable agriculture, which helped hundreds of start-up farms succeed. In turn, the farmers’ success positively contributes to their livelihood, water, biodiversity, climate mitigation efforts, and healthy communities and food while influencing how farms across the US get financing. 

Dorothy co-founded the Agricultural Viability Alliance to bolster the ecosystem for business development services and steward the National Farm Viability Conference. They’ve effectively advocated for increases in funding for business development services with USDA. She serves on the board of the Flexible Capital Fund, which provides revenue-based financing in the natural resource and working lands space and the Northeast SARE Technical Committee. Dorothy holds a BS from Purdue University and a MA from the Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning program at Tufts University.

 Towards creating a regenerative farm and food system, Dorothy seeks collaborations to develop programs or businesses, federal or state policy, and non-profit capacity and leadership. When not immersed in work that she loves, you can find her outdoors (hiking, traveling, gardening); reading fiction or history; and practicing German.

Debra Tropp. Debra Tropp spent more than 26 years at USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, retiring from full-time Federal employment in early 2019. Over the course of her USDA career, Ms. Tropp served in a variety of roles, including Agricultural Economist, interim grant manager for the USDA Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program, Branch Chief of Farmers Market and Direct Farm Marketing Research and finally, Deputy Director of AMS’s Local Food Research and Development Division, where she supervised an interdisciplinary team of economists, engineers, architectural design experts and marketing specialists engaged in applied food system research, technical assistance and educational outreach. She also served as the lead USDA delegate to the EPA Local Food, Local Places interagency initiative from 2016-2019.

 During her tenure at USDA, Ms. Tropp received the Secretary’s Honor Award in 2012 for her contributions to the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food task force, was invited to participate in the Presidential Management Council’s Fellowship Program in 2014 (serving a six-month stint at the Department of Labor’s Division of Strategic Investments) and completed a Certificate of Public Leadership in 2018 at the Brookings Institute.

 Since leaving USDA in January 2019, Ms. Tropp has continued to provide training, technical assistance and grant support on local/regional food system issues to communities, government agencies, foundations, NGOs and private enterprises. In her local capacity, she currently serves as an appointed delegate to the Montgomery County, MD Agricultural Advisory Committee and belongs to the county’s Food Economy Working Group. On a regional and national level, she is a member of the leadership circle for the Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture, serves as a committee chair for the North American Food Systems Network, and has served twice as an advisory board member for the biennial National Farm Viability Conference. Ms. Tropp is a native of Northwest Indiana and currently resides in Kensington, MD.